This handbook is not intended to be exhaustive but rather to provide structure, guidelines, and expectations for MBA students and families. Because no handbook could possibly account for every scenario, circumstance, or situation, MBA asks for parent and student cooperation and understanding as we work together to maintain a professional atmosphere for the purpose of learning. The school administration is given latitude on final decisions for the implementation of policies, expectations, and specific rules.
To guard MBA’s reputation and testimony, the policies of this handbook apply to the entire tenure of a student’s enrollment at MBA, including summer break and other school vacations. Students and families are asked to bear in mind that they represent MBA at all times, whether or not school is in session.
Maranatha Baptist Academy maintains an annual achievement testing program to measure student ability and progress. Test results are used to help the administration and faculty to work more effectively with each student and to make continual improvements to the curriculum. All students take the Iowa and CogAt Achievement tests each spring. Juniors and seniors are encouraged to take the ACT test and should arrange to do so through the ACT website at www.act.org. Students and parents are notified in advance concerning the times and places of annual achievement testing, and this testing is a requirement for all full-time students. Recent results for achievement testing can be viewed here.
Attendance, Absence Policy, and Make-Up Work
MBA takes school attendance seriously for several reasons:
1. In order for a student to gain the most from school, he or she must be in regular attendance. Being absent from school will hinder the learning of the student.
2. MBA is both an accredited school and a Private School Choice Program school through the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. As such, MBA must adhere to responsible attendance guidelines to ensure that students are present for instructional hours and that our school is credible in the academic program we offer.
A maximum of eight absences are permitted per class, per semester to earn class credits.
- MBA does not differentiate between “excused” and “unexcused” absences. All absences are simply recorded as “absent”.
- Whenever possible, pre-planned absences need to be communicated in advance to the school office and to teachers.
- Any work the student misses during a pre-planned absence is due on the first day of his/her return to school, and students are encouraged to complete homework assignments prior to the pre-planned absence. Tests and quizzes are not given in advance.
- Grades for missing work (i.e. homework, quizzes, tests) are reduced by 10% per day late, with a maximum of a 50% reduction.
- If a student misses half of a class hour, the student is marked “absent” for the entire hour.
- Work that is not completed is entered in the grade book as “incomplete” and will affect the student’s opportunity to pass the class. Incomplete work will result in no credits given for the class.
- After six absences, a doctor’s note will be requested by the school office for any further absences.
- If a student exceeds the allotted number of permitted absences, credits for classes are not granted.
When a student is absent from school, it is his or her responsibility to make up any missed work like tests, quizzes, and homework assignments. For un-planned absences (i.e. sickness, emergency), a student has as many days to make up missing work as he or she was absent from school. For example, if a student is absent for 2 days of school, he or she has 2 days to have all missing assignments turned in without penalty. After that time, the student loses 10% of the points on the assignment for every day the assignment is late. The student is not penalized more than 50% of the total grade. Incomplete work will result in a student not receiving credits for the course.
The student may be required to stay after school or work during lunchtime to make up missed tests or quizzes as quickly as possible.
If a student is absent or will be absent from school for any reason, parents are asked to contact the school office as early as possible. Students should sign out at the office before leaving, and if the student returns to school before the end of the school day, he or she is asked to sign in at the office.
Students should be seated in the classroom before the bell rings to be considered on time for class. Students receive 1 demerit for the first tardy, 3 for the second, and 5 demerits for each subsequent tardy.
Attendance policy for virtual or distance learning due to COVID-19 pandemic (updated Fall 2022)
In the event that a student must take an extended leave of absence from school due to personal sickness or quarantine restrictions, the following policy will apply for school attendance. A student will be counted as “present” for hours of instruction as long as the following guidelines are met:
- Virtual attendance will only count in the case of illness, symptoms, or quarantine that is verified. The MBU Student Health Center handles this verification and then communicates with the MBA Office.
- The student is present synchronously through the use of a video connection to the classroom while instruction is taking place (i.e. Google Meet, Zoom). This connection is established by the instructor through the GSuite platform utilized by the school.
- A student must have his or her live face showing on the screen for the entire class hour. The student needs to be dressed appropriately (school dress) and in an appropriate environment that is not distracting to the other members of the class.
