MHS to retain school resource officer program

All teachers, most staff fully vaccinated


MENDOTA – Mendota High School’s resource officer has been approved for another year. Reporting at the Feb. 18 Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Jeff Prusator said the administration is unanimous in their desire to keep the position, which costs the school $44,290, adding that the City of Mendota is also interested in continuing the agreement.

“Officer Hochstatter is everything we hoped the resource officer would be,” Prusator said. “He has done many home visits, especially in the past year with so many remote learners. He has also spent time speaking and interacting with our in-person students.”

Prusator said he was also proud to announce that all MHS teachers had received their second vaccine dose as had about 90 percent of the high school’s staff members. He said the vaccine distribution went very smoothly thanks to the effort of OSF Saint Paul Medical Center, which did a phenomenal job.


Principal Denise Aughenbaugh said juniors will be able to take an evening SAT prep class/workshop with Mendota High School faculty. The high school is securing faculty and designing the new workshop format so it is safe and follows all COVID-19 protocols. “We strongly encourage juniors to take the time to improve their test-taking skills prior to the college admission test,” she said. 

As for the standardized tests that are usually given to freshmen and sophomores, that remains in question. Aughenbaugh explained that the standardized tests are mandated by the federal government, not the state, and because of the pandemic, many states have requested getting waivers for this year. She said the logistics of having all 9th and 10 grade students come into the building to take the test while maintaining social distancing would be problematic.  

Superintendent Jeff Prusator also expressed frustration over the standardized testing requirement, given the current circumstances. “Everyone is not even back in school yet,” he said. “I don’t know what they expect the tests to show.”

Summer Bridges Program

  • Aughenbaugh said this will be the fourth year of the summer Bridges Program for incoming freshmen at MHS. The high school is now in the planning stages to see about grant opportunities and offerings that District 289 could make to their students. More details will be presented to the board at the May meeting.

Parent/Teacher Conferences

  • Virtual Parent/Teacher Conferences are scheduled to take place March 30 and 31 from 4-7 p.m.

Homecoming Week

  • Although it will be very modified and COVID-friendly, Aughenbaugh said the Student Council still wants to organize something for Homecoming Week with various themes and activities.



The board approved Troy Phones of Spring Valley to replace the high school’s phone system at a cost of $9,897 plus $1,023 to partner with the intercom system. Prusator said the replacement was necessary because the high school’s phone system, which was installed when the high school was built, had been unreliable for some time.


Following closed session, the board hired Rey Arteaga as assistant boys’ and girls’ soccer coach.

They also approved the following certified or licensed teachers 2020 to 2021:

Year 4 to Tenure – Melissa Sallee, Family and Consumer Science; Year 3-4 – Keegan Hill, Special Education; Rob Nunn, Physical Education; Year 2-3 – Alisa Stewart, Science; Year 1-2 – Paula Baker, Band; Kristi Barajas, Special Education; Nicole Cromwell, Science; Joseph Hughes, Science; Jon Steben, Choir and Assistant Band.

The next regular board of education meeting will be held at the high school on Monday, March 15 at 6 p.m.