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Community Ed gets the word out on Facebook

BYRON — The Byron Community Education Center launched a Facebook account last week to advertise classes, find instructors and survey users.

Sue Underdahl, director of the community education center, said at the Byron School Board meeting on Monday that the program hopes to use the Facebook page to fill a class that it unexpectedly was able to offer.

Jen Hegna, director of information and learning technology for the district, asked the board members, "Where do we teach kids the proper use of Facebook? Who are their role models?" To the millennial generation, social networks are part of life, Hegna said. A survey of ninth- and 11th-graders revealed that one-third of them have smartphones. So blocking some internet sites in the school is moot, she said.

There are four pilot classrooms at the high school where students may use personal learning devices, including smart phones, Hegna said. Freshman Nick Laning, the student council representative on the school board, said he used a device in one of those classes to check the Moodle site for homework review. Moodle is an internet application offering fast help with questions.

Hegna said the district is reviewing its cellphone policy, which is "pretty punitive." Superintendent Wendy Shannon agreed, saying that "we’re moving on."


High school band director Aaron Cole had the first school-sanctioned Facebook page, Hegna said. He uses the page to keep his music students up to date.

Hegna said many schools are using Facebook in community education programs.

In other business:

• The board reinstated the $600-per-family cap on student activity fees for next school year. The action will cost the district about $5,000 and benefit about 30 families. Shannon said that "participation fees do not fully cover the costs, and we never intended they would."

• The board dissolved the cooperative sponsorship of the girls’ swim/dive team because there are no participants.

• Four employees are retiring this year. Charles Moulton was a bus driver for 33 years; Jerry Rieser was a high school custodian for 23 years; Kaylene Geiger was a teacher for 33 years; and Roger Snyder was the "bandman" for 25 years.

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