August News

MESSAGE FROM THE PRINCIPAL

After a much deserved summer break for students, faculty, and staff, the start of the new year is finally here. We are extremely excited that we will soon have students back in the building and classes underway. Our aim is to do everything we can to ensure lost learning is recovered and that new learning takes place. I see the 22-23 school year as our opportunity to forge ahead, continuing to do what we do best--foster learning in our students. 

BUILDING GOALS

  • Overarching Goal: Increase the number of students meeting Bomber-on-Track criteria to 95% for the 2022-23 school year.

Bomber-on-Track definition: Students are considered to be on track when they successfully pass every core course on their schedule (English, math, science, history) and they earn at least 5.5 credits for the year.

  • Supporting Goal: Increase student attendance rate to at least 94% for the 2022-23 school year. 

NEW FACULTY

We would like to introduce our the new faculty members:

  • Jessica Leighty, Special Education
  • Ashley Eddington, English
  • Jacqueline Wilson, English

When you meet them, please congratulate them and give them a warm welcome to Macomb!

SCHOOL SAFETY: PROCEDURAL CHANGES

Parent/Guardians will receive a letter next week from Mr. Fulkerson, district safety coordinator. The letter will outline the safety changes we are putting into place for the coming school year. Below is a preview of a couple of the topics covered in his letter. Please keep in mind, all changes will be implemented with the safety of our students in mind. In some cases, changes may cause some minor inconveniences at first. We appreciate everyone's patience until the changes become the norm.

VISITORS TO THE BUILDING

When visitors arrive at the building, we ask that they enter the exterior door and approach the office window. Most business can be handled at the window, without entering the office. Visitors that need to attend to business inside the building, such as a meeting or classroom visit, will be asked to submit a form of picture ID.

BACKPACKS & LOCKERS

For the last two years, we have intentionally limited the times when students used their assigned hallway lockers. This aided in our ability to follow Covid social distancing guidelines. Our intent is to adjust this for the coming year; students will be allowed to use their lockers as needed during each passing period. This coincides with our expectations for backpack use this year. Students will keep their backpacks in their locker throughout the day. We ask they not carry bags and backpacks to classrooms. See the Parent-Student Handbook, p. 5.

IMPORTANCE OF ENGAGING IN LESSONS

CELL PHONES

Parents, we are seeking your support and assistance in our efforts to improve engagement during instructional time. The primary barrier we are experiencing right now is the prevalent use of cell phones by our students. While the handbook rule and expectation from teachers is that cell phones are not allowed during class time, many students consistently sneak peaks at their devices over and over throughout the day.

We ask that parent's consider the following to help improve student engagement:

  1. Parents have a deep conversation with their student(s) about what constitutes appropriate use of their cell phone. Emphasize the importance of learning over social media, texting, Netflix, etc. 
  2. Parents model appropriate use of cell phones by not messaging with students while they are in class.
  3. Parents support the teachers as they implement procedures to prevent student cell phone use during class. Examples might include "phone hotels" and other strategies. Support the administration if your student is asked to turn in their phone, serve a detention, leave the device in their locker, vehicle, at home or other any other appropriate consequences for not following expectations. Review the handbook policy on cell phones on p. 18 of the handbook. 

Thank you for your help. We appreciate it.

Mr. Sullivan

ATTENDANCE INFORMATION

MHS SECOND SEMESTER FINALS INCENTIVE

To promote MHS expectations, we will offer a second semester final exam incentive. Students can earn an exemption from taking final exams in May, if they meet the following criteria: 

  1. The student must have zero unexcused absences second semester. (Arriving more than 10 minutes late to a class is an unexcused absence.) This is per class/period. In addition, class periods where a student has arrived 10 minutes after the start of class are counted as absences. 
  2. The student must have 20 or fewer tardies for all periods combined during the entire school year. 
  3. In every class the student wishes to be exempt from the final, they must earn a “C” or above. 
  4. The student must not have more than 2 Level I or II Referrals during the 2nd semester. 
  5. The student must not have an OSS and/or a Level III Referral during the 2nd semester. 
  6. The student has a right to take each waived exam to better improve their grade. 

