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Work finishing up on LP-A grade school: Ready for the students

Though the new parking lot and a few other finishing touches may not be completed in time for classes to start, and there are still a few other things to be completed, the newly renovated and expanded Lake Park-Audubon Elementary School will be inspected and "ready for occupancy" on the first day of school Sept. 6, according to Superintendent Dale Hogie.

"The classrooms and all of the office areas should be ready," Hogie said Tuesday.

At Monday night's regular meeting of the LP-A School Board, Elementary Principal Sam Skaaland said the building was "starting to look pretty good."

"There's some good progress being made (on the construction project)," he told the board. "I think we'll be ready for school to start."

In his monthly construction update for the board, Hogie said that because there are still some things to be finished up, a planned open house and dedication for the new addition and renovated facilities at the Audubon school will most likely take place in late September or early October.

At the site of the new high school in Lake Park, Hogie noted, construction is "on schedule."

Any time lost because of the lack of a state inspector during the government shutdown earlier this summer has been made up in the past few weeks, he said.

"It's moving along well," Hogie added.

The goal is to have the exterior of the building, including the roof, walls, doors and windows, completed in November -- so the contractors can continue to work on the building's interior over the winter months, Hogie added.

In other business Monday, LP-A High School Principal Kevin Ricke reported that the results of the ACT test taken by all LP-A's graduating seniors this year were in -- and the scores were even better than anticipated.

In all five ACT testing categories -- reading, math, English, science and composite (overall) scores -- LP-A students' average scores "exceeded all state and national levels," Ricke said.

"It's not too often that you can say your scores were above the state and national average in all five categories," he added.

Also reviewed at Monday's meeting was a beefed up high school attendance policy.

The revised policy has "more teeth," Hogie noted.

Instead of just breaking up absences into "excused" and "unexcused" categories, a third has been added: school authorized absences.

Under the new policy, a student may be withdrawn from a class or classes due to excessive absences in both the "excused" or "unexcused" categories. Only school-authorized absences will not count toward a student's cumulative total.

School-authorized absences can be for school sponsored or authorized activities, college visits, chronic illness or an illness in the student's immediate family, with appropriate documentation from medical personnel, court-ordered appearances and suspensions.

Even if the student's absences have been approved by his or her parent, those that do not fall into the school-authorized category will still count toward a cumulative total that can cause the student to lose credit or be assigned a no pass/withdrawn grade for a particular class or classes.

This total has been set at six excused and/or unexcused absences per quarter, eight per trimester, or 12 per semester. (The total number of unexcused absences allowed is half the cumulative total for both categories.)

If the student or parent chooses to appeal this sanction, their case will be reviewed by an "attendance jury," as Hogie put it at Monday's meeting.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454