Tag Archives: Region 15

A Wauwatosa elementary school receives Recycling Excellence Award for composting efforts

Tosa compost

Journal Sentinel: Sometimes trash talking is a good thing, and at one Wauwatosa school they not only talk the talk, they follow that up with award-winning action.

Wauwatosa’s McKinley Elementary received the 2017 Recycling Excellence Award for Projects and Initiatives from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for their work the past two years creating a recycling and composting program.

“The Recycling Excellence Award program is designed to encourage and reward communities and programs for outstanding efforts, innovation, and performance in recycling, while providing examples of how to increase the effectiveness of local recycling programs,” wrote Joseph Van Rossum, the director of the Bureau of Waste and Materials Management with the Department of Natural Resources. “It’s an honor to recognize these programs for their waste diversion achievements.”

Even though the school’s recycling program is innovative and unique, teacher Elizabeth Daily said the kids regard it as “business as usual.”

Read the complete article on McKinley Elementary School’s award.

Oconomowoc High School music teacher Michael Krofta honored as 2017 band master of the year

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Journal Sentinel: Michael Krofta, a 26-year teacher at Oconomowoc High School, received one of the highest honors in music education for the state of Wisconsin recently.

Krofta, the conductor of the school’s wind symphony, concert band, Jazz Ensemble I and jazz combo, pep band and marching band, and who also teaches lessons at the school, earned the 2017 Wisconsin Phi Beta Mu Band Master of the Year Award, according to a Facebook post from the Oconomowoc Area School District’s Band Aids group.

“I am very humbled that my fellow band directors from the state of Wisconsin, who are all master educators, have selected me as the Phi Beta Mu, 2017 – Wisconsin State Bandmaster of the Year recipient,” Krofta said in an email to Lake Country Now. “I was inducted into Phi Beta Mu in 2003, and I believe this honor is a reflection of the tradition of excellence the Oconomowoc Area School District band program has had for many years. I have had the wonderful opportunity to have taught at Oconomowoc High School for going on 27 years! The students, parents, staff, administrators and community really make this an amazing place to work!! This is an awesome community!!”

The Phi Beta Mu organization is a national bandmasters fraternity that honors outstanding band directors for their paramount dedication and devotion. According to Krofta, the first official meeting was held at the Rice Hotel in Houston, Texas in February 1939. Almost every state has an active Phi Beta Mu chapter, and each year, every state chapter elects its “Bandmaster of the Year.”

Number of New Berlin Grads Leaving High School with Industry Credentials Continues to Rise

New Berlin

Waukesha Patch: Forty-four students, or 12 percent of the School District of New Berlin’s Class of 2017, graduated high school with an industry credential in manufacturing, health sciences, information technology, hospitality and/or STEM disciplines, giving them a competitive advantage as they transition to postsecondary education or work.

Attainment of an industry credential is one of many benchmarks monitored by the SDNB as part of its district level ‘College and Career Readiness’ dashboard.

“Industry credentials indicate a level of a commitment to a future career interest and allow students to demonstrate not only what they know, but what they can do with what they know,” Superintendent Joe Garza said. “In 2013, we didn’t have any students on record achieving an industry credential. The Wisconsin Fast Forward Pupil Grant program provided the impetus to relook at our programming to determine which credentials would support students as they explore options that might impact their postsecondary plans.”

During the 2014-15 school year, the district implemented an onsite certified nursing assistant (CNA) program in partnership with LindenGrove of New Berlin and Waukesha County Technical College. This program now certifies approximately 50 CNAs annually. The certification allows students to seek employment at area hospitals and senior care centers and gives them a competitive edge when applying for postsecondary education. One Eisenhower graduates took a CNA job immediately out of high school. Her employer has since offered to pay for her tuition at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to become a registered nurse.

Read the complete article.