UNDERSTANDING EXCUSED ABSENCES

Essentially, we treat excused absences in two ways. (1) Parent request--we accept up to 9 days, and (2) absence confirmed by a medical provider, death in the family, and religious holidays.

  1. Parent Request for Excused Absence: Parents should request an excused absence when their student is ill (but is not planning to see a physician), for a pre-arranged family vacation, or for other valid reasons. We accept a parent call, note, or email message as a way to excuse their student up to nine (9) days for the entire school year. Excused absences that do not count towards the 9 days are: medically verified absences (i.e., provide a Dr. note), absences due to a death in the family, and religious holidays. Once a student has accumulated nine (9) days of excused (parent requested) absences, every absence after the ninth will only be excused with a confirmation note from a medical provider.
  2. Other Excused Absences: Absences confirmed by a note from a medical provider do not count towards the nine days accepted from parent requested absences. For this reason, parents/students should turn in a note from a medical provider every time possible.

UNEXCUSED ABSENCES

Absences are going to happen during the school year. Our hope, though, is that each absence a student has is an excused absence rather than unexcused. A student's absence is considered unexcused when they are not in attendance for valid cause. The two most common reasons that result in unexcused absences are: 

  1. A parent/guardian does not contact the attendance clerk to verify the absence and reason.
  2. The student has already used all 9 days in which their parent can request an absence due to illness or other.

ATTENDANCE SUPPORT SERVICES

If a student has missed school for an unexcused absence and it appears they might be headed towards chronic absenteeism or truancy, it's best to intervene right away. Parents and school officials need to work together after the first occurrence to ensure a return to consistent attendance. When parents & students find themselves in a situation where regular attendance is not occurring, a first point of contact is their school counselor. See the contact information below under Social-Emotional Supports.

If a student continues to experience unexcused absences, parent/guards should expect the following steps to be followed based on the number of days unexcused.

Unexcused Days

School or Truancy Action

2

An administrator or designee contacts parent via phone or in person to review attendance process, expectations, interventions available, and MHS Project Stay-In Step-by-step actions. 

 

3

Send “3rd Unexcused Absence Warning” letter via USPS.

 

5

Send “5th Unexcused Absence Referral #1” letter via USPS. This letter communicates that we are submitting the first truancy referral form to the county truancy specialist.

 

Parent & student meet with school counselor.

 

9

Send “9th Unexcused Absence Referral #2” letter via USPS. This letter communicates that we are submitting the second truancy referral form to the county truancy specialist. 

 

Parent & student meet with an administrator.

 

12

Send “12th Unexcused Absence Referral #3” letter via USPS. This letter communicates that we are submitting the second truancy referral form to the county truancy specialist.


15

County Truancy Officer schedules a truancy hearing at the Regional Office of Education #26. The student will be ordered to attend regularly with no further unexcused absences.

 

18

County Truancy Officer files a truancy complaint with the State’s Attorney. The parent & student are scheduled for a hearing at the McDonough County Courthouse. A judge makes decisions regarding the student's education and welfare. 

MENTAL HEALTH DAYS

PA 102-0321, 105 ILCS 5/26-1 Student Mental Health Days
Parents/Guardians may request up to five mental or behavioral health days per school year on behalf of their student. A medical note is not required and students can make-up any missed work during the absence.  

To request a mental health day, parent/guardians should first contact their student's counselor. The counselor will notify the attendance clerk of the absence. The contact by the parent with the counselor provides them with the opportunity address the concerns right away. Together, they can determine what level of supports are needed immediately and in the future.

STUDENT SUPPORTS

COUNSELORS, SOCIAL WORKERS, SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST

Besides teachers, your counselors, Mrs. Huston & Mr. Johnson, the social worker, Mrs. Fink, and the school psychologist, Mrs. Keck are available to help.  Reach out for support; we are here for you.     

