The Fennimore Community Schools Board of Education approved changes to student handbooks for the 2012-2013 school year during its meeting Tuesday, Aug. 14.
“The majority of the things that changed in the handbook had a lot to do with medical things,” Elementary School Principal Carmen Burkum said. “With the allergy issues we’ve had in the schools the last few years and other health concerns.”
One change to the elementary school handbook was in regards to birthday treats. An addition to the handbook reads, “Please also consider healthier food choices or non-food items, such as pencils, erasers or stickers for classroom treats. No home-baked treats or food items containing ingredients that may cause an allergic reaction will be allowed in identified classrooms.”
“As far as birthday treats, with the number of students with allergies in the building it really is not safe for us to allow home-baked treats in those classrooms where there is an allergy because we can’t guarantee there isn’t any cross contamination,” Burkum said.
Another notable addition to the handbook was in regards to student illness. The handbook now reads, “The school nurse recommends that all ill students remain at home for 24 hours being symptom-free and/or having a “normal” (99 degrees or below) temperature for 24 hours without the use of temperature reducing medications.”
“It is something that we say on the telephone every time that a parent calls about being fever free for 24 hours and those kind of things, we just put it in writing as a recommendation,” Burkum said.
The middle school/high school student handbook noted the implementation of a PLC Block Schedule during eight different weeks in the school year.
“What it is, is on two days of that week, we will run a four period schedule,” Middle/High School Principal Dan Bredeson said. “Leading into that we get some collaboration time at the beginning of the school day from 7:45 to 8:35 for staff.”
Students who are on the failing list will be required to report to a tutor during the collaboration time. Students who are passing all their classes will not be required to report to school until 8:40 on those days.
“It is going to happen 16 days during the year,” Bredeson said. “That is part of our youth support and intervention program that we started several years ago with the guided study halls.
“We are trying to be able to have more, better intervention.”
The middle/high school handbook also saw a change in the credits required for graduation.
The graduating class of 2012 was required to earn 23.5 credits to graduate. The graduating class of 2013 will be required to earn 24 credits to graduate.
Students are now required to enroll in a personal finance class, with is a semester-long course.
In other action, the board:
• approved the hiring of Heidi Rollins as a five-year-old kindergarten teacher.
Rollins was one of 30 people who applied for the position. She was one of six applicants granted an interview.
“She has just recently completed her student teaching, she was student teaching in kindergarten and fifth grade,” Burkum said. “Both of those supervisors did more than sing her praises.
“I think she is going to be an excellent addition to our kindergarten team.”
• approved several volunteer coaches for the upcoming fall sports season.
Cross country – Leslie Larson, Rick Nelson and Brenda Bunn
Football – Brad Van Epps and Steve Lendosky
Volleyball – Rachel Evanoff
Cheerleading – Lois Brookhart, Candice Kelly and Veronica Mumm
The board also approved hiring Allison Meyer to serve as freshman volleyball coach for the 2012 season.
• accepted a pair of sports-related donations.
The Grid Iron Club, Baseball Boosters and Maroon and Gold Club donated money for the purchase of a Smith Sprinkler for the high school practice and game fields.
“The bigger issue is when we have a football field called ‘The Rock,’ and as dry as it is this year, ‘The Rock’ becomes something harder than a rock,” District Administrator Jamie Nutter said. “The barrier of why we haven’t done it for years has been the expense.
“We couldn’t justify $6,000 out of our school budget when things are tight for sprinklers.”
A Smith Sprinkler is self-propelled to ensure areas are efficiently and evenly watered.
“It is not a typical sprinkler system,” Nutter said. “There are probably two other schools in our area that have one.”
The second donation was from the Maroon and Gold Club for programs to be used throughout the school year.
“What they would to do is recognize the sponsors and the donations they have made to the school,” Nutter said. “They would make the outside pretty fancy and then donate those.”