Wednesday, August 11, 2010

One to One Laptop Program Ready to Go at Exeter-Milligan

It’s a life-learning tool all wrapped up in a sleek 13” Macbook Pro and every Exeter-Milligan seventh through twelfth grader is about to experience one.

The district is “preparing our kids for life outside the friendly confines of Exeter-Milligan school to be the 21st century learners they are,” according to Superintendent Paul Sheffield.

With a goal of eventually becoming paperless the district is passing out the laptops starting this week with a group of parent/student orientation meetings. During the evening sessions students and their parents will sign a contract and pay a $35 fee if the students want to have the privilege of taking the Macbook’s home.

The students will not be able to access the internet in general but all internet traffic, no matter where they log on, will be re-routed back to the school’s filter. The filter, according to Sheffield, is designed to have different access times. Right now, email and social networking are blocked during the day but will be opened up in the evenings.

Most of the cost of the new program has been financed through a grant from the Rural Education Achievement Program (REAP). About $30,000 came from the REAP program that “was earmarked toward technology,” according to Sheffield.

The total cost of the program was around $45,000 and there will be “some stimulus money that carries over for special ed and that will come out of there,” said Sheffield. The rest of the funding will come from the school budget.

The students will have to be responsible for the laptops and those who don’t pay the extra fee will check their laptop in every day after school. The fee money will go to a fund for minor fixes or maintenance issues. Sheffield explained that, “If the laptop is stolen or something major is broken the kids are responsible, they have to sign a contract.”

When pursuing this project the school did a survey and found that 93% of the students had internet access or wifi at home. Right now the wifi at the Exeter campus reaches about a half a block away. Unfortunately there is no where else in town the students can access wifi right now.

The students will use the laptops in class for research and also for homework. The school currently uses a site that allows teachers to post homework assignments online and also lets students drop their completed homework into a teacher’s online basket. Sheffield stated that the laptops are “

Not going to replace or be a cure all, but another tool at their disposal to enhance their learning.

One of the most important things the school wants to emphasize is internet responsibility. They are “l

ooking to incorporate a digital citizenship class in grades 4,5, and 6. . . teaching kids to know what kinds of things to put on internet and what not to,” said Sheffield.

The school hopes to emphasize the responsibility of having a tool at students' disposal while delving into some of the fun aspects of technology like creating movies and pod casts. Thanks to the REAP grant, Exeter-Milligan students will have an opportunity to have some fun while learning.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hospital Vote Passes by a Large Margin

Fillmore County voters spoke a loud YES to the new hospital in the special election on Tuesday. The unofficial results of the election were a resounding 1200+ yes versus 415 no votes.

With the positive outcome on the election, voters can expect to see quick movement as the Hospital Board works with landowners to acquire the land and start construction.

Girl's and Boy's State Representatives Give Report

Kelsey Moore, far left, Tyler Manning, middle and Amanda Dinneen, far right, represented Exeter at the 2010 Nebraska Girls and Boys State Convention.

With numerous guests in attendance the Girl's and Boy's State representatives from Exeter gave a report on their experiences to the Exeter American Legion Auxiliary and Legion Monday evening in Exeter.

The three representatives from Exeter expressed their gratitude to the Legion and the Auxiliary for the opportunity to attend the State convention.

Amanda Dinneen, daughter of Joe and Sharla Dinneen, spoke first sharing about "one of the best experiences of my life."

Dinneen gave some history of the event and then explained how it "teaches young women about respect for our country and our government. . .learning skills useful for the rest of my life."

Dinneen was elected a senator for her floor and was thrilled that a bill their floor worked on passed. She explained it was a bill that made it illegal to text and drive for everyone not just younger drivers.

Kelsey Moore, daughter of Brent and Lori Moore, spoke next about her experience of campaigning for county engineer. She was elected to her office and got the opportunity to visit the Lancaster County Engineering Department. Moore also had the opportunity to participate in the Girl's State band that performed for the combined group on Wednesday night.

Moore noted that "it was an irreplaceable experience for me. Thank you for the opportunity."

Tyler Manning, son of Kent and Cyndi Manning, was the Legion's representative to Boy's State. Manning started off his presentation thanking "the Legion for letting me have such a great experience - I made a lot of good friends."

The Boy's State group were able to pass 10 different laws. Manning was elected to the city council for his floor and also participated on a softball team.

American Legion Auxiliary President Annette Gloystein was thrilled that over 420 girls participated in the Nebraska Girls State this year. Gloystein has volunteered at the week-long event for the last eight years.

Legion President Alan Songster spoke to the students after they expressed their gratitude once again, "We are glad to support our young and as long as its a learning experience we will send you. Thank you for representing Exeter."

Monday, August 9, 2010

FCDC Hosts Tire Recycling Event

It was like a sea of tires had taken over an old runway at the Fairmont State Airfield.

Instead, it was a free tire recycling event and those in Fillmore County took advantage of this bi-yearly opportunity. Fillmore County Development Corporation (FCDC)sponsored the event along with the Fillmore County Board of Supervisors.

The group received a grant from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ). The grant covered a recycling center to pick up the tires, advertising for the event and a wage for those monitoring the tire drop off. This year the money raised from the event will go the Fillmore County Historical Society (FCHS). Members of the FCHS volunteered their time to man the tire recycling center and record where the tires came from and the number of tires dropped.

The event started at noon on Friday and by 2:00 p.m. the pile of tires was already a quarter-mile long. Trucks came in a steady stream all afternoon to recycle old tires with close to 200 trucks bringing tires in, according to FCDC Director Patt Lentfer.

According to FCHS member Dave Moore and Lentfer, the recycled tires will be picked up by Champlin Tire Recycling, Inc. out of Concordia, KS. They will be recycled into park benches and other rubber uses while the tires in fair condition will be recapped.

"It's a good deal for everyone. People can get rid of their old tires and the money goes to a good cause," said Moore.