It looks like a return to school is within reach for those planning to send their children back to in-person learning at the School District of Amery.
During the December 21 meeting of Amery’s Board of Education, District Administrator, Dr. Shawn Doerfler said they are half way through the two week window of tallying COVID cases for the return to school plan. He said thus far there has been 163 cases in Polk County and five in the district. That window of tallying runs through December 29. “It is looking as if there is a very strong possibility that we will be face-to-face at Elementary and Intermediate. High School/Middle School will either be face-to-face or hybrid based on the numbers as we see them now,” he said.
High School principal Josh Gould said, “We are really trying to reach kids that we think might be slipping through the cracks, giving them special assistance and help in any way that we can.” He said the school has been in the process of rescheduling events such as ACT practices and National Honors Society induction. “Those things will be rolling out after Christmas break,” he said.
Middle School principal Tom Bensen said he is happy with the number of kids that are actively participating in virtual schooling. He said they have brought a few kids in to give them extra help as they head into break. They have polled families and know which students are coming back for in-person learning after the break. Bensen said there are eight or nine that have chosen to stay learning virtually until semester time. “When we get back we are setting up some goals at the Middle School,” said Bensen. He said the first steps though to returning were to go over COVID precautions and technology expectations. Bensen said, “We are excited to have the kids come back January 4.”
Lien Elementary principal Cheryl Meyer, shared Bensen’s sentiments. “We are very, VERY excited to get back,” she said. There are eight families at Lien that would like to continue with remote learning after Christmas break. She said there are also 15 families who have been doing the Calvart virtual learning since the beginning of the year who will also need to decide which form of learning is best for them second semester.
Director of Pupil Services Brad Baumgartner said by the end of the year he anticipates there will be well over 275 (last year’s number) of Individualized Educational Plans (IEP). “It is a testament to the flexibility, communication and the ability of our Special Ed Case Managers to accomplish an awful lot in a short amount of time in terms of adjusting to learning models this year,” he said.
In other business, notice was given that an election will be held Tuesday, April 6, 2021 for two At Large positions for school board members. The two Incumbents are Keith Anderson and Char Glenna. A Campaign Registration Statement and a Declaration of Candidacy must be files no later than 5p.m. Tuesday, January 5, 2021, in the District Office.
A Children’s Winter Clothing Drive saw the Amery Lion’s Club and Amery Knights of Columbus working with the district to serve 44 families (102 children) with 355 items, including coats, snow pants, boots, gloves, hats and scarves.
Also thanked for district donations were: Walmart, Kwik Trip, Carole Chmielewski, Don Waldbillig, Ruth Mugerauer and an anonymous donor.