- If a student is substantially hindered from attending class sessions synchronously, he or she may also receive permission from the school administrator to be counted “present” by viewing recorded class sessions asynchronously through a coordinated effort with the instructor. Evidence that recordings have been viewed will be collected through the LMS.
- In all cases, there must be evidence of daily work being completed and submitted–either physically or electronically–to the teacher for grading.
- There is evidence of a student logging in to the Learning Management System (Google Classroom and/or Sycamore) to complete assignments as well as regular, daily “check-ins” with the instructor and school office.
- Virtual attendance is permitted for preplanned or non-illness related absences such as vacation or travel or on days in which there is inclement weather and school is in session. However, the student will be counted absent, even if attending virtually.
In all cases, decisions regarding attendance for students attending school virtually will be made by the school administration.
Backpacks and School Supplies
Each student is provided with a full-size locker for storing books, bags, backpacks, coats, and other necessary items. Backpacks are not permitted in classrooms due to safety concerns and to maintain an atmosphere most conducive to learning. Backpacks may be used to carry books to classrooms outside of the Old Main building, or to classes meeting on the 3rd floor of the Old Main building.
Cellphones, Technology Devices, and Learning Devices (Acceptable Use for Technology Policy)
Cell phones may be brought to school but are to be stored in the student’s locker in silent mode during class hours. Phones may be utilized in class for learning purposes at the teacher’s discretion. Phones may be used by students in between classes and in the lunchroom, but earbuds, earphones, airbuds, and headphones are not permitted during school hours (unless directed by a teacher) including during lunch and passing periods. Using a cellphone at school is a privilege, not a right, and this privilege may be revoked on a per-student basis as necessary. Taking cellphone pictures during school hours is not permitted unless under the explicit direction of a teacher.
Maranatha Baptist Academy utilizes technology and full-size devices (i.e. Chromebooks) for undistracted learning purposes. During school hours, electronic learning devices (i.e. Chromebooks, laptop computers) are permitted for learning activities only. Gaming, video streaming, etc… for entertainment during school hours is not permitted.
Technology acceptable use policies may be located on the Technology at MBA page. MBA does not tolerate bullying, cyberbullying, sexting, or any other inappropriate use of technology on or off campus. By enrolling at MBA, students accept responsibility for their technology use both on and off-campus, and violations of the AUP or MBU Student Life Handbook in regard to technology will result in the loss of technology privileges.
Change of Address
Parents should notify the Academy office of any changes in address or telephone numbers.
Chapel is held twice per week and is intended to exhort, encourage, challenge and strengthen each student spiritually and philosophically. Chapel speakers include pastors, youth pastors, missionaries, camp directors, MBU instructors, and MBA staff members. The chapel hour is viewed as vital to the well-rounded experience MBA offers it’s students and is an integral part of the MBA school program.
Child Abuse Policy
Maranatha Baptist Academy personnel are required by law to report any evidence of child abuse to civil authorities. All such reports shall also be made known to the Academy administration.
In accordance with the clear biblical teaching concerning our obligation to the local church, each student is expected to faithfully attend the services of a Bible-preaching church of like faith and practice.
Computer & Technology Use
Each Academy student will receive a personal network account which will allow him or her access to the Internet for school research and projects. MBU utilizes a tightly monitored filter system to screen content. Students are to abide by conditions agreed upon in the Acceptable Use Policy for our campus. Access to computers by students during the school day will be monitored and failure to abide by the Acceptable Use Policy will result in the loss of technology privileges.
Maranatha Baptist Academy begins each school year with several days of activity for all students. The program is designed to allow faculty and students to get acquainted in a warm spiritual atmosphere. During these days, activities are designed to address the spiritual, social, emotional and physical aspects of a student’s life.
Extracurricular Eligibility and Full-Time Status
Student eligibility for extracurricular activities such as athletics, the school play, and other events is based on enrollment status, grades, and deportment. The following guidelines apply:
- To be eligible for extracurricular activities, a student must be a full-time student. A full-time student is defined as one who is present in at least five MBA class hours each school day (not including study halls). As a reminder, full-time students are required to attend chapel.
- A student must maintain a “C” average overall in academic courses, while not having any failing grades (F’s) at any time during the season. Grades are typically checked every 3 weeks. A student may not start a sports season with ineligible grades. Extracurricular activities may also be restricted or revoked if a student has missing work.
