Another NSPRA SuccesStory — Racine Unified School District

Congratulations to Racine Unified School District for being awarded the NSPRA’s Gold Medallion Award in recognition of outstanding educational public relations programs.

Closing a school building or changing attendance zones can bring out fierce opposition in a school community. In 2017-18, Racine Unified School District proposed both and then some as part of a major middle school transformation set for 2018-19. Through research-informed communication strategies and tactics, the “My School. My Choice.” campaign successfully turned potential opponents into leaders and supporters of RUSD’s new concept for its boundary and choice middle schools.

RUSD’s journey of transformation was prompted by challenges such as declining enrollment, inefficient use of facilities and negative perceptions of its middle schools. The district conducted research to determine what its families wanted — more choices and opportunities, safe and engaging learning environments, challenging curriculum to prepare students for college or careers — and what its middle schools needed to meet those desires.

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Robot allows home-bound students to attend class in Evansville

 

The donation of a telepresence robot to JC McKenna Middle School in Evansville will allow students unable to come to school to be there virtually.

The robot, which looks similar to a segway, holds a height adjustable iPad on a motorized wheel, which can be controlled remotely from a tablet or phone. This gives students who are sick the opportunity not to miss out on school, or socialization.

The robot was donated in honor of a former JC McKenna student, Matthew Winter, who lost his life to bone cancer after his second diagnosis. During his battle against Ewing’s sarcoma, Winter was forced to miss school for long periods at a time.

“We spent almost every other week at UW Children’s hospital in Madison. He missed his friends and he missed his classes,” said Winter’s mother, Rene Wieloch.

One of Winter’s friends noticed a telepresence robot at his dad’s work and realized how the tool could have helped Matthew while he was sick. “He said Matt hadn’t been in school for the past year,” said Nate Ellsworth. “Had he had this tool, he could have been there.”

Ellsworth, who is the CEO of N1 Critical Technologies in Janesville, says he decided at that point it was important to make sure any other student who had the same needs had access to the tool.

 

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High school students learn the art of business

Students at Wausau West High School turned the holidays into a business opportunity in their entrepreneurial class.

From the outside in, it would look like any other high school class you’ve ever seen before, but if you look closer, you’ll find out it’s far from typical.

They’ve started their own company. They sell stock, they choose a product, they manufacture that product, they do sales and marketing to sell the product to their friends, family, and community members. Then the students walk away with a paycheck at the end of the semester.” Stephanie Jahnke said to NewsChannel 7.

Jahnke is the teacher leading the class, but she’s more like the manager in the midst of a business operation. During the class’ open house Wednesday, customers saw just that. The group is selling holiday greeting cards.

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Let’s all agree to be as kind as these kindergartners are each day

At a small school in Birchwood, a kindergarten teacher has marveled at the results after adding the role of “classroom greeter” to the kids’ job at school.

Nicole Schlapper told “Good Morning America” that she hopes the daily “small, simple gesture of friendship and kindness” her students show one another each morning “will stay with them as they grow up together throughout their years, in school and into adulthood.”

“The children absolutely love this job and show great excitement when their turn comes up,” Schlapper said.

One particular day is getting a lot of attention. The video of a 5-year-old Colin Baker doing the classroom “greeter” job has received more than 1 million views on the school district’s Facebook Page.

The children are able to choose how they want to be greeted. On Colin’s day, the majority of the 15 kindergarten students chose hugs. Schlapper said the morning routine has “been a wonderful way for the children to connect with each other, build relationships and show kindness. I truly believe it promotes a sense of community and sets a positive tone for the day.”

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Thirteen WI Schools Named “America’s Healthiest”

Thirteen schools in Chipppewa Falls, Green Bay, Tomahawk, Neenah, Oregon and Verona were named by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation as “America’s Healthiest Schools” along with more than 400 schools in 26 states.

