School board seeks more information about e-learning

By Chad Koenen


The New York Mills School Board tackled a variety range of topics during a work session last Monday night. The topics ranged from everything like prioritizing some of the parts of the district’s strategic plan to how it should deal with snow days in the future. 

At the start of the work session, the school board members and administration worked in small groups to prioritize parts of the new strategic plan. The groups discussed future aspects of the strategic plan, as well as assigned people to head up certain aspects of the plan itself.

The strategic plan was prioritized into social and emotional learning, curriculum and industry, facilities, communication/marketing, and business/instruction and community. 

Several school board members expressed a desire to stick with the current format of having snow days, as opposed to e-learning days and questioned the quality of education provided online, as opposed to in the classroom. 

The school board said there was at least one occasion this year where several school districts in the region called school off early the night before and transitioned to an e-learning day, while NY Mills and other school districts in the region had school on time and in person.

Other concerns raised by school board members was the quality of learning provided through e-learning days, the challenge of students being able to grasp materials at home without a teacher helping them in person, falling behind if materials are not completed at home, as well as a lack of adequate internet and people to help a student get logged in each day.

NY Mills Superintendent Blaine Novak said some of the pros of having the ability for e-learning days was to not have to make up missed days at the end of the school year, while also preserving some of the three day weekends that are taken away by snow days during the school year.

He said one option that the school board could consider was to allow for snow days like they have in the past, but once those days were utilized the district could use e-learning days to prevent students from coming back after Memorial Day or into June. Novak said this year has been especially difficult for snow days due to the inclement weather. 

It was also reported that the teachers overwhelmingly voted in favor of offering e-learning days, as opposed to having to make up snow days during a recent survey. 

Since the meeting was a work session no decisions regarding the strategic plan or e-learning/snow days was made last week.