WHS eliminates retesting and imposes drug testing

By L. Parsons

Winslow High School Principal Justin Hartman gave a report to the Winslow Unified School District Governing Board July 20 on the upcoming policy changes at his school. Mentioned were new drug testing policies, security changes and the decision to do away with the retesting program previously in place.

With retesting, students who perform poorly on tests are given a second and sometimes third opportunity to retake the test to improve their grades. Dr. Hartman explained, and the board agreed, that retesting is actually detrimental to the student’s academic success.

Teacher Lisa Long said, “I have had good students tell me they didn’t study for the test, then they take it and do badly, then retake it once they have seen what’s on it.”

Hartman went on to say that the policy of not retesting had not yet been solidified, but that it will be presented in front of teaching staff for input.

In a follow-up interview with Hartman, he explained the new drug testing policy in more detail. “This is a brand new policy. We are testing all of our athletes at the beginning of each season, with random tests every month,” he said.

According to Hartman, the consequences for student athletes failing the drug screens include a four-week suspension from all extracurricular activities and completion of an online drug intervention program. “In addition, they must provide a negative test before participation will be allowed,” he noted.

All screenings will take place under the supervision of medical personnel on WHS property. In the event of a positive screen, the results will be sent to an outside lab for verification. If the student fails a second drug test, he or she will be removed from extracurricular activities for the remainder of the school year.

The public is invited to hear more about this change and others, including the requirement of student identification badges, and attendance and tardy policies, at an open house slated at 1 p.m. on Friday, July 28, in the Performing Arts Center at WHS.

Superintendent Cyndi Mattox expressed her gratitude for Jack Hanno to the board. Hanno took over the position of transportation department director on July 11. In his nine days in the position, Mattox said, “He has made great order of the department.”

Hanno is credited with beginning the process of putting new decals on the Bulldog busses, and inspecting the entire fleet.

Mattox added, “We are getting better every day and we are very appreciative to have him on board.”

In other business, the board approved the hiring of Alisha Jones as a science instructor at Winslow Junior High School, and accepted the resignation of Washington Elementary School fifth grade teacher Patrick Gatz.

A ratification of vouchers, a routine procedure to allow the district to submit vouchers to the county school superintendent between board meetings, passed unanimously. Board member Al Leonard was not in attendance.

The Arizona School Boards Association holds a delegate assembly each September and a request was made for the board to select a delegate and alternate to attend. Board member Dodi Montoya will attend the conference, but will not hold delegate affiliation. No one was selected to represent the district, but Mattox assured that Winslow’s vote will be heard on the agenda action items at the assembly.

The monthly financial report given by Business Manager Shirley Lomeli showed the district’s expenditures at 96 percent of the overall budget for the last school year.

The next regular meeting of the board will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 17, at 800 Apache Ave.