Friday, December 9, 2022

Supporting kids as new school year begins

A new school year has begun. Students in Byron returned to classes last week and students in Kasson-Mantorville, Hayfield, and Triton are heading back this week for what everyone hopes will be a normal school year following two-plus years of COVID disruptions.

Disrupted academic schedules, reduced social activities and high levels of uncertainty, anxiety and grief have affected children and youth academically and mentally. While Dodge County students, and adults for that matter, may have experienced fewer or shorter-lived restrictions than people in other parts of the country, the pandemic did take a toll.

If there ever was a time to give added support to our schools and teachers and others helping young people it is now.

There are several positive changes taking place in Dodge County this school year, and although they are not directly related to COVID issues they are important in addressing learning and mental health issues.

The Zumbro Education District (ZED) officially cut the ribbon on their new facility Tuesday evening. The new building, located on Highway 57 in Kasson adjacent to both the Catholic Church and Kasson-Mantorville High School, will consolidate the district’s in-person education programs, the Area Learning Center, Futures/Choices Program, and Transition 2 success, in one location, after years of having ZED programs in several different locations. There also will be office space for those educators who go to the various school districts that are a part of ZED as well as those involved in the district’s enrichment programs.

We also have a story in this week’s DCI about a new position established in the Byron School District.

Byron Public Schools hired for a new position this fall, with Alana Milde coming on board as the behavior support specialist for the school district. She has been employed as the mental health therapist for Byron primary and intermediate schools for several years but the new position expands her role to encompass the entire district.

Milde will provide support for students who might need help with transitions, learning routines, those who may benefit from small-group experiences, with adjusting to school, helping with interventions that might be needed for students to achieve their maximum capabilities in the classroom, focusing on peer interaction, and building friendship skills.

The ZED construction was in the planning stages long before COVID and the Byron position is not a direct response to any COVID-related issues, but still they both address situations that have been made more obvious by the pandemic.

One thing the pandemic has done is shine a light on the problems, issues, and stresses of students, schools and our education system.

It is time for everyone, not just parents and those involved directly in education, to step up and support our schools, teachers, staff and students more than ever.

In Dodge County and Byron we have good schools with people working hard to give students the best education possible. But it never hurts to be reminded that there is always more we can do and that it really does take the entire community to do the best we can for the younger generation.

 

 

Dodge County Independent

Dodge County Independent
Dodge County ADvantage
301 S. Mantorville Ave.
Plaza 57 • Suite 200
Kasson, MN 55944

Dodge County Printing
301 S. Mantorville Ave.
Plaza 57 • Suite 200
Kasson, MN 55944

507-634-7503