Mrs. Huston (hustons@mcusd185.org)

Mr. Johnson (johnsonj@mcusd185.org)

Mrs. Fink (finke@mcusd185.org)

Mrs. Keck (keckr@mcusd185.org)

CloseGap

CloseGap is a digital emotional wellness tool that helps students express their needs and enables our school social service personnel to respond as needed. Our service personnel include our counselors, Mr. Johnson & Mrs. Huston, our social worker, Mrs. Fink, and our school psychologist, Mrs. Keck. The CloseGap service is accessed at https://www.closegap.org. Student accounts are tied to their school email addresses. Through a fun, daily check-in, and a library of self-guided activities, CloseGap offers students an opportunity to practice emotional awareness, understanding, and regulation.

CloseGap is dedicated to protecting the privacy and safety of students and their families. CloseGap does not sell student information. CloseGap does not share student information with unauthorized adults or organizations. CloseGap follows federal and state-level regulations concerning student data, including, but not limited to, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act ("FERPA") and Children's Online Privacy Protection Act ("COPPA"). For more information, please read the Privacy Policy and User Agreement found at https://www.closegap.org/privacypolicy and https://www.closegap.org/useragreement.

NEW STUDENT/FRESHMEN ORIENTATION

The high school will host an orientation session for 9th grade students and students new to the district on Monday, August 15, 2:00-3:00. The session will start in Fellheimer Auditorium with information from administrators and counselors. Students will also have the opportunity to follow their schedule in an abbreviated schedule so they can meet each teacher in their classroom.  Students should be dropped off at the "CC" doors in the East parking lot (on the side of the tennis courts).

BACK-TO-SCHOOL OPEN HOUSE & EXTRACURRICULAR FAIR

The MHS Open House will be Monday, August 22 at 6:00. Parents and students are invited to attend. This event provides students with the opportunity to introduce their parent/guardians to each of their teachers. 

We feel student participation in extracurricular activities increases their academic achievement because it promotes positive attributes such as teamwork, good attendance, problem solving, and more. Representatives from our activities, clubs, and teams will be at the fair to provide information to students. You probably know about volleyball, football and other traditional sports. Did you know we have a Robotics club? What about FFA? Or a club for eSports? Tennis? Speech Team? Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and many more! Come see them!

EXTRACURRICULAR ELIGIBILITY

SEMESTER ELIGIBILITY

In order to be eligible to play a sport or participate in an activity this semester (1st semester of 22-23), the student must have passed every course on their schedule last semester (2nd semester of 21-22).  To be eligible to play next semester, the student must pass every course on their schedule this semester.

WEEKLY ELIGIBILITY

The IHSA requires that we conduct a weekly check of student grades to make sure they are making adequate progress. This process is different than the semester eligibility written above. To be eligible each week, a student must maintain passing grades in all courses. Any student failing to meet academic requirements will be suspended from the sport or activity for one week. The eligibility report runs each Friday morning. If the report shows that a student has an “F” for a current overall semester grade in any course, the student will be ineligible for the next academic week. The academic eligibility week runs Sunday through Saturday. The student will remain ineligible until the end of an academic week, even if they bring a grade up to passing at some point during the week. Privileges will not be restored until eligibility is determined again at the run of the next week's eligibility report. 

EARNED CREDITS & GRADE LEVEL PROMOTION

This is an area that can be an adjustment in how some think of moving from one grade level to the next. High School is a credit based system with an ultimate goal of earning 24 credits during the four years of attendance. While we do classify students as freshmen, sophomores, etc., being promoted (or not promoted) does not work the same way it does in lower grades. For example, let's assume that a student is not promoted from 6th to 7th grade. This is very rare, but is possible. In this example, the student would repeat the 6th grade the next year most likely with a different homeroom teacher. However, at the high school course selections and schedules are entirely based on courses passed and courses failed.  Let's use a 9th grade scenario at the high school. Our pretend freshman student is taking 6 courses. The student passes 5 of the 6 courses taken. The student would then still be classified as a freshman because they had not earned enough credits to be considered a sophomore. But is important to note that the student does not "repeat" freshmen year. Instead, they will likely have a schedule the 2nd year with mostly sophomore level courses and with makeup courses for the semesters failed the previous year. Other factors do come into play such as a student's ability to leave campus for lunch (freshmen cannot leave campus) and taking driver education.

