Pubdate: Sun, 06 Aug 2006
Source: Decatur Daily (AL)
Copyright: 2006 The Decatur Daily
Author: Deangelo McDaniel
Bookmark: (Drug Test)
Bookmark: (Youth)


HARTSELLE -- Superintendent William Michael Reed chuckled when asked 
about the upcoming school term.

Oh yes, he is excited, in part, because of some of the new programs 
Hartselle is offering students when they return Thursday.

Reed pointed to the addition of an assistant band director and the 
extended day program. Hartselle also is adding a voluntary 
drug-testing program for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders.

The new director will allow Hartselle to teach band to elementary 
students, something the system has never done.

"We're excited about that," the superintendent said.

But the extended-day program may have the most significant impact.

The program will let elementary students receive help with homework 
or expand their interest in fine arts.

Elementary principals Susan Hayes, Robin Varwig and Sherry Calvert 
organized the program and announced it to the board in June.

When the schools surveyed parents, the principals said 120 Crestline 
parents responded positively, while Barkley Bridge got 90 responses 
and F.E. Burleson 85.

Calvert, who worked with an extended day program in Cullman County 
before coming to Hartselle, said she expects interest to increase 
when school starts.

Reed said the program is self-supporting.

He said certified teachers who volunteer will teach the classes and 
receive pay beyond their regular salaries with fees students pay to 
participate in the program.

"This is going to be a great service to the students and community, 
but we're not going to be a day-care," the superintendent said.

The voluntary drug-testing program is for junior high students.

Drug Testing Coordinator Franklin Penn said Hartselle received a U.S. 
Department of Education grant to pay for the program called Project 
Independent Decision.

The parent and student must sign a consent form to participate in the 
program. But, unlike Hartselle's regular drug-testing program, the 
school system will not discipline students who test positive.

Penn said the system will notify the parent of a positive test but it 
will be up to the parent about what, if any, disciplinary action to take.

Students who test drug-free will receive a picture identification 
card that allows them to get discounts in some area businesses and restaurants.
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman