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Underwood Community Schools

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From the Desk of the Superintendent...

MARCH 2021 DISTRICT DISPATCH Tuesday, March 2, 2021, will be a special day at Underwood Elementary School as students celebrate the birthday of Dr. Seuss and focus on the importance of reading in our curriculum. It is no secret that time spent reading, both inside and outside of school, is essential to developing cognitive abilities such as comprehension and vocabulary. All students benefit from time spent reading. If you have not had the opportunity to read at home with your children recently, block out some time and make it an important family priority. Children love having books read to them. I recently finished reading a book entitled The Children’s Blizzard by David Laskin. In his book, Laskin recounts a terrifying event that still resonates with us today in spite of all the technological advances we have in weather forecasting. On January 12, 1888, the so-called “Schoolchildren’s Blizzard” killed 235 people, many of whom were boys and girls trying to make their way home from country schools throughout the upper Midwest. The storm hit very unexpectedly and in some areas the temperature dropped nearly 100 degrees in just 24 hours. It was a Thursday and the weather had been unseasonably warm, approaching 60 degrees Fahrenheit in many areas. Suddenly, within a matter of hours, incredibly frigid air which had been lurking in the Arctic raced south. Temperatures plunged to 40 degrees below zero in much of North Dakota by nightfall. Along with the frigid air, the storm brought extremely high winds and very heavy snowfall amounts. The combination created blinding and deadly conditions. Victims quickly became disoriented and were unable to reach safety. In some situations, though, people survived. Schoolteacher Seymour Dopp in Pawnee City, Nebraska, kept his 17 students at school when the storm hit at 2:00 p.m. They stayed in the schoolhouse overnight and burned stockpiled wood to keep warm. The next day, parents made their way over five-foot snowdrifts to rescue their children. In South Dakota, two men rescued a teacher and students by securing a rope from the school to a warm shelter and then led them to safety. Nineteen-year-old teacher Minnie Freeman successfully led her 16 students to a nearby farmhouse after the blizzard tore the roof off their one-room schoolhouse. In other cases, though, people were not as fortunate. Teacher Lois Royce tried to lead three students to the safety of a home near their schoolhouse outside of Plainview, Nebraska. They became lost in the blinding storm and the children froze to death. Royce later had both of her feet amputated due to complications from frostbite. The deadly storm is still considered to be one of the worst blizzards in the history of the upper Midwest. Looking ahead to the end of March, please note that videos will be sent out to parents in order to do prekindergarten round-up and kindergarten round-up virtually. Please contact the elementary office for more information and be aware that the elementary office is presently in the process of identifying prekindergarten and kindergarten students for the 2021-22 school year. You don’t need to wait until round-up time to register your child for prekindergarten or kindergarten. If you know that your child or grandchild will be five-years-old on or before September 15, 2021, please call the elementary office to inquire about registering for kindergarten. Our kindergarten program is an all-day program that lasts the entire year. If you know that your child or grandchild will be four-years-old on or before September 15, 2021, please call the elementary office and register for prekindergarten. Unlike kindergarten, prekindergarten is voluntary and not required. Our prekindergarten program is a half-day program which lasts the entire school year.