CREDITS 

Classes meeting Monday through Friday, one period per day, for one semester are assigned one-half credit. One-quarter classes are assigned one-quarter credit. Exceptions include vocational classes which meet two periods per day, and are assigned one credit per semester. 

ADVANCEMENT (PROMOTION)

We calculate grade level advancement at the end of each semester based on the latest courses a student has passed.

The scale for advancement is as follows:
Freshman: 0 to 5.49 credits earned
Sophomores: 5.5 to 10.99 credits earned plus one full year of attendance
Juniors: 11.0 to 15.99 credits earned plus two full years of attendance
Seniors: 16.0 and above credits earned plus three full years of attendance

EMAIL ON RECORD, SKYWARD ACCESS, & NOTIFICATIONS

In order to be informed of what is taking place at Macomb High School, we ask that parents keep their email up-to-date. A significant amount of our program notifications are sent from the Skyward Message Center.

Skyward Notifications

Skyward allows for Parent Notifications for unexcused absences, missing works, and more. In the right-hand corner guardians and students will see a link called My Account. The My Account area is organized into three sections: Account Settings, Email Notifications and School Directory. Guardians and students can see their information in the account settings.  If you scroll down slightly users will see the option to opt in to receive email notifications on daily attendance, grades, progress reports or when food service balance is low.  These email notifications are dependent on your role as a guardian or student and also on the school building you attend. 

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS

AFTER SCHOOL HOMEWORK HELP & TUTORING

"Opportunity Knocks" was started last year; we are happy to announce the program will continue so that students can benefit from help on missing assignments, tutoring in specific subject areas, and credit recovery courses after school. We intend to offer an after school session, supervised by MHS staff, from 3:15-4:15. Transportation home after the sessions can be arranged.

MHS Parents, you can complete an interest form here.

SPECIAL DAYS-ALTERNATE START/DISMISSAL

WEDNESDAY LATE START  

We hold Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) activities on the dates listed below. All MHS faculty are involved in a PLC. On these dates, the building opens at 8:50 for non-bus riders. 1st period begins at 9:00 and we follow the "Late Start" schedule.  Bus riders can still ride the bus at their usual bus time in the morning. Those students arriving by bus will attend a study session in the Commons until 8:50.

Late Start Wednesdays
Sep 7, 21
Oct 5, 19
Nov 2, 16
Jan 18
Feb 1, 15
Mar 1
Apr 5, 19
May 3

FRIDAY SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT (SIP)

School improvement activities will be held on various Friday afternoons throughout the school year. This time is set aside so that our professionals can participate in building and/or district planned training activities. At the high school, we run an alternate bell schedule which begins at 8:05 and ends at 11:33. Students are free to leave at 11:33. Typically, the busses do not leave the high school until 12:05 on these days. Lunch is served from 11:35-12:00 for those waiting for a bus or choosing to stay for lunch.

SIP Fridays
Sep 16
Oct 7
Nov *none this month*
Dec 9
Jan 27
Feb 17
Mar 24
Apr 21
May 12

UPCOMING DATES TO NOTE

9th Grade Orientation: August 15 2:00-3:00 pm in Fellheimer Auditorium

1st Pupil Day of School:   Wednesday, August 17- full day

Picture Day:  Friday, August 19: Picture Day for Macomb Senior High School is scheduled for Friday, Aug 19.This event's Order Code is 71611CF. Online ordering is available before and after Picture Day. Shipping and handling charges may apply to orders placed after Picture Day.

Back to School Open House:  Monday August 22 at 6:00 pm.

