Tag Archives: Region 12

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.

Read the complete article.

Madison schools deem ‘micro school’ a success, look to options for future

stock image of school hallway

Wisconsin State Journal: Madison school officials say a nine-week “micro school” at the end of the 2017-18 academic year improved attendance, engagement and learning for a small group of at-risk La Follette High School students, but key questions remain about how the model could be implemented in the future.

The Madison School District launched the school April 5 at the Life Center Madison church in the wake of a string of fights and other behavior problems at La Follette, on the city’s East Side. The idea was to try to re-engage a small group of students believed to be responsible for much of the discord, in part by allowing them to have a greater say in what they learn and how they learn it.

Enrollment in the school was voluntary and while the district initially sought to recruit from 15 to 20 students, ultimately 13 — all black or biracial boys — signed up, and 10 of them showed academic, social and other kinds of progress toward graduation.

According to a July 9 report on the program:

  • Ten students had plans in place to transition to a more permanent school placement this coming school year.
  • Attendance for the 13 increased from 72 percent for school year prior to entering the micro school to 84 percent in the micro school.
  • Students earned five partial-day suspensions during the nine-week session, as opposed to 30 during the school year to that point.
  • Nine of the 13 students earned the maximum 3.5 credits available during the nine-week program, one earned three credits and three earned none.

The majority of the students also gave the school high marks.

Read the complete article.

Two Oregon Schools Recognized as Green Ribbon Schools

image of students from Brooklyn Elementary School

DPI: Two schools in the Oregon School District were recognized in May by the U.S. Department of Education as Green Ribbon Schools, an award given for reducing environmental impact, improving health and wellness of staff and students, and increasing environmental literacy. The only Wisconsin school district to have all of its schools recognized by the top three awards for health in the state: Driven to Better Health, Alliance for the Healthier Generation, and the Wisconsin School Health Award, it is no surprise Brooklyn Elementary School and Oregon Middle School were bestowed this honor.

Brooklyn Elementary School

At this small school in rural Dane County, the school garden serves as a cornerstone of Brooklyn Elementary School’s culture. Filled with lettuce, kale, tomatoes, cucumbers, marigolds and more, the garden has become so much more than a class project, allowing all students to experience hands-on learning while improving their knowledge of health and wellness.

Oregon Middle School

For the past fifteen years, Oregon Middle School has been implementing their green and healthy initiatives for which they have received numerous awards, recognitions, and grants. Growing and eating food from their own gardens is important for OMS. The school has a greenhouse and a hoop house to involve students in the process of growing the food that supplies their cafeteria with fresh produce about ten months of the year.

Read the complete article.

Many hands grow Cambridge Elementary School’s new garden

image of school garden

Cambridge News & Deerfield Independent: A large new garden is rising at the edge of a woods at Cambridge Elementary School. It will be a place to play with science, eat new things and dig in the dirt, say those who have worked for more than a year to get it built.

A lot of Cambridge-area adults and kids have had – and will continue to have — a hand in its creation and inaugural season.

Inside the Blue Jay Garden’s picket fence, that will be painted next fall under the direction of CES art teacher Sarah Krajewski, 15 raised wooden beds are starting to fill with herbs and vegetables planted by students. The responsibility of caring for all that will shift in June as local day camp groups take over watering, weeding and picking. In the fall, students will finish the harvesting.

This week and last, CES students were setting early season plants under the watchful eye of Georgia Gomez-Ibanez, a longtime volunteer who coordinates the school’s environmental education program and who sits on its garden committee.

Unlike a prior garden at the back of the school that’s now abandoned, the new garden is in the thick of student activity. Principal Chris Holt said it’s intentionally steps from two playground areas and the school forest.

The old garden “felt hidden,” said Ben Timp, co-chair of Cambridge Farm to School and also a member of the garden committee.

The new garden’s back gate opens to the school forest trailhead, a shady space with benches and picnic tables for teachers to use as an outdoor classroom. Also steps away is a new prairie garden being relocated from elsewhere on the school grounds, and not far away is a pond where frogs are awakening in spring chorus.

Read the complete article on Cambridge’s school garden.

Watertown students teach STEM lessons to students

photo of Watertown students teaching STEM lesson

Watertown Daily Times: STEM continues to be at the forefront of learning in the Watertown Unified School District, but this time it was students doing the teaching.

Riverside Academy eighth-grader Lillie Schildbach hosted a STEM night for students at Schurz Elementary School on Thursday after school.

She had the idea after volunteering at a lock-in that took place at Douglas Elementary School.

“I thought it would be fun to do something similar but educational,” she said.

Schildbach came up with the concept and the plan for the afternoon to teach students some STEM concepts, mostly focusing on chemistry.

“There are a lot of cool experiments that go along with chemistry,” she said.

Schildbach put a lot of work into the event and she said she received an A for the assignment.

“I had to learn everything I was going to teach them and figure out how they would respond to it.”

Seventeen students signed up for the event.

Her goal was simple, “To have a lot of fun and teach as much as I can.”

Read the complete article on Watertown students teaching STEM lessons.

