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Schools brace for more closings next week

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With forecasts well below zero in the coming week, school districts are bracing for more closings.

Sun Prairie Assistant Superintendent Alice Murphy is in charge of counting the days, hours, and even minutes when kids are in class.�

?If it seems as though we're being a little bit strict about five minutes here and add five minutes there, it's with good reason,? Murphy said.

The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) requires that students have at least 175 scheduled days of instruction.� There are also mandates for the number of classroom hours grade levels must have.

District holds listening session on academic integrity

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Middleton High School has a new policy in place for students during finals week after district officials made changes amidst cheating allegations.

Parents had the chance to attend a listening session Wednesday night at Middleton High School to learn more about recent academic integrity issues.

Last month, 250 students had to retake an Advanced Placement math test because a few allegedly cheated on tests using their cellphones.

District officials said it?s been a wake-up call, and they now have a new policy in place. On test days, students have to put their cellphones in a basket and will get them back when everyone has turned in their tests.

District officials said most teachers already have policies like this, but now the rule is official.

Middleton teacher placed at new school amid controversy

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Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District officials sent a letter to staff and parents Tuesday announcing where a teacher at the center of recent controversy will be sent.

According to the letter, Andrew Harris has been offered a position teaching seventh-grade science at Kromrey Middle School.

Harris was a seventh-grade science teacher at Glacier Creek Middle School until he was accused of sending and receiving explicit emails on the job.

Last week the State Supreme Court refused to hear the case. The arbitrators ruled it inappropriate to terminate Harris, and said he should be reinstated to his position and receive back pay.

Middleton teacher?s reinstatement moves forward

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The pending reinstatement of a former teacher will cost the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District almost $1 million in legal fees and back pay.

In a special meeting Monday night, it was released that the district will owe Andrew Harris almost $200,000 in back pay.� That?s on top of more than $625,000 the district has spent to fight for its decision to fire Harris back in 2010.

Harris was a middle school science teacher at Glacier Creek Middle School until he was accused of sending and receiving explicit emails on the job.

Last week, the state supreme court refused to hear the case.� The arbitrators ruled it inappropriate to terminate Harris, and said he should be reinstated to his position and receive back pay.

Board discusses how to rehire teacher accused of sending explicit emails

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The Middleton-Cross Plains School Board will meet Monday night to discuss the procedure for rehiring a man accused of sending and receiving racy emails on the job.

The middle school teacher was originally fired for allegedly exchanging explicit emails through his work account.

The school board will meet Monday night to figure out how he will return to the district; something the district has already spent $625,000 fighting.

Andrew Harris was a seventh-grade science teacher at Glacier Creek Middle School.

He will be offered a job or an equivalent position with the district, in addition to back pay, after the State Supreme Court refused to take up the case last week.

Based on the judge?s orders, Harris could be back in the school by this month.

4-wheeler gets stuck in the ice on Lake Mendota

An ice fisherman learned about the danger of pressure cracks while driving his four-wheeler on the ice Monday morning.

Dane County sheriff's deputies responded to a report of a four-wheeler stuck on the ice just before 7 a.m. Monday.

When officers arrived, they found the back end of a four-wheeler in the water after it fell in on a pressure crack in the ice.

No one was hurt, but the ice fisherman will need to have a friend tow the vehicle off the ice.

Deputies warn ice fishermen to be aware of pressure cracks as they go out on the ice this winter.

?It?s constantly getting thicker and constantly getting thinner. You have areas where you have current, you have natural springs -- all of those work to erode the ice. By its very nature, you can?t tell how much ice you?re actually on until you drill a hole and look,? Dane County Deputy Sheriff Mica Weber said.

Middleton schools: No cellphones during high school tests

Students at Middleton High School will no longer have access to their cellphones during test times.

The new policy follows allegations of widespread cheating. Teachers will collect all electronic devices from students before tests are distributed and won't return them until tests are collected.

Middleton-Cross Plains School District spokesman Perry Hibner tells the State Journal (http://bit.ly/1ifZysw ) math and science teachers are also creating more than one version of a test to discourage cheating.

The policy comes after allegations that students cheated on a December calculus test. All calculus students were required to retake the exam. Hibner says scores on the second exams were 3 percent lower overall than the first test.

School administrators received anonymous letters alleging students were sharing or selling cellphone photos of the test questions.