- If a student becomes ineligible, he or she will miss a minimum of 1 week of extracurricular activities.
- A failing grade in a class on the semester report card will result in three weeks of ineligibility for the next semester. If a student earns two failing grades on a semester report card, one of the courses must be made up before the student can participate.
- Eligibility is determined after the first six weeks of school and weekly thereafter.
- To participate in an athletic game, practice, or extracurricular activity, including fine arts, a student must be physically at school a minimum of four class hours on the day of competition.
- A student’s failure to remain eligible will disqualify him or her from participating in or traveling to athletic competitions, being part of a special group and from performing during the school play. Students may be permitted to participate in athletic practice sessions and/or rehearsals for the school play at the discretion of the school administration.
Family Directory in the School Information System (SIS)
MBA utilizes Sycamore as its school information system through which students and parents may access grades, financial information, lesson plans, discipline reports, and other school information. The SIS also provides parents with access to other families’ contact information for one-on-one correspondence. Misuse of Sycamore or the information contained in Sycamore, including use of the SIS for personal announcements, negative communication, or mass emails will result in restricted access or loss of access to this information.
Fire drills will be regularly conducted for the safety of our students. Evacuation routes for the Main Building have been posted in all of the classrooms to enhance safety.
Because of the tremendous usage of the gymnasium and the potential liability involved, students may not be in the gymnasium at any time without being involved in a directed school function. A faculty, staff or parent must be present at all times.
At Maranatha Baptist Academy, we expect every student to be treated with fairness, respect, and dignity. Accordingly, any form of harassment related to an individual’s race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age or disability, or any other legally-protected basis is considered a violation of this policy and will be treated as a disciplinary matter. For these purposes, the term “harassment” includes slurs and any other offensive remarks, jokes, graphic material, or other offensive verbal, written, or physical conduct. MBA is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy school environment and takes all appropriate health and safety precautions consistent with current medical knowledge. Accordingly, students may not refuse to work with, cooperate with, withhold services from, or otherwise harass, intimidate, demean, or isolate a student because of a known or suspected disability or disease.
MBA will take all steps necessary to prevent any form of harassment from occurring. All teachers are informed of this policy and have been instructed as to what constitutes proper and improper behavior. MBA is prepared to promptly take the steps necessary to enforce this policy.
Students who wish to use the Cedarholm Library Research Center during school hours must first obtain a library pass from a teacher. Students will be issued a library card at the start of the school year. Academy students are to follow the Library policies.
Each Academy student will be issued an individual locker. These lockers are to be used to store books and personal belongings. Locker checks may be conducted by the administration. Locks will be issued upon student request.
Lost and Found
A college lost and found is located in the Post Office. It will be open every school day. An additional lost and found will be maintained in the Academy main office for items left in the Academy hall.
Students are to eat their lunch in the Dining Hall or in the upstairs Student Center. Students are not permitted to leave campus or go to their car during the lunch period without prior permission from the Academy office.
Parent/Teacher conferences are scheduled each fall after the first quarter. However, we encourage parents to schedule conferences with individual teachers at any time.
To participate in or attend an athletic game, practice, or extracurricular activity, including fine arts, a student must be in school a minimum of four class hours the day of the activity.
MBA allows students to enroll on a part-time basis under certain circumstances. Part-time students are held to the same standards of conduct and deportment as full-time students. Part-time students do not participate in extracurricular activities such as athletics, the school play, or fine arts competitions. Part-time enrollment is subject to available class space, and preference for class space is given to full-time students. Tuition for part-time enrollment is pro-rated according to classes taken, but no other fees are prorated or discounted.
Tobacco in any form, alcoholic beverages, medicines not prescribed for that student, narcotics, dice, playing cards, knives, guns, matches, explosives of any kind, electronic games, radios, televisions or earphones are prohibited. Full-screen devices (i.e. tablets) and computers are permissible but are not to be used as games or distractions. Prohibited items used in an unauthorized fashion will be confiscated.
Throughout the school year, MBA holds several events that showcase the school curriculum, student abilities, and extracurricular offerings. These events are especially important and serve to amplify the opportunities and outcomes of our school program. Academy students are therefore required to attend Academy concerts, competitions, and commencement exercises. A family may appeal for a student to be absent from a required function by contacting the school administration well in advance of the function. Fine Arts courses such as Band, Choir, Tonechimes, and Speech give academic credit for required events. The course grade and/or credits of a student missing a required event are therefore strongly affected by absences from required events, regardless of the excused or unexcused nature of the absence.
