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Hancock Superintendent's Column

The first day of school this year will be September 8 which seems to be coming up too fast. Several projects will be completed in the next few weeks. We are installing new energy efficient lights in the gyms. You will notice that these lights are much brighter than the old ones in addition to being more energy efficient. We are also in the process of installing two scoreboards in the high school gym. Smart boards and projectors are being installed in several rooms. Students have responded positively to these instructional tools and teachers are anxious to incorporate their use into daily instruction. Teacher inservice days are scheduled for August 25-27.

We have several new staff members this year. Tanya Fischer will be our new Preschool teacher and Brandon Welle will teach Health & Physical Education in addition to coaching. Jackie Swinney will provide supplemental reading instruction to students in grades K-3 this year due to a Reading Corps grant that we were approved for. I will be making a recommendation to the school board to approve para and assistant cook positions on August 17.

We will expand our early childhood instruction this year. Two sections of preschool will be provided. Students will attend on either Monday & Wednesday or Tuesday & Thursday. Kindergarten students will be able to attend from 3-5 days per week this year.

Parents need to be aware of the following items that should be taken care of prior to the start of school or during the first week.

* Athletes must pay a participation fee before they can participate in any games ($20 per sport for Junior High; $30 per sport for High School). There is a family maximum fee, and a waiver process for those with a financial hardship.

* Free and Reduced Lunch Applications can be completed and turned in at any time - the sooner the better, however. A new application needs to be completed every year. Qualification for free or reduced lunch is one factor in determining eligibility for a waiver of participation fees, so anyone applying for a waiver should also turn in the Free & Reduced Lunch Application.

* Emergency contact information. We need names and phone numbers of people to be contacted for each student in case parents cannot be contacted. Those who have information on file but want to change it, or those new to the district, should make sure this is done.

* Student Handbooks - these will be distributed the first day of school. Parents should review the Handbook with their children - it is important to know the rules and regulations and what we expect of students. Parents of students in grades 7-12, and the students, are required to sign and return an Acknowledgement of Receipt form to verify that the handbook has been received and read.

* Back To School Letter. These will be mailed to the family of each student in grades K-12. The packet has much information - please take the time to review all contents.

* Permission to Drive - we must have written permission from a parent in order for a student to drive at noon. We also need a description of the car and a copy of the student's driver's license - students should stop in before the first day with this information.

* Junior High students (grades 7-9) are to remain in school for lunch. They can be excused to go to their own home with written permission from a parent, or they may leave if accompanied by a parent.

Parents, or anyone else, should call 392-5621 or stop in if they have any questions or concerns about the start of a new school year.