Reedsburg Times-Press: Sixteen-year-old Kassidy Kleeber said as the next generation of people in this world an example needs to be set when it comes to preventing substance abuse within communities. This is a reason why her and another student, Forrest Eden, are taking action to help educate others about substance abuse.
“It’s kind of up to us on how we’re going to show the younger ones what we need to be doing and how we can keep ourselves healthy,” she said.
Both teens are a part of the newly formed Sauk County Partnership for Prevention and Recovery Coalition, a group formed last November to help identify local issues on substance abuse and how to solve them. Tamara Eden, an adult advisor for the youth with the coalition and alcohol and drug abuse specialist, said meetings are open to anyone. The group meets from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of the month in the basement of the Sauk County Courthouse at West Square Building, 505 Broadway Baraboo, in room B24.
Kleeber and Forrest Eden were selected to represent the coalition at the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America Mid-Year Training Institute July 15-19 in Orlando, Florida. At the conference, both teens learned through different training sessions about substance abuse around the nation as well as prevention techniques. It was through those sessions, as well as smaller group sessions, they learned to identify issues regarding substance abuse among youth in Reedsburg, especially with heroin use and underage drinking.
“We started to realize the problem in our community was getting out of hand,” Forrest Eden, 15, said.
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Fond du Lac Reporter: Blue Zones Project Dodge County held a ribbon-cutting celebration on Friday, April 20, for Horicon School District, the newest worksite to become Blue Zones Project Approved.
This achievement is the second step in their goal of becoming the first school district in Dodge County to earn recognition as both a Blue Zones Project Approved worksite and having all schools earn Blue Zones Project Approved recognition.
District Administrator of Horicon Schools Rich Appel said, “A healthy and happy staff is a more productive staff and will live longer and healthier.”
To earn this designation, Horicon staff formed a wellness committee and chose to implement evidence-based best practices such as enhancing the physical environment and forming a wellness leadership team to improve well-being for employees. For example, research shows that fewer than 50 percent of Americans find meaning at work.
Worksite environment can have a significant impact on well-being. At least half of the available items in the onsite vending machines fall within the USDA Smart Snacks standards.
Bicycle racks are available for both student and staff use, and showers are available at the schools. Staff are provided with desk stretches and can schedule micro breaks on their calendars to remind them to get up and move if they spend long periods of time in front of a computer and sitting.
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Daily Citizen: Van Brunt Elementary in Horicon has been recognized as the newest Blue Zones Project Approved school in Dodge County. This designation reflects the school’s commitment and focus on not only building a stronger and healthier community, but also making well-being a priority for young learners to prepare them for a lifetime of better health.
“The Blue Zones Project initiative at Van Brunt is changing the culture of our school in a variety of positive ways. We are bringing awareness to healthy choices for our students including being active, eating right and being mindful,” Assistant Principal Cynthia Borgstorm said.
Van Brunt Elementary enhanced the school environment by removing unhealthy advertising and vending machines. They also incorporated Go Noodle brain breaks into classroom time. Students made their own homemade pizza through a Kids in the Kitchen class, providing an opportunity to gain a hands-on understanding of food. Meanwhile, parents were given ideas of non-food alternatives, activities and other recognition for classroom birthday celebrations.
Lodi Enterprise: The Lodi School Board approved Nurtured in Nature, a learning initiative that encourages kindergarteners to play, be outside and just be kids at its regular meeting Sept. 11.
Kids are under greater pressure to achieve high standards, and most are so overscheduled they don’t have time to simply be children, Lodi Elementary Guidance Counselor Val Bilkey said. Bilkey introduced the unanimously-approved program to the board via PowerPoint presentation.
Research also shows that young children who engage in some form of unstructured play have better language and social skills, the ability to empathize with their peers and achieve higher levels of thinking, she said during her presentation. Being out in nature reaps many benefits of their own, she said, including reduced anxiety and improved cognition.
“We are already noticing a difference in our students when they are engaged in free play versus when they are in a classroom setting or even outside at recess,” Bilkey wrote in an email. “They communicate, problem-solve, work together and are better able to naturally self-regulate.”
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Portage Daily Register: Whoever might need a reminder of the fast-approaching school year need only go to the front entrance of Walmart Thursday evenings to see those familiar purple shirts and the big, yellow bin.
“Stuff the Bus!” the sign there says.
The Portage Lions Club’s annual school supplies drive is underway; it kicked off last week.
“I think it’s also a reminder that some families can’t afford to buy their own school supplies,” Nancy Schaper said, this while acknowledging summer has once again gone by too fast.
