“We’re rolling like a normal year.”

That’s how Middle School/High School Principal Skyler Eriksen answered questions from the Elk Point-Jefferson School Board at their regular meeting Monday, Sept. 14.

Both he and K-5 Principal/District SPED Director Laura Throener said the first few weeks of school have gone more smoothly than they ever imagined. Throener said she’s particularly impressed with how well the “littles” (elementary students) have adjusted to wearing masks. She said the kids seem to feel it’s just part of their outfit.

“I truly believe it’s helping us stay in this building and stay healthy,” she said. “Our custodial staff needs a huge hurrah, because they have been amazing, keeping things clean.”

Throener said special ed instructors are doing assessments to see that there was no regression since school was in session last spring.

“Our staff is exceptional,” she said. “They have done everything asked of them, no complaints; they just roll with it. We should be very, very proud of them.”

Eriksen agreed.

“From the custodial staff to the paras to the teachers staff to the LSI team, everyone in the building is doing things that they didn’t have to do a year ago,” Eriksen said.

He said Black Hills Learning, the online education service the district is using, began Sept. 1. Superintendent Derek Barrios said 53 EPJ students are enrolled, about seven percent of the district’s students. Their learning is entirely online. The first reports of their progress will come at the end of this month. Throener said some elementary students are waiting for materials, but much of it is being made available online.

Technology Director Myles Larsen said the new iPads and Chromebooks are working well. The students are using them and seem to like them.

“Although you must have deployed like 350 devices in two weeks,” board president Cherie Noteboom said.

Larsen said it was actually just one long weekend, as he had help from Eriksen, Melissa Curry and Jake Terry. Now that they’re all set up, Larsen can access each unit remotely and trouble shoot without having a student bring in the computer.

Activities Director Justin Clercx said coaches, too, are doing an outstanding job.

See full story in this week’s Leader-Courier.