Four long-time teachers retiring

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

At its April 10 meeting, the MFL MarMac School Board approved early separation agreements with four long-time district staff members. Those retiring include high school agriculture teacher Doug Martin, second grade teacher Roberta Hass, middle school special education teacher Marcia Miller and middle school special education and Title I teacher Jonelle Kann.

Together, the teachers have over 100 years of experience, said superintendent Dale Crozier.

“We will use this situation to make adjustments at our school,” he said, “but, nevertheless, I’m sad to see these people leave. We’ll miss all of them.”

Substitute pay increases

The board approved a $10 raise for district substitute teachers, bringing the daily pay rate from $90 to $100. Long-term subs will also see a raise of $10, from $110 to $120 per day. The changes were made to bring MFL MarMac closer to the area average.

The school district currently spends over $100,000 per year on substitute teachers, Crozier noted.

Operational sharing

The board approved renewing 28E operational sharing agreements for fiscal year 2018. MFL MarMac currently shares Crozier with Eastern Allamakee and transportation director Trent Miene and elementary guidance counselor Kurt Gaylor with Postville. Teacher Eliza Philpott is also a curriculum director for both MFL MarMac and Central Elkader.

School Board Recognition Month

April is School Board Recognition Month, and Crozier took time to hand out certificates to members in attendance. MFL MarMac’s school board includes Gina Roys (president), Sharon Greener (vice president), Jonathon Moser, Collin Stubbs, Brian Meyer, Tonya Meyer and Joshua Grau.

“I think we have an awesome school board,” Crozier said. “I’m happy, privileged and humbled to work here.”

Coaching lab

During his report to the board, high school principal Larry Meyer said MFL MarMac recently hosted a coaching lab, where teachers from area districts came in to observe and share feedback with several MFL MarMac teachers regarding their lessons. Meyer said he applauds the teachers who allowed others to observe them.

“They basically go into their classrooms and let the whole world watch,” he said. “It’s nice to have other teachers come in and say ‘I like the way you did this.’ I think the lab was a success.”

Meyer said openness is a growing trend in classrooms, noting, “It’s kind of cutting edge. More and more teachers are letting go of fear.”

Bigger, Faster, Stronger

The Bigger Faster Stronger weight training program will be offered during the school day at MFL MarMac High School next year, according to Meyer. Through the program, “kids will really get a good core workout during the day,” Meyer explained, adding that toning and strength training will also be key components.

Meyer said Bigger Faster Stronger will be offered second and third periods, giving students a break before sports practices. He anticipates the program will help not just athletes, but any students who choose to participate.

McGregor Center principal Denise Mueller added that she’s also working to incorporate Bigger Faster Stronger into the middle school curriculum for eighth graders, and possibly even seventh graders. It would be an elective class, she said.

Weighted blankets

Elementary principal Kathy Koether said students have benefitted from weighted blankets donated by the community. The blankets, she explained, are filled with rice. When lain across a child’s lap, it can help them become less wiggly, she shared.

“It really works out well for the kids,” she said.

Reading month

Koether said April is reading month at the elementary, and this year’s theme is “Aloha, Let’s Read.” Students have been challenged to read 75,000 minutes during the month. If the students reach the goal, Koether they will get to “stick it” to her, meaning they will have the opportunity to duct tape her to the wall.

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