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All set to soar: New technology will get the year off to a flying start in New York Mills

The school's eagle mascot soars over the building's main entrance. Connie Vandermay/FOCUS

Sept. 4 is right around the corner, and like it or not, that first Tuesday after Labor Day marks the first day of school for area children.

Shortly after the hallways cleared out last spring, the summer projects began. The floors were waxed, some lockers repainted and the new carpet was laid in the high school media center. The telephone system and computer labs were updated, and various landscaping projects were completed outside.

This year, the school will have a full-time principal on both sides of the building after three years of operating with a part-time elementary principal. And, for the first time in more than a decade, the school will have a fourth section of kindergarten.

Teachers will be using technology in their classrooms more than ever, and parents will more easily be able to watch their student's progress with a new information system.

So though area kids may not be ready for homework and books, the building, teachers and staff are rearing up and ready to go.

Technology upgrades

Technology is on the rise for this coming school year in NY Mills, thanks to a technology levy that passed last November.

All five of the school's computer labs were updated this summer with refurbished computers and upgraded software - from Windows XP to Windows 7. Every teacher and administrator in the school has also been supplied with a laptop.

Technology proposals from different departments around the school were granted for the upcoming school year.

Megan Myers, a math teacher, will be enhancing math stations in her room with Learning Point Navigators and iPads. This will help students actively learn at their own pace with activities directly linked to standards set by the state.

A traveling cart of student iPads and a SMARTboard was approved for the high school English department. This will help the English department move toward a flipped classroom, while also expanding the ways students can learn. With this equipment, students will be able to edit text, record group presentations and access online programs.

Student Response Systems were also approved for the seventh through 12th grade math department. This system puts hand-held devices into students' hands so they can interact at the press of a button, replying to questions displayed on a screen at the front of the room. This equipment will help the math department monitor student success by making a variety of assessments more available.

New student info system

Over the summer, a new student information system called Synergy was installed. This state-of-the-art system will provide better service and communication between parents and school officials.

Parents will be able to find their children's attendance information, along with grades. School lunch account information will also be available.

This new system will allow information like immunization records to transfer from year to year. Currently, parents are required to compile immunization paperwork at the beginning of every school year.

Parents will be able to access this information online using a private password.


There will be an open house on Aug. 29 from 4-7 p.m. at the NY Mills School.

New this year will be a sign-up sheet for parent-teacher conferences. In the Sports Center Foyer, parents are encouraged to sign up for conferences at times that work best for them. Fall conferences will be held on Monday, Oct. 15 and Tuesday, Oct 16.

On Tuesday, Aug. 21 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium, those entering seventh grade are invited to tour the school.

Also, the Community Helping Classrooms committee has set the date for the second annual fall carnival for Nov. 16. They will have a community volunteer sign up sheet at the open house. Last year, more than 100 volunteers helped put on a successful event.

Other dates to remember:

-Tuesday, Aug. 21, teacher in-service

-Monday, Aug. 27, teachers' workshop in Fergus Falls

-Tuesday, Aug. 28, k-12 teachers and paraprofessionals service day

-Wednesday, Aug. 29, teacher in-service

-Tuesday, Sept. 4, first day of school