Ben Bartu takes in a Biology class at home via Zoom during the school closure.
Educating 130 students from four different counties on a
regular school day is a challenge but add in the corona virus quarantine and
throw down might be the correct description.
It looks like Exeter-Milligan school district can check that
box on their to do list.
Digital technology will be the key to continuing education
which was obvious in a recent conversation with Superintendent Paul Sheffield,
Principal Laura Kroll and elementary teachers Laura Steuben and Shelli Mueller
In order to use Zoom or another app the students use
regularly called Canvas, each student has to have two things, an internet
platform and a device to use it on. On Monday, March 16 all
Exeter-Milligan students were sent home with their device, elementary students
took home their IPad’s and 7-12 grade took home their Macbooks.
Sheffield confirmed that any household that did not have
internet before this quarantine do have internet now.
“Our administration and school board have been forward
thinking for so long,” added Mueller, “I can’t imagine doing this without them
having their IPad’s at home. All the kids that don’t have access to all
of this I can’t imagine.”
Elementary students were sent home with learning packets and
will meet with their students via Zoom. Sheffield noted that for this
first two weeks the teachers would focus on reading and math.
Mueller and Steuben both discussed different ways of
creatively teaching some of their subjects.
Mueller, “found little videos
to show how to review match concepts. We learned how to find the mean on
Monday so I found a video on how to find mean. Thank goodness there are a
lot of resources right now.”
Steuben talked about Epic, an online lending library, which
is free for teachers and students. Teachers can see which books their
students check out and read and she did have to warn a parent after a student
checked out a book on how to prank your parents.
Mueller noted that elementary writing is going to be hard.
“They can submit documents and we can fix them and send them back to them, but
there’s not an easy way.”
Steuben thought that third grade math without using
manipulatives would be a challenge.
The plan put forth for seventh through twelfth graders will
include classroom meeting on zoom for each period once or twice a week.
The district created a zoom schedule and will also deliver content
electronically through their Learning Management System, Canvas, which allows
them to upload study guides, homework and quizzes. They are trying to make sure
that only one student per household is on zoom at a time so as not to tax the
household internet service.
Teachers will log each zoom time on a spreadsheet to include
the date, time and the participants for each zoom. Some classes are more
project based, like Industrial Arts and Art and there will be less direct
contact. Special Ed, Occupational Therapist and physical therapists will
also make and document zoom visits.
In all of this uncertainty the district is very concerned
with the mental health of the students and the teachers. “We are all
learning together. I personally advise everyone to be patient and
Everyone’s situation is different. Do what you can do and
control what you can control,” Kroll commented.
Mueller advised parents and students to find a routine and
set up a schedule. “I have read it takes a couple of weeks to get into a
“I think our students are up for the challenge right now, it
may not be the same after 6 or 8 weeks if it goes that far.”
“This is old hat for the kids,” added Sheffield.
Kroll hopes to keep in contact with both students and
faculty. “We will still have staff meetings as needed. I still want
to check in with my staff and maintain that connection with them.”
Some of the teachers are working remotely but others are
coming to school and the administration is letting them do what is comfortable
Kroll is also hoping to have some zoom sessions with the
elementary students and will communicate with parents. On her list so far
is reading to the students and also having a zoom knock knock joke session.
Another concern mentioned was feeding the students who
regularly eat at school. “We have the backpack program weekly and at this
time the plan is to deliver that to those who are involved in it,” explained
Since this zoom interview the district has extended the
closure to May 1 and will begin providing takeout breakfast and lunch at the
regular cost. Other districts, like
Fillmore Central, are providing just a lunch free of charge.