On Monday morning this week, several students ventured out to Perch Lake in Baxter, Minnesota to do a little ice fishing with Czech and two professional fishing guides and fisherman: J.R. Cooper and Cindy Gibbs. A few of the students fishing had no ice fishing experience, nonetheless, they were able to learn how to fish out on the lake thanks to the leadership of the adults on the trip! The students were excited, even though the weather didn't cooperate. While on Perch Lake, the sky opened up and it rained fairly consistently, leaving them all soaking wet! As you can see by the pictures, they still managed to have a good time fishing!
At the beginning of the new session, we had so many new students filtering into the school that we decided to have a week of activities in order for the students to work together and get to know one another. Our biggest hit was Greg's activity where students picked a small box to stand in, and then as he read the questions, if they applied to them they moved to the BIG box. It showed the students their similarities, and it allowed them to learn they even had things in common with the teachers in the building as well!
By: Tracee Colgrove
The ice fishing at Lake of the Woods was phenomenal. We left January 31st and returned on February 2. There were three people to a fish house, with a guide, J.P. Tessier (Lake of the Woods Outdoorsman), popping from one fish house to another in order to help us out. The Social Studies teacher, Czech, took a total of five students: Jacob, Austin, Leona, Alex, and Justin. Three of the students were avid fishermen, while two were first timers. We spent a total of one night and one day fishing on Lake of the Woods, where we caught a plethora of sauger and walleye. Altogether, the students caught roughly-fifty five fish, bringing home fifteen to devour with their classmates upon returning to school.
Polaris was amazing. It was like being a kid in a candy store! There were a bunch of big toys like four wheelers, side by sides, and snow machines. We were given a tour for about an hour and a half, learning it takes a bunch of people to run the business. The coolest thing we saw was the four wheeler assembly line, each person adding something new as it traveled down the line.
Just the Visitor’s Center for Marvin Windows contains 6,000 square feet of artifacts and interactive exhibits. They are the world’s largest manufacturer of made-to-order doors and windows, and they are located in Warroad, Minnesota.. They been in business for more than 100 years. We were given a guided tour, by a thirty-year veteran turned tour guide, of the ten acre facility! The size of the property was ridiculous! In fact, they even have their own clinic. Our final stop was “The Shed,” where we toured through an exhibit of classic cars. The Shed contains all of Bob Marvin’s private collection of classic cars, ranging anywhere from Model T’s to the newest concept cars.
By: Austin Beach & Jacob Peterson
CRAIG BOYKIN: KEYNOTE SPEAKER, FEBRUARY 8th
Wednesday, February 8, the keynote speaker was Craig Boykin. Craig works with educators to help them find innovative ways to teach and understand some of the most troubled children. He shared the difficulties and setbacks he faced and how he turned them into opportunities. He also shared how his teachers could have approached things differently. One of my favorite quotes was, “At Risk youth don’t care about your curriculum and lesson plans, until you start caring about their circumstances.” Craig also had a breakout session on Thursday, “Right Motives, Wrong Methods” where he went more in depth on helpful methods. Specifically, he shared how teachers need to understand where a student comes from, their learned habits, and how they’ve become who they are.
By: Beth Ausland
YONG ZHAO: KEYNOTE SPEAKER, FEBRUARY 9th
The Thursday afternoon keynote was Yong Zhao, a distinguished educator, author, and professor currently working at the University of Kansas. Zhao has spent his career criticizing traditional education practices, the privatization of public education, and standardized testing. During his keynote address at the MAAP Conference, he emphasized the need to nurture learners’ creativity in today’s diverse, consumer based global economy. Students should pursue their passions and drive their own learning so that they can offer their unique talents to the world and be “ready for living outside of their parents’ basement.” PACS staff will continue to support this philosophy as we design curriculum for students who are interested in environmental studies and careers.
By: Greg Zimmerman
PATTY WETTERLING: KEYNOTE SPEAKER, FEBRUARY 10th
On Friday morning, we were lucky enough to listen to Patty Wetterling. As a former educator, she is aware of the importance of knowing students, building relationships, and providing them a safe haven at school. Since her son Jacob’s abduction in 1989, and subsequently learning of his death nearly 27 years later, Patty has become a frontrunner in the support of missing children, even serving on the panel “at the very first White House Conference on Missing, Exploited, and Runaway Children in October 2002.” She shared her personal story of losing Jacob, searching for him, receiving closure after finding his remains, and the direction this journey took her. She and her family spearheaded the “Eleven Who Care,” sharing these eleven traits:
By: Tracee Colgrove
MINDFULNESS AND YOGA FOR STRESS REDUCTION
I personally thoroughly enjoyed the session on mindfulness and yoga. It is so easy for us in this day and age to become wrapped up in the fast paced society we live in, and we forget to be fully present in the moment. Learning to slow our minds and be aware of ourselves and our surroundings is so beneficial in stress management and coping skills, as well as overall ability to thrive. I'm excited to practice what I learned in this session not only for myself, but with our students here at PACS as well.
