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Nicolet fits more pieces into handbook puzzle

Dress code, workday approved in recent additions

Sept. 27, 2011

Glendale - Nicolet officials are beginning to assemble the high school district's employee handbook with recent approval of a dress code policy, complaint procedures and guidelines for the composition of a professional workday.

After a preliminary review of the three pieces of the handbook in August, the School Board gave final approval Monday.

The dress code policy outlines appropriate attire and calls on all staff to maintain a sense of professionalism throughout the school day. Casual wear such as jeans and T-shirts are not permissible in the policy, though the superintendent and principal have been given discretion to make special exceptions in specific circumstances, including spirit-themed days at the beginning of the school year.

The staff complaint procedure is independent of the grievance policy the district adopted last month to conform with Gov. Scott Walker's Act 10 legislation. The complaint process, handled internally, is designed to address issues that arise and are not defined as grievance or harassment complaints.

Three-step process

Modeled after the grievance procedure, the district has adopted a three-step process for its complaint procedure. A preliminary measure calls on employees to informally resolve the issue with an immediate supervisor. If unsuccessful, the process begins. The first step entails filing a written complaint, followed by an appeal to the district administrator and lastly to the School Board. Each step has a 10-day deadline.

The professional workday procedure outlines the daily schedule for support staff and teachers. Hourly expectations for support staff will vary, depending upon the position. Nicolet teachers do not have to exceed 8.25 hours Monday through Thursday and 8 hours Fridays. The figure includes a so-called duty-free lunch period that is 30 minutes in length.

The normal work day begins 10 minutes before the start of school.

Getting it right the first time

Other components of the handbook remain a work in progress in the aftermath of the cessation of collective bargaining rights in Act 10. Nicolet is in the beginning stages of outlining a process for performance evaluations.

District Administrator Rick Monroe said he aims to make the process collaborative with direct input from teachers and other faculty.

"The goal is to make this something (all Nicolet employees) can look forward to," Monroe said of annual evaluations. "It's a positive thing because it's an opportunity for individualized attention."

Although there is a sense of urgency with the performance evaluation policy, Monroe said he and other Nicolet officials will not move at an unnecessarily accelerated pace to have it in place.

"We want to make sure we do it right the first time," he said. "There is no firm timeline right now."

- Dave Fidlin

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