Wauwatosa teacher to speak at international conference on music software

Wauwatosa teacher

Journal Sentinel: Wauwatosa East High School orchestra teacher Mike Hayden is heading to Germany in November to speak on integrating modern music technology in the classroom, a passion he’s developed in his 11 years of teaching.

Hayden will speak at the Ableton Loop Festival to attendees who are either teaching music production formally, in an after-school program or looking to start a music program.

Although he’s a regular presenter at state music education conferences, this is the first time he will travel to speak internationally.

Hayden has been using the Ableton Live software throughout his teaching career, which has included teaching a variety of music courses, including orchestra ensemble, a rock band class and digital music.

Although another teacher is in charge of the digital music classes at Wauwatosa East, Hayden helped create some of the curriculum for that class, and he still finds ways to integrate the software into his orchestra classes.

“I’m still able to do a lot more composition and improvisation activities in orchestra,” Hayden said. “We record and listen, we’ll use trap beats sometimes instead of our traditional metronome … I show kids that it’s OK to have fun and incorporate the stuff you like to listen to with what you play.”

Read the complete article.

Shorewood High School senior’s creative writing program has global reach

Shorewood

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “I am juicy, gooey, hot, cheesy and heaven in your mouth. What am I?” the teacher asked.

Hands shot in the air and 10 children bounced up and down in their seats. “Pizza! Pizza! Pizza!” they squealed.

The children, ages 8 to 12, were practicing giving their teacher descriptive words about their favorite food item without saying its name. 

It’s just one small piece of a curriculum created by 17-year-old Katie Eder.

Four years ago, Eder’s sister started tutoring kids in math, and she wanted to follow in her big sister’s footsteps. There was one problem — Katie is bad at math.

But the thing she is good at is writing, and Eder couldn’t find anywhere that offered tutoring for children, so she approached Milwaukee’s COA Youth and Family Center to allow her to teach creative writing.

They took a chance on the 13-year-old and agreed — and the result was Kids Tales, a program to empower children, often in low-income areas or in juvenile detention centers, to use creative writing to discover their voice and share their story.

Teenagers, and only teenagers, volunteer to teach children for a week and guide them as they write their own short story, working on brainstorming and plot and character development. Once the stories are completed, they are put into a book, making each child a published author.

Tom Schneider, COA’s executive director, said there was plenty of skepticism during Eder’s first summer, but the results spoke for themselves.

“We’ve (COA) got nothing but admiration and applause for the work that she’s (Eder) done and the impact of the kids that she’s worked with,” Schneider said.

The Shorewood High School senior said it isn’t uncommon for participants to tell her it felt like the first time their stories could be heard and that their voices mattered.

 “I didn’t have an understanding exactly about the impacts that it would have,” Eder said. “I thought, OK this is something I could just keep for myself …  but it’s also something that has a real impact and can make a difference.”

Wisconsin’s History Teacher of the Year has Strayed from Using Textbooks

history teacherNorthwest Now: Rhonda Watton has progressively gone away from relying on textbooks to teach her social studies students at Templeton Middle School, relying most on primary accounts of history to teach, a method that has earned her the accolade of Wisconsin’s History Teacher of the Year.

Watton has been a teacher for 25 years, beginning in the Milwaukee Public Schools in 1992 and spending the past 20 years in the Hamilton School District.

Her love of history was sparked by college professors at Carthage College in Kenosha.

“They made history come alive for me; it really was interactive classes and they had different ways of presenting the material,” Watton said. “Some of it was through literature, some was through film and plenty of discussion.”

This teaching style struck Watton so much as a student that she made it her own as a teacher.

“The use of primary source documents in the classroom and not just teaching out of a history book, which is someone’s secondary source interpretation of what went on, is important,” Watton said.

Read more.

Elmbrook School District again named best in state by Niche website

Brookfield Elm Grove Now: For the second-straight year, the Elmbrook School District has come out on top after Niche.com crunched numbers and data across the state.

Niche is a national consumer ranking website. The website’s rankings take a number of factors into account, such as academic data, school resources, student and parent reviews and more.

