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"Mr. Rach rocks!" Those were the words on one of many posters held up by cheering elementary school students that lined the halls at Heart of the Lakes in Perham last week. The kids were celebrating the Teacher of the Year announcement honoring fourth grade teacher Lance Rach. After the announcement, Rach climbed on the back of a floor scrubber decorated in streamers, and slowly made a lap around the school, offering high fives to the cheering kids. Rach was nominated for the award by the Perham Education Association leadership team.
Even with the recent iPad immersion, Perham High School's quilting class offers the same hands-on experience students expect. Throughout the 12-week course, students choose a pattern, pick out material and learn the traditional steps of cutting, piecing and quilting as they each make their own quilt. Thanks to video recording abilities on the student's new iPads, the 21st century quilting process has an additional step - recording the experience. Last week, Mary Karkela's quilting class held its annual quilt show, displaying completed quilts and, for the first time, completed videos.
Don't miss the fun in Ottertail this Saturday at the annual Otter Dazzle holiday festival. The event, held at the Ottertail Community Center, "promotes family fun, and is a kick-off for the holiday season," said Lori Field, a member of the Ottertail Business Association and Otter Dazzle organizer. A team of 12 has been working since September to put together the holiday festivities, hoping to provide something for everyone at this day of fun. Field said, "Volunteers are wonderful. They all come out on the day and pitch in.
Since opening in June of 2011, the memberships at Boys and Girls Club in Perham have quadrupled - from 51 then, to 205 now. Last month, the club expanded its space by another 800 square feet. In an interview last week, director Cori Brown said this growth is largely due to recent partnerships with area businesses and groups. In one such partnership, Heart of the Lakes Elementary School brought an educational booster program into the after-school club by providing a teacher and a paraprofessional four afternoons a week.
Budget reductions, along with an increase in pupils and state aid, led to an 11.5 percent increase in the Perham-Dent School District's net assets, according to a 2012 audit. Brady Martz Certified Public Accountants and Consultants presented the audit to the school board via Skype last week. According to the audit, "Total revenues surpassed expenses, increasing net assets" by roughly $1 million over last year.
With New York Mills Superintendent Todd Cameron's upcoming retirement, the school board recently held a workshop to discuss future administration models. All current board members, along with the four incoming members, had a brief discussion before dismissing five of the eight possible models. While no decisions were made, most board members leaned toward keeping a full-time superintendent, full-time high school principal and full-time elementary principal - the current structure.
There is more to decorating a tree than stringing lights and hanging glass bulbs. At least, that's the theory behind the annual Christmas Tree Festival in New York Mills. At 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23, the doors will open in the NY Mills City Ballroom for a first glimpse at this year's collection of trees, decorated by area businesses and individuals. "I've seen the entrants this year, and they are thinking outside the box and doing really different things," festival organizer Dolly Tumberg said of the tree decorations.
The New York Mills City Council has denied a request by the public library for an additional $2,000 a year to pay for more staff time. Specifically, the funds would have paid for part-time library staff to work an additional three hours per week, allowing two employees to be at the library during open hours. Councilor Julie Gerber explained the decision: The state sets a minimum contribution that cities are expected to provide for library expenses, and the city already gives almost $15,500 more than the state requires.
Editor's note: This is the first story in a six-week series on the use of iPads at Perham High School. When Perham High School began its new one-to-one iPad initiative this year, teachers and students dove into a whole new world of education. From the very beginning, school officials knew iPads would be useless if they weren't immediately and effectively integrated into the day-to-day world of school. That's why the Perham-Dent School Board approved a plan to hire tech integration specialists - staff that stays at the school every day to help teachers and students solve issues.
If area volunteers have anything to say about it, everyone will have a traditional hot turkey dinner this Thanksgiving. In both Perham and New York Mills, preparations are underway to provide Thanksgiving dinners for those in need. In Perham, the 14th annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner will be held at Northwoods Assembly of God Church on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 22, from 11 a.m.