IVCHS's drug testing policy slightly tweaked

Marianne Gillespie

With children returning back to school Aug. 14, the Illinois Valley Central District 321 School Board approved annual items to get the school year rolling at its July 22 meeting.

The board also heard a summary of how the district’s drug testing policy has been going for the last two years.

About 20 to 25 high school students are randomly selected monthly for the hair test during the school year. Six students tested positive, which then means they receive counseling and progressive discipline tied to extracurricular activities. The student then sits out for part of the season.

“From our perspective, the principals, administration, it goes pretty smooth,” Superintendent Chad Allison said.

The administration did have to tweak the random selection just slightly for students who are repeatedly picked.

“There’s just a point where we get you three or four times, you should be good for the rest of the year,” Allison said.

One student had been selected six times, prompting the slight change.

“Overall, it’s been a good program,” Allison said, noting that principals have said students tell them the random drug testing gives them an “out” when peer pressure hits.

The cost to the district is about $9,000 for the testing.

Instead of a little tweaking, the school district’s website is being updated, including a new feature.

Instead of the district printing the gray school calendars, the district’s calendar is online using Google Calendar. It has been updated with all the extra-curricular activities to be more useful to parents.

The move also coincides with the district’s use of Google Chromebooks for students in the classroom.

With Google Calendar, Allison said parents can merge their own personal appointments to one calendar. If games change, which frequently happens in the spring due to the weather, a notification email is sent and is changed on the calendar.

District personnel is working on making the calendar so parents can modify their calendars to show only the activities their children are involved in.

The move to Google Calendar, Allison said, will save about $8,000 on the printing of the old style calendars, adding that the calendars will be more up-to-date as well.

Additionally, with the high school moving to a new conference, the calendar automatically has links with an entry to give directions to wherever the IVC Grey Ghosts are traveling.

“We hope it’s going to be a good tool,” Allison said.

In other items, the board:

• Heard that Back to School nights will be Aug. 12 for the elementary schools with South School and Mossville School from 5 to 6:30 p.m. and Chillicothe Elementary Center 6 to 7:30 p.m. IVC High School’s Back to School night will be one day later to assist parents with students in grade schools and high school who had trouble last year getting from one place to the other within the time slots. IVC High School’s Back to School night will be from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Aug. 13.

• Approved former Superintendent Larry Williams to continue as the district’s treasurer.

• Moved the next board meeting to Aug. 11 due to Back to School nights. It was scheduled for Aug. 12.

• Approved the following resignations: Diana Shane as special education aide at South Elementary School, effective immediately, and Shawna Masters as special education aide at CEC, effective Aug. 1.

• Approved the following personnel contracts for the 2014-15 school year: Stacey Slater as sixth-grade math and science teacher  and Ann Gappmayer as library clerk, both at CEC; Mike Damron as vocational/industrial technology teacher, Laura Stewart as part-time mathematics teacher, Nolan Wilson as part-time social studies teacher, Brenda Smith as special education paraprofessional, all at IVC High School; and IVCHS class sponsors: freshman class sponsors — Teri Donley  and Angie Lee, sophomore class sponsor — Laura Stewart and junior class sponsor — Linda Fennell.