Manawa to revise student drop-off policies
By Holly Neumann
Student safety concerns during drop off and dismissal at the elementary school were addressed during the Aug. 17 meeting of the Manawa School Board.
According to a memo from Elementary Principal Michelle Pukita, there were concerns with students running between buses when they are being dropped off in the parking lot.
In addition, parents were coming into the circular driveway as soon as the buses depart, causing additional concerns.
In an effort to resolve these concerns, no cars will be able to enter the circle at the Manawa Elementary School between the hours of 7:30-8:15 a.m. or 2:15-3:15 p.m.
“I will be out there making sure students can safely walk from the parking lot into school,” said Pukita. “And walkers will be released once the buses leave in the afternoon.”
Pukita assured the board that supervision will be provided by herself or other staff members on a daily basis.
“We will make modifications as they arise,” she said.
In other business, Jackie Gast gave a presentation on the new ELA curriculum that will be used at the junior high.
“This is already used in the elementary school, so it is not completely new to us,” said Gast.
The balanced literacy program will focus on reading, writing and word study.
“It makes the students dig deeper,” she said.
“I think it is wonderful that we are doing this K-8th grade,” said District Administrator Melanie Oppor. “Our students will know what to expect.”
The board also addressed concerns with the interpretation of personal days off language in the teacher handbook.
The current policy did not allow for personal time off for such things as vacations, which had been allowed in the past.
A staff member pointed out that sometimes personal time is needed for private matters and that the district really does not need to know about these things.
After a lengthy discussion, the policy was changed to read “personal days off shall be allowed for any purpose.” The number of persons using personal days on any given instructional day shall be limited to five staff members district wide.
New employees welcomed to the district included Luanne Ujazdowski, elementary guidance counselor; Karen Dunn, choral director; Darren Carson, special education; Debra Weisert, high school guidance counselor; Jackie Gast, reading specialist, Samuel Mosey, technology specialist, Danielle Brauer, director of special education, and Marla Rieckmann and Mellissa Schumacher, bus drivers.
The 4k teaching position was also reinstated.
“Through personal contacts by the teacher and principal, more families enrolled their children in the 4K program,” said Oppor. “This brought numbers back to the level that would call for two sections to be offered for the 2015-16 school year.”
Retirements recognized were Judy Douglas, 26 years of bus driving, and Tony Bauer, 30 years as a custodian.