Date set for MHS graduation ceremony


In-person event scheduled for July 18

MENDOTA – The Mendota High School Class of 2020 graduation ceremony has been rescheduled for Saturday, July 18 in the school gym. The date was approved during the May 18 Board of Education meeting.

Superintendent Jeff Prusator said the senior class was surveyed regarding the type of graduation ceremony they preferred and almost unanimously, they wanted a live ceremony rather than a virtual one. After looking at the calendar and the timeline for when the state hopes to safely begin allowing group gatherings, July 18 was chosen with a time yet to be determined. Prusator said he hopes they can have at least 50 people in the gym at a time for the ceremony, and hopefully more.

Board member Aaron Elston asked if an outdoor ceremony had been considered, but Prusator said people could be spread out more in the gym than they could be in the stadium. “If the spread of the virus has slowed as projected by July 18, we hope we will be able to do this,” he said.

PRINCIPAL’S REPORT

The Virtual Awards Ceremony was held on May 16 at 6 p.m. on YouTube, social media and the school website. Principal Denise Aughenbaugh said that was the time originally scheduled for graduation, so she hoped it was at least something for the seniors to look forward to. She thanked all of the businesses, alumni and individuals who helped this year’s students by providing the many scholarships and awards. The traditional awards will be presented at the graduation ceremony, but donors were able to reveal those awards earlier if they preferred.

In addition, MHS teachers had the idea for a new award this year. They selected students who were engaged and dedicated throughout the entire 40 days of remote learning. The “Remote Learning Award” was issued to 96 students who completed all of their assignments, had good Remote Learning attendance, and raised their grade by 5 percent. This was to honor students who already had letter grades of “A.” Aughenbaugh said all other students could be rewarded by improving their letter grade, but there was no real incentive for the “A” students to keep working, other than their self-motivation, work ethic, and family support.

“We encourage them to keep up that hard work, continue those good work habits and use their perseverance as they move through life. It will serve them well,” Aughenbaugh said.

The March Academic Awards Assembly will be presented in the fall, so there will be fall and spring academic honors presented during the 2020-21 school year.

STUDENT HANDBOOK

Assistant Principal Joe Masini reported on four proposed changes to the student handbook for next year.

  1. In keeping with the PACE framework for college and career planning, students will now be allowed three college visits by the end of their junior year, rather than one.
  2. The technology director will be given more input regarding a student’s access to the internet for disciplinary reasons. Masini said internet access is important for students but the administration has the discretion to take that right away or to give it back when appropriate.
  3. Head phones are allowed in school but students will now will have to leave at least one ear open.
  4. A new system for cell phones in the classroom will be in place. When students enter a classroom, there will either be wall pockets or desk pockets that students put their cell phone into during class. When class is over, they take their phones. Masini said by doing that, the phone is not a distraction and students will not be tempted to look at it. He noted that this system is used in other schools and has worked very well. The pockets will be installed this summer.

All changes were approved by the board.

PERSONNEL

Summer school teachers were approved by the board. They include Alisa Stewart (math and science), Melissa Sallee (English), and Brock Zinke and Heath Raley (driver’s education classroom). If behind-the-wheel training is possible this summer, Rob Nunn and Aaron Sester will also teach driving to students. However, Aughenbaugh said they do not expect to be able to drive with students this summer. All summer instruction will be online.

The board also approved a brief maternity leave for Paula Tuttle-Baker, band director. Lori Schrock has agreed to cover her absence.

The resignation of Lisa Tillman as a special education teacher was accepted.

SCHEDULE

  • June summer band has been cancelled.
  • Aughenbaugh said the set for the spring musical is still in place and they are reviewing options to run the musical in the early fall.
  • Plans for fall and the start of school are ongoing, although adjustments are likely to be made. The dates for ID pictures and registration have been set but they can be rescheduled if necessary.

SUPERINTENDENT’S REPORT

  • The board approved waiving the fees for registration, participation and labs for the 2020-21 school year.
  • Approval was given to purchase two buses, depending on the amount of transportation funding received from the state.
  • Prusator said remote learning was tough for everyone. “We would prefer to delay the start of school rather than doing remote school if possible,” he told the board.

Since he believes there will likely be a delay starting school until after Labor Day, they have been looking ahead at some possible later start times. “If we had to, we could wait until Oct. 1 to start the year, which would push the end of school to next July,” he said.

The next regular board meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday, June 15.

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