School Board Strengthens Zoning Policy

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Cannon County students entering kindergarten for the first time in 2011-12 will have to attend their school of zone and no new out-of-zone transfers will be approved, following a unanimous vote of the Cannon County Board of Education Thursday (July 7).

The Board voted to approve the change to policy 6.206, regarding transfers.

Students who have a previously approved out-of-zone transfer will be allowed to attend the out-of-zone school provided the transfer does not cause overcrowding. Siblings of students with an approved out-of-zone transfer will be allowed to attend the out-of-zone school if the older sibling is still attending the out-of-zone school.

Out-of-county students requesting enrollment must be approved by the principal and the director of schools and will be allowed, provided the transfer does not cause overcrowding. These students will be charged an annual, non-refundable tuition. Parents must provide transportation to and from school.

The director's discretion will be used in placement of student(s). The deadline for requesting admission to Cannon County Schools is Sept. 1 of each school year.

Transfer students will meet the same enrollment requirements as new students. The student must exhibit good attendance and good conduct to attend any Cannon County School. All transfers will be reviewed annually. Children must live with their legal guardian in order to attend school in Cannon County. The Director of Schools must approve all transfers.

In other business, the Board also granted changes to the Cannon County High School Handbook.

Missing school without a valid excuse may result in additional punishment for Cannon County High School students beginning with the 2011-12 school year.

In an effort to address what Cannon County High School Principal Tim Knox called "a problem with unexcused absences," members of the Board of Education voted 4-1 to implement penalties for students in excess of 10 unexcused misses.

"Ten unexcused absences is still a lot," Knox told the Board. "We have had a problem the last few years with unexcused absences. This is not a problem unique to Cannon County, but we need to try to do something to improve it. We especially have had this problem with students who drive. They may show up one, two, or three hours late, come in whenever they want to and still be here long enough to make a day and, in some cases, pass. We are looking for a solution."

Students in addition of 10 unexcused absences who drive and have a parking permit may have their parking privileges removed or suspended until attendance improves. Students with excessive unexcused absences also will not be prom or senior trip eligible, may not attend field trips and will face suspension from extracurricular clubs such as Beta, FFA, HOSA and sports.

"The idea is to strip these students of their privileges with hopes that they will come to school and be there," Knox said. "We have spent some time addressing this at the school level with the hopes of reducing this trend. We are proposing to add some consequences for those students who have 10 or more unexcused absences to a class or classes in an attempt to encourage better attendance."

Knox said students with more than 10 unexcused absences can get back in good standing and regain their privileges and suspension from extra-curricular activities would be indefinite until attendance showed improvement.

"There will be some ways the student can get back in good standing with this attendance policy on the 10 unexcused days such as simply showing a good attendance record after their 10th unexcused day," Knox said. "In order to be eligible for Prom or Senior Trip, the student would need to make 10 straight days of school attendance to pay back one of their unexcused days."

This change will be reflected in the 2011-12 CCHS Student Handbook. Board Member Mike Mayfield cast the only no vote.

"Seems to me these students already are not attending if they have that many unexcused absences and now you are taking away most of the reasons they have for coming to school," Mayfield said. "I don't think this will work."

Knox said it was just one attempt at finding a workable solution to fix the problem.

"We don't know if it will work until we try," Knox said.

The Board also voted unanimously to approve changes to the Lion Academy Program.

Beginning in 2011-12, there will be different levels for offenders. Knox said in the past all students were sent to Lion Academy for a 45-day period, unless it was a zero tolerance offense.

Students sent to Lions Academy for behavioral problems will serve 45 days. Students who are sent to Lions Academy for a second time will serve 90 days and students with zero tolerance infractions are 180 days.

Board member Cathy Hyatt asked if second offenders are receiving outside help.

Knox said such resources were not available; however, he is working to come up with some creative ways to assist.
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Members Opinions:
July 09, 2011 at 1:45pm
redmolly, "getting by" is all anyone in Cannon County knows how to live or plan for. It is the way we have been taught for years.

Forethought, planning, looking ahead toward what the future might bring are ideas that rarely exist here because it goes beyond the norm of what has been tradition for years and years.

I fear it will always be this way until this current generation moves on. However, my hopes for the next generation aren't much better because they are simply following the footsteps of those in power today.

Not only that, I think unless we have meetings in the future where this generation can text each other I doubt anyone will know how to talk because the social skills of today's teenagers (and future leaders of the community) are almost null and void.
July 09, 2011 at 6:21pm
Corey that does not go for all teenagers. Many who work and do try to make a better life for them self. Our goverment has made it very easy for them to follow in their family's foot steps by being on welfare and not working. Go to the store and see how many are on welfare and how young they are. I am very proud of my senior who does work , gets good grades in school and has bigger plans for his future. So just "getting by" is not for my teenager. It is the example that is set at home is what they follow most of the time. Many thanks to our local business that take a chance on our teenagers and hire them. Thanks to the many teachers who want our children to be a success and do everything they can to encourage them to do something with their life. Lots of the time this is the only encouragement they get.
July 09, 2011 at 6:30pm
I agree with Mr. Mayfield. Taking away everything is only going to give them more reason to stay out. Why not come up with more incentives for perfect attendance? Something for all the students to want to achieve.
July 10, 2011 at 12:01am
mudd I didn't mean to characterize all teenagers and young adults into one group if it sounded that way.

