Tag Archives: Region 13

New all-inclusive playground opens thanks to Racine teachers

photo of children playing on new playground

The Journal Times: Children both excited and apprehensive swung, slid, climbed and rocked on a shiny, new handicapped-accessible playground at Wadewitz Elementary on Friday.

The all-inclusive playground is a dream come true for the school community, but especially for the teachers on the playground committee who spent two years raising around $200,000 to purchase and install the structure.

“It’s very fulfilling to see over two years of hard work come to fruition,” said Lisa Johnson, teacher and playground committee member. “The smiles on the kids’ faces show it was worth it.”

The school hosted six ribbon cuttings on Friday, one for each class at the school, but the special education students got first crack at the “Wadewitz Dream Big Playground” that morning. School Board members, parents and playground committee members gathered to view the ribbon cutting and watch the students take a spin on the equipment.

The family of Katherine Pike, a first-grade student at Wadewitz who died in January, cut the ribbon. The family helped in fundraising by asking that memorials to their daughter be made to the playground fund.

“It was kind of bittersweet,” said Kat’s father, Jacob Pike, of attending the ribbon cutting.

Read the complete article on the new Racine playground.

Racine students introduced to new language in ‘Hour of Code’

photo of Racine students

The Journal Times: Computer code is the language of the future, and last week students at Red Apple Elementary as young as 5 years old began to learn about it.

In the school’s crowded library, kindergarten and first grade students huddled in front of laptops in pairs, working to move Lightbot from lighted square to lighted square. The youngsters stared at their computers in concentration, argued with their partners over the right moves and cheered in celebration when they got the moves rights as they played the online game that teaches users programming logic.

“Their level of excitement has excited me,” said Racine Unified Superintendent Eric Gallien, who attended the event on Thursday.

Higher Expectations for Racine County, along with Dream Hustle Code, a Chicago nonprofit, worked together to bring the Hour of Code pilot program to all students at Red Apple, Julian Thomas and Dr. Jones elementary schools last week. After seeing the results, Gallien said he hopes to expand the program next year.

The Hour of Code is an international movement that has reached tens of millions of students in more than 180 countries. The event, typically held in December, is a one-hour introduction to computer coding.

Read the complete article.

Elkhorn Area School District leading the way

image of Elkhorn students

MyWalworthCounty.com: Elkhorn Area School District was recently recognized as a Project Lead The Way Distinguished District for providing access to transformative learning opportunities for its students through PLTW programs. The EASD is one of just over 30 districts nationwide to receive the honor.

PLTW is a nonprofit organization that serves millions of students in kindergarten through 12th grade, and teachers, in more than 10,500 schools across the U.S.

Jason Tadlock, district administrator, said he and the staff are proud of the exceptional STEM opportunities available for their students district-wide.

The PLTW Distinguished District recognition honors districts committed to increasing student access, engagement, and achievement in their PLTW programs. To be eligible for the designation, EASD had to have had 20 percent or more of its students in each grade participate in a PLTW program during the 2016-17 school year. The fact that 100 percent of students in grades K-8 are involved in PLTW programs is particularly unique and exceptional.

Read the complete article on the Elkhorn Area School District.

Washington-Caldwell receives national recognition for STEM education

The Journal Times: The Washington-Caldwell School District announced Monday that it has been recognized as a Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Distinguished District for providing broad access to learning opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math disciplines through PLTW programs.

The district, serving the north end of the Town of Waterford, is one of just over 30 districts across the U.S. to receive this honor. PLTW is a nonprofit organization that serves K-12 students and teachers in over 10,500 schools across the U.S.

PLTW is designed to help students develop in-demand, transportable knowledge and skills through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. As PLTW students progress through grades K-12, they engage in problem solving and process thinking, develop technical knowledge and skills, build communication skills, and explore career opportunities.

The recognition honors districts committed to increasing student access, engagement and achievement with PLTW programs. To be eligible for the designation, Washington-Caldwell had to have had 20 percent or more of its students in each grade, K-12, participate in a PLTW program during the 2016-17 school year. Washington-Caldwell had 100 percent participation, PLTW said.

Janesville student home build creates workforce pipeline

Janesville photo

Gazette Extra: Craig High School senior Chance Neumueller snapped a piece of wood-grain flooring into place in a corner closet with obtuse angles that gave it the shape of a baseball home plate.

Neumueller patted his split-leather tool apron, searching for his carpenter’s square. He had left the square somewhere in the 1,780-square-foot house on Cumberland Drive that he and 22 other Janesville School District high school students have spent the school year building.

