Geneva High School Code of Conduct Revised

A major review of the Geneva High School Code of Conduct and a plan for consistent enforcement are nearing completion.The review was recommended by a team of educational experts sent in by the state to recommend changes at Geneva High School because student performance has not improved enough to meet state standards.The recommendation stressed the importance of consistent enforcement of the code by faculty and staff. “It’s confusing to students if the code is not uniformly enforced by all for minor, moderate and major infractions,” said Dr. Robert Young, superintendent of schools.The Joint Intervention Team of educational experts visited the high school from Feb. 28 through March 3 because the state placed the high school in restructuring status because of its low graduation rate and students’ scores in English language arts.Some of the team’s academic recommendations already have been dealt with, Young explained, but the code revision is taking place this summer.One of the ways that the code revision committee has decided to focus students more on learning is barring students from bringing cell phones and other electronic devices to school starting this fall.Young said that one third, or 700, of all student problems referred last year for discipline were related to cell phones.Lawrence Wright, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, said the committee members looked at Rochester schools that have done this successfully using positive intervention techniques and zero tolerance on electronics.The new policy applies to headphones, cell phones, camera phones, digital cameras and all other types of electronic recording devices during school hours. The policy will be posted at the school along with other code revisions.Students first have the option to voluntarily leave their device at home or in their car.Students also can voluntarily turn in their phone as they arrive at school and then retrieve it at the end of the day when they are leaving school.But students who don’t voluntarily surrender phones or electronic devices will be screened as they enter the school building. Screeners then will bag the device and identify it for pickup after school.The consequences for violating the policy are as follows:First Violation – The device is confiscated until a parent picks it up;Second Violation – The device is confiscated until a parent picks it up and the student receives a one-day out-of-school suspension;Third Violation – The device is confiscated until a parent picks it up and the student receives a three-day out-of-school suspension.Further violations will be dealt with on an individual basis.Any student who refuses to surrender an electronic device or refuses a search of his or her person or property will automatically be subject to a three-day suspension.Randy Grenier, dean of students, and Police Officer Harry Bennett, the school resource officer, will conduct a series of meetings with parents before school starts.“The school must adjust to its clientele to meet their needs,” said Young, “but the students need to adjust to the school by complying with the code of conduct. Parental support is needed and is very important.”Wright said another way the committee is looking at raising expectations is by instituting a flexible school uniform policy. Wright said too many students come to high school inappropriately dressed and a uniform system could help with school pride and save parents money on school clothes.Under consideration is a menu of several allowed outfits and not a single uniform for all students. If approved, the uniform policy might start at the high school this fall and in the other schools in the spring to allow time for measuring students.The current dress code for Geneva High and Middle schools reads as follows: “All students and staff have the primary responsibility for acceptable dress and appearance. All dress must be safe, appropriate and not disrupt or interfere with the educational process. Hats are not allowed to be worn in school.”Young said the district’s other three schools – Geneva Middle School and North Street and West Street elementary schools – are all in good academic standing.The team of experts’ two main conclusions about the high school are that the school is unlikely to meet annual yearly progress marks “under the current structure and organization” and the district should develop a school restructuring plan that “includes significant changes in staff, organizational structure, leadership and/or configuration to address issues that continue to negatively impact student academic performance.”The intervention team looked closely at attendance and achievement data as it related to students and teachers. They reviewed graduation records for three years, especially related to subgroups of students, such as African American, Hispanic Latino, students with disabilities, Caucasian and economically disadvantaged.The experts also examined how individual teachers’ students did on exams and whether all students had access to all of the subjects they needed to study to determine whether or not a bias or inequity existed.The Joint Intervention Team was led by an educational expert and made up of a State Education Department (SED) representative and regional and local school officials, including Wright.

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