To make up for their canceled trip to Camp Palmer last year, Napoleon seventh graders should have a chance to participate in the outdoor education program this spring.
The trips were approved by the Napoleon Area City Schools Board of Education Wednesday, with the sixth grade trip planned for May 10-14, followed by the seventh grade trip May 14-17. The approvals are pending COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and state orders.
Larry Wesche, Camp Palmer coordinator, said he was initially resigned to the 46th annual trip to the camp being canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This was a devastating blow to myself, the sixth grade staff, the sixth grade students, high school counselors, super counselors,” Wesche said. “However, inwardly, I knew that we wouldn’t give up the ship that easily, and probably find some alternative for these kids to experience.”
Wesche said he received numerous comments from relatives of students, staff and counselors supporting finding an alternative for those students and, after exploring several different options, Wesche said having the seventh graders’ trip immediately following the sixth grade trip was the most feasible.
Wesche noted the trip for the sixth graders this year will not be impacted by the seventh graders attending.
“The proposal would have the seventh graders coming to camp on that Friday, May 14, as if it were their Monday at camp,” Wesche said. “For about three hours on that Friday, both groups will be at camp together, but they would be in totally different areas and not cross paths at any time.”
Wesche explained the normal Monday schedule at camp will be held that Friday for the seventh graders, followed by a normal Tuesday schedule on Saturday, a normal Wednesday schedule on Sunday and than almost normal Thursday schedule on Monday. The parents’ night program will be held on Monday evening, and students can leave the camp with their parents that evening. A bus will provide transportation for students whose family is unable to attend.
Wesche said favorable parts of the plan for seventh graders include students will be done with state testing by that time of year; all sports activities for those students through the school will have wrapped up; by using the Saturday-Sunday, they would only miss two days of school; and the camp is available those days.
“An incredible amount of cooperation and understanding will be involved in this undertaking,” Wesche said. “... I have no doubt in my mind that we will have full support from everyone.”
Wesche added the seventh graders had completed their Camp Palmer fundraiser last fall, so those funds are still available.
“Financially we are in very good shape,” Wesche added.
In other matters, district technology coordinator Jared Rex gave the board a preview of some features of the newly designed website, which should be live prior to Thanksgiving.
Rex added the redesign was initially supposed to be completed in the spring, but the technology department was handling items related to COVID-19 and remote learning so it was delayed.
However, Rex said pandemic and shutdown highlighted the need for a more effective way for the district to communicate and have all the information available in one location so parents and students can access them, which caused them to modify their original plans.
Rex said the website will be more mobile-friendly, include the calendar and link to social media accounts and highlight the core values of the district, as well as articles, videos and photos showcasing the district.
Instead of having building-specific information on the homepage, Rex said those items — particularly forms and menus — will be moved to each building’s page. In addition to each building having a page, one will also be added for the Napoleon Opportunity Academy.
“It’s going to be featured with its own page to facilitate communication to students, parents and families,” Rex said.
A mobile app for the district will also be available once the new site is launched.