DPI: The Greendale High School Marching Band recently received the 2017 Sudler Shield International Marching Band Award. They are one of only two high schools to receive the international award for the small school division. Tom Reifenberg is the director of bands, with Liz Parsons as co-director.
Reifenberg, Parsons, and their students received the award May, 14 during a ceremony with W. Dale Warren, professor of music in the University of Arkansas Department of Music, and Sudler Shield Chairperson. They were recognized for their exemplary teaching, and helping students master complex musical and technical skills.
The purpose of the award is to recognize outstanding marching bands that perform at a world-class level. The award focuses on international standards of excellence for musical performance, choreography, and show design for various types of marching bands. The small high school category was recently created to honor the excellent teaching in schools or programs with fewer than 1,099 students.
Waukesha Patch: Nine School District of New Berlin students have been selected for recognition by the Wisconsin Affiliate of the National Center for Women & Information Technology organization. Each of these students were endorsed by a member of the district’s technology team.
The following students were selected as a winner of the Wisconsin NCWIT Aspirations in Computing award:
Naisha Bepar, New Berlin Eisenhower (endorsed by Aaron Chamberlain)
Emily Cebasek, New Berlin West (endorsed by Aaron Chamberlain)
Megan Choy, New Berlin Eisenhower (endorsed by Aaron Chamberlain)
Kayla Kugel, New Berlin West (endorsed by Saghar Homayounpour)
Anja Schwobe, New Berlin Eisenhower (endorsed by Devin McKinnon)
The following Eisenhower students were endorsed by Aaron Chamberlain and selected as a 2018 honorable mention in the award program: Faith Derengowski, Kate Martino, Melissa Tharaniyil and Emma Torres.
The NCWIT Aspirations in Computing award program recognizes young high school women for their computing-related achievements and interests as part of an effort to encourage more young women to choose careers in technology. Award winners were selected from high schools across Wisconsin for their outstanding aptitude and interest in information technology and computing, solid leadership ability, good academic history, and plans for post-secondary education.
Greendale Patch: Greendale’s College Park Elementary School is one of eight public elementary schools in Wisconsin that was nominated for the 2018 National Blue Ribbon Schools Program. District officials say they’re honored, while also an affirmation that goes beyond the numbers.
“I think what College Park and all of our school do very well is celebrate unique nature of every child,”Dr. Gary Kiltz, Greendale School District Superintendent told Patch.com. “College Park celebrates the unique gifts that each student brings, and it carries through … that’s not a challenge for us, it’s an opportunity and a gift. We can learn a lot for each other and it brings a richness to our community.”
Blue Ribbon Schools recognizes schools with some of the highest student academic achievement in the state or those that demonstrate dramatic gains in closing achievement gaps. According to the recent state report card data, College Park is among the top 10 elementary schools in the State of Wisconsin and ranks third of all elementary schools in Milwaukee County.
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.
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.”
Journal Sentinel: The School District of Greenfield opened its new workplace clinic Monday, Sept. 25, and will now be able to provide a variety of medical services to employees within the district.
Thanks to a partnership with Froedert and the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), Greenfield’s teachers, staff, and others on the Greenfield health plan can simply stop by the free clinic at the high school for a variety of medical needs instead of taking time to go to a doctor’s office.
“Making things convenient and attractive to our employees was our main goal,” said Superintendent Lisa Elliott.
Though other school districts in the area offer similar clinics, Greenfield is the first district Froedert and MCW has partnered with.
Plans for the workplace clinic were originally announced in March, targeting a fall opening. The board was able to afford to put the clinic on the capital plan thanks to cost-savings in other projects that same plan. The cost to build the clinic was approximately $200,000.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Sometimes, the kids playing kickball on the playground of Rawson Elementary School in South Milwaukee get into arguments over whether someone was safe or out. Or whether someone did or did not touch a base. They don’t always handle their differences in the nicest way.
Behavior at the school? “It’s not perfect,” one fourth-grader told me when I visited just as the school year was coming to an end.
But I am not here to criticize. In fact, my purpose is to praise Rawson and the other five schools in the 3,200-student South Milwaukee district for the bigger picture of how people treat each other (adults and students both).
South Milwaukee schools have been working for seven years on a broad effort focused on building the character traits of everyone involved in the schools and making school life as conducive as it can be to success both in academics and, in broader terms, daily life.
