New London prepares for upcoming school year

By Gretchen Teske, Mt. Pleasant News


NEW LONDON ? The New London school board has begun preparations for the new school year, including constuction projects at Clarke Elememtary school and hiring several new staff members.

Several classrooms at the elementary school are receiving a makeover. Volunteers have been hard at work painting the steel beams in the ceiling as well as the walls in the classrooms to freshen them up for the school year. ?Things are lookig really nice, they?re working really hard up there,? said Middle and High School Principal Scott Kracht. ?It?s really nice to see.?

During the meeting, school board members also approved changes and amendments to the coaches handbook, student handbook, meal program and the possibility of adding a new class. A request to approve open enrollment for a New London student was denied. The student reportedly missed several days of school due to migraines. The student has been offered the chance to enter the at-risk program but made no progress in signing up. ?I would encourage us to not approve it and continue to encourage the family to use our option with the at-risk (program) in the alternative setting,? said Superintendant Chad Wahls. ?I would be concerned that if we start taking recommendations from doctors that say they support this, it?s no different from if you?re working with a student who?s diagnosed with ADHD.?

Wahls? concern was losing students when there is an at-risk program in place to help them. The student has had extra help in the classroom and passed all classes. The open-enrollment request was denied.

Newly appointed Activities Director Mike McBeth has been working with Kracht to reform the coaches handbook. Major changes include mandatory meetings for coaches and parents before the season begins, a requirement that students must return or replace all equipment before continuing into a new activity and coaches being required to have all equipment turned in two weeks after the activity ends.

The student handbook also will get revisions such as the homework room consequence for detention will now be changed from a three day mandatory sentence to only serving detention until the consequence is served. If the student does not serve the detention in the time allotted on the slip, they will not be allowed to participate in any extracurricular activities for the rest of the school year. The school has also begun allowing food and beverages in classrooms, with the exception of labs where it is strictly prohibited for the sake of equipment maintenance. The change was enacted the second semester of the 2017-2018 school year and proved to be a success. ?It worked really well,? said Kracht. ?Especially kids who have busy schedules and things, it allows them to have snacks throughout the day.?

The school lunch program is seeing changes also. According to standards in place by the Iowa Board of Education, the average student school meal should cost $2.90. ?We?re just trying to stay ahead of having more than one increase at one time,? said school board President Lindsay Porter.

The lunch plans will increase by 10 cents as the first step in slowly rising to the standard. An adult meal will now cost $3.65, a 6-12 student $2.60 and a K-5 $2.50.

With a new school year comes new opportunities for classes. Art teacher Joe White approached the board about eliminating the yearbook due to profit loss. Previously the class was taught by a teacher with a journalism degree and was able to be taken as an English credit. White would like to now transition the class into a photography class where the students take pictures for the school and have them available to sell for parents. The class would teach them all about photography and editing skills. The conversation was tabled until a plan could be drawn up.