MMCRU ready for new school year

Thursday, August 27, 2020
MMCRU kindergarten teacher Rachel Ruskamp works on one of the school’s new iPads in her classroom in Marcus last week. MMCRU is going 1:1 with technology this year in case of a remote learning situation. Ruskamp plans to teach her 12 incoming students how to use the Seesaw app in the opening days of school.
(Sentinel Photo by Allen Hamil)

MARCUS/REMSEN — MMCRU is gearing up for the upcoming school year with several updates at both buildings in Remsen and Marcus.

One of the biggest changes will be going 1:1 for all students according to Superintendent Dan Barkel.

“This year all of our students, PK-12 will be issued their own device, so we will be a 1:1 school for the first time at MMCRU,” Barkel said. “We did this with our CARES Act monies in case we are forced to revert back to distance learning during the upcoming year.”

Barkel said he is looking forward to interacting with students once again and hopes that the students can stay in the classroom.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the kids. We haven’t seen the students in nearly six months, and we miss them. School is for the kids, and I’m looking forward to rekindling relationships with our students again,” Barkel said.

Students will have to wait a little while longer to return to school after MMCRU made the announcement Friday, Aug. 21, to delay the first day of school from Monday, Aug. 24 to at least Thursday, Aug. 27 due to an increase in Plymouth County’s COVID-19 positivity rate.

MMCRU is making several changes in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic. The use of face coverings by staff and students will be allowed and strongly encouraged according to the school’s return-to-learn plan and in some instances, may be required. Protocols for visiting the nurse’s office will also be changed as will several other routines and activities. Transportation and bussing of students will be altered as well as in-school routines in order to benefit school safety.

MMCRU also made some physical upgrades around their facilities over the summer.

“In Marcus we put the finishing touches on our remodeled baseball field. Inside the building we installed new LED lighting and also fixed some bathrooms,” Barkel said. “In Remsen, we installed new air conditioning units in some middle school classrooms, we installed new water lines in the building, and we also fixed areas of the parking lot that were cracked due to frost. We also remodeled the Family/Consumer Science room.”

Barkel added that the district is implementing several curriculum changes this fall.

“We have several curriculum changes this year, but probably our most significant addition is our new Success Coordinator, Ashley Brady,” Barkel said. “She will be tasked with improving the social/emotional climate of the students in our district, and will be working side-by-side with our school counselors to help our students cope and succeed so they can be the very best they can be.”

Along with Brady, there will be several other new faces at both the Marcus and Remsen buildings. In Remsen those include: Ben Pirrie, Middle School Science; Megan Kramer, Preschool; Miranda Olsen, Transitional Kindergarten; Lindsey Wheatley, 2nd Grade; Mikayla Westhoff; 5th/6th English; Chelsey Keizer, Middle School Title I; Darin Rinehart, K-8 PE and Assistant High School Boys Track; and Curt Gengler K-8 PE.

Shared members include music teachers Emma Davis, 5-12 Band and Amber Van Regenmorter, K-4 Music.

At the Marcus building, new faces will include: Beth Ebert, High School Spanish and Student Council Sponsor; Nick Long, Industrial Technology; Jess Crist, High School Science; Ashton Connelly, 1st Grade; and Ann Barkel, 2nd Grade.

Barkel said the new faces will join with familiar faces to provide a positive learning environment for students.

“We have worked hard and continue to work very hard to make MMCRU Schools a safe environment for students to attend,” Barkel said. “It is our hope that despite COVID, we can have the most normal and positive school experience we can provide for our students and families. We ask that our families work together with us to make this a very positive, albeit unique school year for our kids.”