Saturday, March 28, 2020

Exeter-Milligan Update: Kids Heart Challenge

Kindergartener, Layne Zelenka was the top fundraiser for the event.  He raised $460! 
1st grader, Archer Engert participating

Kids Heart Challenge at E-M
By Darcy White, K-12 PE/Health Instructor

Exeter-Milligan Schools hosted the Kids Heart Challenge event on Feb. 27. This is a wonderful event we try to participate in each year.  It was a very successful and fun event for the students to be a part of.  Students in grades K-2 raised over $1,700 for the American Heart Association.  Thanks to all the parents, grandparents, and community members who supported the students and pledged to the AHA this year. 

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Digital Learning at Exeter-Milligan

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 via Zoom.

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 mindful. 

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 routine.”

“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 for them.

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 Kroll.

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.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Exeter-Milligan Update: Kindergarten News

Kindergarten News at Exeter-Milligan
By Amanda Pettygrove, Kindergarten Instructor

Exeter-Milligan's Kindergarten class has had the opportunity to participate in an evidence-based emotional and behavioral skills intervention through the University of Nebraska called Insights. This program targets students' problem-solving skills. Students in Kindergarten received 10 weeks of the program where they learned more about their own temperaments, met puppet friends to act out dilemmas, and learned a new step by step approach to solving their own everyday dilemmas. The students in the class had a graduation ceremony to round out the end of the 10 week program on March 17th. They will get the chance to continue this program next year in First Grade.

Pictured Back Row Left to Right: Easton Schlegelmilch, Maizy Ogren, Reed Wince, Layne Zelenka
Back Row Left to Right: Avery Hankins, Kenan Petersen, Knox Becker, Wesley Hopkins

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Exeter-Milligan Update: Spanish Classroom

Notes from the Spanish Classroom
By Lisa Ricenbaw, Exeter-Milligan Spanish Instructor

Did you know that learning a second language helps you to understand your own language better? Students need practice to use correct grammar in order to communicate successfully in any language. Spanish students at Exeter Milligan Public School write sentences on marker boards to practice sentence structure. This practice also helps students to find meaning in what they are saying and helps them to focus on and remember the vocabulary. Writing, speaking and listening are all good skills to practice and are necessary to become successful. 


Front: Cammie Harrison and Natalie Staskal
Back row: Jackson Beethe and Clint Oldehoeft