I too have a son who works three to four days a week and attends college three days a week and has his own apartment. I am proud of him as I am sure you are your child. We are luckier than most I would suppose.

As a whole, today's society of teenagers are sorely lacking in basic communication skills and basic grammar skills in my opinion. There are exceptions to the rule and not all fit that into that mold, but surely you must agree that for most of them more time is spent talking with their fingers and thumbs than face to face.

The language of Shakespeare and Longfellow have been replaced by "ttyl", "brb" and "LOL". Reading books and having a vocabulary beyond the texting world is slowly vanishing like the rain forests.

“Getting by” is now the norm because very few people are inspired to put forth an effort to do more or be more or work for more. That is a sad reality we must all face.
July 10, 2011 at 3:11pm
Seems like the school board just needs something to make it look like they are busy. Who cares where a kid goes to school as long as it is in the county they live in. The school board just wants it to be hard on parents and grandparents who need their kids at certain schools for job related reasons and etc. By the way, have they ever thought of looking at other successful school systems and ideas that are put in place for attendance and graduation rates. Coffee county schools had more programs and curriculum 25 years ago in their school system than Cannon has in 2011. Where you guys been for all these years?? I guess it's apparent that I am not a NATIVE of Cannon. I see outside the box. You people can't seem to climb out. And yes, I am sure this will upset most of the native school board and county peoples, but sometimes, it is like a joke the way this whole county does business. You have some great teachers out there, and some bad ones that need to retire! I am surprised that any actually want to work in this school system. Not many fire one and actually vote them back in to allow them to be on the school board. Wow, what a land of opportunity. You need to worry about children and their best interest. Worry your selves to death about what they are learning, not about if they happen to miss 11 days!
July 10, 2011 at 5:01pm
Well said junebug! Too many are still in the box as you put it. The question the school board, Mr. Knox and Barbara Parker need to stop and ask themselves is this: Why are SOME of these kids missing so much school? If you really asked some of these kids and took a good look around the would find your answer. But sadly they are still in the box with rose colored glasses on. If you would really address some of the major problems at the high school then attendance would improve. I know from past experience this won't happen. There will always be some kids that just don't want to go to school. But I have seen alot of really bright students get into CCHS and go downhill due to the curriculum and the atmosphere at the school.
July 10, 2011 at 9:30pm
TnT, I would like to know exactly what you think the "atmosphere" at CCHS is? Being a recent graduate of CCHS, I believe it to be a very positive one. I believe CCHS is full of caring teachers who will do WHATEVER, and I mean WHATEVER, to see kids succeed. I have seen teachers give students opportunity after opportunity to make up work when they have been absent (excused or not) or when they have failed a test, quiz, etc. and the student just refuses to accept that offer. As to why students don't attend, it may very well be the curriculum. In that case, it's time for the commissioners of Cannon Co. to wise up and realize they are going to have to give the school system more money so that it can actually operate efficiently and hire the teachers it needs and provide the curriculum it needs to give its students the best opportunity for success. In the mean time, the teachers at CCHS are doing the best job they can to provide the best teaching they can to their students (don't believe me, then go spend a day there and see). I personally believe students don't attend because their just lazy and apathetic (I say this because I have seen it first hand), and they don't have parents who will provide them the encouragement and discipline they need. Too many times students who have never received discipline at home receive it from teachers at school and they don't know how to react. Students get lazy and refuse to do work in class, then refuse to accept the chances to come during one hour lunch to make up the work, and so it just becomes easier not to come to school than come and listen to a teacher try to encourage you to and make you do your work. So, again, I'm not sure what you think the atmosphere at CCHS is, but I KNOW it is a very positive one, and I KNOW the teachers and Coach Knox and Mrs. Baker are doing everything they can, going beyond and above what should be asked or required of them, to give students the help and assistance to succeed. It can't be placed on them when students don't use common sense and take the help. Before someone places blame for students not attending on the administration and teachers, maybe we should start holding students and their parents responsible and accountable for making sure they are doing the right thing and coming to school whether they want to or like it or not.
July 11, 2011 at 7:33am
@housefan: I'm glad that your experience at CCHS was a good one. However, that's not the case for many students. For some the favoritism, fights and drugs is enough to want many to change schools or quit. The atmosphere is not so grand. There are many caring teachers there, but also many that don't seem to care. As for the curriculum..some have it before them but fail to teach it. I also have walked the halls of CCHS and spent many days there. There are many parents that do care and still can't get anywhere at CCHS. It's pretty much "who you are" and "who you know".
July 20, 2011 at 3:17pm
@TnT, I totally agree with you! But, you left out "or whoever can bounce or hit a ball really good." Seems like thats all CCHS focuses on!!!
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