Madison ‘micro school’ launches, providing an alternative for some students

Image of Madison student

The Capital Times: As the school year draws to a close, a new experience is just beginning for 13 La Follette High School students.

On Thursday, the start of fourth quarter, the Madison Metropolitan School District opened a “micro school” at the Life Center on Madison’s southeast side. The alternative school site was developed for a small number of students from La Follette who’ve had behavioral challenges this year.

District administrators announced the alternative site in late February following a series of high-profile incidents at La Follette during the second and third quarters of the school year. La Follette parents organized a listening session with MMSD superintendent Jennifer Cheatham and voiced their concerns at Madison School Board meetings.

Alex Fralin, MMSD’s secondary schools chief, said the energy was high following a parent orientation for incoming micro school students on Tuesday.

“Establish(ing) a deep relationship to both the students and their families to take a risk with us was the goal that we set out with Tuesday night, and I think we achieved it,” Fralin said.

Read the complete article on Madison’s alternative school.



Madison East High School will represent Wisconsin in national culinary competition

Channel3000.com: Madison East High School won first place at the Wisconsin ProStart Student Invitational Culinary Competition held in Milwaukee March 13, according to a release.

At the ProStart Invitational, 21 high schools and 112 students from Wisconsin competed in the management and culinary competition.

Madison East High School participated in the culinary competition, where students needed to make a three-course meal. They are judged by food industry professionals and college educators on teamwork, presentation, cooking procedures, knife skills and sanitation.

Read the complete article on Madison East High School’s culinary team.

Sun Prairie music students get a chance to premiere their compositions

photo of Sun Prairie music students

Wisconsin State Journal: The Resonance program not only teaches middle and high school students how to compose music, but also how to recruit musicians and arrange and direct rehearsals to premiere the students’ work before a community audience.

The Resonance 2018 concert on Saturday at the Sun Prairie Performing Arts Center was the final component of the music composition program created and taught by Jon Nelson and William Smith.

“I knew nothing about composing when I walked in the first day. I got all the way to here somehow,” said Ryan Sellek, a freshman at Cardinal Heights Upper Middle School, before the concert. “I’ve had a lot of fun building up everything I know from the ground up.”

Sellek premiered his composition, which was a quartet for piano and percussionists. The other students and their compositions were Jacob Couch, junior at Sun Prairie High School, sonata for cello and piano; Hans Fuerst, senior at Waunakee High School, string quartet and tuba; Miles Gleason, sixth-grader at Patrick Marsh Middle School, chorale for brass ensemble performed by Sun Prairie’s music faculty in the district; and Isaac Meyer, sophomore at Sun Prairie High School, brass ensemble with piano.

Read the complete article on the Sun Prairie student music compositions.

Stoughton elementary schools use many tools to teach positive behavior

Stoughton PBIS photo

ConnectStoughton.com: Monday afternoon, Sandhill Elementary School principal Jeff Fimreite was covered nearly head to toe in dripping pink slime his students had dumped all over him.

And he couldn’t have been more pleased.

These weren’t naughty kids gone wild – in fact, they were some of the most well-behaved students in the school. Fimreite was just “taking one for the team” by getting slimed as a reward for kids’ positive behavior so far this year.

And while not all elementary schools have principal-sliming assemblies, they’re finding creative ways to promote the district’s PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention and Support) initiative, from handing out colored cards to getting tickets for rewards.

To help teach all students good behavior, Stoughton Area School District staff began using the PBIS framework in 2012 to reinforce positive behavior, rather than focusing on negative ones. While it’s been in place for six years, PBIS continues to evolve.

The students love it, administrators say, and best of all, principals at all three elementaries say, it’s showing positive results in their behavior.

Kegonsa Elementary School principal Erin Conrad said in one year, the schools has cut our “major” behavior referrals by over half, and in some months they are down by 70 percent.

“Our referrals continue to go down,” she said.

Continue reading about the Stoughton Area School District’s PBIS program.

Waunakee students prepare for workforce

Waunakee CTE photo

Waunakee Tribune: If you graduated from high school 20 years ago, it’s likely you were being prepared for college and anticipating choosing a career from there.

But today, emphasis on career preparation begins as early as middle school.

“The shift is, now in high school, even middle school, is when we start thinking about what we’re good at and interested in, and what we might do to make a living, and start looking at adding courses that support that,” said Michelle McGlynn, Waunakee High School’s Career and Technical Education Advisor.

February is Career and Technical Education month, and it’s a time McGlynn feels especially proud. Unlike many school districts, Waunakee is able to offer high school courses in all six areas of career and technical education. They include agriculture education, business and information technology, family and consumer science, health science, marketing education and technical education and engineering.

Several courses are offered under each umbrella of CTE, allowing students to begin thinking along those career pathways, McGlynn said.

Student organizations under each of those umbrellas allow them to use their classroom knowledge in competitive situations both at state and national levels.

Students following an agriculture or animal science career path can participate in FFA; business and information technology students can be active in FBLA.

“We’re pretty unique and lucky that at Waunakee, we offer all six programs under career and technical education and also offer career and technical education student organizations,” McGlynn said.

Continue reading the article on the Waunakee School District.