'Menu of options is pretty small’ for making up school days

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Between extreme cold and snow, winter weather has wreaked havoc on MFL MarMac’s schedule the last few weeks. Making up cancelled days will take some maneuvering.

“We’re doing everything we can,” said superintendent Dale Crozier at the Feb. 11 school board meeting. “Our menu of options is pretty small.”

With no school last Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 12 and 13, the district has now missed 10 days this year. It missed a total of eight last year, said Crozier.

So far, MFL MarMac has made up two days: one on Friday, Feb. 15, and the other on Monday, Feb. 18. 

Making up additional days gets trickier. Crozier said one option includes holding school the Friday before Easter, or more likely, the Monday after. 

“We could extend the length of days, go on Saturdays or eliminate all or some of the remaining professional development,” he added.

By tacking on 15 minutes to each day between the winter and spring sports seasons, Crozier said the district could pick up half a day of school. Eliminating the one hour of professional development on Wednesday afternoons for six weeks could also gain a day.

“We could do a combination of both,” he noted.

“I don’t care what we do, but I know people don’t want to go in the middle of June,” Crozier said. “But I’d rather go in the middle of June and be safe.”

He proposed asking the teachers how they’d like to make up the time. Based on their recommendations, the board can then make an official decision at an upcoming meeting.

Board talks more about professional development time

For the third month in a row, the school board discussed the district’s 2019-2020 calendar, specifically focusing on whether to change the Wednesday early outs. Over the past five years, school has dismissed an hour early, at 2:20 p.m., most Wednesdays, and staff members use that time for professional development, committee meetings and other activities.

Crozier said the professional development committee will review several options, then make a recommendation to the board for approval. The finalists, he noted, included leaving the schedule as it is, changing it very little or going to a half-day in-service each month.

Board president Gina Roys said she surveyed 15 families who have children in different age groups, and most like it the way it is. Elementary-age parents like the consistency, especially when budgeting for daycare, she explained. Parents with high school-age kids liked that their kids can have extra time to work at a job on Wednesday afternoons.

“I think the fewer changes, the better,” said board member Tonya Meyer.

“What I’ve gotten is consistency,” added Jonathon Moser. “[Parents] just like to know ahead of time.”

Even if the district went to a half day each month for professional development, it would still maintain consistency, noted Collin Stubbs.

“And it would give [staff] the change they’ve asked for,” he said, explaining that some teachers have felt the one hour every Wednesday isn’t enough time for them, especially if they get pulled into meetings. This option would give them three or four hours instead.

“You do the best you can,” said Brian Meyer. “If things go sour, you do what you’re doing now,” by considering other options.

Coaching changes

At the meeting, the board approved the resignation of Kayla Vorwald as football cheer coach. They approved a contract for Josie Roulson to replace her. A contract was also approved for Tyus Adkins as assistant baseball coach.

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