BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – With a 10-hour volunteer community service requirement in place for current FMHS seniors to graduate, high school officials have decided to double down on the requirement.
FMHS Principal Greg Smith said he still has over 100 seniors who haven’t met the 10-hour requirement this year and last year many students waited ’til the last minute to get their hours in.
“There was a rumor out there that we couldn’t make them do it, so I’ve been making it a point this past week when I’m in classrooms to tell students they still need to get their volunteer hours in,” Smith said. “Now they’re all running around trying to get their hours in. We sent out a voice message tonight and we even had a class meeting about it.”
The new requirement will go into effect with the 2018 freshman class that comes to the school next year.
Once this policy goes into effect anyone at the high school will be able to get their hours whenever they want.
“We want them to appreciate giving their time back and see that it’s important,” Smith said. We’re really trying to push that agenda and we’re also going to give a silver chord to anyone going forward that has more than 100 hours of service in their high school career.”
Board member Gayla Young said that’s an added honor and it looks really good on a resume.
Other changes that would take effect would include a weighted-grading system for advanced courses, again starting with the class of 2021, which is the incoming freshman class for the 2017-18 school year.
Smith said the school district has been trying to get this added to the curriculum for years and the high school feels they are at a good place to get that started with the next freshman class.
Assistant Principal Patrick Lamb reiterated that next year’s sophomores, juniors, and seniors will not be eligible for weighted-grading in their classes.
The school also amended the vocational requirements from one credit to two and added a business credit requirement. Those two additional courses reduced the elective requirements from 21 to 19, again effective with the incoming freshman class.
In other action, the board approved as a part of the consent agenda the hiring of Anthony Shiffman as head football coach and English Instructor/At Risk at the Creative Learning Center. They also hired Wanda Watson and Karen Howell as associates at Richardson Elementary.
As part of the same approval, they accepted the resignations of John Nagel, jayvee football coach and 7th and 8th grade basketball coach, Hannah Puls as Associate at Richardson, Angie Rothlauf as special education teacher at Lincoln, Marjorie Bullerman second grade teacher at Lincoln, and Adam Hardin, industrial tech instructor at the Middle School.