MBA gives several awards throughout the school year and at the close of the school year to recognize academic excellence, athletic prowess, and godly character. Awards are presented either at the annual Awards Program or at Graduation. Seniors are permitted to wear school-issued awards as part of the Graduation regalia (i.e. Academic Gold Cord, Honor Society, Valedictorian/Salutatorian). End-of-year awards are determined based on grades at the 12-week marking period of 2nd semester so as to allow adequate time for award planning.
Walk Worthy Award (Graduation Award)
- This award is given to a senior who best represents the core values, ideals, goals, and mission of Maranatha Baptist Academy. Seniors are nominated and then voted on by the faculty and staff. A student must have attended the Academy full-time for the Junior and Senior years in order to qualify for this award.
Academic Gold Cord (Graduation Award)
- This award is given to graduating seniors who achieve a GPA of 3.7 or higher over the course of at least 1 year of full-time enrollment as a senior prior to graduation from MBA.
MBA Spirit Awards
- The recipients of this award are voted upon by the student body as well as the faculty and staff at MBA. The students chosen for this award represent the spirit and purpose of the core values of Maranatha Baptist Academy: teamwork, truth, learning, and excellence. There is one full-time student chosen from grades 9, 10 and 11 to receive this award.
Highest Academic Average (Top of Class for the Year)
- Awarded to the full-time student in grades 9-11 who has the highest grade average for the current school year.
- The student must be enrolled as a full-time student for at least one school year to qualify for this award.
Valedictorian and Salutatorian
- The Valedictorian and Salutatorian are awarded to those seniors having the highest cumulative grade point average earned while a student at MBA. The student chosen as the Valedictorian must have at least a 3.75 GPA and the Salutatorian must have at least a 3.5 GPA. In order for a student to be selected for either award, he or she must have been enrolled at MBA for a minimum of the Junior and Senior years as a full-time student. In the event of a tie or extremely narrow margin, consideration may be given to factors such as length of enrollment at MBA and rigor of courses taken. The Valedictorian and Salutatorian may be asked to speak briefly at Graduation.
American Christian Honor Society
- This organization was founded by the American Association of Christian Schools in March 1979 as a means to honor those students that portray certain character qualities. The American Christian Honor Society seeks to:
- Advance Christian Scholarship
- Challenge Christian Leadership
- Honor Christian Character
- Stimulate Christian Service
- Entrance into the ACHS is based upon a certain level of academic achievement as well as character observations by the faculty and staff at MBA. To qualify academically, students must hold at least the following grade point averages at the 14-week grading period of the 2nd semester: Sophomore 3.7, Junior 3.3, Senior 3.0. Recipients must be enrolled full-time for a minimum of one school year in order to qualify for this award.
Presidential Academic Awards
- The purpose of the President’s Education Awards program is to recognize academic success in the classroom. The two categories of awards are the President’s Award for Educational Excellence (students achieving a 3.5 GPA or above for the current school year) and the President’s Award for Educational Achievement (i.e. students that show outstanding educational growth, improvement, commitment or intellectual development in academic subjects). A student must be enrolled full-time at MBA for at least one year to receive this award.
Inclement weather or other emergencies may require the school to be closed. Unless otherwise announced, if Watertown Unified School District is closed for inclement weather then MBA will also be closed. If WUSD is delayed, then MBA will still have normal classes. When school has been closed, look for Watertown Unified School District on the following TV and radio stations:
- WKCH 106.5 FM WJJO 94.1 FM WISN-TV Channel 12
- WTMJ 620 AM WFAW 940 AM WSJY 107.3 FM
- WISC-TV Channel 3 WMTV-TV Channel 15 WTMJ-TV Channel 4
School closing information is also available on the MBA Facebook page. Parents may also choose to receive a notification through the RAVE Emergency platform.
Depending on various factors, MBA may elect to have “virtual learning” if school is closed for any reason. If this is the case, MBA will announce these plans to parents and students as early as possible.