GRADUATION

Graduation is scheduled to be held at Western Hall at 7:30 pm on May 20, 2023. We have secured a reservation with Western and plan to host a traditional graduation ceremony. We received a lot of compliments the last two years about the aesthetics of hosting the ceremony at our stadium. We appreciate the sentiment and agree that there is a "cool" effect outside on the field. However, we feel returning to indoors at WIU is the best option due to the unpredictability of the weather. If restrictions at WIU return to the levels we experienced in the past, we will reevaluate and consider moving outside. As of now, it will be at Western Hall.

MEAL PRICING & FEES

FOOD SERVICE: 

  • Breakfast (including milk) preschool/prekindergarten through grade 12 $1.75, and adults $2.15.
  • Lunch (including milk) preschool/prekindergarten $2.35, K - 3rd $2.70, grades 4-6 $2.70, grades 7-12 $2.95 and adults $3.45.
  • Milk $0.55 · 

The Breakfast/Lunch Menus can be found on the district website.  Any questions should be directed to Aramark at (309) 837-2335.

SCHEDULE CHANGES

 Course planning and course requests for the upcoming year were completed in January. From February-May, schedule conflicts were resolved and all schedule changes were completed by June 1st. After school begins in August, further changes will be allowed only in accordance with the guidelines below:

 *DROP/ADD POLICY Students must be enrolled in a minimum of 6 classes (5 plus PE or 6 if PE waived) at all times. Drops will be allowed, in accordance with the guidelines listed below, only if 6 classes can be maintained. 

1st week of the 1st quarter/1st semester, a student may drop a class for a study hall only, with-out drop notation on transcript. 

2nd thru the 9th week of the 1st quarter/1st semester, a student may drop a class with a W/P or W/F showing on the transcript. 

Within 2 days after 1st quarter report cards are issued to students, drops may be made (W/P or W/F). After that time, no drops may be made until after the semester has ended. 

Procedure starts over at the beginning of the 3rd quarter/2nd semester. 

A student who struggles in a class and is determined to be inappropriately placed may be moved to a lower level class.

 A student who provides documentation that he/she needs a particular class as an entrance requirement to a college, university, or technical school may make a class change, at an appropriate time, during the course of the school year.

Important to Remember

--to read the Student/Parent Handbook . 

--to have a physical and immunization record on file when school begins.

 --to call the Attendance Office at 833-2484 by 10:00 a.m. the day of the absence.

 --that all vehicles parked at MHS must be registered by September 10. The cost is $40.

 --that school pictures will be taken—Friday, August 19. 

OFFICE HOURS & PHONE NUMBERS

Macomb High School Office 837-2331 (Grades 9-12) 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. 

Attendance Office 833-2484 (Grades 7-12) 7:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. 

WEBSITE https://macomb185.org/176/Macomb-Senior-High-School  

Summer Europe Trip

 This July, 8 students and 3 faculty members from Macomb High School traveled on an educational tour of central Europe. The following is written by student-traveler Elena Jones. 


In just 10 days, we explored a total of four European countries and took a quick stop in a fifth. We began in Budapest, Hungary before travelling to Krakow, Poland. On our way to Poland, we stopped for lunch in Slovakia. After leaving Krakow, we took a guided tour of the Auschwitz and Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camps. This was by far the most emotional, but also educational part of the trip. We also travelled to Prague, Czech Republic and Berlin, Germany. While in Germany, we also explored Potsdam and Dresden for a couple of hours each. Everywhere we went, we were immersed in the local culture. We tried their cuisine, toured the famous sights, and even learned a few words in each country’s language. We toured many castles and cathedrals, but my favorite part was being able to see the small shops and restaurants on our own. I loved being able to see what life would be like if I lived there, rather than just viewing the cities as a tourist. Many of us even made friends from different tour groups that we are still in touch with and wouldn’t have met without going on this trip. The experience was once in a lifetime, and I can’t wait to go back to Europe.  


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