By: Shana Crouse
On January 27, the students at Pillager Area Charter School had the opportunity to tour a local dairy farm in Rice, Minnesota--New Heights Dairy LLC (NHD).. The theme during this session was industry, and the students and teachers alike learned how the dairy farm industry runs along with who to partner with for products. The NHD partners with Land O’Lakes in order to supply milk to their company. The main product the dairy’s milk is used for is parmesan cheese. The students were given samples of chocolate milk, oreos, cheese, and even single-serve packets of Land O’Lakes hot chocolate. The students also spoke with a representative from the MN Department of Agriculture about careers in agriculture as well as the importance of the agriculture industry in MN.
During the tour, Brent Czech, one of the owners of the dairy, shared a variety of facts about dairy operations. Cows are collared for ease of tracking eating patterns and heat cycles. They tag the cows with two different tags, one in each ear, to indicate the names of the mother and father. The cows get milked three times a day, each cow yielding anywhere from 12-55 pounds of milk per milking. The milk is 102 degrees when it comes out of the cows, and they cool it to 60 degrees. They have the ability to milk 40 cows at a time. He explained they fill a tanker every four hours with milk. The dairy farm currently houses 1400 cows, and they have their calves outside in temperature regulated huts until they are moved to other locations where they can grow and mature.
One thing the students learned was how the dairy works to recycle and reduce waste. First of all, the cows don’t go outside, which allows them to regulate the temperature at 50 degrees (ideal for cows). The feed they use for the cows is made from corn bi-product, hay, and pellets. The beds for the cows are made from sand, which they recycle to lessen waste. Do to their care of the cows, the milking age is increased from five years on average to anywhere from ten to eleven years at NHD. They recycle the cow manure to make fertilizer, and they are a nearly self-sustaining dairy.
By: Tracee Colgrove
The staff from Pillager Area Charter School has a phenomenal opportunity next week to attend the annual MAAP (Minnesota Association of Alternative Programs) Conference. The conference takes place February 8th-10th in Mankato, and it offers the staff members countless options for learning, growing, and collaborating with people from other alternative programs throughout the state!
Monday is last day of Session 3: Industry. The last day is a "Check-In" day, which allows students to meet individually with their advisors to go over their session progress in each class. It also gives students a chance to meet with all four core teachers in order to get make-up work to complete during the session break!
We are participating in the Pennies for Patients program schoolwide until Monday, February 20th. Feel free to donate either in person, send money with your student, or even online! Our school is joining the fight against lukemia and lymphoma; this program funds research and the care of those with blood cancers. Please join us in this very worthy cause! Thanks in advance.
We’ve been switching things up with the “Kindergarten-Krew” since returning from winter break. Each week, we visit one of the four Kindergarten classrooms at Pillager Elementary School. For the first two sessions, we worked with Ms. Pettit’s class, helping the students during their reading time. Apparently the other teachers were getting jealous of Ms. Pettit hogging the “PACS PALS”, as Ms. Pettit refers to the group of kids who have been visiting her classroom. For the remainder of the year, we will be rotating through the four classrooms: Ms. Ivers, Mrs. Logelin, Mrs. Mielke, and Ms. Pettit. Today, we helped students in Mrs. Logelin’s “Krew” work on a writing assignment related to Martin Luther King Day. The students all began their assignment in the same way, “I will help others by…” The students finished the statement with a variety of things, such as: “being nice”, “asking them if they’re okay”, and “helping them get up when they fall”. These writing assignments will be attached to a dual handprint art piece they made previously, with two different colors of handprints to show togetherness. It was a fun change of pace to work with students in a different class and working with them in a different way.
By: Tracee Colgrove
The students arrived and happened to get lucky enough to have an unscheduled and unexcected tour guide. He initially led us through the Civil War Era exhibit.. The students learned how influential Minnesota was in the Civil War. Then they were able to venture through the museum and ask questions along the way. One of our students was in awe of a model airplane/drone used as target practice at Fort Ripley. There was a Vietnam War exhibit, featuring writings and letters from the soldiers during the war. An entire wall was devoted to these letters home. The Korean War exhibit was very interesting, where we learned of the politics involved in the war. A large weapons exhibit displayed the evolution of weaponry throughout the years. The weapons varied from small arms, including handheld pistols, to anti-tank guns, WWI weapons, etc. Technology has improved immensely since WWI. We were very fortunate to have been able to spend time wandering through the exhibits, learning about the history of the military in Minnesota.
By: Spencer Garness