Tamaqua Area School District's school board members resolved some lingering questions with the district's dress code during Tuesday night's board committee meeting.
Elementary assistant principal James Fasnacht said school administration has received many requests from female students and their parents to include navy blue shoes into the district's existing dress code policy. Fasnacht said there were also some issues with boots at the end of the last school year. "We allowed the students to wear boots during inclement weather on the condition they had to change into regular shoes when they arrived at school."
Fasnacht also said at the end of the last school year, administrators permitted students to wear sneakers, which had also been prohibited under the previous policy. "We found we had less disciplinary action due to relaxing the dress code," Fasnacht said, adding the revised policy prohibits sneakers with pictures, lights, or wheels, mainly due to potential safety issues.
Board president Larry Wittig said he understood the need to tweak the present policy, but said "We need to be cautious about eroding it too much." Members then discussed revising the policy to state that all footwear should predominantly be one color, then discussed how specific it should be in terms of accent colors. After a lengthy discussion, members approved a revised policy that would permit both dress shoes and sneakers in white, black, brown, tan, navy, grey/silver. Sneakers with brand insignia would be permitted, but footwear with pictures, lights, or wheels would not.
In other matters, the Transportation Committee approved a policy that would not permit students to have multiple stops during the course of an average week of school. "The policy would permit one stop in the morning and one stop in the afternoon," district Business Manager Connie Ligenza explained, clarifying the point that a student would only be allowed to have a maximum of two different stops. Superintendent Carol Makuta said that this would ease the burden of the district's bus drivers by having to make fewer stops.
The Education committee also granted Makuta permission to employ professional or para-professional employees on an as-needed basis for the upcoming school year. The committee also approved request made by Ruth Ann Gardiner, Special Education Director, to apply for a School-Based Behavioral Health Performance grant in the amount of $15,000. Gardiner explained the award would be used for consultation and professional development offerings to the district's special education staff to better handle students with severe behavioral problems.
The Education Committee also approved an agreement with Child and Family Support Services, Pottsville, to administer the Student Assistance Program within the Tamaqua Area School District. The daily substitute teacher rate of $75 per day for days 1-60 and $85.00 for days 61 on was also approved. The committee also approved the consolidation of the high school's Spanish, German, and French clubs into one World Language Club. "This would eliminate the need for three advisors but still provide our students with the opportunity to learn another language besides English," Makuta said, noting the district's Foreign Language National Honor Society would be unaffected. A stipend of $750 will be offered to a faculty advisor who has yet to be determined.
In-service days will be held on August 24 and 25. Kindergarten orientation is also scheduled for August 25. The first day of classes for students is August 29.