• Inclement Weather

    Posted by Mike McNeff on 12/16/2022

    Historical Context

    There used to be a process in the 80s and 90s when the Governor would simply forgive snow days related to large storm systems that impacted a large part of the state. Over time, NDCC codified a specific number of student contact days.

    Prior to 2019, all schools were required to have 175 days and a required number of hours (962.5 for elementary and 1,050 for high school). The Days to Hours legislation passed in 2019 removed the day requirement and provided schools with additional flexibility with professional development and storm day makeup. The legislative intent was never to drop to the minimum number of hours for school districts.

    Within our current schedule, we are 75.5 hours over the state requirement for elementary schools and 117.75 over the state requirement for high schools. This provides a great deal of flexibility to provide professional learning, teacher collaboration, and work around inclement weather.

    Make Up or Forgive Time

    School districts in ND have a few options to consider when inclement weather causes a closure, delay or early release. These include storm days, virtual learning, or considering forgiveness.

    The legislative intent was to continue to stay near 175 days, either for instructional time or for staff development, the district continues to add 2 storm days within the school calendar.

    Prior to 2019, if districts were 30 minutes longer than the state requirements, they were provided 1 grace day for weather events. Many schools like Rugby, met this requirement and were forgiven this one day, or the equivalent number of hours. We continue to take a grace day and do not make up the first weather event. For anything beyond the first weather event, we will use our 2 scheduled storm days. In extreme winters when there are multiple cancellations the district may use other days or strategies to make up student contact time.

    What about Virtual Learning?

    Other schools utilize the new law that allows for virtual learning days. In Rugby, I am not yet an advocate for virtual learning as there are a number of factors that make that problematic and can create educational equity gaps. For example, while we are 1:1 in terms of technology access, this does not mean the district-issued technology will be home on a storm day as some choose to leave the equipment at school and our youngest students are required to keep it at school. Also, not all of our students have connectivity available at home or educational support. The general suddenness of inclement weather days could put a planning burden on staff or the virtual learning lessons simply become busy work for the students and parents. 

    What is the plan for the missed school days this week?

    Due to our cancellation on December 14th we missed 4 instructional hours due to the scheduled early out. Our cancellation on December 15th and December 16th will add 12 additional instructional hours. In total, we have 16 missed instructional hours at this point.

    Total Hours to Makeup                      16 hours

    Grace Day                                          - 6 hours

    Increase to Full Day on 12/22            - 2 hours

    Storm Makeup Day on 3/17               - 6 hours 


    Remaining Hours                                2 hours (We will monitor this time for now)


    ~ Mike McNeff, Supt.

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  • What is a PLC?

    Posted by Mike McNeff on 12/2/2022


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  • Youth Risk Behavior Survey Results

    Posted by Mike McNeff on 11/23/2022



    This letter highlights some concerning areas reported by our youth within the latest Youth Risk Behavior Survey. This survey is sponsored by the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction. Over 100 high schools across North Dakota participated in the latest survey. This survey compiles data across various domains that concern risky decision making by our middle school and high school students across the state. Due to the length of the report, I will only touch on four different areas (Mental Health, Alcohol Abuse, Vaping, and Sexual Health), but I will make the full report available for your review at the link below.


    It should be noted that the data provided below is from the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year. 121 of 179 students in grades 9-12 took the survey. The maximum margin of error was 5.7%. In all of the graphs, the blue area represents our high school and the red area is the state average. Please keep these items in mind as you review the information below.


    Mental Health



    Alcohol Abuse






    Sexual Behavior



    The Youth Risk Behavior Survey provides a great deal of information regarding the risks our children face daily. I focused on these four areas for this letter, but other areas would be helpful for you to review as a parent. We hope that these graphs and information are helpful for you to start a conversation between you and your child. The survey looks at risks and inherently takes a negative view of the overall behavior of our youth. There are some positives within the data, a high percentage of students report that they have a trusted individual at the school - someone that they can confide in and seek advice. This has been a priority area at the high school for some time. Another area that I’d like to highlight is the high percentage of participation in a school activity. The school district has increased its efforts to provide after school opportunities for our youth. We know that the more involved a student is with school activities the more successful they are at school. Recently, we have added Esports, Softball, and Girls Wrestling to our already full list of opportunities for our youth at Rugby Public School District.


    We ask that you review the full report here: https://tinyurl.com/3t3dr36c and use it as a conversation topic for your high school student. 





    Mike McNeff, Supt.


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  • Instructional Coach Role

    Posted by Mike McNeff on 11/22/2022

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  • MTSS Coordinator Role

    Posted by Mike McNeff on 11/22/2022


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  • What is MTSS?

    Posted by Mike McNeff on 11/14/2022


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  • November 10th PD Day

    Posted by Mike McNeff on 11/9/2022

    Educators and Support Staff, 

    Due to the forecast, tomorrow will be an optional onsite day for all staff. The building will be open and available for those who may live in town or those who live out of town and feel safe enough to make it in. We will work through the original schedule and you are expected to either be onsite or connected and engaged on Zoom. The schedule will be updated and posted on First Class by 7:30 am tomorrow. We will start promptly on Zoom at 8:10 am and we will review the expectations of the day.

    8:10 AM Zoom Meeting Link

    Meeting ID: 147 511 342
    Passcode: gopanthers


    Mike McNeff


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  • Winter Weather Decision Making

    Posted by Mike McNeff on 11/9/2022

    With the upcoming winter season and potential impending weather, it is helpful to remember our protocol and process for making weather-related decisions for school. Prior to the consideration for any type of closure, delay, or release, the school district will first consider the type, timing, and track and likelihood of inclement weather. We also assess how the inclement weather will impact travel conditions for buses, parents with drop-offs and our students who drive to school. Last, we need to consider the ability of our staff to open up buildings prior to the beginning of the school day.

    A typical weather event would include discussions with meteorologists from the National Weather Service and regular reviews from the NWS, driving on town and rural roads, discussions with contacts (bus service, other superintendents, law enforcement, road crews, etc.) to get the best possible assessment on the weather and conditions.

    Depending on the track and timing of the storm, this type of information-gathering typically occurs throughout the preceding day (or week), into the night before the event, and very early in the morning on the day of the event. Our communications plan is, whenever possible, to inform families by 9:00 pm the preceding night or by 6:00 am on the morning of the event. This timeline is followed to allow the school to adequately make a decision, but also recognize the necessity for families, childcare and the workforce to plan. While some may be frustrated by an early morning call, we must use 6:00 am, at the latest, due to the pickup schedules of our rural bus drivers.

    If we do adjust the schedule due to weather, we will generally either start late or cancel school all together. When we start late, this may be for a few different reasons. It may be because the daylight will help those needing to drive early in the morning, such as our bus drivers, or it may be because our community needs that additional time to reasonably get to school. In some cases that late start is used to provide the district with additional time to assess the tracking and severity of the weather impact.

    When we make a late start decision, we will outline whether it is a 1-hour or 2-hour late start. While we may provide a schedule when we make the late start announcement, that schedule is as simple as it sounds. If you typically drop your child off at 8:00 and we have made the 2-hour late start, plan to drop them off at 10:00.

    I would love to say that with all of the planning and resources put towards weather events, we always make the right decision. Weather, unfortunately, does not always comply with our best efforts. Regardless of whether we make the “right” decision for all or not, I can assure you that we take many different factors into account and make the very best decision we can.

    Thank you and have a safe winter season.

    ~ Mike McNeff, Supt.


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  • Proficiency Scales

    Posted by Mike McNeff on 10/11/2022

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  • Standards-Referenced Grading Update

    Posted by Mike McNeff on 10/7/2022


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