April 9, 2020

Distance Learning and Logistics

by John Vukmanich, Principal - North Woods School

As many of you are now aware, the state of Minnesota is in "Shelter In Place" through Saturday, April 10. Schools are closed to students through May 4, with the possibility that we will reopen on May 5. That decision will likely be made by the governor based on the status of the COVID-19 cases in Minnesota.
Schools across the state and nation are now shifting to distance learning. You may have heard the term "e-learning" as well, which stands for electronic learning. We are calling our plan "distance learning" because not all families have the internet. If you are a family with school-age children, what I am saying is probably not new news for you. If you do not have school-age children, then you might be asking for an explanation on what exactly is going on in this craziness?
Here is what's going on. Students who have internet capability are doing a large part of their school work using the internet. Assignments can be sent back and forth using email, Google Classroom, SeeSaw, Schoology, and other internet-based learning platforms. Resources that students at North Woods are already familiar with, such as IXL and Khan Academy, will be used as well. Teachers are using Youtube, Zoom, Facetime, and other video resources to broadcast lessons. Students can communicate questions, post answers, and record themselves much the same. Teachers are actually able to do a complete lecture or presentation using many of the internet's platforms.
Students who do not have the internet are being sent regular paper homework. Some students are too young to be totally independent, too, so their teachers are sending work home that is more old-fashioned in nature. Teachers are calling families, emailing, and personally checking in with their kids.
How are school materials being sent? By bus of course! In addition to school materials such as books and assignments, North Woods is also sending meals to many area families. Our school's commons area has been turned into somewhat of a port for the transferring of goods and materials to and from the school and families. The kitchen staff, along with the transportation department and our dedicated paraprofessionals, have been working closely together to coordinate all of this. We have coordinated with our sister school at Nett Lake to help feed our Nett Lake students who may live much closer to the Nett Lake School.
There are many questions that we do not have answers to yet. We will figure out the best system for us in time, learning by our errors. I want to hand it to the teachers, paras, bus drivers, custodians, secretaries, kitchen staff, and all of the others I may have forgotten who have risen to the challenge to make this situation the best that it can be. Paras are running daycare, helping with deliveries, and assisting teachers with materials. Teachers are planning to use every resource possible to reach every kid from a distance. Bus drivers are now delivery drivers shuttling meals and homework every Monday and Thursday. Our custodians are deep cleaning our building. Our secretaries are answering hundreds of questions a day in stride. Our kitchen staff are preparing dozens of meals every day. We are a school, and we realize that our responsibility prior to this pandemic is to educate, feed, counsel, and support our students' individual needs on campus. We now have adapted to do this from a distance. The efficiency that our team has shown through this has been nothing short of amazing. Why? Because we care and want this to be right. Collectively we want this to be the best it can be and for things to be as normal as possible during this abnormal time.
We are stressing that the connections to our kids right now are just as important as any content we teach. Please support your kids in connecting with their teachers and classmates as much as possible. Hang in there, everyone!

Cook Timber Days 2020 canceled, will be back in 2021

Timber Days, that very popular celebration hosted in Cook every June, will for the first time be canceled this year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Timber Days Committee made that decision this week, with regret.
Timber Days will be back next year, though, with its outstanding parade, crafts, food stands, children's games, and more. Canceling Timber Days for 2020 was done for the health and safety of those attending it and working on it. The committee promises that next year's celebration will have new additions that you will love, so look forward to it as we fight through this pandemic.
The Timber Days Committee wishes everyone safety and good health during this tough time. They look forward to seeing everyone next year.

Burglary suspects arrested in Leiding Township

On Thursday, March 26, around 7:30 a.m., St. Louis County Sheriff's Deputies responded to a burglary in progress call from a private residence in the 2000 block of Highway 53 in Field Township, four miles north of Cook. 911 Dispatch received a report that two male individuals had entered the attached porch of the residence and stole a number of items from inside and then proceeded to cut a tree down in the yard.
A St. Louis County Sheriff's squad arrived within minutes of the call, but the suspects had already fled the scene. Deputies proceeded to searched the area, later locating the suspect vehicle parked at a private residence on the Nett Lake Road in Leiding Township.
Subsequently, two male suspects were taken into custody in connection to the incident. A search warrant executed at the residence on Nett Lake Road led to the recovery of items stolen during the burglary. Both males were formally charged on March 30 in St. Louis County District Court in Hibbing as a result of the investigation.
Luke Lee Dustin Prescott, 39, of Grand Rapids has been charged with two felony counts including: 1st Degree Burglary and 3rd Degree Possession of a Narcotic Drug other than Heroin.
Clifton Lea Garcia, 42, of Coon Rapids, has also been charged with one felony count of 1st Degree Burglary.
Both Prescott and Garcia remain in custody at the St. Louis County jail at this time.


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