Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Brent William Henry
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Rebels Pep Club busy promoting school spirit

Hearing screening equipment purchased

 

courtesy Willow River School

The Willow River Early Childhood team was recently able to purchase MAICO ERO SCAN Pro Otoacoustic Emissions Testing Equipment. The purchase of Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) hearing screening equipment enables children served by the Willow River School District to receive high quality hearing screenings to ensure that each child's hearing health and related developmental needs are met.

The Willow River School Rebels Pep Club opened up the Tuesday, March 15, Willow River school board meeting with a presentation listing all the activities they have completed over the last few months. The students entered a float into the Willow River summer parade; they supervised a poster activity in which they had elementary students decorate a pennant to promote school spirit. If the students completed their pennant they were awarded a Rebelade, which is a Gatorade with a homemade label put on it. All of the pennants were then hung on the cafeteria walls.

The Rebels Pep Club also makes posters promoting the school's sports teams. They hang the posters up on the gym walls and lockers. The students ended their presentation with a slideshow of them partaking in the various activities. The board thanked the students for coming and their work.

Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE)

Willow River School's ECFE program has expanded this year by offering instruction for 4-year-old students two full days per week. Early Childhood Coordinator Chas Balut said, "It has been going great. People seem to really like it."

The ECFE program served more than 65 children this year. The program recently received a Pathway II grant for $37,500 and they are eligible for the same amount next year. A lot of the grant will go toward keeping the program going and covering staff salaries.

The curriculum for the students has been very progressive by including Spanish language instruction. Balut would like to keep that initiative going, and the grant money will help. Balut also hopes to have specific bus drop-offs for the 3-year-old children. There would be a route that dropped children off at their daycare center so parents would not have to worry about picking their children up at 10:45 a.m. every Thursday.

The program recently purchased otoacoustic emissions testing equipment and has identified several students with hearing loss. Those students have started receiving outside services as in seeing an otologist. The Lions Club recently donated $6,225, which enabled the program to purchase special vision equipment.

The preschoolers participated in a program called Hugs and Hellos for Heroes. The program ships prepacked goods with special notes from children to the troops serving our country overseas. The purpose of the program is to teach the children the importance of giving and caring. It also increases literacy and writing skills.

2016-17 calendar

The board approved the 2016-17 school-year calendar. The calendar includes five early release days. At the February meeting, the board discussed adopting a calendar that similarly followed a weekly early release pattern which other area schools used. The purpose was for schools to easily collaborate.

Unfortunately, there were too many unanswered questions for the calendar to be released in a timely manner. Among the questions was what will happen with the students who participate in sports when classes end early, who will cover the costs of providing the students with supervision, and how to efficiently communicate changes to the calendar to prevent students from being dropped off by the bus when their family is not home. The school board will continue to look into ways to collaborate with the surrounding schools.

Drivers education

Dean of Students Gregg Campbell proposed to the board having a 30-hour after school driver education class twice per year. It would account for those who participate in school athletics. It also would allow for the high school students to have a social studies elective. The class would cost $25 per hour for the instructor, and having it twice per year would cost the district an additional $1,500 annually. The board unanimously supported the proposal. There will be more details to come.

 

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