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Oconomowoc school farm grows pollinator habitat, awareness

photo of student working in field

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Oconomowoc High School students are part of a national effort to establish a pollinator habitat.

“This is the real deal,” said Marge Waite, who has taught agricultural and plant science courses in Oconomowoc since the 1980s. “It’s a timely project that people are interested in.”

Thanks to grants from the Sand County Foundation, the Monarch Joint Venture and additional support in Wisconsin from the We Energies Foundation, Oconomowoc was one of 16 Wisconsin and Minnesota school districts that helped grow native prairie plants that sustain endangered insect pollinators and monarch caterpillars, according to a news release from the Sand County Foundation.

Insect pollinators and monarch butterflies are essential for crop pollination and ecological diversity. They are at risk partly due to loss of farmland habitat. The pilot project encourages schools with greenhouses to grow vegetation such as red milkweed, compass plants, rattlesnake master and purple coneflower, and transplant them in rural areas. Oconomowoc High School fit the bill with a commercial greenhouse and a 74-acre school farm.

Read the complete article.

Menomonee Falls Schools Named Top Workplace

image of Menomonee Falls teachers

Menomonee Falls Patch: The School District of Menomonee Falls is proud to announce that it has been named on the Journal Sentinel’s Top Workplace list for the fourth time in four years.

“This award represents the care and commitment of our staff,” said Superintendent Dr. Pat Greco. “Their dedication to each student, support for families, and commitment to our community are the difference makers. It is a genuine passion that our teams have for making a difference and supporting one another along the way. Falls Schools and the Menomonee Falls community has something really special.”

This year SDMF came in at number 20 in the “Large Employer” category of 500+ employees. The designation of Top Workplace is awarded to companies that participate in a workplace dynamics survey on work atmosphere, support and opportunities in the workplace. Staff does not know the survey is for Top Workplace as the district regularly surveys its staff around workplace environment already.

“This is among the accolades I am most proud of in our district,” says Director of Curriculum and Learning Corey Golla. “In every category we have exceptional people working collectively with the greatest of attitudes for the common goal of changing outcomes for kids. It is a great place to work and to have that shouted across the rooftops of Greater Milwaukee is another reason to be proud of our work.” Mr. Golla will take over as superintendent of the district on July 1, when Dr. Greco retires.

Read the complete article on the Menomonee Falls School District’s recognition.

Whitefish Bay Students Win CNN Documentary Contest C-SPAN announced today that students from Whitefish Bay High School in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, are winners in C-SPAN’s national 2018 StudentCam competition.

Will Foote and James Dyer are first-prize winners and will receive $3,000 for their documentary, “WI Votes Count?,” about gerrymandering and the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause. This documentary will air on C-SPAN at 6:50 a.m. ET and throughout the day on April 20.

Patricia Mathu, Emma Mitchell and Jong Jung are third-prize winners and will receive $750 for their documentary, “Neither Snow Nor Rain,” about the Postal Clause.

Each year since 2006, C-SPAN partners with its local cable television providers in communities nationwide to invite middle school students (grades 6-8) and high school students (grades 9-12) to produce short documentaries about a subject of national importance. This year students addressed the theme, “The Constitution & You: Choose a provision of the U.S. Constitution and create a video illustrating why it’s important to you.”

Read the complete article on the Whitefish Bay students’ award-winning documentary.

Homestead High School’s Robotics team among best in the world

photo of Homestead High School robotics team Homestead High School’s robotics team ranks among the best in the world.

In February, they were even ranked number one overall for a week. They’ve since dropped to a measly 8th out of 6,000 teams but have their eyes on the top spot with two more competitions coming up.

An impressive feat by kids who mostly can’t drive yet but drive robots with the best of them.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Kaitlyn Donley, a junior on the Kraken Pinion Robotics team said. “I love competing with other teams. It gives me real-world experience and prepares me for what I want to be when I grow up which is an engineer.”

Read the complete article on Homestead High School’s Robotics team.

Menomonee Falls School District gets moment in national spotlight on cover of Education Week

Menomonee Falls image

Journal Sentinel: The Menomonee Falls School District’s success in “continuous improvement” has made it the subject of a cover story in a national education magazine.

Education Week published a story on the district’s schools and how the district’s work in continuous improvement is helping it to be successful.

“This is just one more way our district has been recognized nationally and internationally for the work our staff and students do each and every day,” said Superintendent Pat Greco. “We started our continuous improvement journey nearly a decade ago, and in that time we’ve moved from a district in need of improvement to a district that leads in cutting-edge continuous improvement.”

Education Week’s story focuses on the district’s work from the superintendent down to 4K classrooms, and how those efforts have helped the district succeed despite the challenges facing it and other districts. Those include a highly competitive workforce, budget reductions and fluctuating enrollment.

“The work done in this district at all levels impact student success,” said Corey Golla, district director of curriculum and learning. “Their deep commitment to being better every day shows in this piece from Education Week. We hope our district can be a beacon for other schools looking to make the same incredible improvement.”

Read the complete article on Menomonee Falls.