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Family Academy

The MCS Family Academy is designed to inform and empower families as advocates and partners in their children's education.  It is an important way we grow greatness together. We recognize that behind every successful student are supportive families, teachers, school staff and community members who take an active role in educating our children.

Virtual and in-person sessions and CommUNITY Conversations provide families with useful information and resources to support their children's academic and emotional well-being, as well as help them to be college and career ready. Through a variety of learning opportunities hosted by MCS staff and community partners, we hope to strengthen our engagement with families and the community. 

Virtual Sessions

Parenting is hard, and probably harder today than it's ever been! Learn about Mason City Schools' Comet Culture language, and consider ways you might be able to use the disciplines and practices at home, too.

Major Definitions:

  • E+R=O : Event + Response = Outcome
  • R-Factor Disciplines are:
    • Press Pause: Before you respond, slow down and give yourself time to think
    • Get Your Mind Right: Get into a productive mindsight by taking ownership of what you focus on and the story you tell yourself
    • Step Up: Respond above the line. 
    • Adjust & Adapt: Change course when needed
    • Make a Difference: Create great experiences for others. Your R is an E for others.
    • Build Skill: Be intentional about the habits you develop.
  • 20 Square Feet: a metaphor that expresses that the way each of us behaves personally - the way each of us manages our personal 20 square feet - is what determines our collective culture
  • Above the Line: acting or responding with intention and integrity
  • Below the Line: acting or responding impulsively. Blaming, complaining or defending. 


watch this video

The Mason City School District utilizes ALICE - a system that encourages individualized decision-making options in response to an immediate threat with consideration to age and ability. Traditionally, schools have used a procedure known as “lockdown” which means locking the school building and classrooms and having students and teachers take shelter in their classrooms. We believe that offering additional age-appropriate options will allow our students and teachers to be better prepared if a crisis situation occurs. Providing a constant flow of information to everyone inside the building can allow opportunities to safely evacuate the building. Rescue by the police can take some time. An important goal of the ALICE program is to evacuate as many people as possible to a safe place.

ALICE is an acronym that stands for:

ALERT: Get the word out that a threat exists

LOCKDOWN: Secure a place to stay as much as possible as a starting point to buy time. Barricade if necessary, move to a safe spot with escape in mind.

INFORM: Give constant, real-time information throughout the building using all available technology. Communication keeps the shooter off balance.

COUNTER: Apply skills to distract, confuse, and gain control by using noise, movement, distance, and distractions. This is the last resort if individuals are unable to escape. Countering may be as simple as creating a distraction to allow opportunities to escape.

EVACUATE: To reduce the number of potential targets for the shooter and reduce the chances of victims resulting from friendly fire when help arrives. Take advantage of time and distance from the threat. The goal is to move students out of the danger zone. It’s important to be prepared to escape.

Goal: Maximize survival with the objective to escape from harm, get law enforcement on the scene quickly, decide and act, and interrupt the intruder’s decision action cycle.

How should I talk to my child about ALICE?
As a parent, you know your child best. For younger children, the most important thing is to listen carefully and remember to follow their teacher’s directions whether it’s during a drill or an actual emergency. Older students may be interested in talking about what they would do in an emergency situation. Follow your child’s lead and keep the opportunities to talk openly.

What if my child expresses fears about their safety?
It’s important to remember that we talk about ways to stay safe so that we can be prepared if something happens. If your child is worried, your school counselor or a member of our Mental Wellness Team is an excellent resource.