Preparing today's students for tomorrow's world in a caring learning environment

District News

All Buildings and Grounds Closed
Mark Schneider

All district buildings and grounds are closed through Sunday, April 12.  During this time, employees will be available electronically. 

All district buildings and grounds are closed through Sunday, April 12.  During this time, employees will be available electronically.  More information about learning opportunities for students will be coming soon.  Meals for students at pick-up spots will start Wednesday, March 25.  

School Canceled Through Monday, April 13
Mark Schneider

School is canceled through Monday, April 13.  All school activities and practices are canceled through Sunday, April 12.  This includes use of school facilities by outside community groups.

March 17, 2020

Dear Parents,

Late last night the Iowa Legislature passed legislation waiving the making up of instructional time for any school days canceled prior to April 12 due to COVID-19.  The legislation also gave the governor the authority to waive additional instructional time for any school days missed after April 12 due to the virus.

Currently, Mid-Prairie is on spring break for the remainder of this week.  Based on last night’s legislative action, school at Mid-Prairie will be canceled from Monday, March 23 up to and including Monday, April 13.  Even though there will be no school on Monday, April 13 -- teachers and other staff members will be at school on that day making preparations for the students return on Tuesday, April 14.  I will recommend to the school board that April 13 not be made up at the end of the current school year.  We have abundant instructional hours built into our current school calendar for this unusual, non-weather circumstance.

Additionally, I am canceling all school activities and practices between March 23 and April 12.  (Activities and practices have already been canceled for this week.)  This includes use of school facilities by outside groups.

The above assumes that Governor Reynolds does not see the need to cancel more school after April 12 to stop further spread of COVID-19.   It is possible that we could start back to school later than April 14.  If there are no further weather complications or actions by the Governor, dependent on action by the school board, the last day of the current school year will remain Monday, June 1.

This morning, I will be meeting with Amber Kempf, our Nutrition Director, to explore ways to provide meals to our students during this period of school closure.  I will also be meeting with a group of teachers and administrators this afternoon to explore possible strategies to provide optional learning opportunities for our students while school is closed.  We will contact you in the future with more details, but please understand that the estimated start date for these two possible projects is next week.

I want to thank Amber and the other school personnel who are generously giving up part of their spring break to explore possible nutritional and learning opportunities for the students.  They would not have to do this, and I commend them for their dedication and selflessness.

I want to express my empathy to parents who now have a more difficult job juggling work and family responsibilities.  On the website https://sites.google.com/a/mphawks.org/coronavirus-resources/ I have included guidance from the state for family members who may need short-term unemployment benefits due to child-care responsibilities.

I am also concerned about families of health care workers who may need childcare.  I currently have no specific ideas on how the school or community can help these families whose parents are needed in our hospitals, doctor’s offices, or for emergency services.   I am willing to help facilitate a community discussion if someone has any innovative ideas.

Once again I want to honor the parents for their efforts as we face these challenges together.  More burden has been placed on you as we continue to look for ways to stop the quick spread of this virus.  If you are feeling overburdened and at your breaking point, please reach out to someone for assistance.  If you feel you have no one else, feel free to contact me.

More communication will be forthcoming in the future.  As always, feel free to contact me with your questions and concerns.  My email address (mschneider@mphawks.org) or my cell phone (319-936-8601) are my preferred methods of contact.

Yours in service,

Mark Schneider      

K-12 Art Show to Display Amazing Art
Kristi Strickland

Introducing the first district-wide art show featuring Mid-Prairie's talented art students from Kindergarten to 12th grade! 

Please join us on opening night, April 13th,  starting at 6 pm at the Wellman YMCA banquet room. Snacks will be provided. If you can't make it that evening, no problem. The show will remain open and free to the public any time the YMCA is open from April 13th-16th. Upon entering the art show we would greatly appreciate you signing our guest book. This will help us get an idea of how many visitors enjoyed the art show.

art show flyer

Excellence Together
Mark Schneider, Superintendent

The Mid-Prairie School District continues to experience slow and steady enrollment growth.  Our strong focus on preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s world in a caring learning environment in a culture of continuous improvement has led to our highest ever certified enrollment.  Almost 400 students from 17 other school districts are open enrolled into the district. Of those 400, over 200 students are open enrolled into our regular K-12 classrooms.  Open enrollment brings in over 2 million dollars to Mid-Prairie from other school districts.  Altogether, we serve over 1800 students in all of our programs.

Even slow and steady growth requires careful planning and implementation in order to maintain a quality learning environment.  Curriculum and instructional materials must be updated and improved.  Technology should be continually evaluated, and new technology selected when it is shown effective for learning.  The physical, emotional and social needs of students are constantly changing and must be assessed to ensure proper programs are in place.

The physical needs of the district must also be reviewed frequently.  Short and long range maintenance schedules and improvement plans need to be created.  Classrooms and other spaces within our buildings need to be repeatedly studied to guarantee they are adequate and used optimally.

For the last year and a half, more than 40 teachers, support staff, parents, administrators and community members have been meeting on a regular basis.  Their main purpose was to evaluate the space needs of the district and make a master facility recommendation to the school board.  Getting input from school staff and students was crucial to their work as well as studying district enrollment predictions and various construction costs.  Many ideas were brainstormed, and elaborate discussions were held on the pros and cons of the various options that could meet the district’s needs.  The committee will soon finish its work with the goal of presenting its recommendations to the school board in January.

On another note, several months ago, a family member owning land near the Mid-Prairie High School informed me that the family was going to be selling that land at auction.  After numerous discussions in closed session, the school board members authorized the attempted purchase of this property as long as the final price was within certain limits.

The school district was the successful bidder at auction and purchased 28 acres of land on the south side of Highway 22 across from the high school for a total price of $308,660 or $11,024 an acre.  For comparison purposes, last June Clear Creek-Amana purchased 100 acres of farm ground north of Oxford along Highway 6 for $15,000 an acre and College Community recently purchased 160 acres adjacent to their school campus for $29,900 an acre.  The district used available sales tax funds to pay for the purchase.

The school board did not authorize this purchase with any specific purpose in mind.  However, it is no secret that space is tight on the high school site.  Eventually more space will be required if the district keeps growing.  No one can predict when that may happen.  It could be many years from now. If the school district waited, it is almost certain 28 acres would cost the district much more than $300,000 to buy in the future when it is needed.

There are no immediate plans for the property other than to keep it in crop production.  I have had conversations with Elsa Schmidt, Mid-Prairie Vo-Ag Teacher and FFA Sponsor, to explore the possibilities of it being used for learning opportunities.  It is possible the FFA Club may farm the ground or manage it for the school district.  I am excited for the potential use of this asset as a way to enhance student learning.  

In closing, I want to take this opportunity to extend my best wishes to all Mid-Prairie community members for a wonderful holiday season.  Please feel free to contact me anytime during the new year at 319-936-8601 with any questions or concerns.

Mark Schneider, Superintendent

District News

News stories related to the Mid-Prairie School District.

East Elementary News
High School News
Middle School News
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