Union public school officials approved a measure that will change district policies on A+ job shadowing.

Union R-XI School Board members unanimously passed that policy that promotes existing in-district tutoring opportunities and only grants students with “extenuating circumstances” chances to pursue job shadowing opportunities in the community.

The number of ways Missouri high school students can attain 50 hours of volunteer tutoring in order to receive A+ Scholarship money recently was amended by the state department of higher education. Up to 25 percent or 12.5 hours of job shadowing counts as volunteer tutoring.

As a result of the modification, individual school districts were required to create written policies that apply to the job shadowing option.

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Judy Stivers recently told board members that the district’s policy need to be updated.

“This is a piece that needed to be clarified and added to the handbook so students and families would have a very clear understanding of how our district chooses to use the job shadowing component,” said.

Only seniors may apply to complete job shadow tutoring and the job shadowing cannot be done at the student’s family business or at a student’s current place of employment.

Students may, however, job shadow at the workplace of a parent, sibling or other family member.

“The purpose of job shadowing is to broaden student’s horizons,” Dr. Stivers told The Missourian. “If I’ve got a job at a parent’s firm I’m not necessarily broadening my horizons.”

Previous policy, added to the A+ Handbook this September, merely defined the job shadowing element of tutoring and explained that students were required to, “pick up a ‘Student Job Shadowing Guide’ . . . meet with the A+ coordinator to discuss other requirements,” and, “after (job shadowing) visits all assignments must be returned in order for the time to count.”

Dr. Stivers said the procedure is now more specific.

Students interested in job shadowing must file a request form and write an exception statement explaining why they should be permitted to shadow the requested profession.

Official forms must be completed and exceptions granted prior to the completion of any shadowing, otherwise those hours will not count towards the total number needed to meet A+ requirements.

That student, and his or her parents/guardians, would participate in an interview with the A+ coordinator, Bette Ruether.

Ruether will approve all job shadowing requests.

“We can always make exceptions should there be a need,” Dr. Stivers said.

Board member Jennifer Slay observed that the qualification are rather stringent and asked why that is.

“We have so many opportunities for tutoring, (Ruether) and her advisory committee want the students in the classroom mentoring and supporting,” Dr. Stivers noted.

She also explained that job shadowing opportunities exist in other courses offered at UHS such as those associated with the DECA club, vocational agriculture courses and classes aligned with the Four Rivers Career Center in Washington.

At the conclusion of a job shadowing experience a student must submit a written essay, up to two-pages long, describing what he or she learned as well as what was most helpful in considering the observed profession as a career.

Policy approved by the board at its previous meeting also encourages students to perform job shadowing outside of the regular school day.