NL School ready to increase college course enrollment
BY BRYCE KELLY
Mt. Pleasant News
NEW LONDON – Thanks to a change in policy, which was approved during Monday night’s New London School Board meeting, high school students wanting to take college level courses will have more opportunities to do so.
Brought before the board by New London High School teacher, Allison Lair, was what she cited as a minor flaw in the system. According to the school’s initial policy, for a student to be able to take college-level courses, a student must be proficient in English, math and science based on the Iowa Assessment tests.
“As it stands, if a student would want to take a college-level English course, but they were not proficient in just one of these areas on the Iowa Assessment, they would not be eligible to take a college-level course, which we find is a small flaw in our current policy,” said New London superintendent, Chad Wahls. “So, with changing our policy and providing another option for those students to take a college-level class, we feel we would be setting students up for success.”
According to Lair, there are currently students at New London wanting to take college-level courses, but are unable to do so because of the current policy. To help solve the issue, Lair proposed a small change to the school’s policy that she says will hopefully free up more students to take advantage of college-level courses.
“If a student, for example, struggled with proficiency on the math portion of the Iowa Assessment, but he or she can show that they are either proficient on the ACT math test, he or she can receive a C or better in the last related math course, or if he or she are judged on a portfolio by a team of New London High School faculty, then they should be able to take that concurrent enrollment course,” said Lair regarding the policy change. “I feel implementing such a change would benefit more of our students.”
Lair also reminded the board that for institutions like Southeastern Community College, where many of the school’s concurrent enrollment classes are taken, students would still have to meet any requirement that a college institution sets for concurrent enrollment in addition to the policies approved at New London.
The board did approve Lair’s suggestions as changes to be made to the New London concurrent enrollment policy.
Moving on to matters of school security, Wahls proposed a change in the school’s key fob policy. According to Wahls, tightening how the district manages key fob distribution to adults is part of keeping the school secure. Key fobs are necessary to enter school buildings when locks have been set. In addition to regular school staff, fobs are given to coaches, school volunteers, etc.
“In looking at our key fob usage, we have a lot of key fobs that have been given out that haven’t been used in over a year, or that only get used a couple of times a year,” said Wahls. “I feel like designing a key fob check-in/check-out system would help tighten that up a bit.”
As part of the proposed policy change, a fee would be charged for fobs that are not returned on time, lost or damaged. The board did approve the change in policy. In addition to looking at reinforcing a stronger key fob policy, Wahls also stated that he is currently looking at other ways to improve school security, and suggested to the board that he would like to meet with school staff and local law enforcement sometime this school year to review school security measures, and look for any possible areas of improvement.
In other news, the board:
• Approved an early resignation request for elementary teacher, Gwen Francy; and the appointments of Desiree Prior as a special education associate, and Chad Wahls as a volunteer high school girls basketball coach.
• Approved an application for modified supplements amount due to open enrollment out.
• Approved adding an east fence to the ongoing track and field construction project.
• Approved a bid from Cubs Sports Turf Management for the athletic field seeding at an approximate amount of $64,000.
Before adjourning, the board also discussed the City of New London’s wishes to possibly change the decorative light banners on Main Street in New London. According to Wahls, the city would like the school to have some say in what new banners should look like.
Although no action was taken on the subject, board member Jesse Howard expressed that he does not want the school district to be the sole party responsible for replacing the banners. Wahls also expressed his opinion that he would like to wait to budget for contributing to new banners next fiscal year as he feels the school’s budget is “already pretty tight”.
According to Wahls, he says he plans to reach out to the city council to possibly schedule a time to meet to discuss the matter further.
The next New London School Board meeting will be held on Monday, Dec. 19, at 7 p.m., at the New London School District board room.