Neola suggestions passed in L’Anse

At last week’s school board meeting, the L’Anse Area School (LAS) board passed more than 20 adjustments to their policies as recommended by Neola, a consulting firm that serves schools across six states, helping the boards make sure their policies are in line with state and federal laws. These policies cover everything from social media use to whistleblower protections.

LAS has been working with Neola since 2011, according to Superintendent Susan Tollefson. She said the cost varies from year to year, but averages about $3,000 yearly, and includes a couple extra services.

“Following the release of each update, a Neola representative meets with me to review and explain the rationale for the changes and answer questions about the proposed revisions,” Tollefson said.

Neola publishes updates regularly twice a year, according to Tollefson. Usually the updates are in response to changing laws or regulations. Sometimes policies are created with best-practices in mind, too. Once the policies are approved by the board, they are returned to Neola who publishes them online on behalf of the board. LAS policies are available at lanseschools.org under “Policies” at the top-right.

“The online component is a nice feature that makes the policies easily accessible to all staff and community,” Tollefson said.

Baraga Area Schools, Houghton-Portage Township Schools, Hancock Public Schools, Copper Country Intermediate School District, Lake Linden-Hubbell Schools, Chassell Township Schools and the Ontonagon Area School District are all similarly working with Neola.

On some issues, the process of expelling a student for example, Neola will provide a board with several options from which they can choose. Student expulsions are sometimes handled by the superintendent, and other times decided by the school board. All of the presented options are legally permissible, but it gives the board some freedom to decide how certain things are handled.

“Working with Neola assures that our board policies are compliant with new legislation,” Tollefson said.


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