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Editor's note: This is the final story in a six-week series on the use of iPads at Perham High School. The Perham High School social studies department has a steady stream of current information this year, thanks to the varying capabilities of the iPad. In an interview, social studies teacher T.J.
The Perham-Dent School Board gave final approval to a levy increase of 19.39 percent at a meeting last week, following a truth and taxation hearing that drew no comments from the two community members present. Business Manager Kristi Werner said the sharp increase is due to the Capital Projects Levy approved by voters in an April referendum. The Capital Projects Levy collects an estimated $440,000 a year for projects related to technology and buildings and grounds improvements.
The New York Mills School cafeteria is a little ahead of the game when it comes to federal regulations, food services supervisor Anj Wiire told the school board at a meeting last week. Schools across the country are gearing up for new school lunch requirements that promote healthier eating. The new rules become mandatory in 2014. Wiire said NY Mills is following all guidelines for keeping meals within a certain calorie count, offering an array of fruits and vegetables and limiting fat content.
Public and charter schools across Minnesota saw an 18 percent increase in their expected state aid payments this December, it was announced last week.
Perham High School science teacher Shawn Stafke and his freshmen and sophomore students have been conducting an experiment with electronic textbooks. By all accounts, it's been a successful one. Thanks to the school's new iPads, electronic textbooks are an option for the first time. After four months of research, Stafke and his students have determined electronic textbooks to be the way to go. "It's not your standard textbook," Stafke said in an interview last week. As students flip through the electronic texts, they can interact with different portions of the chapters.
For the first time in history, Perham High School teachers were presenters at Minnesota's biggest education technology conference. Three PHS teachers, Jeff Morris, Shawn Stafki and Sandra Wieser-Matthews and technology specialist Shane Snyder gave presentations at the 2012 TIES conference, held in Minneapolis Dec. 10. They shared what they've learned about how to use iPads in the classroom.
Ten students gathered last Friday morning in Heidi Dresser's room at New York Mills High School for their fourth practice as an improvisational team. The newly-formed team is the first of its kind at the school. "Improv is simply creative practice of spontaneous scenes," said Dresser. Each week, the students pick new exercises that help them, "develop quick thinking capabilities and foster teamwork." Last Friday's exercise was similar to "The Dating Game," with one student trying to choose the best date by asking three contestants a series of questions.
The New York Mills City Council passed a flat levy - a zero percent increase - at a meeting last week, something not done in over a decade. The truth and taxation meeting was held with two members of the community present. NY Mills' budget shows expected revenues for 2013 coming in at $1,036,983 and total expenditures at $1,023,255 - a net revenue of $13,728. The city's police department is the most expensive department for the city, with an expected $298,887 in expenditures planned next year.
At a hearing Tuesday, Dec. 18, Danny Bettcher was sentenced to 720 days in prison for violating the terms of his release. Bettcher, of New York Mills, reportedly holds the state record for the most drunk driving-related offenses, with 27. According to Sarah Berg of the Minnesota Department of Corrections, Bettcher was apprehended on Dec. 8 after he was seen in an establishment that serves alcohol, and was consuming alcohol, both violations of his parole.
The very thought of a school shooting causes local officials to shudder. Perham and New York Mills schools, like others across Minnesota, are constantly preparing for a tragedy like the one Friday in Newtown, Conn., talking through procedures and offering practice drills. But they're always hoping they never have a need for those preparations. Minnesota law requires each school to have plans to deal with "potential violent crisis situations," from natural disasters to shootings. In the wake of the Connecticut shooting, which left 26 people dead, including 20 children, Minnesota Education C