Beloit Daily News: Twenty-two Turner High School students spent their Thursday afternoon class designing their ideal school. This is one of many assignments in a class meant to help prepare students who are interested in becoming educators for a possible career.
Social Studies teacher Matt Bright co-teaches an Introduction to Education class with Liz Langer, school technology integrator. This is the first time the class has been offered.
“We thought that high school education would be the place to start and get a point program going,” Bright said on Thursday. “I know we’re only two weeks into the class, but it’s really fun.”
Superintendent Dennis McCarthy said the district has been working through a Academic and Career Planning curriculum for the school, and pathways for students was a focus of the discussion.
“One challenge we have been discussing, along with a good share of the state and nation, is a severe shortage in teacher candidates,” McCarthy said. “As we began to discuss this issue we came to the reality of saying…we have all of these career pathways, but which one should we have the best knowledge of?”
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Beloit Daily News: After spending years behind bars and seeing lives destroyed by the drugs they once sold, the Buchanan men say they are ready to turn their lives around.
That’s part of the reason the Buchanans and other men with a criminal past have joined Community Action’s Fatherhood Initiative. In addition to gaining job and parenting skills in the program, they are performing community service work on Fridays. They visited Hackett and Merrill elementary schools — the two lowest academic performers in the district — to read to children on Dec. 16. The men also intend to give presentations to intermediate and high school students in the School District of Beloit as well as return visits to the elementary schools.
“Our objective is to let the kids know that reading is cool,” said Fatherhood Initiative case manager Michael Bell.
Beloit Daily News: There will be lots of love in the loads laundered by caring and helpful students at Beloit Memorial High School (BMHS).
Students with intellectual disabilities at the school are launching Loads to Success, a volunteer-run free laundry service for economically disadvantaged students. The project starts next week.
Although free laundry programs for students have been making national news, BMHS will be the first one to be entirely run by students with intellectual disabilities, according to Lori Lange, special educator.
Star students such as Miracle Pritchard, Minerva Baylon, Kirstin Foulker, Wyatt Walker and Daniel Harp are treating Loads to Success like a business. Each load will be tagged, inventoried and moved through an assembly line. Students will greet their “customers” with a smile, separate lights and darks, dry, fold and assist in efficient delivery.
The students have been brainstorming their business practices for months with Lange, along with special education teachers Cody Klintworth and Alexis Haenel.
“Our greatest fear is the red sock,” Lange joked.
Lange said the students volunteering to do the laundering will be gaining a sense of pride and independence as they help their cohorts in need regain their dignity. Students without washing facilities at home will discreetly drop off their laundry at the school’s back doors. Once the program gets rolling, disadvantaged students will be given a laundry bag and identification tag.
Beloit Daily News: The School District of Beloit has handed out more than $6.4 million in scholarships to the Class of 2016, the most in at least five years, according to Erin Wolf, school counselor at Beloit Memorial High School (BMHS).
Although students are always eligible to obtain merit scholarships from colleges and universities, the amount of available funds from local companies and non-profit organizations in Beloit grew this year, Wolf said.
Some of the local scholarship offers came from Kerry Ingredients, Advia Credit Union, The Knights of Columbus, Zonta, Beloit Health System, Voces Latinas, Kiwanis, Vietnam Veterans and the Stateline Community Foundation (SCF).
Although the Stateline Community Foundation scholarships are open to other schools’ students, BMHS received nearly 80 percent of the foundation scholarships. The Stateline Community Foundation handed out a total of $178,026 in scholarships this year.
Beloit Daily News: Beloit Memorial High School (BMHS) teens working on the student house build start their day with the Pledge of Allegiance, before diving into work until 12:50 p.m. Despite their hours of wrestling with all facets of construction five days a week, they say it’s a labor of love in more ways than one.
“Out here, I am motivated,” said student Cory Davie.
“It’s more of a family here,” student Brandon Sachs said. “This program really brought a lot of us together.”
The team has only four weeks to finish the student house build at 2169 Staborn Drive, the second home built by students in the construction program.
Ray and Lynne Brown donated the property after the home burned down two years ago. The existing foundation from the former house is being used, although students are building the rest of the home from scratch. The team started in September and worked on every aspect of this house, with the exception of plumbing and HVAC which was done by professionals. The electric work is being done shoulder-to-shoulder with electricians, said Lyman Elliott, former social studies teacher turned Construction 4 instructor.
