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For first time, NY Mills daycare program capped

For the first time since the New York Mills School-Age Child Care program began two decades ago, it has had to put a cap on accepting any new kids.

For now, no new families are being accepted into the program, due to "safety issues and space," according to the program's director, Irene Sandback.

Sandback gave a written report to the NY Mills School Board at a meeting Monday night.

She plans on reevaluating before the summer session, to determine if the program can begin accepting new families again then. That will depend on the regular attendance schedules of current families.

Right now, 93 families and 151 school-age children use the program on a full-time, part-time or drop-in basis.

When compared to last year's numbers, the amount of families utilizing the program on a full-time basis has increased by 12, up to 43.

The School-Age Child Care program averages 12-15 children before school and 40-45 children every night, up from last year's average of 25-30 per night. On the highest nights this year, the child count has reached 56.

In addition to Sandback, Bev Witt also helps out with the program, along with high school students Emily Blomberg, Cody Preuss, Sharnea Witt and Tyler Pilanka.

"I could not do this program without these amazing people," Sandback stated.

In other news at the school board meeting:

-New York Mills High School math teachers Harley Jabas and Joy Cooley demonstrated the rapid response system that the school purchased last summer.

Jabas and Cooley each have 32 rapid response "clickers" to utilize in the classrooms.

On "clicker days," each student uses a handheld device to respond to various assessment questions that are pulled up on a screen. They can be used with online assessment tools such as Study Island, or teachers can develop their own questions.

The math department is piloting the student response systems, and both teachers reported finding them very helpful in assessing students on a regular basis.

-The school board accepted three donations: New weight room equipment from the Eagles Booster Club, $750 from Central Minnesota Credit Union and $1,260 from Arvig Internet Refund.

-A school board workshop was scheduled for Monday, Feb. 11 at 6 p.m. to discuss the process of interviewing and choosing a new superintendent for the district. Current superintendent Todd Cameron will retire this summer.