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Sap collection underway in Superior School Forest


Superior Telegram: Salamanders and sap were the stars of Wednesday’s expedition to the Superior School Forest. Second grade students from Four Corners Elementary School spent the day engaged in a host of activities, from “I spy” and creating animal footprints to team tic-tac-toe.

“I think it’s great,” said Mark Locken, who traveled to the forest with his son Tanner, 8. “It’s just the best experience for them.”

Parents enjoyed the outing too.

“You spend time with the kids and they get to learn,” said Ed Gallagher, who was with his daughter, Addyson. “She doesn’t do much sapping, so she gets to learn that process, and she made her animal prints.”

An aquarium full of small, spotted salamanders, prompted excitement and a few giggles from the kids.

“They look like snakes.”

“Are they slimey?”

“Can I hold one?”

“These are all very good questions,” said Lori Danz, school forest coordinator. “You could have written my lesson for me.”

Students learned that young salamanders look much like frog tadpoles in their early stages. They are some of the earliest amphibians to come out of hibernation in the spring, headed toward wetlands and bodies of water to lay their eggs.

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Ashland service learning – making an impact with a passionate project

ashland_serviceAshland Daily Press: Students at the Ashland Elementary Charter School have been learning recently that they too can make an impact.

“Students were tasked to find a way to make a difference in our community,” said AECS teacher Kaite Sweval. “We have been working on this project for all of December.”

“We came up with the idea of trying to find ways for our students to do real things, meaningful things, to make a good connection with the community,” said AECS teacher Mary Zoesch. “We talk a lot about just building those relationships within our school and how they can expand that outside of the school.”

Zoesch came up with the idea to have the students to do this project and to try to somehow make a difference in the community.

“We began by learning from a few guest speakers (involved community members) about what service learning was and different ways to get involved in our community,” Sweval said. “We identified needs, and then the students carefully considered what they could do to make a difference in our area.”

All of the 73 students currently enrolled at AECS participated in the service-learning project and were encouraged to find something they felt passionate about.

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Hayward High School receives 2016 Let’s Move! Active Schools national award

Sawyer County Record: Let’s Move! Active Schools, part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative dedicated to ensuring 60 minutes of physical activity a day is the norm in K-12 schools, honored Hayward High School with the 2016 Let’s Move! Active Schools National Award for its outstanding efforts in creating an Active School environment.

The Let’s Move! Active Schools National Award is the nation’s top physical education and physical activity distinction for K-12 schools and celebrates a school’s commitment to providing students with at least 60 minutes a day of before, during and after school physical activity. Only 544 schools across the country achieved this prestigious honor in 2016.

Powered by a national collaborative of leading health, education and private sector organizations, Let’s Move! Active Schools equips schools with the resources, programs, professional development and grants to increase physical education and physical activity opportunities for students, and to cultivate an Active School environment.

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Washburn School District sets stage for sustainable student success

Ashland Daily Press: Washburn School District’s Green and Healthy School Program has gained national attention for providing students with the tools necessary to live in harmony with the natural world and may even result in a visit from First Lady Michelle Obama.

This year, the Washburn School District has gained national attention as a district that fosters academic excellence and environmentally focused programming at all levels for students.

In September, Washburn High School was awarded the National Blue Ribbon Award for Academic Excellence. Then this spring, five Washburn Elementary students visited the White House — twice — to plant and harvest with First Lady Michelle Obama as part of her “Let’s Move!” initiative supporting school gardens and healthy lifestyle choices as a way to combat child obesity.

So what exactly does this recognition mean for the district, and what makes it such a unique place to learn?

According to District Administrator Dr. Thomas Wiatr, national recognition reaffirms that the district is moving in the right direction with the strategic goals of student achievement in math and reading, as well as embracing the Wisconsin Green and Healthy School model, which is a partnership between the Department of Natural Resources, Department of Public Instruction, and Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education.

“The recognition is unsolicited… All of our efforts resonate all the way to Washington and it just reinforces all of the great things we have going on at our school,” Wiatr said.

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Washburn students learning sustainability and getting noticed

Duluth News Tribune: When kids from the Washburn school district were picked to travel to the White House in April to help first lady Michelle Obama plant a South Lawn vegetable garden, it was a very big deal to the town of about 2,000 residents.

Then the group was asked to return.

Five students and two school employees leave today to join other students in helping Obama and celebrity chef Rachael Ray harvest and prepare food from the garden.

Washburn — among three districts picked to join two D.C. schools in the efforts — was chosen for its “robust” garden programs and its use of produce in its school cafeteria, said Deborah Kane, national director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm to School program.

School districts that aren’t on the national radar are among those sought, she said, and Washburn fit the bill: “A small town, not a very long growing season, but being super innovative using high tunnels, with some community partnerships in place,” Kane said.

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