Academics were weighed heavily, accounting for 50 percent of Niche’s rankings. Culture & Diversity, Health & Safety, Parent/Student Surveys on Overall Experience and Teachers Grade each accounted for 10 percent. Resources & Facilities accounted for 5 percent and Clubs & Activities and Sports accounted for 2.5 percent each.

In total, Niche analyzed 10,364 public school districts across the country. Academic grades were based on data obtained from the U.S. Department of Education.

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Milwaukee Public Schools reps visit Northwoods fab labs

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News Watch 12: Sparks flew in front of Valencia Carthen’s eyes, sparking inspiration to take back home.

“The first thing you learn as a brand new teacher is steal, steal, steal the best ideas,” Carthen said.

The Milwaukee Washington High School principal was getting ready to unpack her school district’s first fab lab equipment Friday. Thursday, she and 12 other Milwaukee Public Schools members checked out several Northwoods labs with 3D printers, laser engravers, and routers.

“I had a small idea, which I thought was a big idea, but just going on this tour… The sky’s the limit for these kids,” Carthen said.

The tour through Northland Pines, Three Lakes, and Florence happened after a conversation between State Representative Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma) and MPS Superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver. The two agreed small and big districts need to work together.

“A lot of times people think the rural schools just won’t have access to different resources, but they’ve shown us what they can do with what they have,” Dr. Driver said. “So, now my folks are going back and we’re all thinking like, OK, we can do this.”

State Representatives Rob Swearingen (R-Rhinelander), Jeff Mursau (R-Crivitz), and Felzkowski made a point of visiting Three Lakes. In 2014, it became the first K-12 district in the state to get a fab lab.

“This is where future education is heading,” Three Lakes senior Jack Connelly said.

Connelly and his team showed off their creation to lawmakers and school representatives. They also explained their goal of forming a business.

“I have no doubt in my mind that any student is capable of replicating what we’ve done here,” Connelly said. “The reason I know that is because I didn’t think I could do this six months ago.”

Since Three Lakes’ successful launch two and a half years ago, about 150 school districts statewide have built or signed on to build fab labs.

Read more.

MPS students gear up for Galapagos Islands adventure

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MilwaukeeNNS.org: At the beginning of the school year, Molly Schuld, a science teacher at Reagan College Preparatory High School, dreamed of taking students on a trip to the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador. Now it appears that her dream will come true.

“I care about three things: my students, science and traveling,” Schuld said. “I never really thought before about how I could put those three things together. But when this idea came across to me via a flier in my mailbox, I just thought to myself, ‘How could I say no to this?’”

Schuld received approval from Milwaukee Public Schools for the trip, and students have raised more than $22,000, including nearly $3,000 through GoFundMe. In addition, participating students have been making monthly payments toward the trip, using money from work, savings and donations from their families.

“We are all so incredibly appreciative of the support we have received from everyone in the community,” Schuld said. “This trip is going to broaden the cultural knowledge of these students and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the amount of effort they have put into making this happen.”

Read more.

Collaborative Effort Leads to $2 Million Grant to Support Wisconsin Regional Career Pathways Project

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Waukesha Patch: The State of Wisconsin has been awarded a $2 million Phase 2 New Skills for Youth grant to strengthen and expand career-education opportunities for Wisconsin students. Wisconsin was one of 10 grant recipients announced by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and JPMorgan Chase yesterday.

The School District of New Berlin was one of three Wisconsin districts included on the planning team to provide insight into how the grant objectives would support and build capacity for the work already going on in Wisconsin districts to ensure students graduate college and career ready.

“It is our collective work to ensure all students graduate as informed consumers of post-secondary education/training, expedite time to degree, provide opportunities that can fuel innovation and job creation, and support projected workforce needs,” School District of New Berlin Superintendent Joe Garza said. “We have been honored to have been part of such a collaborative effort to ensure all key stakeholders play an active role in these efforts.”

Read more.