Journal Sentinel: Michael Krofta, a 26-year teacher at Oconomowoc High School, received one of the highest honors in music education for the state of Wisconsin recently.
Krofta, the conductor of the school’s wind symphony, concert band, Jazz Ensemble I and jazz combo, pep band and marching band, and who also teaches lessons at the school, earned the 2017 Wisconsin Phi Beta Mu Band Master of the Year Award, according to a Facebook post from the Oconomowoc Area School District’s Band Aids group.
“I am very humbled that my fellow band directors from the state of Wisconsin, who are all master educators, have selected me as the Phi Beta Mu, 2017 – Wisconsin State Bandmaster of the Year recipient,” Krofta said in an email to Lake Country Now. “I was inducted into Phi Beta Mu in 2003, and I believe this honor is a reflection of the tradition of excellence the Oconomowoc Area School District band program has had for many years. I have had the wonderful opportunity to have taught at Oconomowoc High School for going on 27 years! The students, parents, staff, administrators and community really make this an amazing place to work!! This is an awesome community!!”
The Phi Beta Mu organization is a national bandmasters fraternity that honors outstanding band directors for their paramount dedication and devotion. According to Krofta, the first official meeting was held at the Rice Hotel in Houston, Texas in February 1939. Almost every state has an active Phi Beta Mu chapter, and each year, every state chapter elects its “Bandmaster of the Year.”
Madison.com: There are no plastic trays, pans of lasagna, a salad bar or even crates filled with cartons of chocolate milk.
Most days, students in the Washington Island School District are on their own for lunch. If they want something hot, they bring a Thermos or use one of the eight microwave ovens in the school’s multipurpose room to heat up leftovers or other concoctions from home.
The closest the school comes to a lunch program is once every other Wednesday. That’s when the student council, as a fundraiser, makes a $4 meal that can include homemade spaghetti, pizza or hot dogs.
“It’s a big hit with the parents because that’s the one day they don’t have to put a brown bag together,” Superintendent Mati Palm-Leis said of the Student Council lunches. “One of the things that’s important to me is that we emulate a school experience that’s similar to other schools.”
But with just 72 students, virtually no funding from the state and its isolated location off the tip of the Door County Peninsula, the state’s smallest prekindergarten through 12th grade district is unlike any other in Wisconsin.
The district, with only one regular school bus and an annual budget of $1.5 million, still faces the same challenges as others around the state. The issues include teacher recruitment, health insurance and transportation costs, taxes, funding special-education programs, finding substitute teachers and convincing residents to run for the School Board.
Read the complete article on the Washington Island School District.
Fox6Now.com: Some Milwaukee Public Schools students are serving up some tasty dishes in a brand new culinary arts lab.
MPS celebrated the completion of the new lab at Washington High School Thursday, November 16th.
The lab is equipped with commercial-grade equipment so students can learn on the same type of equipment that chefs use.
The principal said getting the new equipment into the building presented some challenges.
“This beautiful, fully-functioning commercial kitchen was brought up four flights of stairs that many of you just walked up, so you can imagine how hard it was for 25 men who struggled to bring up many of the pieces you see in the kitchen,” Angelena Terry, Washington High School principal said.
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WSAW.com: In the halls of Wausau East High School a group of students is gaining independence and job skills while running a business.
“They’re starting to believe in themselves. They’re starting to think ‘Oh, I can do this,” explained teacher Anissa Walter.
She’s the organizer for Jack’s Joe. The mobile coffee business, run by students with special needs, is a play on the name of the school mascot– the Lumberjacks.
Students, like Elizabeth and Sarah are learning how to be a team, manage inventory and handle money. Skills that will prepare them for the real world.
The business was created through a grant from Reach for the Stars. Since last spring, the rolling coffee shop is a favorite of staff and students.
The coffee is donated by Tom Belongia, owner at Biggby Coffee.
He said he was happy to be apart of the project.
“The teachers had seen a video online of a similar program and they were actually at Biggby Coffee and brainstorming and they asked, ‘Is this something you could actually help us out with?’ I though it was such a beautiful wonderful idea and it fit,” Belongia recalled.
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Spooner Advocate: Eight projects received the 2017 Standing Up for Rural Wisconsin Schools, Libraries, and Communities Award during a program and reception in the Wisconsin Dells.
One of those projects was the student-built airplane, and another was inspired by a visit to the Spooner Ag Station.
Presented each year to nominated projects that “demonstrate the great potential and collaborative spirit of rural Wisconsin,” this year’s recipients join 105 exemplary programs recognized since 2005.
“The only way our rural communities can thrive is through intentional support and recognition of their importance to all of Wisconsin,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers. “Those who have worked on projects receiving this year’s rural awards demonstrate that support and the collaborative spirit that makes positive things happen for kids and communities. Their efforts make our rural communities vibrant places for children to learn.”
