Dean of Students reports on successful year

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Wade Marlow, Dean of Students and At-Risk Coordinator

By Molly Moser

A new position was created last fall at Clayton Ridge Community School, allowing for the addition of Dean of Students and At Risk Coordinator Wade Marlow to school staff. Marlow assists with the district’s positive behavior intervention support expectations for students, which are that they be ready, respectful, responsible and safe. He models these expectations and provides positive reinforcement for the large majority of students who are meeting expectations.

Marlow has been working with Clayton Ridge students and staff since August. “The year has been going very well. I have spent a great deal of time building relationships with the students. These relationships have been important when working through discipline issues later,” Marlow told The Press. He spends the majority of his time in the middle and high schools, where he focuses on each student’s personal interests when building rapport. 

After graduating from North Winneshiek High School and attending college in Dubuque, Marlow taught in the Dubuque Community School District. He and his wife, Twyla, have two young children, Jocelyn and Nathan. Before coming to Clayton Ridge, he served as the Principal of Prairie Catholic Schools in Prairie du Chien, Wis. “That position gave me experience working with students who were struggling with academic and behavioral issues,” Marlow said during an early interview with The Press. 

“The students have adapted well to the new role in the building. I have even had many students seek me out before they act. I see this as a positive alternative to acting out and removal from the classroom. I am very happy to talk with these students about the best way to approach situations where they may feel uncomfortable, “Marlow explained. I believe the school is preparing the students for their next step. I hope that the lessons I help students work through will someday help them communicate with bosses or professors.” 

A challenge for Marlow, like many Clayton Ridge staff members, has been splitting his time between campuses. Following next year’s grade re-alignment, Marlow will work strictly with students in grades six through 12 at the Guttenberg campus. His focus will be on school safety, at-risk students, classroom management, positive behavior intervention supports, and continuing to build relationships with students. 

“It has taken time, but I believe that the parents are starting to see the importance of the position for these students in need. As you know, trust is not built overnight,” said Marlow. “I hope the parents understand that I try to work with the students to identify the situation, their actions and what needs to be addressed. We work a lot on communication and how a mature student should communicate with the adults in the buildings.”

“Having the added resource for dealing with discipline issues has been well received,” said Superintendent Shane Wahls. “I do not want to paint the picture that we have lots of disruptive students or serious incidents, but the bottom line is that there are many day-to-day issues that take considerable time from principals, counselors and teachers.  Having one go-to person to handle the majority of these incidents and to be able to focus on some of the at-risk population has been very helpful. This also allows us to work as a team on the more serious issues as they occur.”

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