Listen to an audio report. The 2008 recession and state funding cuts have meant losses in almost all areas of Mason Public Schools. This has meant some trimming and searches for new revenue in many departments including academic, athletic, arts and personnel. Custodial groups have taken hourly wage cuts to prevent privatization, administrative and faculty positions were eliminated and district-funded sports have become self-funded. Shelbi Frayer, executive director of business and finance at Mason Public Schools, said the changes are a result of the decrease in state funding.
Mason High School is hosting over 1,500 students, faculty and family from across Michigan for the 2014 Lansing FIRST Robotics District Competition on Friday and Saturday. With hundreds of teams throughout Michigan, qualifying district events like this allow teams to earn points to get to the state championship and possibly the world championship. “Unlike other educational competitive events, instead of trying to disqualify people, you’re always trying to encourage them and help them and get their designs working right,” said Mason High School Teacher Ben Shoemaker. “Gracious professionalism and coopertition are the two big things that we push. We want people to be gracious and professional about how they carry themselves, and also to help their teammates and help their opponents be as good as they can too.”
To see the full schedule of events this weekend, click here.
On Monday, Feb. 10, Steve Rosales showed a presentation about The Early College at LCC, a free program he directs, to the Mason Board of Education. All Ingham County sophomores are invited to apply to The Early College, informally known as TEC. Students in TEC leave their high schools and receive a blended high school and college education for three years. Rosales, who works for Lansing Community College, compared the program to taking an 11th, 12th and 13th grade program.
The annual Mason High School Chamber Music Concert took place casually and briefly Wednesday night, despite after-school activities being cancelled due to weather. Bad weather created an unusual chamber music concert in Mason High school, in which students could either perform a solo, be part of an ensemble or stay home. In spite of all after school activities being cancelled due to weather conditions, the concert took place at 8 p.m. as planned. “Whoever comes to the door, can perform whatever they’d like to,” said Mason High School and Middle School band teacher, Beth Bousfield. According to Bousfield, this is the first time something like this has ever happened, but she was ready to proceed after sending an email to parents, letting them know the concert was still on for those who were willing to attend.
On Wednesday, Feb. 5, Mason High School faculty cancelled all after-school activities. The band teacher, Beth Bousfield, had planned to have chamber music concerts at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. to prepare her students for the Solo and Ensemble Festival on Saturday, Feb. 8. Bousfield emailed parents, offering students the opportunity to practice if they drove through the snow.
The Michigan Department of Education reported that Mason High School did not meet 50 percent of the state requirements, said the director of curriculum for Mason public schools. Executive Director of Curriculum Chris Kamenski told the Mason School Board on Sept. 9 that the new Accountability Scorecard graded each school in the state. It graded each on student participation and proficiency on state exams, graduation rates, attendance rates, teaching, and school improvement. Kamenski said the Accountability Scorecard uses a color system to grade school performance.
MASON—Prevention and education. Those are the methods Mason leaders are using to address prescription drug abuse. Police Chief John Stressman said the police department’s job is more about prevention than enforcement. “We’re trying to get ahead of the game,” Stressman said. “We’re proactive and aggressive about preventing problems before they get started.”
According to the police department’s annual report, drug offenses accounted for 16 of 221, just over 7 percent, of total arrests in 2012.
On March 11, the Mason School Board approved two field trips for Mason High School students studying German and French to put their languages into practice. These trips, which occur every three years, will take place July of 2014. French teacher Margaret Cottrill leads a trip through France and German teacher Monica Norton leads a trip through Germany and parts of Switzerland. “This is the third time that I have been taking a group here from Mason,” Norton said. “Along the way we see a lot of historical sites and a lot of important sites for the language.
MASON—The Mason School Board announced Monday that this fall, students will be able to learn college credits while studying at Mason High School. The agreement would allow high school students to earn community college credit while completing their graduation requirements at the high school. According to Mason School District Trustee Peter Curtis, this agreement is meant to help create a more seamless transition between education levels. “This is a great opportunity for students to get a running start for college,” Curtis said. Curtis said juniors and seniors will be able to earn credits at the high school and won’t have to travel to the college.
MASON — Eighty Mason High School students put aside their fear of needles, blood and missed class to help save a life on Feb. 28. The American Red Cross along with six MHS student senate members set up at 6 a.m. and tore down at 2:45 p.m. The Student Senate hosted this blood drive, and it was the second of three that it hosts every year. Twelve S.S members worked the drive throughout the day. Kathy Omillian, MHS Student Senate Advisor, said these blood drives are only open to the student body and staff because of school security issues.