Education changed after COVID pandemic

By Chad Koenen


The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically changed how the lives of everyday people have operated over the past three years. That includes education and the growing need for expanded technology in the school system.

During its regularly scheduled meeting last Monday night, the NY Mills School Board heard from Nick DeVillers about the NY Mills School technology department. 

Since COVID-19, DeVillers said the technology department has received a number of federal grants to help assist with adding technology at the school. For example, the school district has redesigned its website, purchased 40 hot spots for internet access for students at home, new lunch room software that allows the school district to accept credit cards, new apps and technology to use in the classroom and installed cameras that can sense things like vaping. 

The school district has also replaced an old phone system that only allowed 10 people on the phone at a time with one that has a dedicated line in each classroom. DeVillers said the old phone system created a number of challenges during COVID-19 as teachers and parents were communicating virtually. 

Since COVID-19 began three years ago, DeVillers said the technology department and use of apps has grown dramatically. 

In order to assist in future decision making, DeVillers created an expansive spreadsheet that shows potential costs for devices to coincide with a variety of replacement plans. He is also asking teachers to track the apps they use to see if there is the potential to pare back some apps that are no longer needed.

“I’m just trying to keep track of when we should replace these devices,” said DeVillers. 

The spreadsheet will also help the school board plan for future projects and see the cost of upkeep for the current technology.

Some future projects include adding additional STEAM options at the school, work in the auditorium and potentially replacing the lighting, as well as a number of other ways to enhance education for students down the road.

In other news

• Accepted the following donations: $1,500 to three classrooms from an anonymous donor, shirts from Lakeshirts, a treadmill and elliptical from Greg and Adele Esala and $500 from Lake Region Electric for scholarships.

• Approved the following appointments: Matthew Schluttner as assistant speech coach, Will Grieger as junior high boys basketball coach, Zach Hocking as paraprofessional and Gene Barvels as custodian for 10 hours per week.

• Accepted the following resignations: Annika Frost as paraprofessional and Molly Costin as head girls track coach. 

• Enrollment continues to see a slight uptick at NY Mills School. The school board received a historical look at the school district’s enrollment which showed that enrollment on Jan. 1 was 843 students, which is up seven students from the start of the school year. It is also up eight students from the same time last year and 11 students from 2020.The enrollment includes all students from preschool through 12th grade. 

• Heard from Doug Salo who requested the process to recognize a past member of the school and community. The school board said it will discuss different ways that could be available and the process for doing so at an upcoming work session.