WSD Loves, Supports, Values, and Respects Students

WSD Loves, Supports, Values, and Respects Students
Posted on 12/06/2017

November 2017 ~ Marathon County Teen Video

In the Wausau School District, we continue to listen to our high school students. Recently, a documentary video series was released by Healthy Marathon County ~ Marathon County Teen that is based on the Youth Risk Behavior Survey. What we heard is that we must continue to provide a framework of supports to address class, drugs and alcohol, mental health and stress, social media, race and ethnicity, and then revisit our efforts to check for effectiveness as a whole community. The Wausau School District values our partnerships within the community, as we collaborate to strengthen this framework.

Our desire is for all students to feel valued and respected and have a sense of belonging. And we want that place of belonging to be our schools! We will continue to provide transition days for freshmen on their first day of high school to alleviate anxiety and help set up students for success. We heard our students say that when you’re a kid, people are viewed the same until high school when family wealth, clothing, appearance, and opportunities for participation in clubs and sports becomes more noticeable. Our schools have pantries and closets where students can access food, personal care items, and clothing to help boost their self confidence and sense of belonging in school. The District strives to remove barriers for teens who wish to participate in co- and extra- curricular activities. Our schools plan activities and look for ways to gather the entire student body in ways to interact to get to know and understand one another.

The District’s comprehensive guidance curriculum and health curriculum, along with support from school counselors, social workers, and psychologists, talk about and address the effects of drugs and alcohol and peer pressure. These same school professionals talk through and help students deal with the pressure and stress of family, school, work, and mental health issues. The Wausau School District is thankful for the awareness and broad community conversation around mental health, which has led to our schools having onsite mental health clinics this school year. We agree with our teens, too, when they say to focus on how to live a happy life ~ “happy kids feel better and may make better decisions.”

We acknowledge social media is a huge aspect in a teen’s life. They tell us they turn to social media to relieve stress and to view uplifting posts. Social media is powerful, and our District and schools will continue to provide digital citizenship programming for students and parents. Many times, this programming occurs with outside partners to help promote responsible social media use.

Though we know it exists, bullying and harassment around race and ethnicity have no place in school nor in life. There are policies around these topics for both students and staff to which they are to adhere. It is important for our students to have caring adults they can turn to while at school. In our District, we embrace diversity and we seek to understand. We are delighted to hear that our students can be and are friends with others who have different views. We are also pleased to hear that upperclassmen are more socially open.

Wausau School District staff will continue to love, support, value, and respect our students. We will help and guide them as they navigate plans for life after high school from both an academic and emotional standpoint. Collectively, we live our mission to advance student learning, achievement, and success. And we value community partnerships in our endeavor to prepare students to be college, career, and life ready.

Dr. Michael A. Schwei

Interim Superintendent of Schools