Academic Senate discusses possible future problems with final exams, counseling, and the Brown Act

(Left) Kim d’Arcy, (middle) Bob Cosgrove, and (right) Kimberly Stankovich of the senate meeting. (Anibal Snatos)

Steven Jung

The Academic Senate discussed topics on the final exams times for future school years ranging from fall 2013 to spring 2015, personal and academic counseling, and the Brown act for future executive meetings Mar. 13.

The senate addressed on how to accommodate student for possible future problems. The problem is starting the school year from fall 2013 to spring 2014; the way school scheduling is set up may have final exam times conflict with one another according to counsel members.

Evidently, when students register online for their courses, the computer does not take into account of when the final exams for those classes are because that information is not on the website at that time.

It is possible that a student might have an exam at 9 a.m. on Monday and 9:30 a.m. on that same day.

One idea is that students who have conflicting exam times can take the exam at a different time.

Karla Westphal believes by accommodating students it might bring fairness into question. Westphal believes if a separate test is given and a student does not do too well; the student will say it’s because the test they took was more difficult than the test for students at the assigned time.

“Students talk to other students,” Westphal said. She was referring to the possibility that if the same test is given, the student given the accommodation time might ask a student from the assigned time about the questions on the exam.

The senate voted on it and passed the accommodation or “alternate testing”, which is another term for it according to Bob Cosgrove.

Some senate members, such as Westphal, expressed that the school schedule can lead to a big problem. “I would like to recommend that this problem be avoided,” Westphal stated.

The problem Westphal felt is that the reason it is such a big problem is not just because students have to take the exam at a different time but because it is due to no fault of the students.

Cosgrove did explain earlier that “this is why it’s important for senate members to serve on committees.” The schedule committee is the one that sets up the schedule and Cosgrove claims it’s up to the committee on how the schedule is set up.

The senate also went over possible ways to handle students under a lot of stress. It’s due to the recent Ali Syed shooting that happened.

The school offers not just academic counseling but personal counseling as well.

“Teachers need to decide whether a student actually plans to kill themselves or if they are just paraphrasing the saying,” Pam Barr said. Cosgrove also agreed with Barr as he explained how he has come across some very stressed out students.

“I’ve had students collapse and have an epileptic seizure in front of me,” Cosgrove said. Teachers want to provide help for student who are serious about thinking of committing suicide. Not every student who claims that is not serious however, the teachers just want to make sure they are helping students who intend to attempt suicide and are not just saying that out of stress.

The Brown Act was also discussed in terms of having opened meetings for their executive meetings. Earlier this week, the Lariat had been asked to leave the meeting.
According to Cosgrove, he was unsure if the executive senate meetings applied to the Brown Act and consulted district offices for legal advice. Cosgrove also explained that if they do fall under the act then they will post their agenda meetings 72 hours before the meeting takes place.

“We will comply with the Brown Act if we are an open meeting,” Cosgrove said. Cosgrove also wanted to state that the reason he went to the district offices for legal advice is because they are the ones who make sure the school complies with state and federal regulations.

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