All of the award-winning, America’s Healthiest Schools:

 

  • Meet or exceed federal nutrition standards for school meals and snacks
  • Offer breakfast daily
  • Implement district wellness policies and update progress annually
  • Provide students with at least 60 minutes of physical education per week and ensure physical activity throughout the school day

Banker offers free 2-year tuition to every senior at Luck High School

Luck High School principal Brad Werner talks to students on their first day of school. He announced a scholarship for every graduating senior to go to technical school.

Students at a Wisconsin high school got a huge surprise on their first day of school: An area businessman offered to pay for every graduating senior to attend a two-year technical college.

Luck High School principal Brad Werner announced the offer on Tuesday at the school’s welcome back assembly in the school gym. The school’s 34 seniors were sitting in the front.
“It was a fun experience for me to share this experience with the seniors and watch their faces and their eyeballs get big,” he said. It was almost as big a shock for Werner.
He said Dennis Frandsen, who owns companies around the region and one of Luck’s two banks, called last month and asked to meet with Werner and the school superintendent.
Werner said Frandsen’s bank has been very supportive of the school in the six years he has been the principal, but they’d never met. “He just showed up and set the offer on the table for us. It’s almost mind boggling to think that that’s just come through, out of the blue, and is an opportunity for our kids,” Werner said. “It’s a little bit hard to wrap your mind around.”

Teacher’s free books campaign ‘spread like wildfire’

photo of teacher working with student

The Chippewa Herald: When Hillcrest Elementary teacher Marcie Lindbom asked her friends and family if they’d be interested in sponsoring a child from her fourth-grade class by donating money for books, she didn’t expect a flood of interest.

But that’s what Lindbom got – and more.

Last week, she posted on Facebook asking people to consider donating $9 for a child in her class to receive one free book per month for the entire school year.

“Within a couple hours, I had my whole classroom sponsored, with extra,” Lindbom said.

Other Hillcrest teachers were surprised by the overflow of generosity, and ran with the idea, Hillcrest principal Leslie Lancette said.

“At Hillcrest, five of my teachers that I have seen that are doing it,” Lancette said.

It’s an idea that is delighting teachers across Wisconsin. Lancette and Lindbom say the trend has taken over their friendly social media network of teachers, from Rib Lake to Stevens Point to the eastern side of the state.

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Southern Door County School District wins award for education innovation

photo of Southern Door's fab lab

Green Bay Press Gazette: Southern Door County School District has won the Education Innovation Award from the Northeast Wisconsin Manufacturing Alliance. The award honors the district’s work to advance technical education through collaborating with local manufacturers, according to the Southern Door County School District.

The district will receive the award Oct. 23 at the 7th Annual Excellence in Manufacturing/K-12 Partnership Awards in Green Bay sponsored by the Northeast Wisconsin Manufacturing Alliance.

“The technical education department at Southern Door has a long-standing tradition of excellence in preparing our youth for the trades, manufacturing, and engineering,” said Southern Door County School District Superintendent Patti Vickman.

Innovative programs, including a race car program and the high school Fab Lab, engage students “in new career pathways,” Vickman said.

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DeForest teachers visit local businesses, learn of workforce demands

photo of teachers touring manufacturing plant

DeForest Times-Tribune: Employers want many things in their workers – productivity, positivity, and reliability as a short list.

For American Packaging Corporation in DeForest, “personal accountability” is a major sticking point. It’s the difference between suffering from a large turnover rate versus a workforce that commits to a company and rises up through the ranks. Company representatives said there is significant management investment to recruit and retain workers that display promising qualities.

“We’re not hiring to keep people at the bottom level,” said Facility Manager Josh Voelker. “That’s not our plan.”

But even with state-of-the-art equipment and an assortment of internal policies to promote advancement of workers, policies including tuition reimbursement and in-house certifications, the Philadelphia-based company reports that it’s struggling to fill vacant, local positions.

Now, the DeForest Area School District is showing interest and recently sent 11 teachers on a tour of the factory. Located in DeForest’s northern industrial park, the teachers visited the American Packaging plant Aug. 9 and heard from company representatives. Topics of discussion included workforce development and the types of skills needed to start working right out of high school.

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