Nominated by education and library professionals, the 2017 award winning programs will be recognized during the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance conference (Oct. 30-31). The programs are:
•Spooner High School Aviation Club;
•Crivitz and Wausaukee School Districts, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, and River Cities Habitat for Humanity Tiny House Partnership;
•Weston Dairy Sheep Project in Cazenovia;
•Arts Integration Menomonie;
•HomeMAKER Boxes in Nekoosa;
•Vilas County Economic Development Corporation: Business Entrepreneurship, Broadband Expansion, and Fab Lab in Eagle River;
•The Vinery: An Outdoor Space that Celebrates Creativity and Learning in Winter; and
Journal Sentinel: “If you can dream it, you can build it,” is the motto engraved on a sign for the Accelerator Lab at Franklin High School.
The space is filled with multiple 3D printers, a laser engraver, and a variety of students’ creations, from a Pokémon “Diglett” to a glass-etched football trophy, proof that students are taking the motto for the space seriously.
The lab is open for any student at FHS to come and create, and it will eventually be open to the community, as well.
Right now, a group of lab “interns” are becoming experts on all of the technology, funded by the Franklin Public School District and the Franklin Educational Foundation. Once they’ve mastered the devices, the students will be the teachers in the space, showing their peers and even community members how to build what they dream.
“My favorite part is that we’re really allowed to do anything because if we can imagine something and design it in any of the programs, we can actually make it,” said junior Eddie Rabideaux, one of the interns.
Read the complete article on Franklin’s accelerator lab.
Journal Sentinel: The School District of New Berlin was recognized for its progress in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education with a “STEMMY” award from the STEM Forward organization.
New Berlin, which received the “Excellence in STEM Award” in the Education category, has for or the past five years, as a part of the district’s strategic plan, been increasing STEM opportunities for all students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
“Our goal was to make sure that all students would graduate with not only strong academic abilities but also technical abilities to make sure that they were prepared for future job opportunities,” said Laura Schmidt, strategic advisor to the superintendent. “When we look at what the future job market needs, we know that STEM needs to be a part of that education that they are receiving.”
Read the complete article on New Berlin’s STEM work.
The Chippewa Herald: For 47 minutes every work day, LH Products’ workspace is abuzz.
Managers, producers and creators are completing orders, managing systems and organizing their business as it grows just six months after starting.
Those 47 minutes are also a class for Lake Holcombe High School students, and their work does not stop when the bell rings.
Funded through a $3,000 Wisconsin Educators Association Trust Forward Together Award grant, teachers Thea Hempel and Andrew Lorenzen helped begin the manufacturing company at Lake Holcombe High School in April 2017. The business is run, managed and serviced through students with interests both in the business world and technology.
Students make wood creations, such as cutting boards or coasters, and sell the pieces online and at local fairs and events. Some students help coordinate production and materials, while others are involved in the marketing, research and development of products.
Read the complete article.
La Crosse Tribune: A demonstration by students enrolled in a Holmen High School’s robotics class showed Holmen Area Foundation supporters how their donations are helping to prepare Holmen students for the future.
The foundation held a reception Oct. 26 at Drugan’s Castle Mound Supper Club and Golf Course to showcase how supporters’ contributions are used and to recognize their generosity.
Holmen High School Robotics I students Trent Davig-Huesmann and Jake Hawes demonstrated the model automated drill press they constructed from a kit the class was able to purchase through funds awarded by the foundation. Their tech ed teacher, Ryan Ziegler, teaches Robotics I and Robotic II classes. A $1,050 grant he received from the foundation made it possible for him to purchase the robotics kit for his students.
In addition to the robotics kit, grants awarded to applicants from the school district this past year included funds for a document camera for the English as a Second Language classroom as well as support to allow high school and middle school students to participate in an agri-science and technical education career event.
The foundation also serves as a vehicle for awarding scholarships to Holmen graduates. In addition to scholarships sponsored by the board and the school district’s alumni, the foundation administers various memorial scholarships.
Read the complete article.
Wisconsin State Journal: Midway through the first semester, a top-down directive to strengthen learning by teachers building deeper, more trusting relationships with and between students is playing out in classrooms throughout the Madison School District.
“Strong, authentic relationships are crucial to our work,” said Superintendent Jen Cheatham, who set the districtwide focus. “Achievement gaps can persist in part when there is a lack of the safe community and support to engage in challenging and meaningful work.”
The push is seen as especially important for students of color, whose test scores as a whole lag far behind white students’ academic performance in the district. Helping them get ahead may require teachers and administrators to take a step back, in a sense, as they focus first on breaking down walls to let learning happen.
While noting that getting to know their students is already “something we do feel strongly about,” fourth-grade teacher Beth Callies, now in her 11th year at Lindbergh, said she saw value in a districtwide strategy emphasizing it. “It’s a good push to remind us,” Callies said.
Read the complete article.