Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, August 24, 1998

LP school board tightens absence policy

By JANE OTTO

If the Lester Prairie School Board meant to send a message to its students, it was "Go to school and work hard."

At its meeting Tuesday, the school board amended both its absence and academic policies for the elementary school (see list below).

The new absence policy, like the previous policy, will require parents to call school by 9 a.m. if their child is ill. The change is that the child must bring a note signed by the parent when he/she returns to school.

If the child returns without a note, the absence will be marked as unexcused. Seven unexcused absences mean a county social worker will visit the home.

Community education director and parent Gail Lipe said she would like to see the absentee policy applied to the high school also.

In agreement, board member Murl Kletscher said: "We've got to tighten up on absenteeism."

The academic policy also brings strident changes.

In the past, elementary students could fail several classes and still advance to the next grade if the parent signed a sheet stating that the parent wanted their child to advance.

Beginning with this school year, students failing one or more core subjects will be required to attend summer school. The student may not go on to the next grade, if he/she doesn't attend summer school or summer school is not successfully completed.


Elementary school policy changes Absence policy

  • If a student is ill, parents/guardians need to call the school at 320-395-2909 before 9 a.m.
  • The child must bring a written excuse signed by the parent to the office before going to class, when he/she returns to school. If the student doesn't have a note, the absence is recorded as unexcused.
  • After seven unexcused absences per school year, a McLeod County social worker will visit the home. If unexcused absences persist, this falls under Educational Neglect and McLeod County will institute further proceedings.
  • If the student is absent more than 10 times because of illness, the district may ask for a doctor's excuse for each illness after that. Parents should notify the school if they know their child will be sick for an extended period of time to avoid this stipulation.

Academic policy

  • A child who is failing one or more core subjects ­ social studies, reading, language arts, math, science, or health ­ will be required to attend a district summer school and/or a study skills course.
  • After the student successfully completes summer school, he/she may advance to the next grade level.
  • If the student fails to attend summer school or summer work is poorly done, the district will consider having the student repeat that grade.


Beep, beep

In order to ease congestion before and after school, a new traffic plan will be implemented.

In the morning, buses will now drive up Elm Street rather than Fir Street, where the elementary school entrance is.

In the afternoon, buses will leave heading west on Second Avenue North. Then, cars coming from the school parking lot heading south on Hickory Street, where the high school entrance is, won't be dealing with bus traffic.

In another move to ease traffic problems, high school principal Joe Miller said the school is going to ask the City of Lester Prairie to put the school lot under its jurisdiction.

The school doesn't have the manpower to insure that drivers enter and exit where they should.

"We need a definite entrance and exit to the parking lot," said Miller.

Signs will be posted in the lot and then if the city takes over the property they can enforce proper traffic flow.


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