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Oak Creek schools handbook gets an organizational revamp

Nov. 13, 2012

Parents and students looking through the Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District policies handbook will see the result of changes approved by the School Board this week.

The changes are merely to make the handbook easier to navigate. There are no real changes to the policies themselves.

Many of the changes conform to what the Wisconsin Association of School Board recommends, some coming directly from their guide to handbooks.

Most of what has changed is where the policies are located. Some locations were out of date or confusing to those looking for specific policies.

Among the changes are moving cyber-bullying from the acceptable use of technology section to the bullying section, shop safety guidelines to equipment safety guidelines and changing the policy on locker searches to student searches.

The board and superintendant Sara Burmeister are taking a comprehensive approach to updating the handbook. The changes will touch on each of the eight sections of the handbook. It could take the district up to eight months to completely revamp the handbook.

Each change is proposed at the board's committee meetings and is brought before the entire board for approval.

Once the changes are approved, they are posted on the school's website. To find a copy of the handbook, visit oakcreek.k12.us, find your school and click on the handbook link.

This is the first time the policies have been updated since 2005. The changes in 2005 were the result of a two-year rework of the entire handbook.

The last rework began in 2003 and removed nearly a third of the 450 old policies and moved many others to different sections. Some old policies contradicted themselves; others weren't policy but procedural and still others were redundant.

Burmiester said that she believes one of the reasons why the old handbook took so long to rework was that when a new law was passed, the changes were added to the handbook. She said that instead of simply adding content when new laws arise, the district now plans to replace and rework the handbook.

She added: "We update policies as the law changes and the need arises. To do so, we need a thorough examination of the handbook."

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