Tag Archives: Region 15

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.

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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


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.

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MPS students gear up for Galapagos Islands adventure



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.”

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


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.”

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Oasis Project growing at Kettle Moraine schools

Lake Country Now: At the age of 66 (going on 40 as she says) Jan Frans is pumped. The retired Kettle Moraine Middle School teacher’s Oasis Project took off faster than she could have imagined and now the project is reaching under-resourced students in two additional Kettle Moraine elementary schools this year.

Starting the tutoring project in September 2015 at Cushing Elementary School, about 30 Oasis Project tutors, all retired or working teachers, now work with under-resourced students at Dousman Elementary and Wales Elementary schools as well.

Some may think the Lake Country area doesn’t need services for under-resourced children, but Frans said the most shocking thing is that about 13 percent of children in the Cushing Elementary area are living at or below the poverty level and about 18 percent in Dousman and Wales.

Under-resourced children may also come from single parent homes where a child doesn’t have someone at home to support their work, Frans added.

The idea of the project was “like something I couldn’t shake,” said Frans.

“I couldn’t not do it,” Frans said. “I couldn’t get to the end of my life and wonder what it would have been like if I had tried.”

Frans spent a year visiting non profit organizations thinking “I would see I can’t do this,” and discovered “no one knew what they were doing when they started.”

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Wauwatosa East Orchestra Teacher Honored with Award for Creativity and Innovation

Michael Hayden

Wauwatosa School District: Wauwatosa East Orchestra Teacher Michael Hayden has been awarded the Melvin F. Pontious Creative Sparks in Music Education Award from the Wisconsin Music Educators Association (WMEA).

Hayden, who is in his first year at Tosa East, was honored at the WMEA state conference in Madison on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016.

The award recognizes “imaginative, creative, and innovative teaching practices in a music education setting”. Hayden was nominated in 2015 by another music teacher in the state for his efforts in the area of music technology and popular music education, specifically the development of a commercial music program at his previous high school.

“This program grew from an idea of mine to two different courses in music industry, two in rock music, and establishing the school music technology lab,” explained Hayden. “East and West High School have also started offering digital music courses (new this year) and are great examples of ways that schools, district, and communities are supportive in finding ways to encourage all students to be creative and help them make music.”

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“It has helped me:” Menomonee Falls high schoolers take big leap forward in their future careers

Fox6Now.com: High schoolers in Menomonee Falls on Wednesday, October 26th took a big leap forward in their future careers. They’re studying healthcare, and for the first time, got to practice on real patients.

The students are doctors in training. Right now, they’re Menomonee Falls sophomores in the Healthcare Academy program — and on Wednesday, they performed vision and hearing screenings on the district’s elementary school students.

Dani Rabai always thought she wanted to be a doctor, but the Healthcare Academy program solidified it for her.

“It has helped me really focus on what I like,” said Rabai.

About 150 high schoolers are taking part in the Healthcare Academy program — a curriculum designed to allow students with an interest in medicine to explore the field and get college credit at the same time.

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Former Wauwatosa East Student Honored at the White House

CBS58.com: Former Wauwatosa East student Juliette Price along with 11 other individuals from around the country was honored at the White House this past week. They were recognized as “Champions of Change for College Opportunity” for their work in education and commitment to community.

Former Wauwatosa East student Juliette Price along with 11 other individuals from around the country was honored at the White House this past week. They were recognized as “Champions of Change for College Opportunity” for their work in education and commitment to community.

Price attended Wauwatosa East from 2002-2004 where she was involved in debate club, golf team, and student newspaper. Her brother, Thomas Price graduated Wauwatosa East in 2004.

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Eight schools from Wisconsin win national Blue Ribbon award

DPI: State Superintendent Tony Evers congratulated eight public elementary schools from Wisconsin that were among 329 schools nationwide recognized by the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program. Schools are chosen for the award based on overall academic excellence or progress in closing achievement gaps among subgroups of students.

Evers nominated the eight public schools earlier this year. They are:

•Addison Elementary School in Hartford, Slinger School District;
•Halmstad Elementary School, Chippewa Falls Area Unified School District;
•Marengo Valley Elementary School, Ashland School District;
•Muskego Elementary School, Muskego-Norway School District;
•Oconto Falls Elementary School, Oconto Falls Public School District;
•Swallow Elementary School in Hartland, Swallow School District;
•Wilson Elementary School, Beaver Dam Unified School District; and
•Woodland Elementary School, Barron Area School District.

“Nationwide, only a few schools earn the Blue Ribbon honor,” Evers said in commending the schools. “Every day, these schools build a foundation for their students to graduate ready for college and careers. Congratulations to the teachers, students, school administrators and staff members, as well as the parents and communities that support their efforts.”

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