Tag Archives: Region 4

Teacher’s free books campaign ‘spread like wildfire’

photo of teacher working with student

The Chippewa Herald: When Hillcrest Elementary teacher Marcie Lindbom asked her friends and family if they’d be interested in sponsoring a child from her fourth-grade class by donating money for books, she didn’t expect a flood of interest.

But that’s what Lindbom got – and more.

Last week, she posted on Facebook asking people to consider donating $9 for a child in her class to receive one free book per month for the entire school year.

“Within a couple hours, I had my whole classroom sponsored, with extra,” Lindbom said.

Other Hillcrest teachers were surprised by the overflow of generosity, and ran with the idea, Hillcrest principal Leslie Lancette said.

“At Hillcrest, five of my teachers that I have seen that are doing it,” Lancette said.

It’s an idea that is delighting teachers across Wisconsin. Lancette and Lindbom say the trend has taken over their friendly social media network of teachers, from Rib Lake to Stevens Point to the eastern side of the state.

Read the complete article.

Community partnership yields solar power at School District of the Menomonie Area

image of district and community leaders

The Dunn County News: In a collaboration, Dunn Energy Cooperative, Water Source Heating and Cooling of Eau Claire, and the School District of the Menomonie Area have successfully completed a project insuring renewable energy for years to come for the district.

Through a grant from the Dunn Energy Cooperative’s Operation Round Up program and the resources of Jesse Green from Water Source Heating and Cooling, the Bjornson Education-Recreation Center — known locally as the Environmental Site — has installed a 3kW photovoltaic array.

This, along with the School District’s participation in the Dunn Energy SunDEC Community Solar array, brings the Environmental Site to a 100 percent renewable status.

“The success of this solar project is a great example of the good that can happen when community partners come together,” said Joe Zydowsky, district administrator for the School District of the Menomonie Area. “We are proud to say that the school district’s environmental site is now 100 percent powered by renewable energy. Not only has this been a wise investment for the School District of the Menomonie Area, but it also has the potential to serve as a good example and learning opportunity for our students and staff.”

Read the complete article.

Thorp boy excels in national spelling event

photo of Thorp student competing at spelling bee

Leader-Telegram: Some middle-schoolers couldn’t care less about spelling. Others, such as one Thorp student, travel the country to prove they’re good at it.

Ryan Raether, a 14-year-old eighth-grader from Thorp Middle School, made it to the preliminaries of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington by correctly spelling the word “Ichabod.” In the preliminary round, he correctly spelled “deforestation” onstage.

He did not progress to the competition’s finals today because to do so required at least 28 points on a written spelling and vocabulary test all participants took in the first round of nationals.

Tyler Nelson, Thorp Middle School’s principal, said he was proud of Ryan for how far he made it in the competition. Ryan can serve as an inspiration for younger students in the district, he said.

“It just goes to show that hard work can pay off and the sky’s the limit for what our students can accomplish,” Nelson said.

At the national level, Ryan had to face off against 514 other spellers from across the country, including seven from Wisconsin. None of the students from Wisconsin advanced to the finals.

This is Ryan’s first time making it to the nationals, but Nelson said the student competed at the state level a few times.

Read the complete article.

Augusta students give back for Hugs for Humanity

image of students doing charity work

WEAU.com: The Augusta Area School District participated in the 2nd Annual Hugs for Humanity. School leaders said 600 students from Pre-K to 12th grade took part in a variety of events including, making birthday boxes for an area food pantry, cleaning, raking, and picking up trash at local businesses.

They said the event is busy, but fun day for everyone.

“Kids are doing it throughout the day, some kids participated in the morning and some this afternoon,” said Augusta Elementary School Principal Nicole Steinmetz. “We got buses coming and going to help transport us downtown into the highways to help clean-up.”

Read the complete article on the Augusta School District’s work.

Medford students on hand as disability job opportunities bill is signed into law

image of Medford students at bill signing

WSAW.com: Students and staff from the Medford School District are the driving force behind a bill that pushed for job opportunities for people with disabilities. Governor Walker signed Assembly Bill (AB) 625 also known as the Employment First Bill into law Wednesday in the presence of the students.

In January, students and staff from Medford testified in Madison about their experiences working in their community through the school district’s SOAR program.

“Many individuals with disabilities want nothing more than to work at a job out in the community,” stated Representative James Edming.

The Employment First movement is the promotion of policies that encourage competitive integrated employment. CIE is the employment of individuals with disabilities in a workplace in the community working alongside people without a disability.

Read the complete article on the bill signing.

