School days will be a bit longer this year

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

The daily schedule at MFL MarMac will look a bit different this year. 

Instead of starting classes at 8:25 a.m., they will now begin at 8:20 a.m. The end of all regular school days will move from 3:20 to 3:25 p.m. The district has 2:20 p.m. early releases on most Wednesdays. 

“That will add 40 minutes to the week and three to four days, hour-wise, to the end of the school year,” explained high school principal Larry Meyer. 

Meyer said the high school’s study hall, which was previously held the final period of the day, will now be held during second hour. He hopes it will help students better maximize their time. 

“We feel kids get to the end [of the day], go through all this, then they just sit,” he said. Finishing tasks or homework at the beginning of the day, “has proven more effective.” 

Meyer also addressed some other changes, which will be reflected in the new school handbook: 

• A chain of command policy to deal with athletic issues has been established. Meyer said this will assure there’s a proper procedure to go through for bringing up grievances. 

• Students can now be ineligible for a sport or other extra-curricular activity if they are failing at the quarter. In the past, they could only be ineligible if failing at the semester. 

“We don’t have bad kids, we don’t have unintelligent kids,” Meyer said, “but they end up on the failing list.” 

With this new policy, Meyer said any students failing at the end of the first or third quarters will be ineligible for 10 calendar days. At the end of that period, the student’s status will be re-evaluated. If their grade is brought up to passing, the student can be reinstated. 

Per state code, he said those failing at the end of a semester will still be ineligible for 30 days. 

Meyer said he hopes the change will prompt students to pay better attention to their grades. 

Elementary principal Kathy Koether also updated the board on changes to the elementary handbook. She said it now contains more information about bullying and harassment, particularly clarifying how she and guidance counselor Kurt Gaylor address and keep track of incidents.

Koether said cell phones are better addressed in the updated handbook, as well. Although the school has few problems with the devices, she noted students who bring them will be asked to keep phones in their book bags or on their teacher’s desk. They will not be allowed on the playground.

In the past, she said, “We have had incidents of students calling 911.”

Middle school principal Denise Mueller was unable to attend last week’s meeting, but superintendent Dale Crozier said there were very few changes in that handbook.

Contracts and resignations approved

The board approved several staffing changes, including the resignation of Nicole Tayek as an elementary paraprofessional. Crozier said she worked at the district for 15 years. 

Contracts were approved for Kylie Sandstrom as the high school girl’s track coach, Ralph Hill as assistant cross country coach and assistant for the high school musical and middle school play, Kayla Vorwald for high school football cheer coach, Dixie Doeppke for high school wrestling cheer coach, Tera Mathis for assistant high school volleyball and Melissa Haberichter as a yearbook advisor and assistant speech advisor. 

Sharing contract approved

The board approved a sharing contract with Clayton Ridge for teacher-librarian Melissa Haberichter. Crozier said Haberichter will spend 80 percent of her time at MFL MarMac, then the other 20 percent at Clayton Ridge. 

The district already shares several staff members: Crozier with Eastern Allamakee, transportation director Trent Miene and elementary guidance counselor Kurt Gaylor with Postville and curriculum director Eliza Philpott with Central.

Old lights going to Luana

The board approved the disposal of some old football lights to the city of Luana. 

“They haven’t been used in years,” Crozier said.

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