School Equipment and Property
Each student is expected to treat every piece of property at the school with respect. Students are encouraged to help keep the floors and grounds free of paper and other materials. Cost of damages inflicted upon school property will be paid by the student. Individuals causing willful damage will be disciplined and assessed fees for repair or replacement.
MBA retains the right to the exclusive use of the school logo and branding. Students and families are not permitted to utilize the school logo for personal use, advertising, screen printing, logo wear, or otherwise.
Each year the Senior Class takes a required class trip. This usually occurs near the end of the year. All seniors are expected to participate, as it is part of graduation requirements. The cost of the trip will vary, but there may be opportunities to raise funds during the year through class fundraisers. Fundraising accounts are maintained by the school. In a case where a student leaves the school or who is not part of the planned senior trip, funds raised for the trip and through fundraising are not refunded. This applies to funds raised during both the Junior and the Senior years.
Students at MBA are expected to maintain both a public and private testimony that is honoring to Jesus Christ, and this includes all forms of social media and electronic communications. Activities such as sexting, cyberbullying, suggestive photos or conversations, criticism of school policies or personnel, “sharing” or “liking” inappropriate material, or any other similar activity, whether online or in-person, is not tolerated.
Soliciting is not allowed at MBA without the permission of the administration. This includes the selling of tickets, candy, etc., the distribution of political or religious materials, or the circulation of petitions. MBA does not promote or distribute literature for community events or local area businesses.
Student activities at MBA are designed to build leadership qualities in our students and to provide a guided atmosphere for social interaction. Each grade is sponsored by an Academy faculty. Under the guidance of its sponsor and the leadership of its officers, each class plans and conducts class meetings, events, and fundraisers.
Any student, having permission from their parents and possessing a valid driver’s license, may drive to school. Once a vehicle has been parked on campus, the student is to leave the car and not return to it until the end of the day, unless special permission is obtained from the Academy office. Loitering around the cars is prohibited. Under no circumstances are students to transport anyone other than those assigned by the parents to ride with that student driver. Couples are not allowed to be in cars alone.
Academy students are to register each of the vehicles that they will be driving to school, whether parking on campus or parking on the street. Vehicle registration forms may be obtained from the Academy office. The Academy has an assigned student lot on the east side of the main building. If an Academy student parks anywhere on campus, a fee must be paid and a sticker must be placed in the lower left of the rear window. Violation of parking areas, failing to register vehicles, exceeding campus speed limits, and irresponsible driving activities may result in the issuance of a ticket by campus security and/or demerits. Repeat offenders or reckless drivers will lose campus driving privileges. Regulations for on-campus parking and driving are located in the MBU Student Life Handbook under “Vehicle and Parking Citations”
Each year students will elect a student body president and two vice-presidents to form a student body council. Each class will also elect a class officer to complete the student body council. This council will consist of seven students and work with a faculty advisor to help provide leadership, direction, and ideas for student activities throughout the school year.
Threatening Speech Policy
It is the desire of Maranatha Baptist Academy to help parents train their children to communicate with peers and others with charity and goodwill. The Academy does not tolerate demeaning or disrespectful depictions of individuals or groups regardless of the form of communication (written, oral or art). Depictions of violence or threats against an individual or ethnic group will be addressed aggressively by the administration. Penalties will range from suspension for portrayals done in ignorance or jest to expulsion and/or involvement of local law enforcement authority for more serious representations. Parents are encouraged to warn their children that punishment for such depiction of violence or the threat of violence will be severely punished.
Visitors to Academy Classes
Parents are always welcome to visit Academy classes and events. In order to provide uninterrupted instruction, we ask that classroom visits and teacher conferences be scheduled in advance through the school office. Teachers are also happy to arrange conferences with parents as needed but must maintain normal classroom responsibilities. Please also remember that MBA is a smoke-free environment.
MBA also welcomes prospective students to visit classes after an initial enrollment meeting. The purpose of these visits is to assist prospective families with enrollment decisions. Visiting students are to obtain permission from the Academy administrator in advance of a visit and are expected to abide by the Academy dress code. Non-prospective students are not permitted to visit classes.
Withdrawals from school are to be made through the Academy office. Students are considered enrolled in school until notification has been given to the office. Tuition is due and payable until that time. A two-week notice of intent to withdraw is requested. Records will not be released until all bills are paid and all textbooks and materials have been returned.