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Lodi Unified School District to consider suspension program

Pilot program would start at McNair and Bear Creek high schools in North Stockton

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Posted: Monday, June 3, 2013 2:58 pm

Lodi Unified School District officials will consider establishing a pilot program at McNair and Bear Creek high schools where students would serve their suspensions on campus rather than staying away from school, as long as they don’t pose any danger.

Under the proposal, pupils assigned to a supervised suspension classroom would be separated from other students on campus, Dawn Vetica, assistant superintendent for secondary education, said in a report to the school board.

District trustees will decide whether to try out the pilot program during today’s board meeting, which will begin at 7 p.m. at the James Areida Education Support Center, 1305 E. Vine St., Lodi.

Vetica recommends that the pilot program begin in the 2013-14 school year. The equivalent of one full-time teacher would be hired for the two North Stockton high schools.

The teacher assigned to oversee suspended students could also offer independent study for other students on campus who need to retake a class to improve a grade, Vetica said in her proposal.

The pilot program would prevent students from missing classwork, as they do under the current system.

“It is a better option for students,” Vetica said. “They will be able to do their school work and get some counseling. We will be looking for programs that work in assisting students (in making) better choices.”

Vetica said she isn’t sure how much it would cost to hire a new teacher at this time, but she anticipates that the salary would be recovered from “average daily attendance” revenue collected from the state for students who are present in school.

School districts lose revenue when students are absent from school.

Average daily attendance is calculated by taking the number of days of student attendance and dividing it by the number of days in the regular school year.

In other action tonight, Lodi Unified trustees will consider temporarily changing graduation requirements for the 2013-14 school year by requiring only one year of physical education for students taking advanced placement Human Geography or AVID, a special college readiness program designed to accelerate student learning.

The proposal, however, requires that a quarter of health and safety, plus classroom drivers training, be placed somewhere in the curriculum. The adoption of the planned Common Core State Standards will require reviewing high school graduation requirements.

A committee will be formed to review and recommend adjustments, as necessary, to the district’s graduation requirements. Administrators are asking the school board to postpone adopting criteria for the school valedictorian because further discussion is needed, according to a staff report.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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