Some HNHS students could earn partial PE waivers

A partial physical education waiver may be on the horizon for some Huntington North High School students.

Chad Daugherty, HNHS principal, proposed the waiver program at Monday evening's meeting of the Huntington County community School Corporation board of trustees.

Daugherty says the waiver would allow incoming freshman at HNHS who will participate in an Indiana High School Athletic Association approved sport, Varsity Singers, cheerleading or summer marching band to apply for a PE waiver for one semester of the two-semester course currently required by the high school.

To earn a waiver for PE, these students would first be required to pass an athletic pre-test to prove their physical fitness level. If the pre-test is passed, the student would then need to turn in a series of writing assessments, which would be graded by the physical education department.
The student will also be required to keep a calendar documenting the time spent at their approved substitute for PE class, for example, football practice. Ultimately, the student will turn in these documents, along with signatures obtained from their coaches and parents.

If all these objectives are met by the student, he or she would earn a waiver for one semester of physical education, allowing them to take a different elective in its place, says Daugherty.

The board had some reservations about approving the waiver, including the rising obesity epidemic, the effect a waiver would have on students' GPA, and the availability of the waiver to only student athletes, Varsity Singers, cheerleaders and band members.

The topic will be revisited after more information is presented to the board.

The board heard another proposal for changes within the school system, by Ken Akins, director of food service.

Akins is requesting an upgrade for their current point-of-sale cashier system.

He asked the board to consider upgrading from WinSnap, the program that has been in place since 1999, which he says is outdated, to Horizon, which is a newer, more efficient system.

Akins says the new system would have many benefits including the ability for parents to monitor what their child is eating; reducing payment locations down to one; the capability for parents to apply for Free and Reduced Lunches privately online; communication with PowerSchool, the corporation's web-based student information program; more efficient communication with the central office; the ability to have wireless cashier stations using WiFi; a three-year warranty and the ability to store information even if the point-of-sale systems go offline.

He says the new technology would cost the board roughly $100,000 over a 10-year period.

School Board President Kevin Patrick expressed reservations about approving the software due to a cost of approximately $5,000 for training employees to use the device.
The topic will be revisited at the March 11 school board meeting.

The board approved an amendment to the 2013-14 calendar. Russ Degitz, Lancaster Elementary School principal and chair of the corporation's calendar committee presented the change, which moved a day off school from Jan. 31, 2014, to Nov. 27, 2013 - the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

The proposal came after the extra day off during the 2012-13 was widely accepted with praise by the corporation's stakeholders.

Degitz also presented the first reading of the 2014-15 school calendar. He presented two proposals, one that he says is aligned with the status quo - the traditional school calendar.

The second proposal offers a slight change in fall and winter breaks, allowing for no more than six weeks of classes without a break for students and teachers.

For example, in October at the time of the traditional fall break, students would have two early dismissal days, followed by two days off school, one for a teacher work day and one day of fall break for teachers and students. The same formula is adopted in February, allowing the students and teachers a winter break.

The board expressed support for the nontraditional calendar, and will take action on the matter at the next meeting.

In other business, Rex Baxter, vice president, asked for proof of accountability that students are paying the corporation back for broken iPads that have been replaced.
Baxter also asked for an itemized list of how much the iPads have cost the corporation per student.