“If you ask for something (in Portage), somebody is willing to give it or do it,” Schaper said. “We know that with Stuff the Bus, we’re very lucky for the people we have in Portage who are willing to go out of their way to support (drives).”
Marquette County Tribune: Montello High School Choir was welcomed by the Grand Ole Opry and its patrons prior to the March 25th performance.
The Music City Performance Program has become an exciting part of the Opry experience for visiting performing student groups. This program gives students and amazing performance experience at one of the nation’s iconic music establishments. “Being able to showcase talented students from across the country is very rewarding and fosters excellence in their musical development curriculum,” said Wayne Chandler, Director of Sales, GOO Entertainment Group.
The students performed for 20 minutes prior to attending the world’s longest running radio show. In addition, they received a commemorative performance poster and recognition during the Grand Ole Opry Performance. Their visit to the Grand Ole Opry was part of a trip to Nashville, Tennessee over their spring break, during which they experienced many sights and landmarks of the Nashville area.
Juneau County Star Times: Teachers at Olson Middle School have found ways to unlock students’ creative spirit that doesn’t involve sitting behind a desk.
On Monday, OMS held an open house to unveil its Makerlab, the brainchild of teachers Matt Regan, Kendal Sass, Bryon Hoehn and Jen Holberg. About a year ago, the teachers had an idea of converting an underutilized computer lab connected to the middle school’s library into a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) lab. Through STEM, students can learn through an interdisciplinary and applied approach.
With help from the Mauston School District, teachers received an instructional leadership grant and the OMS Makerlab was born. The lab opened at the beginning of the school year. Hoehn said the lab is gaining in popularity, with sixth graders heavily involved in the creative format.
“The biggest thing is that it allows the kids to figure out concepts by themselves,” Hoehn said.
Through technology and science, students learn how to solve complex problems through experimentation. Hoehn said it teaches kids to forge ahead even when a project becomes daunting. Since the launch of the Makerlab, students have collaborated to build projects, improving communication, creativity and critical thinking skills. Educators at OMS hope the lab will increase 21st Century skills-based learning opportunities for their students.
Juneau County Star Times: Mauston High School came through in a big way for the local food pantry.
MHS held its annual food challenge to raise money and collect perishable food items for the Mauston Area Community Sharing Pantry on Tuesday. Students amassed a grand total of 7,176 pounds of food, a value of $1,195.75, in the challenge. The challenge also included games and fun activities among students.
Through a program with the Second Harvest Food Bank, Mauston competes with other schools in the area. MHS traditionally does very well in the food challenge and the trend continued this year. The Bank of Mauston also chipped in with $2,000.
Pantry director Kathy Green thanked the school for its generosity. The annual challenge is an important food drive for the local pantry. Last year, the pantry provided food for 770 different families in the Mauston area. With its new renovation and expansion complete, the pantry has additional room for products.
“The kids did awesome and they always do,” Green said. “It’s a good group of kids to work with and be inspired by; we have great youth in this town. And the teachers too, because if they don’t step up and take an interest in it, the kids won’t. We have great staff here, altogether.”
Reedsburg Times-Press: There’s been a lot of talk about skilled jobs in Wisconsin, but one career remains the state’s bread and butter.
America’s Dairyland needs a talented work force just as much as any state and, like others, is doing what it can to encourage students to go into science, technology, engineering and math fields. Agriculture has been a challenging industry that has seen the disappearance of family farms over several decades.
Area schools are working to reverse that trend not only by teaching kids about agriculture but showing them that numerous kinds of jobs exist in the sector.
Todd Cherney knows it’s best to start early when introducing children to agriculture. As an agriculture teacher at Reedsburg Area High School, he partners with area farmers to teach younger students about farming. In early May, the Reedsburg FFA hosted Food for America, where FFA members taught elementary school students about dairy, beef, pigs, sheep, horses, goats, poultry, feed and equipment.
Cherney said that kind of education benefits both elementary and high school students. Older teens learn leadership and public speaking from their presentations.
It’s not so easy to find students who are familiar with farming. Cherney said 25 percent of his students once came from family farms. Today, that figure is closer to 5 percent.
Baraboo News Republic: From construction work to hairdressing, Baraboo fourth and fifth grade students had the chance to explore a variety of employment choices at the annual Career Fair on Thursday.
The event, which included 10-minute presentations from about a dozen area companies, was held on the University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County campus for fourth and fifth grade students from all Baraboo elementary schools.
Tina Neuman of DL Gasser Construction outfitted her small groups of students with safety vests and assigned them responsibilities, just like on a real construction crew. “You have to get your keys, check your oil and drive your equipment,” she told the students who pretended to operate construction equipment.