Eligibility Policy and change in Freshman Orientation discussed at board meeting

By Melissa Huber, I-O Reporter

In what was to be the last discussion of the night at the recent School Board meeting on July 15, possible future changes to the Conrad High School (CHS) Eligibility Policy were addressed.

The first reading of the new policy explained that changes would include the allowance of two F grades before a student becomes ineligible for extracurricular activities. 

Various examples were given in defense of the idea, including a personal experience from Principal Lynsi Morris who explained that she was ineligible for sports much of one of her high school years because she had great difficulty grasping the concepts of Chemistry. 

Principal Ken Larson expressed a fear that this would lower academic expectations, and the feeling was echoed by Board Member Terri Peters. 

Janie McFarland then expressed an opinion that the teachers should be involved in such a vote as it would link into a new Campus-Wide Grading Policy that is designed to create consistency in grading and reporting, and would ultimately change the way they grade. She further expressed a disappointment that teachers weren’t notified beforehand that this item was up for discussion as they had all spent several years fine-tuning the Eligibility Policy. 

She explained that under the current policy a child is allowed a probationary period of a week during which they can work an F grade up to passing one and not become ineligible. 

Vice-chairman Carole Jones made the decision to invite all teachers to the next special board meeting on July 22 so they could discuss the matter further. 

A change was made to the Freshman Orientation that will place it on the first half day of school. Principal Larson felt the change would aid in alleviating worries and keeping information fresh in students’ minds as orientation is usually done in the spring of the previous year. This change means that other students will not be required in the main part of the school until after noon when freshman orientation is complete. 

Those who need to ride the bus into town are asked to make other arrangements or prepare for a half day of school.

Freshman class elections and homecoming plans will be discussed at the beginning of the day, after which students will go to classes for 15 minute sessions to get them familiarized with the layout of the school. There will then be a presentation in the auditorium about clubs and advisors, and a word from Principal Larson. Freshmen will be released for lunch, and the last half of the day will include all students. 

Principal Morris requested consideration for a future reading program for K-2 to address some reading shortfalls. Morris was also given permission to use Aimsweb, an online academic program, to further define and target problem areas for students and to help all students master concepts more quickly.

Lunch Room Director Cathy Jochems reported that the summertime meal program is doing well. Custodians will soon be refinishing the Meadowlark School gymnasium floor, during which time the meal program will be relocated.

The removal of the old tennis court fence, to facilitate the installation of a guard rail, is tentatively planned for sometime before the beginning of school.

The board also approved the creation of a district-wide Director of Digital Academy and Silverback with the goal of fully integrating the two programs into all schools within three years. Principal Karen Lee was approved for the position.

The renewal of a natural gas contract with Commercial Energy was reviewed and will be decided on at a later date.

Lastly, the resignation of Wendy Hansmann was sadly approved.


The next regularly scheduled board meeting will be Aug. 12 at 7 p.m. in the Russell Building Board Room.