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By Bill Schmidt
The first quarter is over and the students and staff at SEM have been working hard in the classroom, on the volleyball court, football field, in FFA, Music, and One-Act. The students are extremely busy and I am working on meeting with the extra-curricular sponsors and coaches to work on developing a practice schedule and activity schedule that will help the students in the classroom and in their activities. I think that it is great that the students get a very well-rounded education, but I am concerned about class time that students are missing, and the amount of curriculum that is covered when students are out of the class room. Also if a student is in a lot of different activities, can they give their best effort in each of those areas? What area is going to suffer? If it is in the class room, then other options may need to be discussed.
Another topic that will be discussed with students, staff, and parents in the amount of time we have for Junior High practice. The practice starts at 2:38 and is over at 3:28. If you figure in the time to change and warm up and change again, the practice is limited to 35-40 minutes. One thought is to see if the junior high students could be picked up at a later time and not ride the bus home. That would allow the practices to run for an additional 30-45 minutes if needed. I do not think that the coaches have the time to teach fundamentals and other drills to prepare the students like their opponents. Many other schools practice after school as well. I also do not believe that we can cut more class time to all for practice time. The students in the Fort Kearny Conference miss approximately 20-25 afternoons in 7th and 8th grade. That is a month of school each year, or two months of curriculum for band, art, social studies and science.
I have had a lot of community members discuss the possibility of SEM becoming a one-to-one school with technology devices. The school has purchased 40 lap tops the past two years and they are being used in the classrooms. Staff are using the smart boards in their classrooms as well, but I believe they still need more training to use the smart boards and lap tops to the full potential. I am attending a technology conference on October 30th to learn more about Chrome Books and IPADs. The school will be purchasing more devices this fall and could be in a position to be one-to-one by next spring, if not, then by next fall. Training for staff, students, and parents will need to take place, and policies will need to be developed. The infrastructure will need to be improved as well. What the school currently has will not support the amount of devices that will be used on a daily basis.
There is a lot going on at SEM to improve student learning and the results are starting to show that. The 8th grade and 11th grade writing was not included in the state of schools report because of technical issues at the state level during the time of the test. Had those been included, SEM would have shown drastic improvement. SEM students showed great improvement in 3rd-5th reading and math, and as a district SEM was 36th out of 249th schools in improvement for reading. I believe that those scores will increase again this year, and as reading and writing improves, the other areas will as well. The staff will use this data, and data for MAPs testing to ensure that the students are working on the areas of concern. All teachers in grades PreK-12 met to work the language arts curriculum on October 10th, and are going to meet again on November 7th to improve our curriculum.
I am very excited for the future of SEM Public Schools, if you have any questions or concerns about what is going on at the school, please call the school or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Each year the 5 th grade and Preschool get together once a month to make a craft. Last week we made pumpkins for Halloween. read more
The Preschool Class went on a field trip along with the Kindergarten and 1 st grade to Fox Farms Pumpkin Patch in Broken Bow. While we were there we went on a hay rack ride and walked through a corn maze. The kids got to color pictures, jump in a corn pile, play on hay bales, and go down a slide. The preschoolers were most excited about eating their sack lunches!! read more
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