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Board waives rules for foreign student

Due to a strict foreign exchange student policy, one couple had to personally appeal to the Board of Education to clear the way for a student.
The Board of Education waived the strict guidelines for Lance and Melissa Koster, who can now host a foreign exchange student.
“It’s just that the Kosters did not have children enrolled in this system,” said Superintendent Jim Watson. “That was probably too restricted.
The strict policy was created one year ago.
“There had been issues surrounding foreign exchange students in many ways,” said Superintendent Jim Watson.
The policy was a reaction to people profiting off foreign exchange students and students coming into the school system who had already graduated in their countries.
“These things were occurring,” said Superintendent Jim Watson. “We even had situations in this county.”
Throughout the state some foreign exchange student hosts would bring in as many students as possible, receiving a stipend for each one.
The Kosters assured the policy committee that their desire to host a foreign exchange student was not to make a profit.
“It does not provide for us monetarily,” said Lance Koster. “It just provides an experience for the student, and an experience for ourselves.”
The student that the Koster’s will host has not yet graduated from high school.
Prior to putting the current policy in place, some students as old as 19 could come to Lincoln County high schools.
These students did not need credits to go towards graduation. Instead, they came for a purely cultural experience.
The current policy allows only those in need of high school credit to attend Lincoln County high schools.
“Our viewpoint on this is that it should be a total education experience,” said Elaine Jenkins, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.
Hosts of foreign exchange students are expected to be involved with the student’s life.
The student should be involved in clubs, car washes and other social activities.
“That’s part of the high school experience, and the family needs to commit to this,” said Jenkins.
After learning about the Koster’s specific situation, the policy committee unanimously waived the policy.
The motion was later approved at June’s Board of Education meeting.The policy, however, still remains in place. The Board of Education has the right to waive it on a case by case situationby Sarah Grano

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