Neumueller had just walked himself through cutting a piece of flooring to fit an odd angle.

Now he was pondering an ancient carpenter’s puzzle: Where did I set down the tool that I now need?

“It’s all learning, every step of the way. And the first thing you learn is it all takes a little more thinking and patience than you think it will,” Neumueller said.

Neumueller and 11 other students made up the afternoon group of Craig and Parker high schools’ advanced construction class, a program that for a full school year drops industrial arts students, mostly seniors, into the middle of a new home build. Several days a week, the students spend half their day working on site, building a new home.

Read the complete article on Janesville’s construction trades class.

Kenosha Unified School District’s college tour can help close achievement gap, organizer says

Kenosha college toru image

Kenosha News: When Alvin Owens talks about the Spring Break College Tour, which takes mostly African-American Kenosha students on a whirlwind tour of colleges in the South and East Coast, he also isn’t afraid to talk about the elephant in the room: the achievement gap.

It refers to the academic gap that exists in the Kenosha Unified School District between black students and their white counterparts. It is considerable — Owens calls it the biggest in the country — and it bothers him.

“Our academic achievement gap is getting bigger. That is something we cannot accept or tolerate,” he said. “It’s up to us to close the gap.”

When he says “us,” he’s referring to parents and the larger community.

At a recent meeting with parents about the upcoming tour, he and Gary Vargas, student liaison at Bradford High School and an adviser to the African American Male Initiative, goaded parents to stay on top of their children’s academics, telling them they need to be checking school websites, perusing online grades and meeting with guidance counselors and teachers to learn of opportunities for their children.

Read more about the Kenosha Unified School District’s college tour.

Beloit class hopes to help inspire the educators of tomorrow

Beloit teacher class

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?”

Read the complete article.

Internships, partnerships, schools help fill health-care worker gap

health care workers

Kenosha News: In addition to offering internships, Aurora has formed a partnership with the Kenosha Unified School District as well as Gateway Technical College and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside to introduce students to the health care field.

Another large employer, UnitedHealthcare, has taken it a step further. The UnitedHealthcare Foundation has created a $2.3 million matching grant program with Milwaukee Area Technical College to double the size of its registered nursing program over the next three years.

School officials expect to double enrollment by this fall, hire 16 new nursing program instructors, support the recruitment of low-income students and assist with placement services once students graduate.

Some colleges have also expanded their curricula to accommodate more students looking to health-care professions.

Carthage College recently established a four-year nursing program, a first for the school. Frank Hicks, director of the nursing department, said the curriculum would fill a critical need for more nurses.

Gateway has expanded its nursing program to include simulation laboratories and classroom space.

“We’re doing what we can to prepare people for the workforce,” said Gateway’s Anne Wilkinson, interim dean of nursing. “We have a very robust student support system.”

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Kenosha student business designs and manufactures new product


Kenosha News: A manufacturing and marketing company made up of 19 middle school students will bring its product to Harbor Market the next two Saturdays. They hope to show off their business acumen — and make a return for their investors.

The summer program is a cooperative effort of Junior Achievement, Leeward Business Advisors and the Kenosha School of Technology Enhanced Curriculum, or KTEC. Like businesses in the real world, the students had to conceive of a product they could create themselves, raise capital, manufacture it and, come this weekend, bring it to market. Literally.

“The goal is to get youths of Kenosha exposed to what entrepreneurial spirit looks like,” said Michael Polzin, chief executive of Leeward Business Advisors. “And, to generate some understanding on what operating a business looks like. We want them to have that front of mind as they progress through their careers, so they know that they have that ability.”

“This is something that our teachers wouldn’t necessarily have the time or the expertise to teach,” said Kristen Krief, who works in media and community relations for Kenosha Unified School District. “Having Junior Achievement finance it, in partnership with companies like Leeward, gives a real world experience to the kids. And, it’s something we wouldn’t be able to provide on our own.”

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Delavan-Darien School District receives third national music award

music image

Beloit Daily News: For the third time in four years, the Delavan-Darien School District has received the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The National Association of Music Merchants Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education.

Delavan-Darien is one of four percent of districts across the nation receiving the award in 2017. It is one of 23 districts in Wisconsin to receive the honor, given to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. The district earned the award in 2014, 2016 and 2017. It did not apply for the award in 2015.

Delavan-Darien offers general music for all elementary school grades, string instrument instruction starting in fourth grade, band and percussion instrument instruction, and a variety of choir, orchestra and band courses for middle and high school students.

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