Elliott, who started teaching construction in January, had worked in trades and industry to pay his way through college and decided to take a different career turn by leading up the house build.
“This is good work. At the end of the day, we can say it’s attainable and achievable,” he said.
Beloit Daily News: “You can’t always be 100 percent sure about something until you get your hands dirty.”
That’s one of many lessons Beloit Memorial High School senior and secretary of the SkillsUSA Club Savannah Terwilliger has learned while fixing cars as part of the automotive program.
The senior is in her third automotive class. She not only changes oil, but can put on new brakes and tires as well as tinker on engines. She first learned about cars from her muse — her father Mark Terwilliger.
As she moves toward her dream of becoming an engineer one day, she plans to use her auto mechanic skills to fix her own vehicles and save money. Savannah’s already won a dinner date from her grandmother after performing a successful oil change.
To help further her skills even more she’s joined in SkillsUSA, a club designed to promote workforce and real world skills. There are district, regional and state competitions for everything from automotive and construction tasks to doing advertising, architectural and cabinetry work.
In the School District of Beloit the main emphasis has been on mechanics, construction, machining and welding with 20 kids in the club.
Beloit Daily News: Fruzen Intermediate School’s “Tech Ninjas” were sharing their bodacious skills with Dee Dee Arp’s sixth grade class on Monday. Wizzes in everything technology-related, the ninjas have hosted an Hour of Code Friday and Monday in 10 different classrooms.
“It’s a fun activity after school. We learn a lot,” said Reid Stadelman, a sixth grader who said he hopes to be the first man on Mars.
In Dee Dee Arp’s sixth grade classroom on Monday, the Ninjas were helping fellow students to maneuver a robot on their iPads using code. Seventh grade teacher and technology coach Karli Kurth explained that Hour of Code is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students around the world. It gets students to try code building in order to bolster interest in science, technology, engineering and math careers.
Imagine a world where you don’t have to remember computer passwords, lug around chargers or squeeze into undersized jeans.
That world is coming soon, according to the Beloit-raised Kirk Skaugen, senior vice president and general manager of the Client Computing Group (CCG) at Intel Corporation.
At Intel, Skaugen formulates strategies to improve phone, tablet and personal computer platforms. In a telephone interview Friday, Skaugen discussed the latest emerging technologies and how his education in Beloit helped him shape the future.
“We change the world by selling more than 300 million computing devices a year. If you have an idea and go for it, you can change the world,” Skaugen said.
Skaugen attended Morgan Elementary School, Aldrich Middle School and graduated from Beloit Memorial High School in 1988.
With his father being an engineer at Beloit Corporation, Skaugen said he got interested in math. He also credited his Beloit teachers and the school district’s advanced placement offerings in math and science for propelling his interest in engineering.
School District of Beloit’s Farm to School program is helping to bring in locally-produced fresh fruits and vegetables to its classes and lunchrooms.
Using grant funds, the district was able to hire a nutrition educator and is forming a task force to promote fresh food and nutrition.
“The goal of Farm to School is to implement school gardens, increase local food in school lunches, provide nutrition education in school classrooms in Beloit and strengthen the local economy by supporting Beloit’s local farmers,” said Janelle Marotz, assistant superintendent for business services and Farm to School program coordinator.
Thanks to recently awarded funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, the district was able to hire its third AmeriCorp member who works half time as a nutrition educator to bolster the program.
Merrill Elementary has an active school gardening program that provides hands-on activities to learn about plants and nutrition and Hackett Elementary has raised funds for a garden to be planted in the spring.
“We are working to obtain funds to provide gardening opportunities for Converse, Robinson, Todd and Gaston to offer hands-on activities in addition to our nutrition education and fresh fruit and vegetable offerings,” Marotz said.
Converse Elementary School in Beloit was notified by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) it will be featured as a Spotlight School for the second year in a row. Spotlight facilities in the state are observed and emulated by other schools, according to Converse Principal Stephanie Jacobs.
“It’s a nice way to confirm that what we are doing here is working. It’s also good for the teachers to know their hard work is paying off by receiving the honor and having people come in and see their teaching practices,” said Diane Meier, Spotlight coordinator and third grade teacher.