The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Front.cheers
    MACEE BEERS joins other Fayette Elementary School students for the annual Mini-Cheer performance during the half-time break at the basketball game.
  • Family.3.wide
    CHILDREN at Stair District Library’s Family Story Time toss scarves into the air during an activity. The evening program provided a mix of stories, songs, dancing, crafts and snacks Monday evening. The program is offered at 5:30 p.m. every Monday for five more weeks. The program is designed for three to five year olds and their family.
  • Front.newpaper.2
    THE INTERVIEW—Evelyn Joughin (right) records the interaction with an iPad while Jack Varga, next to her, asks questions of Morenci Elementary School principal Gail Frey. Morenci senior Sam Cool (standing) listens. Cool serves as the editor for the newspaper written by members of Mrs. Barrett’s second grade class.
  • Front.code.2
    WRITING CODE—Brock Christle (left), a Morenci fifth grade student, takes a look at the progress being made by fourth grader Anthony Lewis. Libby Rorick, a sixth grade student, is next in a line of girls trying out the coding tutorials. This year marked Morenci’s second year of participation in the Hour of Code project.
  • Front.skelton.vigil
    MORENCI’S three Skelton brothers were remembered with both tears and laughter last week during a candlelight vigil at Wakefield Park. Several people came out of the crowd to give their recollection of the boys who have now been missing for five years.
  • Front.gym.new
    REMIE RYAN (left) tries to dodge the foam wand held by Hayden Bays during physical education class at Morenci Elementary School. In the background, Lauryn Dominique and Brooklyn Williams stay clear of the tag. Second grade students were working on cardiovascular health on the first day back from vacation. For the record, Safety Tag is a very difficult sport to photograph.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.

Kellen Keiser connects to school via Skype 10.17.09

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

The communications software Skype is nothing new to Fayette school technology coordinator Becky Short.

With Skype, a person can have a video conversation with another Skyper right on their computer screen, at no cost beyond an existing internet connection.kellen.skype.jpg

Mrs. Short takes a laptop computer to her mother’s nursing home so her mother can talk to her sister. Mrs. Short also keeps in contact with some of her own friends via Skype.

When it came time to help Fayette freshman Kellen Keiser keep up with his studies while he is at home battling leukemia, Mrs. Short knew that Skype was the answer.

At home, Kellen sits in front of a computer with a small web camera and his image appears on a laptop in the classroom. That laptop also has a camera so Kellen can watch what’s going on in the class.

When one class ends, he travels to the next on top of a cart, pushed by a classmate. Two students are in charge of making sure the cart moves from room to room and is positioned in the correct location. There’s nothing left for teachers to think about.

“It’s a wonderful thing,” Mrs. Short said. “The only difference between Kellen and the others is that he has four wheels.”

A few initial adjustments needed to be made, Mrs. Short said, such as a lighting change in one room and a microphone for students to use during small group discussions. For small groups or science lab work, Kellen’s laptop is moved off the cart and placed in the appropriate position.

With the school’s wireless internet system, Kellen even talks to friends in the hallway when he’s being wheeled from room to room. One day he was seen running laps around the gymnasium during physical education class.

Getting Kellen to school was a cooperative effort among many parties, Mrs. Short said, from the teachers involved to Kellen’s sister, Emilie, who serves as a courier for his paperwork.

“When a friend is in need, you help,” Mrs. Short said, and she’s seeing the evidence of that assistance.

Kellen said the arrangement is working out well for him and he’s keeping up with his studies. He’s taking mathematics, science, English, Spanish, agriculture and world studies, in addition to gym class.

He has to pay attention to the lesson, because now and then a teacher will call on him just as if he were in the classroom.

Kellen’s situation is the primary use for Skype in the school district, but that’s not the only way it’s proven valuable.

One student’s father is currently working in Scotland and he wants to remain active in his child’s life, so a special conference was set up using Skype. He’ll tune in again when it comes time for parent-teacher conferences.

Mrs. Short has a good friend living in Israel and she hopes to have her speak to a class sometime on Middle East affairs.

She’s looking at other applications for Skype that could benefit the district long after Kellen returns to the classroom.

For now he remains the focus and it’s keeping him on pace with his peers. He’s expected to physically return to the classroom in February, but he’s almost there now.

“Kellen is here today,” Mrs. Short said. “He’s just on a purple cart.”

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