Wisconsin Dells Events: The Wisconsin Dells school district’s after-school program “Odyssey of the Mind” is sending one of its teams to a world competition at Iowa State University on May 25.
Odyssey coach Rahne Forbes’ team won the honor by taking first place in its division at the state competition in Madison last week. Three other teams including two middle school and one high school team placed in their divisions at the state competition, with each team taking home a third place trophy.
Odyssey of the Mind is an international program and is open to any student in kindergarten through 12th grade. It was featured on a PBS documentary titled “Recreating America: Creativity and Learning.”
Beaver Dam Daily Citizen: Children with intellectual disabilities have a wide range of potential and abilities.
Those who will function in the world, living independently and perhaps holding a job, often need help to learn the day-to-day skills that many take for granted. Although it may seem simple to some, Jen Schramm’s students need to learn not just how to make a bed, but how to make several sizes of bed, and how to match the right-sized sheets to the right-sized bed.
Even if they may prepare food at home or make their beds, for example, performing those skills in a new situation can be daunting.
The new Waupun Area School District Transition House provides a link between home, school and independent living for students with intellectual disabilities. It is up and running thanks to a partnership between Grace Lutheran Church, Waupun Area School District, and REACH (Reaching Everyone through Actions with Community Hands) Waupun.
Portage Daily Register: Students in Molly Carlson’s advanced biology class at Pardeeville High School peered through their microscopes Wednesday visibly happier about their results compared to last week.
Using various chemicals, they tested the embryos of zebrafish — a species with a similar genome sequence to humans — and the students with their notes, beakers, pipettes and rubber gloves talked about their progress like scientists on the verge of breakthrough.
“We learned that glyphosate is not a very good chemical, and can cause very odd deformities,” senior Russell Bush said of his group’s second trial. Their first trial was “too heavy” and killed all the zebrafish, but on that day they could see how the glyphosate bent the tails of their living test subjects.
Daily Citizen: Three Rs and one S.
That what they’re teaching at Waupun Area High School, where the Senior Democratic Seminar adds service to the community to an already extensive curriculum of traditional and elective studies.
A highlight of that service component was the donation Wednesday of $1,044 to the Martine Corps Toys for Tots program.
“It’s a service learning project class,” said Andrea Acosta.
The class is pass/fail, with students required to document their involvement. Students are required to pass the course prior to graduation.
Other seniors are taking on other projects, including cleaning up the Rock River or raising funds for Reach Waupun (a group helping those in need in the community).
Gateway News: At first glance, it seemed a little odd to watch senior high school students listening to a woman read a children’s book to them. And the fact that they appeared to be paying close attention was even more surprising.
But this wasn’t just any children’s book, and the woman wasn’t their teacher. Mrs. Nieves Burke was reading the book in Spanish to a class of beginning Spanish students, stopping along the way to translate some of the phrases that they might not have learned yet.
Even if this reporter doesn’t know a word of Spanish, it certainly sounded like Mrs. Burke was fluent in this language, and that’s because her grandparents grew up in Mexico and her mother was born there.
Burke was born in the United States. Her grandparents emigrated from Chihuahua, Mexico in 1917 when Nieves’ mother was only six years old. “My grandmother was a Spanish teacher, so she made sure we spoke Spanish correctly. She thought she could get a job teaching Spanish in this country, but she couldn’t so she made candy and sewed dresses to support the family,” she explained.
Nieves did not learn English until she went to school, and she credits her English teacher with helping her learn the correct structure of our language and how to speak English without an accent.
Today, through STEP she is sharing all that knowledge with Spanish students at the local high school. It’s a win-win situation for both Mrs. Burke and the students.
STEP which stands for Senior Tax Exchange Program provides an opportunity for Social Security eligible senior citizens age 62 or older to work in the schools in exchange for a property tax credit. Senior citizens who own a home and reside in the Spring Valley School District are eligible.
As an incentive to involve seniors in the educational program, the district reimburses them for their time, and they have an opportunity to share their talents, gain an intergenerational experience and make a difference in a student’s life.
Wisconsin Dells Events: The Wisconsin Dells School District achieved a landmark accomplishment by for the first time being named one of only 425 school districts in the U.S. and Canada to the sixth annual Advanced Placement Honor Roll.
To qualify for the honor roll, school districts had to meet three main criteria based on examination of three years of AP data from 2013 to 2015.
The Dells district successfully increased its participation in and access to AP courses by at least 11 percent, increased or maintained the percentage of exams taken by African American, Hispanic/Latino and American Indian/Alaska native students.
The final criteria the district met was improving its performance levels when comparing the percentage of students in 2015 to those in 2013 that achieved an AP exam score between three and five.
Portage Daily Register: The success of Montello High School’s new robotics club is all about the students, if you ask their coach.
“I don’t know anything about robotics,” Janene Perkins said with a laugh. The club’s coach, who also serves as chemistry and physical science teacher at MHS, helped secure two grants totaling $5,000 to start the club, which has 12 “very busy” student members.
“They’re self-driven. They come in at lunch and after school a couple days a week and during their study halls,” Perkins said of the freshmen through seniors.
The robot-building students recently competed at the Berlin Area School District VRC (VEX Robotics Competition) Tournament, where students competed against 22 teams from Wisconsin schools. In a game called “Nothing But Net,” MHS students in two teams — Team Spunky Monkey and Junk Yard — used their robots to score colored balls in high and low goals, elevating their robots in a designated climbing zone.
If Columbus School Board members were wondering how the high school marching band did this year, the armload of trophies that director Tim Meinholz carried into their meeting Monday night was a pretty good clue.
It was another great year for the band, which does a lot more than perform at halftime at the local football games. Today, marching band is a competitive sport, Meinholz told the board.
The CHS band averages 60 to 65 kids per year and spends over 200 hours practicing, starting in the summer, to gear up for fall competitions.
This year’s season started in September, with a clinic at Germantown High School, where all of the bands in attendance had a chance to perform their shows without being judged, Meinholz said. The next week was homecoming, and the following week, the band participated in its first competition at Greendale High School.
At the Greendale competition, Columbus was considered a Class A school, which is the division made up of the smallest schools. Of the three Class A schools competing, the Cardinals won first place. They also won the Best Color Guard award not only for their division, but for the division above them, as well — which was made up of schools over twice Columbus’ size.
Beaver Dam Middle School has created a way to add reading at the beginning of the school day.
The Reading Responders initiative is the brainchild of three teachers at BDMS; Angie Vessey, Katie Schwartz and Paul Friedemann. Students spend 21 minutes of homeroom time in Reading Responders Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings.
“Reading Responders is the process that was implemented beginning in the 2014-’15 school year as a data-driven decision to support students in the area of reading, specifically in the area of nonfiction text,” Schwartz said. “The concept was to build on the idea that students who had more specific instruction and more time spent reading nonfiction would be more successful readers.”
“You can learn words that you didn’t know before and use them in proper sentences,” Niece said.
Beaver Dam High School was recently awarded the silver nomination by U .S. News and World Report as one of the best high schools in the nation, placing it in the top 10 percent of schools at the state and national level.
BDHS had 197 students participate in 342 Advanced Placement courses and exams in 2015, with a pass rate of 80 percent. This pass rate is substantially above both state and national benchmarks and a 14 percent increase from 2014.
“We are very proud of our immediate and extended school community for the academic growth we have seen in the past few years,” said Mark DiStefano, BDHS principal.