Supt Column - What's New and Good at Wausau Schools This Year

Supt Column - What's New and Good at Wausau Schools This Year
Posted on 09/09/2016
Wausau Daily Herald 

09/08/2016 - Page A03



What’s new and good at Wausau schools this year

KATHLEEN WILLIAMS

FOR USA TODAY NETWORK-WISCONSIN

Now that school is in session and we’ve welcomed our students to the 2016-17 school year, I’d like to share a sneak peek at what can be expected this year. Here are some of the new and exciting plans/events/changes that await our families and learners at some of our schools:

Wausau East High School, in preparing its students to be college- and career-ready, will unveil its state-of-the- art diesel mechanics and auto collision and repair curricula, as well as its manufacturing and graphic arts classrooms. Wausau West is preparing to showcase its new career, technology, engineering and agricultural center complete with a new greenhouse. This summer, our faculty learned to use new welding equipment, graphic arts technology and plasma cutters to better equip students with the skills they will need to either continue their educations in multiple technical fields or to directly enter the workforce with the skills necessary to succeed.

AtEnrich, Excel, Achieve Learning Academy(EEA), staff members have been involved in extensive training in learning new reading interventions to provide to students. In the area of career planning, EEA will be hosting new "lunch talks" with area businesses and agencies to allow students to explore various career clusters and connect students to adults in a broad range of careers. Students will continue to volunteer at a variety of local organizations, such as the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum and the Montessori Area Charter School. Further , students who participate in the Health and Human Body class will be enjoying additional learning opportunities thanks to a grant from the Healthy Classrooms Foundation. Though not new, the EEA staff and students will continue to focus on Restorative Practices and EEA’s core values of Preparation, Respect, Integrity, Determination and Excellence.

This year, all elementary schools will be launching our District’s 1:1 iPad implementation in order to personalize each student’s learning and learning environments. Throughout the 1:1 technology implementation schools, such asMaineand others, will be underscoring the importance of the four C’s of learning; creativity, communication, collaboration and critical thinking.

Further, all elementary schools will be "kicking off" the school year with unique Po sitive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) programs and assemblies. Part of the celebrations will include acknowledging students and staff who helped the school earn special recognitions.

Grant, Marshall, Riverview, South Mountain and Stettin will be recognizing its PBIS Wisconsin Schools of Distinction moniker, while GD Jones Hewitt-Texas, Jefferson, Maine, and Rib Mountain and will be cheering for their PBIS Awards of Merit.

While referencing awards, a number of our elementary schools also will be recognizing students’ and staffs’ work at special assemblies to highlight gains in reading and math achievement. For example Grant and Hawthorn Hills will be celebrating the coveted "Beating the Odds" designation.

After passage of a tax referendum and nearly a year of construction, GD Jones, Hawthorn Hills, Jefferson and Riverview elementary schools students and staff welcomed a number of our youngest learners as the doors to our four new regional Early Learning Academies. Additionally,Jefferson and GD Jones will be opening the doors to additional classroom spaces. With these beautiful new additions come new routines and new procedures for everyone. Expect to be made aware of new strategies aimed to increase safety at our newly constructed sites including revised bus drop-off/pick-up areas and parent pick-up zones.

Not ready to let go of the summer vibe yet? Well, neither are the staff at Stettin who will be kicking off the year of learning together by welcoming everyone back to something just a bit different. Students were welcomed to "Camp Stettin" and will be having a little fun around a camp theme as all explore the idea of taking on challenges, working together along their journeys, and embracing a "growth mindset." Working around their common theme, "When life gives you mountains, put those boots on and start hiking".

Speaking of themes, some additional elementary schools have adopted a few.Jefferson’stheme this year will be centered around Superheroes and their super powers for making good choices.Lincoln Elementarywill be employing its "Olympic Team Lincoln" theme this year by championing the first student/staff collaboration with Adobe Voice, an App that fosters collaboration, creativity, self choice, writing, and speaking competencies.

Of course all schools will be highlighting and focusing on anti-bullying efforts.Lincoln Elementary ,however, will be showcasing a film festival which will be held the end of September when the First Place State PBIS Bullying Prevention Video Winner, "True Colors," will be aired. At Rib Mountain the anti-bullying campaign will continue with a Stand for the Silent student-led group which will strive to meet the school motto: "Work Hard~Be Respectful~Be There~Be Ready~and Be Safe."

New playground equipment awaits sure to be smiling students at Hawthorn Hills, Maine and Rib Mountain.

Thank yous are extended to a variety contributing sources including PTOs, the B. A. & Esther Greenheck Foundation, the Maine Lions,Town of Rib Mountain, Bella Nails, and Abbyland Bank!

Other more unique and special events at our schools include: Riverview staff will be honoring one of its students who saved his father’s life this past summer. Our bus company, First Student, will have its Safety Dog joining students to help reinforce the importance of bus safety.

At John Marshall a new app, Class DoJo,will be employed to increase feedback and communication with students and families.

As you can see through this small sampling of what’s new and good, everyone in the Wausau School District is working hard with your continued help and support to help construct for our students a greater future! Thank you for all that you do to advance student learning, achievement and success!

Kathleen Williams is superintendent of the Wausau School District.

Kathleen Williams