That led to South Milwaukee being named a “national district of character” this year by Character.org, a Washington-based nonprofit that promotes and assists efforts to make character education part of what schools do. South Milwaukee is one of only four districts nationwide to receive the recognition.
There also were 83 schools named “national schools of character” this year. One was Greenwood Elementary in River Falls.
I like character education for two simple reasons:
One is that there are so many schools where the atmosphere created by the way people treat each other impedes education. This goes not only for how kids act but for how adults in the school sometimes treat kids — and other adults. (I’ve witnessed these things.) So much class time in so many schools is taken up with behavior problems. More broadly, a positive school culture leads to more positive outcomes.
The other is that I am convinced the well-designed efforts around character and conduct can make differences. It is possible to create a more positive atmosphere in a school. Intentional efforts around character education can be a part of that.
Journal Sentinel: Nearly six years after the enactment of Act 10, the Wisconsin law championed by Gov. Scott Walker that gutted public employee unions, Muskego-Norway School Superintendent Kelly Thompson says she sees few lingering effects from the bitter political battle.
But Thompson and other school district leaders know that some of the rhetoric during that debate, and its aftermath, affected the morale of teachers.
“I think teachers didn’t feel as valued,” said Thompson, who was appointed superintendent in June 2012, one year after Act 10 took effect.
“I think as an organization it was important for us to be sensitive, to be listeners and let them know how much they are valued here,” she said. “Without them, we couldn’t do the great things we do for kids.”
Act 10, which greatly limits collective bargaining for most Wisconsin public employees, shifted power away from labor unions to district administrators, said Thompson.
But Thompson said her approach as an administrator, both before and after Act 10, is the same: to provide leadership that focuses on working with employees to accomplish the district’s goals.
“Our overall approach to employees is shared leadership,” Thompson said. “So we understand our direction, and we’re all pulling in the same direction.”
Lake Country Now: SAVE (Students Against Violence Everywhere) is one club at Mukwonago High School that looks to not only inspire high-schoolers within the school, but in other elementary and middle schools and the community, as well.
SAVE started in 2006 with English teacher Sarah Dianich. She started the club after a principal with whom she had worked with at a high school in Cazenovia, Wisconsin, died after struggling to remove a handgun from a student.
“When I went to the funeral, held at Weston’s diminutive K-12 gym, I recalled a community much like our own — close-knit, rural, and typically violence-free. I realized that it only takes one moment to shake that feeling of safety to its core,” Dianich remembered. “My friends and past colleagues who were there when it happened will never be the same.”
After the incident, Dianich and other students together started the first SAVE chapter for MHS. SAVE promotes non-violence throughout the school and community, informs people about the consequences of violence and bullying, and works to create a safe environment for students to avoid poor decision-making.
Throughout the year, SAVE offers and creates various projects for the school. America’s Safe Schools Week advocates for non-violence through lunchroom competitions, pledge signing, Orange and Purple Day (SAVE’s colors), and more. SAVE runs the Penny Wars during the holiday season to donate money to the Women’s Center in Waukesha and encourages safe driving practices, too.
Outside of school, SAVE also visits with middle and elementary school students to support anti-bullying and demonstrate what SAVE does at the high school level.
In the upcoming weeks of February, SAVE members plan to take a field trip to Rolling Hills Elementary School. They will meet with their SAVE buddies for the first time since writing back and forth as pen-pals a few times.
Tess Adams, a freshman at MHS, said, “It’s important to teach kids at the elementary and middle schools about SAVE in order to prevent the bullying sooner.”
Lake Country Now: Kettle Moraine School District Superintendent Dr. Patricia Deklotz.was recently presented a “Transforming Lives and Communities Award” by Cardinal Stritch University’s College of Education and Leadership.
According to Dr. Freda Russell, Dean of the College of Education and Leadership, Deklotz was chosen for this award because she exemplifies the “servant leader” spirit in her professional life.
“It is not often that we look out amongst our alumni and observe such impact and ability to transform lives and communities,” Russell said. “When we do hear and see a consistent pattern of service we consider the giving of this award. To this end, we are proud to say that Dr. DeKlotz is worthy of such distinguished recognition and heartfelt thanks.”