Hudson High School theater wins national grant

Photo of Hudson High School theater production

Hudson Star-Observer: When the call came out nationwide for exceptional theater programs, more than a thousand people applied. Music teacher Kari Heisler was one of them, representing the Hudson High School theater program.

With the premier of the new theater drama “Rise,” the Education Theater Foundation held auditions of a sort for Recognizing Inspiring Student Expression (R.I.S.E) grants, awarding $10,000 to the chosen theater departments.

Only 50 were selected in the end, and Hudson made the cut.

“That’s pretty amazing to be one of the 50,” Heisler said.

Heisler first heard of the opportunity through social media.

“I saw it and I got goosebumps,” Heisler said. “And I thought I don’t care if we ever get it we’ve got to apply for it.”

That was on a Thursday, the deadline for the application was the following Monday.

The application required a 500-word essay from Heisler, a letter of recommendation from an administrator and a two-minute video submission showcasing the theater department.

Read the complete article on Hudson’s national theater grant.

Two Altoona schools win titles at the Super Bowl

Altoona Fuel Play 60 photo

WQOQ.com: Two Altoona schools came home from Super Bowl weekend with thousands of dollars in grants.

The NFL’s Fuel Play 60 invited Altoona Middle School and Altoona High School to its “AdCap” competition on the Saturday of Super Bowl weekend.

Physical education teacher Greg Emerson got a team of seven girls together. They had some prep time to come up with a project to keep kids healthy at their schools, and present it “Shark Tank” style in 60 seconds.

They were judged by CEOs, the COO of the NFL and even Vikings QB Case Keenum.

The middle school students’ proposal was an on-site smoothie bar called “Snack Shack.”

“So, what they want to do is open up, to have healthy foods, before and after school,” Emerson said. “With that, they’ll make smoothies, and they’ll have smoothie machines and stuff. They can sell them for lower cost than what stores would do, because we’ll make them right here.”

Read more about Altoona’s winning presentations.

Therapy dog program benefiting students in Eau Claire

Therapy dogs

WQOW.com: Class is back in session after Thursday’s storm for more than just students.

Students at DeLong Middle School in Eau Claire had a special visitor Friday. Nelson the therapy dog stops by every other Friday to hang out with students. Along with his owner and handler Kelly Christianson, the two visit students in a Special Education Class and an eighth grade English Class.

Organizers said for the most part it’s just that, an opportunity for students to hang out and spend time with a dog. What the kids get out of it, though, extends much further.

“They’re unconditional, Nelson starts whining when I start pulling up in the parking lot here so he knows he’s coming in to see the kids. I’ve seen students in other classrooms where they might be sad or mad, turn it right around just by Nelson walking in the room. There’s been some pretty cool things that we’ve seen happen,” Christianson said.

Read the complete article.

Lake Holcombe class is all business

Lake Holcombe class

The Chippewa Herald: For 47 minutes every work day, LH Products’ workspace is abuzz.

Managers, producers and creators are completing orders, managing systems and organizing their business as it grows just six months after starting.

Those 47 minutes are also a class for Lake Holcombe High School students, and their work does not stop when the bell rings.

Funded through a $3,000 Wisconsin Educators Association Trust Forward Together Award grant, teachers Thea Hempel and Andrew Lorenzen helped begin the manufacturing company at Lake Holcombe High School in April 2017. The business is run, managed and serviced through students with interests both in the business world and technology.

Students make wood creations, such as cutting boards or coasters, and sell the pieces online and at local fairs and events. Some students help coordinate production and materials, while others are involved in the marketing, research and development of products.

Read the complete article.

River Falls’ “Sunshine Fund” honored at national character education conference

River Falls

River Falls Journal: The River Falls High School Sunshine Fund earned a “Promising Practices” award, presented at a conference in Washington, D.C.

High school principal Kit Luedtke said the Sunshine Fund shows a display of “student compassion and empathy and caring for others in the community.”

“Our national promising practice award, I think, reflects that, that our kids are doing something different than what the norm is as adolescents, or as teenagers,” Luedtke said.

The Sunshine Fund is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit that offers financial assistance to River Falls School District families and “boots-on-the-ground” help such as raking leaves or mowing lawns.

The Sunshine Fund Board is made of students, mentored by community members.

Three of the students who went to accept the award, Shihab Adam, Macie VanNurden, and Riley Jahnke, said the best part of going to the conference was getting to share their ideas.

“Our main purpose going down there was just to spread our ideas, and actually just show people what we’ve accomplished and what we’ve created,” they said.

Read the complete article.