‘Tis the season of thankfulness and giving. Merrill Area Public Schools and the children that attend our fine public schools are blessed to have a generous community. Our community has a rich tradition of meeting the needs of children both academically, financially and socially. The value of rigorous learning experiences is evident in the extensive opportunities to access academic coursework that provides challenging opportunities, advanced placement and college credit. Both the District and our community businesses value a partnership to provide high school students the opportunity to learn workplace skills through Youth Apprenticeships. Merrill High School also has one of the most extensive student scholarship programs in the state. Our PTO’s, service organizations, and booster clubs have generously donated time, resources and money to make sure the experiences students have are the best they can be.
Great Speaker Forum
Another way our community has given back to students is through the Great Speaker Forum. The Great Speaker Forum began in 1978 and is comprised of students, community members and school staff. The community completely funds this program for our kids through their generous donations. This year, our students have chosen youth speaker, Fabian Ramirez. Fabian was chosen to present a message to our students centered around bullying.
Fabian is a youth motivational speaker based out of Dallas, TX. Growing up in inner-city Houston brought obstacles in his educational journey, yet he was able to earn a Master’s Degree. Today, he speaks in schools and conferences across the country about how to be “THE” student on campus and not just a student. The community is welcome to attend the sessions on April 4, 2016, at the Middle School Auditorium (8:30 a.m.) or the High School Auditorium (1 p.m.). If you would like to help support this worthwhile program, you can mail your donations to MAPS, Attn: Great Speaker Forum, 1111 N Sales St., Merrill, WI 54452 (checks made payable to Great Speaker Forum-MAPS). Merrill Schools is very appreciative of our community partners that make the forum possible!
2016-17 School Calendar
Planning for the 2016-17 School Calendar begins this month. Something new this year that we are interested in feedback regarding is the increase to 7 MSI Days. MSI Days are times that students don’t attend school and teachers attend trainings, work in professional teams to develop, improve, enhance, and plan curriculum and instruction. MSI Days allows us to save money on substitute staff for necessary trainings of a large groups of staff. The calendar committee meets on December 14 at 4PM in the High School Conference Room and a report will be provided to the full Board at the December 16 Board Meeting. We anticipate a finalized 2016-17 Calendar to be approved at the January 13, 2016 Board Meeting.
School Closing Reminder
When making the determination to cancel school due to weather emergencies, we will always take every reasonable effort to make thoughtful and timely decisions in the interest of student safety. Each event has unique circumstances and at times will allow for more notice than others.
What is the criteria for cancelling school and school related events?
If the National Weather Service issues a wind chill or cold temperature warning, school and school related events will be cancelled.
If the National Weather Service issues a snow or freezing rain advisory or warning, school officials with the assistance of local meteorologists, transportation services, state patrol, and county highway department will make a determination as to whether or not road conditions pose a substantial risk for travel.
What about wind chill advisories?
If the National Weather Service issues a wind chill or cold temperature advisory, we will take precautions to keep students safe; however school will remain open and school related events will be allowed to take place as scheduled.
When will the decision to cancel school or school related activities occur?
School officials will take every reasonable effort to make timely decisions as it relates to cancellations. Decisions regarding wind chill and cold warnings will occur by 12:00 PM the day before the school day or event. Parent notification will happen shortly after the decision. If a warning spans multiple days, we will make the decision to cancel school on a day to day basis.
The reason for day to day decisions is that should the National Weather Service cancel, modify, or extend the warning, we can respond appropriately. Decisions to cancel school or conduct a late start regarding snow and freezing rain advisories and warnings will generally happen prior to 6 a.m. the day of school. We understand that this may be challenging for some families; however, storms are not as predictable as temperature.
Early releases will be decided by no later than 10:15 AM and parent notification will occur shortly after the decision is made.
Please remember that we are dealing with natural forces that are not always predictable. We will take every precaution to make the best decision we can with the information that is available to us. At times this may include keeping students at school instead of issuing an early release for the purpose of allowing road crews time to clear roads.
Is it too cold to go outside for recess– If the temperature or the wind chill goes down below zero, your child will not be going outside for recess. We do ask that all children wear their snow gear, this includes snow pants, boots, hats and mittens to and from school. This ensures that no one forgets their gear here at school, and they can enjoy their outside morning recess, which is from the time they arrive until our 8:00 bell.
As always we are interested in your feedback. Please contact us with your questions and ideas. Together we will make Merrill a Destination District! Till next time, enjoy the holiday season and we hope to see you at the school holiday concerts.