Another Snow Day? No, Flex Day! Byron tries out newest way to learn
At the regular school board meeting Feb. 19, Superintendent Joey Page explained to school board members that the district was ready for “flex-learning days” the next time the district had to declare a snow day. He commented that that didn’t mean the flex day would be used the next day but the district was ready, if it did.
And sure enough, the next day, Feb. 20 was another snow day for Byron schools.
For younger students, completing tasks on a ‘Snow Day Bingo Board’ was the assignment. The choices included tasks like: “Count all the pillows in your house. Make a blanket tent and read a book inside it. Read an eBook, (the links were provided). Do 15 jumping jacks, 15 pushups and 15 windmills. Help fold the laundry.”
Students then had three school days after the snow day to turn in the bingo boards.
“I think the kids really enjoyed it,” said one grandparent to another at a local coffee shop the morning after the snow day.
For middle schoolers and high school students, staff members had posted the day’s activities online by 9 a.m. and students submitted the assignments, “based on the teacher’s instructions.”
Page explained that teachers would be available by phone, email or, “via the grade-appropriate digital learning space (Google Classroom, Moodle, Google Hangout, or SeeSaw),” during the day.
The website specified that staff members were available from 9 to 11:30 a.m. and from noon until 3 p.m.
The parent of a high school junior remarked that her daughter, “sailed right through. She just followed what was on the website.”
E-Learning days became permissible for the 2018 fiscal year, notes the state Department of Education website. Students are required to participate in online instruction and attendance is kept for those days by various ways including contact with teachers, completing activities assigned or attendance verification by parents.
“Requirements of the plan include consultation with the teachers, accommodations for students who lack access to internet at home or digital devices, and accessible options for students with disabilities,” explains the site.
Schools may use up to five of these days during a school year, explains a memo from the department.
In other business, school board members congratulated the following students and coaches or advisors for their outstanding One-Act play: Rylie Nelson, Maddie Harris, Tessa Harmon, Josiah Rutgers, Tiffani Harmon, Christina Kelly, Nia Kelly, Brady Helget, Nolan Brown, and their advisor Denise Ruemping.
The board also heard a presentation from members of the Green Club. Members include Rhiannon Wilson, Gabriella Brinkman, Emma Johnson, Ava Leigh, Alanna Reichel, Delanie Newell, Jordan Oelkers, Christina Kelly and Leah Yokiel. Their advisor is Whitney Threinen. The group asked that the school “reduce the distribution of disposable plastics” at the high school. They would like to see students and staff members use reusable bottles and have applied for a grant to install a water-bottle-filler at the school. They also suggested the school use metal silverware in the lunch room instead of plastic.
Senior Benjamin Lee Su gave a presentation about a mentorship program he recently completed with Dr. Joshua Trzasko at the Mayo Clinic. Teacher Aaron Murray explained that other students in the program included Taylor Kreitinger who worked with a dentist, Hannah Higgins who is working with staff at the Zollman Zoo at Oxbow Park, Ryan Johnson who is working with Jen Henga as a media intern for the school district and Emma Cockram, who is working with Amazon.
Members of the Intermediate School student council who attended the meeting included Tallie Behrens, Carly Halder, Eden Hemminger, and Josh Gibson. Their advisors are Tracy Lerman and Justin Blom.
Members of the girls’ regional hockey team, the Wildcats, who came to the meeting included Olivia Lamb, Olivia Smallbrock, and Ashley Donovan along with their coach Jeremy Gunderson.
Coach Andy Abrams was recognized as the state Track & Field Coaches Association volunteer coach of the year.
The board will meet again at 5:30 p.m. March 4 for a work session in the District Administration and Community Services Building.