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Fall is a wonderful time of the year. Harvest is coming along and the school year is in full swing. I’m proud of the schools in my district, and I wanted to begin this column with a hearty “congratulations!” to Pender Elementary School for being selected as a National Blue Ribbon School.
Every year, the U.S. Department of Education recognizes outstanding schools throughout America which are demonstrating that all students can achieve to high levels and affirms the hard work of students, educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming educational environments.
In its application, Pender Schools pointed out its work with the Teammates Mentoring Program, its efforts to recognize positive behavior and classroom success, and its high quality instruction to students. Only four Nebraska schools were selected and only 342 schools nationwide earned this recognition, putting Pender in some pretty good company.
Congratulations are also in order for Michelle Helt, of Cardinal Elementary School in South Sioux City who has been named Nebraska Teacher of the Year. She has spent her entire career working at Cardinal Elementary in various capacities. Later this year, she will participate in the National Teacher of the Year competition.
I’m proud of all of the schools and educators in my district that make such an impact and I love it when Nebraska schools can get these sort of national accolades.
Fall also brings the start of the severe weather season, which means it is time for the Nebraska Severe Weather Awareness/Preparedness Public Service Announcement (PSA) contest, sponsored by the Nebraska Association of Emergency Management, the National Weather Service, and the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency.
Open to all seventh and eighth grade media classes, the contest calls for multimedia products that promote preparedness, storm readiness, tornado safety, fire safety and other emergency topics. Entries may be a 30-60 second video or audio PSA, a 2-5 minute instructional video, or a digital image/educational graphic.
Contest rules and other information can be obtained at the Nebraska Association of Emergency Management website at www.naem.us. All submittals must be in by November 20, 2017.
While we are on the topic of safety, please remember that as the days grow shorter and the leaves fall off the trees, we are entering into Halloween season. To help ensure adults and children have a safe holiday, here are some tips to keep in mind:
• A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children as they go from house to house.
• If your older children are going out without you, plan and review the route the trick-or-treaters will follow and agree on a specific time for them to come home.
• Trick-or-treaters young and old should stay in populated, well-lit areas.
• Only walk on the sidewalk, and only cross the street at crosswalks.
• Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to ensure visibility. Glow sticks are also a handy item to have along.
• Trick-or-treaters should never enter a stranger’s home and they should never consume unwrapped food items or beverages.
• For motorists, enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully.
• Watch for children walking on medians and especially for young children darting between houses.
With students going back to school, farm equipment on the road, and Halloween coming up, drivers should be cautious and aware on our roads. Be safe!