School board members sworn in at meeting
By Audrey Posten
Newly re-elected school board members Jonathon Moser, Gina Roys, Josh Grau and Brian Meyer were sworn in for another term at the Sept. 16 MFL MarMac school board meeting. Patty Burkle and Gina Roys were also re-appointed as school board president and vice president, respectively.
Principals Kathy Koether and Josh Mallicoat spoke to the board about the Schools in Need of Assistance (SINA) training the two recently attended. According to the Iowa Department of Education, under No Child Left Behind (NCLB), “public school districts and public schools must report the academic progress of all students in grades three to eight and 11 and students by subgroups and their test participation rates in the subject areas of reading and mathematics. Public elementary and middle school average daily attendance (ADA) rates and public high school graduation rates are the additional indicators for public school districts.
“If a school does not meet the annual Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) state participation goals or state Annual Measurable Objectives (AMO) in reading or mathematics assessment in either the ‘all students’ group or any one of the subgroups for two consecutive years, it is designated as a school in need of assistance. SINA schools that receive Title 1 funds are required to comply with NCLB sanctions, which include writing a plan.”
After being designated as a SINA 1 school at the fourth through fifth grade level, MFL MarMac has to devise a plan. However, instead of simply focusing on that subgroup, the district has chosen to make a plan for the entire district.
Some initiatives are already in place. At the elementary level, Principal Koether said students receive extra help each week when teams come in to work with small groups on their reading and reading processes. Koether said this is especially beneficial for “bubble kids” who do not need Title 1 assistance, but could use that extra bit of help.
At the middle school, Principal Mallicoat said the “Bulldog Pride” program has been instituted. Every Tuesday and Thursday, Mallicoat said students get a slip at the beginning of the day. If the student has a late assignment or any other issues, the slip gets marked. However, at the end of the day, if the slip is left unblemished, the student gets 25 to 30 minutes of activity time.
Mallicoat also discussed the adjustment high school students and teachers have had in switching over from block scheduling to seven-period days. Mallicoat said there has been a big emphasis on time management.
“Kids have to budget their time and use it wisely,” he explained. “That’s something they’re not used to. But we’re not the only school to have more than four periods.”
Mallicoat said teachers are also learning to adjust and relax their pace. They no longer feel the stress of having to fit a year’s worth of material into one semester.
Superintendent Dale Crozier said the new auditorium will be scheduled to open in time for the play, which will be the second weekend in November. While it was expected to be complete by now, he said the humidity has caused issues with the flooring.
“Some of the delays are my delays,” he admitted, “but I want it done right.”