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Edgar students are adjusting to distance learning

Children and their parents are adjusting well to distance learning put in place after Gov. Tony Evers closed private and public schools on March 18 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Edgar school principals told school board members last week Wednesday.

Elementary school principal Lisa Witt said teachers were broadcasting video lessons over the internet on Google Classroom, answering student questions during scheduled office hours and troubleshooting problems some students were having with technology.

“I’m getting lots of good feedback,” Witt said about the distance learning.

Witt said families have had to learn to share high speed internet connections.

She said she received one call from a frantic parent, told to work at home during the pandemic by her employer, who needed the family computer during the school day when her children wanted to also use it for school work.

Witt said the school was willing to be flexible in the situation.

“What we said was that the parent could use the computer during the day and have the children do their school work at night,” she said.

Witt said she has been successfully sending out messages about school news to parents over social media. Parents are reading the messages, she said.

Middle and high school principal Tom McCarty said switching traditional classroom instruction over to distance learning has been a major task, taking a lot of work from staff.

“Everybody is feeling stress right now,” he said.

McCarty said teachers are learning what internet platforms work best and are easiest to use. Some have posted their class videos to YouTube because it processes videos faster than other platforms.

District administrator Dr. Cari Guden said the Edgar food service staff planned to serve cold lunch and breakfast meals to families on school days by distributing bags on the west side of Edgar Public Schools.

She said the lunches will be served to all students under age 18, regardless of income and whether they attend private or public school.

During the first day of lunches, staff made up 59 bags. “I think that number will grow,” Guden said.

In other school board news:

_ Principal Witt reported that 48 students seen during preschool screening registered for 4K in the fall. Three more students are undecided. Witt said this incoming class was among the largest in several years. “We are excited,” she said.

Witt said she continued to plan for summer school, despite uncertainty over whether Gov. Evers would reopen schools by June. “I am hoping to do summer school,” she said. “I really think our students need some enrichment some time this summer.”

Board member Suzanne Wolf said it might be a good idea to hold summer school at the end of summer and right before the beginning of school in the fall.

_ Board president Bill Dittman called for Edgar High School to find some current staff member to teach some kind of business education class.

Administrator Guden said the district tries to offer business education with a distance learning class taught at Marathon High School. She said a teacher needs a state license in that discipline to teach a business class like accounting.

Dittman said the district should offer teachers something to persuade them to teach a business class.

“It’s something to dangle out there, I think,” he said.

_ Board members accepted the resignation of middle school guidance counselor Jackie Streveler.

_ Board members agreed to hire two people to coach girls softball this year. They are Stuart Davis and Haylee Durkee. Board member Gary Lewis abstained from the vote. Davis is Lewis’ son-in-law.

_ Board members approved a 2020-21 CESA 10 distance learning contract for $13,945. The contact is $345 higher than the current school year.

_ It was announced the 2020-21 Edgar High School valedictorian is Bailey Imhoff. The salutatorian is Marissa Ellenbecker.