MHS alters semester exam requirement, sets graduation date

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MENDOTA – Changes in semester exams were announced and a shift to a daytime graduation was approved during the Dec. 21 Mendota High School Board of Education meeting.

Principal Denise Aughenbaugh said final exams will not be counted as 15 percent of students’ semester grades for this semester, although students may still be expected to take a mastery test in their classes. However, the mastery test grade will not impact semester grades by 15 percent.

The decision on exams was made because over 300 students have had extended absences due to quarantine or symptomatic exclusions of COVID-19, Aughenbaugh explained. “The administration and faculty have agreed to waive the 15 percent cumulative final fall exams this year because of attendance constraints,” she told the board.

Students who earn final exam exemptions will be rewarded in other ways. “MHS is still offering academic incentives during the last days of the fall semester and we want to motivate and reward students for their hard work and effort,” Aughenbaugh said. “Sophomores, juniors and seniors may earn a day off of in-person school attendance or a grade bump. We hope this motivation and reward opportunity encourages students to complete coursework.”

In addition, changes have been made to the school calendar. Students will return from winter break on Jan. 4 and the semester will end on Jan. 15. There will be a Teacher Institute on Jan. 18 and a Teacher Remote Learning Planning Day Jan. 19. Students will return to school for second semester on Wednesday, Jan. 20, which will be a Gold calendar day.

GRADUATION

Graduation for the Class of 2021 has been scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 29. Superintendent Jeff Prusator said this will be Memorial Day weekend, so having the ceremony at an earlier time for will allow families to make plans for that evening. He also noted that the early time would allow for the possibility of having more than one graduation ceremony that day if any restrictions on gatherings should be in place due to COVID-19. “We hope not, but we don’t know for sure what will happen,” he said.

PRINCIPAL’S REPORT

MHS App

Mendota High School will soon have its own custom app. Aughenbaugh said students, parents and the community will be able to get the MHS app in the app store. The custom school app will link all of the high school social media and website links and information into one place. It will allow users to access information from websites, social media, broadcasts (You Tube or games), and important calendar events. Parents can receive “push” alerts for important notifications with the InTouch notification service. “This will be very convenient to use and we are really looking forward to having it,” she said. “It is being designed now and should be ready in the coming weeks.”

DAR and SAR Award Winners

Aughenbaugh announced the annual Daughters of the American Revolution and Sons of the American Revolution award winners. Twila Martinson, daughter of Todd and Lisa Martinson, was chosen as the DAR recipient and Perris Stachlewitz, daughter of Rusty and Jennifer Stachlewitz, was selected as the SAR recipient. Both are MHS seniors. Senior students and faculty vote for the recipients each year based on service, dependability, leadership and patriotism.

OTHER BUSINESS

  • An HVAC Maintenance Plan was approved by the board based upon unanimous recommendation of the Building Committee. Board President Jim Lauer said he hopes that by having a maintenance plan, the high school will get more years out of the new system than they did with the old one.
  • The board approved a resolution to abate the Alternate Revenue Bond for the second-to-last stadium payment of $233,350. Prustator said the board will have to do this one more time next year, and that will be the last payment on the stadium.
  • The board approved the tax levy, which Prusator said was unchanged from his presentation at the October board meeting.
  • The Non-Certified Seniority List was approved by the board.
  • Prusator informed the board that MHS will be required to help pay for a Health Life Safety Project at the Area Career Center. He explained that 10 schools belong to the ACC and maintenance costs are divided between the schools based on the average number of students who attend from each school. The payments will be spread out over the next three years.

In closing, Prusator again congratulated everyone at MHS for their efforts in keeping the school open over the past four months. “We made it in-person until Christmas – many people didn’t think we would make it,” he said. “We are very thankful that we did and it was due to the support and cooperation from everyone. It wasn’t easy, but we made it. I thank the staff, the students and the parents for helping to make this possible.”

The next regular board of education meeting will be held at the high school on Monday, Jan. 18 at 6 p.m.