What's New @ 542
Getting to Know Ms. Buchite
We wanted to learn more about Ms. Buchite and what her role as the School Counselor entailed, so we asked! Take a look at what she had to say!
How many students do you see on a daily basis?
Each day is SO different. On average, 8-10 students/day... on a rare, quiet day, 3-4... during registration, 40+!
Tell us more about your job.
The main part of my job is counseling students (1:1, groups, and classroom guidance lessons). Counseling topics vary greatly from personal, family, or peer-related issues to teaching coping skills and emotions management. I also do a wide variety of other things in the school... helping upperclassmen prepare for life after graduation (careers/colleges), managing the ASVAB and Accuplacer tests, class registrations, managing scholarships, Minnesota Honor Society, speakers/special events, and the list goes on!
How do you like counseling at Battle Lake and what's your favorite thing about counseling?
I love counseling at BL! My favorite thing about counseling is getting to know everyone. I love hearing about people's lives and understanding the different struggles we all go through. I always wanted Steve Hartman's job on CBS news, he would throw a dart at a map of the US and then travel to wherever his dart landed. When he arrived, he would find a phone book (old school, I know...) and go to that person's place and interview them. The premise was that everyone has a story to be told, whether you are in the limelight or not. That is what I love about counseling, hearing everyone's individual story and helping them find their strength and resilience in the midst of tough stuff. Everyone's life is so important, and anything I can do to bring that to light is my total passion in life.
Where did you attend school?
I graduated from Chisago Lakes High School in Lindstrom, MN.7. I received my Bachelors degree in Psychology/Family Studies from Concordia University in St. Paul and my Masters degree from MSUM in School Counseling.
What challenges has COVID-19 brought to your job?
COVID changed everyone's lives in a short amount of time. When we went to distance learning last year the biggest challenge for me was sitting in front of my computer all day instead of seeing everyone face-to-face. I don't think anyone who got into education did it because they wanted a desk job! I love the constant variety and change in my day and love having people in and out of my office constantly. Going from that to constant computer work was tough - I'm too antsy to sit that long! This year I would say the biggest challenge is keeping track of who-is-where on what days, and not being able to plan the bigger school activities like speakers or our Glendalough days. I'm so grateful we have good technology and are able to do Google Meets, but in-person is always my ideal.
What are your hobbies?
I love DIY projects, paddle boarding, lake activities in the summer, painting, and anything artsy. I play keyboard (I taught myself chords when I was in my 20's, so I can get through the songs I love, but it's nothing to brag about!) and a friend of mine gave me his old ukulele from the 60's, so I've been teaching myself that as well. I also love to travel, enjoy a good road trip, and greatly value time with good friends!
Checking in with the Kitchen!
Ever wonder what it's like serving food during COVID? Wonder no more, we caught up with the kitchen staff and found out!
How has serving food changed this year from previous years?
Due to COVID-19, the Battle Lake Food Service has had to make many changes. Our first challenge was trying to figure out how we were going to seat everyone with 6 feet of space between them. Our cafeteria usually seats about 112 but with COVID, that number decreased to 45. Because of this, we had to figure out how and where to seat students. It was decided that the small gym would be used. This enabled us to keep all classes within their "pods." Because of the new health regulations, we are not allowed to have the students or staff touch or serve themselves, so a new staff member was added to disburse milk, silverware, and napkins. This has also made it impossible to have our alternate lines such as salad bar, pasta bar, baked potato bar or taco bar. We now are doing a lunch count each day which means every morning, the students must request hot lunch. This is done so that the correct number of portions are made each day to prevent waste. A breakfast count is also taken because breakfast is no longer served in the cafeteria, but instead, in the classrooms. A count is taken, and the number of breakfasts requested are prepared in the kitchen and then packaged and delivered to each classroom. The smart snack items that used to be sold after lunch and after school to high school students have been suspended as well. A barrier shield on the serving counter was also installed to protect the food, staff, and students.
How has the lunch rotation changed?
As previously stated, we are now utilizing the small gym as our extra space so that all students can maintain social distancing. We are seating students 6 ft apart which means that our 12 foot cafeteria tables only seat 3 people. We moved all of our cafeteria tables into the small gym and also are using our old cafeteria tables as well. We now have 21 cafeteria tables in the small gym which seat a total of 63 students. We purchased 25 tables for the lunchroom which now only seats 45 students. Our lunch times have been changed so that each grade is in the lunchroom or small gym by themselves and not mixed with other grades.
Has the way you have been prepping food changed?
YES! We are not allowed to have the students or staff touch anything, so fruits are cupped or individually packaged. Breakfast items must be bagged for individual use, and each class is bagged separately. We are able to purchase some items that are individually pre packaged which saves time but is much more expensive.
Anything else you would like to share?
Students and staff that come into the lunchroom are temperature checked before they enter. They are temperature checked before they enter the building in the morning, and again at lunch time. This is done with a machine that stands right inside the cafeteria doors. The children use their wrist to take their own temps. The machine turns green and says "don't forget to social distance" when it is safe to enter. If their temperature is too high, they would be sent to the nurses office for further examination.
A Look Into the Life of a Paraprofessional
Pam Ranstad is a Paraprofessional for two students here at Battle Lake School. She also works at Larry’s in the summer months. She was born in Henning, MN and attended Henning Public High School. She decided to become a para because she enjoys kids and wants to make a difference in their lives. Her Favorite subject to help with is Language Arts because she enjoys reading and writing. Her typical day since COVID starts by getting her kids ready for the day, making sure pencils are sharpened, planners are ready for the day, homework is on their desks, and the first classes’ books and notebook are out and ready to go. Students have Language Arts, Math, and Social Studies in the morning, followed by Science, PhyEd, and study hall in the afternoon.
Pam's job is to keep her students on task, give reminders as needed, answer their questions, and make sure they have what they need to be prepared for each new class. They try hard to get all homework done in school and turned in on time. She teaches them strategies to ensure each day is a successful day. When asked how COVID affects the work she is doing, she responded with, “Rather than the students moving from room to room with class changes, the teachers move instead. We stay in one classroom the entire day with few exceptions. Having to wear a mask has made it difficult. The students are distracted with them, however they are getting better. It is hard for the students to sometimes hear what we are saying. Our voices are muffled with the masks. Some students need to be able to read lips to understand what is being said. Communication with students has been a challenge because of that.”
Pam has been working a paraprofessional for six years now and she plans on being here for several more!
Peppermint Mocha Dessert Shooters
Add a festive look to your dessert table with these mini-sized Peppermint Mocha Dessert Shooters! The miniature candy canes and flavored peppermint mocha coffee creamer make them party presentable and holiday flavorful!
What You'll Need
1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 teaspoons refrigerated peppermint mocha coffee creamer
10 small candy canes, divided
1 cup refrigerated vanilla pudding
What to Do
In a small bowl, gently combine whipped topping and coffee creamer.
In a small resealable plastic bag, finely crush 4 candy canes.
In 6 small shot glasses or dessert cups, evenly distribute crushed candy canes, reserving a little for topping. Spoon a layer of vanilla pudding over crushed candy and dollop with whipped topping mixture. Sprinkle with reserved crushed candy.
Refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish each with a whole candy cane just before serving.