CHIPLEY — The Washington County School Board honored 19 elementary and middle school students Monday for achieving perfect FCAT scores.


CHIPLEY — The Washington County School Board honored 19 elementary and middle school students Monday for achieving perfect FCAT scores.



“We’re here to honor these students for their achievements,” said School Board Chairman Terry Ellis, “but we all know these students didn’t get here on their own. This is a group effort.”



Ellis said every student has the support of his parents, grandparents, teachers and school administration, and that support group is essential to produce successful students.



“This is a very special achievement, receiving a perfect FCAT score,” Ellis said.



Students with perfect scores and Level 5 scores received letters of recognition, but the students honored Monday were those solely with perfect scores.



CLICK HERE TO VIEW A PHOTO GALLERY of the students.



“We’re very proud of them,” Ellis said of the 19 students.



The students recognized were:



Kate M. Smith Elementary: Reading — Will Taylor, Trace Weaver, Lara Fleener, Margaret Largacci;



Roulhac Middle School: Reading — Connor Barrett; Science — Taylor Munroe; Algebra EOC — Taylor Munroe;



Vernon Elementary School: Reading — Jerryd Brown; Math — Jon Wilson, Kynley Braxton, Jada Brown, Kalen Evans, Derek Greer, Wyatt Pitts, Paislee Poppell, Jason Prather, Byran Stone, Julia Wycuff;



Vernon Middle School: Reading — Clayton Taylor.



Following the award presentation at the auditorium of the old high school, the board meeting reconvened at the Administration Building for the regular meeting.



The board held a brief budget hearing and public hearings on proposed changes to current policies and procedures, as well as the student code of conduct and student progression plan.



“The biggest change is the designation of the diploma,” said Gail Riley, district director of Curriculum and Instruction. The state Department of Education has set the requirements for diplomas which are designated as “merit” and “scholar,” Riley said, and the change is based on graduation requirements, including the End of Course exam scores for some subjects being changed from a must pass to counting as 30 percent of the student’s grade.



The diploma changes were mandated by the Florida Legislature, as were most of the changes to the student policies presented to the board.



the requirements for earning a standard diploma in Florida have changed due to new legislation. Students still have to pass an end-of-course exam in algebra and a standardized test in language arts, but they would no longer have to pass end-of-course exams in geometry and biology. Instead, those exams would count for 30 percent of a student's final grade in that subject.



A passing score on the biology exam would be necessary only for students wishing to add the new "scholar" designation to their diploma. Those students would also have to pass the algebra II exam, earn two credits in a foreign language and enroll in at least one college-level class, among other more rigorous requirements.



Students can also strive to add a "merit" designation to their diploma by earning industry certification in a field such as automotive technology.



“A lot of this is determined when the students are seniors, then they can look back and see what they are qualified for,” Riley said.



Superintendent Joseph Taylor told the board members they would be heading to Tallahassee Thursday morning to present the plans for the new Kate M. Smith Elementary School construction to the Department of Education in hopes of getting the project funded. The district will be one of five proposals the DOE hears Thursday, and the projects will likely be ranked that day.



The ranking determines funding priorities for the projects. The new elementary school is expected to cost $20 million and will likely be funded on a two- or three-year cycle.



The board also considered a Leave of Absence request from teacher Kim Daniels, who requested the 2013-14 school year off.



Administrative Services Director Pat Collins explained to the board that the request had been submitted after July 1, which is the deadline for leave requests as published on the request forms.



“Part of the reason for the July 1 deadline is we had teachers applying for leaves at the last minute and we would find ourselves scrambling to cover classes,” Collins said.



Taylor told the board he did not recommend the leave, so the board took no action on the request.