December 2023 Policy Updates
In this document, you will find a summary of recently updated key policies with approved changes, highlighting their implications and benefits for students, parents, and staff. I believe that these updates will contribute to the continuous improvement of our educational system, reinforcing our commitment to excellence, inclusivity, and student success. I encourage you to familiarize yourselves with these policy updates and invite your feedback and engagement as we work together to provide an enriching and nurturing environment for all our students. You will find all of the ANWSD Policies and Procedures on our website.
A1 - Board Member Conflict of Interest (revised)
This policy underscores the ethical and legal obligation of School Board members to avoid conflicts of interest and the appearance thereof. It defines a conflict of interest as a situation where a Board member's private interests could benefit or be harmed by their actions on the Board. The policy outlines specific standards to prevent conflicts, emphasizing that Board members should not represent special interests for personal gain, misuse their authority, promote personal financial interests, accept gifts for influencing decisions, or be swayed by factors other than a fair presentation of all perspectives.
In case of a conflict, Board members are required to declare it in Board minutes, abstain from voting or discussing the related issue, and adhere to relevant Vermont education laws. The policy establishes procedures for handling conflict claims, including an informal hearing by the Board, leading to potential dismissals, disqualifications, or formal censures based on majority votes and evidence evaluation.
B2 - Volunteers and Work Study Students (revised)
This policy acknowledges the valuable contributions of volunteers and work-study students in ANWSD. Emphasizing the importance of appropriate supervision for the education and safety of students. The policy defines volunteers as uncompensated individuals assisting school staff and work-study students as those compensated through post-secondary work experience programs.
Administratively, the Superintendent or designee is tasked with developing procedures to ensure that volunteers and work-study students undergo appropriate screening before engaging in service. Only those approved by the Superintendent or designee, following thorough screening, are allowed unsupervised contact with students. The screening process includes checking the Vermont Internet Sex Offender Registry, and individuals listed there are deemed ineligible to serve as work-study students in the district.
This policy states the commitment of ANWSD to adhere to state and federal laws mandating a drug and alcohol testing program for school bus and commercial vehicle drivers. The Superintendent or designee is responsible for implementing procedures to conduct alcohol and drug tests for all safety-sensitive transportation employees under the federal Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991.
C3 - Transportation (revised)
ANWSD affirms its policy to provide total or partial transportation on public roads to each legal, resident-only pupil entitled or required to attend elementary or secondary school. The Superintendent or designee is responsible for filing the policy in each school, establishing bus routes and stops considering safety and efficiency factors, submitting contracts for approval by the School Board, and including transportation details in the annual report. Legal pupil status aligns with 16 V.S.A. § 1073.
D4 - Title 1 Comparability (revised)
This policy outlines the commitment of ANWSD to provide comparable services, staffing levels, curriculum materials, and instructional supplies for Title I-eligible and non-Title I-eligible schools. Local and state funds will be used to ensure equivalence, and all students, regardless of Title I eligibility, will have access to comparable programs and supplemental supports. The Superintendent or designee is responsible for developing procedures to ensure compliance with federal comparability requirements and maintaining updated records biennially.
D5 - Dissection (revised)
This policy affirms ANWSD's commitment to protecting a student's right to be excused from participating in any lesson, exercise, or assessment involving the harm or destruction of animals. The definition of "animal" includes cadavers or severed parts. The Superintendent or designee is responsible for developing procedures that include timely notification to students and parents about the right to be excused and the process for exercising this right. Students excused under this policy must be provided with alternative learning and assessment methods, developed in consultation with the teacher and, if necessary, the principal. Discrimination based on the decision to exercise this right is strictly prohibited.
This policy outlines the commitment of ANWSD to provide students with diverse instructional materials, incorporating evidence-based practices aligned with national and Vermont standards. The district emphasizes personalized learning, enabling students to engage with the curriculum and meet graduation requirements. Implementation is based on State Board of Education standards, ensuring a cohesive, standards-aligned curriculum across grades and schools. The policy also underscores the importance of a comprehensive learning environment covering various disciplines and transferable skills. Administrative responsibilities include providing access to sufficient learning resources, maintaining a diverse collection of materials, ensuring digital and print resource availability, and addressing technology integration and internet usage policies.
The Superintendent is responsible for developing procedures related to instructional material selection, responding to reconsideration requests, and ensuring alignment with Vermont's Early Learning Standards in pre-kindergarten programs.
F1 - Travel Reimbursement (revised)
This policy outlines ANWSD’s reimbursement system for reasonable travel expenses incurred by employees, school board members, and volunteers on an actual cost basis, subject to budget constraints. Reimbursement is limited to expenses deemed reasonable and necessary for district activities, whether federally funded or not. The Superintendent or designee will establish written procedures specifying covered expenses (e.g., airfare, lodging, meals), exclusions (e.g., alcohol), spending limits, prior approval methods, and the timeframe for reimbursement.
These policies underscore the commitment of ANWSD to fostering a conducive and equitable learning environment. From safeguarding students' rights to excusing them from certain activities to ensuring comparable services and resources, these policies reflect a dedication to the well-being, inclusivity, and educational success of every student.
If there are any inquiries or clarifications needed regarding these policies, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your engagement and understanding of these policies are crucial as we work collaboratively to uphold the highest standards in education for our students. Thank you for your commitment to ANWSD community.
Sheila Soule, Superintendent