2012-06-21 / Front Page

GED program will return to district

Board approves contract, hears update on principals

MANISTIQUE – The Manistique Area School district will once again be offering a GED preparation course and testing for residents wishing to complete the program. Members approved the GED program during Monday’s meeting of the MAS Board of Education.

According to Superintendent Kathy McDonough, the program was brought back with the help of the Schoolcraft County GED Taskforce, as well as the North Menominee Community Schools.

“Manistique Area Schools had been in that business up until about 2002, where again, it was a situation where state funding didn’t keep pace with the expense of the program,” she said.

Josh Sampson, director at NMCS, assisted McDonough and the taskforce in developing a contract to bring the program back.

“They’re trying to accommodate citizens from Schoolcraft County who have been traveling to either Engadine or Newberry to do their test prep and then test assessment to receive a GED,” she explained. “They (NMCS) will run the program in our district. What I have offered is an in-kind use of a keyed classroom, with a file cabinet, that will be designated for their use.”

McDonough noted that the program will fit in with the state requirements that programs are grouped regionally, and NMCS currently has contracts with Delta and Menominee counties. She explained the contract is basic, and, for their in-kind room, the district will receive the program, as well as all of the work that comes with it.

“(Sampson) hires his staff from Schoolcraft County – they do not come in from the outside,” she said. “Locally, he does the publication, advertising, the paperwork, the grant work.”

The Schoolcraft County GED program will run year-round, she added, and is designed not to siphon students from alternative or regular educations programs.

“If you have a student that is not successful in the alternative program, then we can, as a district, refer them to the alternate adult program,” McDonough explained. “The purpose is mainly for adults that are 20 years and older that no longer can be within the public school system.

But, in the rare event you do have a student that’s still under 20, but yet not being successful in either regular education or the alternative education program, then you can look at them as a candidate and a solution for getting them a GED and into the workforce,” she continued.

Another perk of the program would be its separation from the MAS district drop out/graduation rate – a potential detriment to school funding.

“By not having our own program, that figure does not impact us,” she explained. “It impacts this North Menominee County school program.”

The board approved the GED program contract.

In other business, McDonough updated the board on the ongoing Emerald Elementary and Manistique Middle/High School principal negotiations.

“We held contract talks last Thursday, those are still going very well,” she said. “The hold-up was a new language-compliant template out of Thrun Law Firm that covers all the recent changes that have occurred, not only teacher evaluations, but also administrator evaluations.”

McDonough said the goal is to have the contracts completed for board approval on June 25, during the special budget hearing meeting.

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