Second and third graders speak about student advisory groups

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Nine MFL MarMac second and third graders presented to the school board at its regular meeting April 11, sharing about their experiences serving in the elementary school’s student advisory groups.

The groups, which allow students to take on leadership roles and provide input about activities and issues at school, was the idea of guidance counselor Kurt Gaylor. He came across the idea at a character conference last summer, where a group of high school kids from Dubuque shared about their own student advisory groups during a breakout session. He spoke with the students and weighed whether the concept could be used with younger kids.

“I decided to give it a try this year,” he told the board. “It’s a work in progress, and we’ll tweak it as we go. I believe we’re the only school in Iowa doing this [with elementary students.]”

Eight students from second grade and another eight from third grade have served each quarter. Gaylor selected the first quarter groups, then the students selected the next quarter’s successors from a list of kids who were named student of the week. The groups meet alternately every six days. Some of the duties the students have gotten to help with this year include determining activities for Red Ribbon Week and Kindness Week.

“Instead of the teachers deciding what we got to do, we got to,” explained student Quinn McGeough, who said that was his favorite part of being involved.

“I hope that we will see less bullying now that we’ve done this,” said Mariah Moser.

Gaylor said, next year, the groups hope to do mentor lunches, where a member will have lunch in Gaylor’s room with a student who might be having trouble in school or having issues making friends.

Proposed changes for next year, said the students, will include combining the two groups, putting four second graders and four third graders in each one. The groups will also serve for a semester rather than just a quarter.

“They felt that was too short,” Gaylor said. “They didn’t get enough time to do what they wanted to do.”

Ross resigning

Superintendent Dale Crozier announced that high school principal David Ross has turned in his resignation. This was the first year at MFL MarMac for Ross.

Operational sharing

The board approved continuing the district’s current operational agreements for the 2016-2017 school year. MFL MarMac shares a curriculum director, in Eliza Philpott, with Central, as well as a transportation director, in Trent Miene, and a guidance counselor, in Gaylor, with Postville. Crozier is also the superintendent at Eastern Allamakee.

Hass honored

Elementary principal Kathy Koether informed the board that second grade teacher Roberta Hass was recently named the recipient of the prestigious Charles F. Martin Award from the Iowa State Education Association (ISEA). According to the ISEA, the award has been presented annually since 1972 “as ISEA’s top honor to a member who has made a significant contribution to the teaching profession through association involvement.”

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