Board approves funding shift to help planning

With state budget cuts to public schools continuing to dry up familiar funding sources, the Stoughton Area School District Board of Education is looking to be proactive in finding some financial flexibility. 

Monday night, the board voted unanimously to adjust its budget to allow extra revenues from sports tournaments hosted at the district to be carried over for larger expenses, rather than being used by the end of the school year. 

In an email to the Hub on Tuesday, district director of business services Erica Pickett said the district’s athletic tournaments typically generate profits that historically have gone back to the athletic department for programming. 


SASD: Compensation plan still on, might get changes

Photo by Scott De Laruelle . SHS science teacher Lisa Schneeberger talks to school board members Sept. 8 about her opposition to the district compensation plan.

After several weeks of debate and some vocal complaints from teachers and parents, Stoughton Area School Board members voted to leave the district’s controversial teacher compensation plan in place while a special committee works to draft changes.

Board members voted 5-3 at their Sept. 8 meeting against putting the compensation plan on hold for a year. Members Liz Menzer, Donna Tarpinian, Scott Dirks, Brett Schumacher and Bev Fergus voted against getting rid of the plan, with Wanda Grasse, Joe Freye and Alison Sorg voting in the minority and Yoli FitzGibbon abstaining.


Spirit days highlight homecoming week

Photo submitted. Stoughton High School’s homecoming is this week. The 2015 SHS Homecoming Court is, front row, from left: Carrie Aide, Jenna Gardner, Shelby Orcutt, Haven Polich, Kaia Moe, Hannah Hobson, Julia Olson and Leah Olson; back row, from left: Drew Bellefeuille, Joe Mullen, Jacob Groleau, Jake Kissling, Zach Kirby, Michael Gerber, Ethan Genter and Isaac Eugster.

It’s only the second week of the school year, but at Stoughton High School, it’s homecoming week from Sept. 7-12.

This year’s theme is “There’s No Place Like Homecoming,” and will feature a variety of dress-up days: red, white and blue day (Tuesday), decades day (Wednesday), Wizard of Oz day (Thursday) and spirit day (Friday). After school activities include “Volleyball Wars,” Tuesday and “Dodgeball Wars” Wednesday.

The big day is Friday, with things starting at 4:15 p.m. with the homecoming parade, which starts at the high school’s Lincoln Avenue parking lot and ends in the Devonshire Road parking lot, where there will be family tailgating for the 7 p.m. game against Fort Atkinson, including a bouncy house, food, games and giveaways. The SHS 2015 Homecoming Court will be announced at halftime of the game. 

The week will commence with the homecoming dance from 8-11 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12 in the SHS main gym. 


New FFA adviser looks to change stereotypes, strengthen community support

Photo submitted. Mariah Ross took over for Jerry Wendt as the new FFA adviser.

When Mariah Ross got the phone call that she had gotten the job as Stoughton High School’s new agriculture teacher and FFA adviser, she was over-the-top excited.

That was partially because being hired meant she wouldn’t be homeless, the December 2014 college graduate joked, but more so because she had accomplished a huge dream.

Ross is taking on the challenge of being the sole leader of Stoughton’s Future Farmers of America chapter from veteran adviser Jerry Wendt, who served for more than two decades as the primary agriculture teacher. The chapter, which focuses on developing leadership skills for students in all forms of agriculture career paths, has developed over the decades from multiple advisers into a program with a rich history and legacy, with dozens of students participating each year. 


New student newspaper adviser hopes to continue success

Photo by Kimberly Wethal. Laura Streyle will serve as the Norse Star adviser in addition to her role as an English teacher at Stoughton High School.

Seeing that Stoughton High School had a student-run newspaper that tackled tough issues was part of what convinced Laura Streyle to apply for a vacant English teacher position.

After getting the teaching position, she was also offered the role of Norse Star adviser.

“To have something so authentic that’s a part of the curriculum where students aren’t just creating something that will just go in a portfolio, but doing something that influences the community and strikes conversation, I thought that was very cool,” Streyle said.

Streyle, a Lawrence University graduate and avid writer, will be advising SHS’ award-winning student-run monthly newspaper written and produced by 15-20 high school students. The paper was most recently run by Jon Netzler, who left the district to teach abroad in Saudi Arabia.


Compensation plan going back to committee

After several weeks of hearing comments and complaints about the Stoughton Area School District’s new teacher compensation plan, district officials want to bring it back to a committee to weigh possible changes in time for the 2016-17 school year. 

Stoughton school board members and administrators have admitted to some errors in the compensation plan they say is a work in progress, but some teachers and union officials are skeptical it will actually happen.

The plan, approved by the board May 4 on a 7-2 vote, was the result of more than a year’s work of a committee comprised of Stoughton Education Association (SEA) members, district administrators and district-chosen teachers. It passed with little fanfare or opposition, but that’s changed in the past few weeks.


New faces in prominent places in SASD

Photo by Derek Spellman. Julia Olson, Stoughton High School senior and Link Crew leader, calls incoming freshmen Aug. 25 to introduce herself and remind them about freshmen orientation on Friday. Link Crew leaders like Olson help students transition from middle school to their first year of high school.

Well, that went by quickly. 

The calendar says there’s still nearly a month left of summer, but for children all around the Stoughton area, it’s time to get back to school. 

And this year, there will be a few changes around the district, including new leaders at Stoughton High School’s renowned ag department and award-winning Norse Star newspaper, new boys’ football and basketball coaches, more opportunities at the “Fab Lab” and some traffic patterns changes around River Bluff Middle School. 

New advisers

Two venerated programs will be under new leadership at Stoughton High School next year, the Future Farmers of America and the Norse Star newspaper.


Teachers, parents agitated over SASB compensation plan, resignations

There wasn’t much on the Stoughton Area School District Board of Education agenda Monday night, and for some teachers, parents and even school board members, that was the problem. 

Several dozen educators were on hand to listen and lend support as teachers and parents and even a board member spoke up during the public comment section of the meeting. 

Those who spoke expressed concerns about the district’s rating system for teachers in its new compensation plan, about how many teachers have recently resigned and that none of this was put on Monday night’s meeting agenda, despite requests by two board members. One of those two, Wanda Grasse was given a standing ovation after she snubbed board protocol to address the issue herself during the public comment period.


School’s in for summer: EXCEL session had 21 new courses

Photos by Derek Spellman. A.J. Knickmeier and Colton Toso browse through some books during the last week of the Stoughton Area School District’s EXCEL summer school classes. Students who signed up for summer reading classes got to take home a free book.

Legos, biking, Minecraft and football. 

Clearly, this is not your mother and father’s summer school.

The Stoughton Area School District’s summer “EXCEL” program wrapped up last week, and although there were plenty of fun courses for the 821 students and 49 teachers who participated, the extra class time can prove to be very beneficial when the new school year begins in September. 


‘Gifted’ program reaches many students

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction mandates that public schools districts identify the exceptional needs of advanced learners with a formal K-12 process. At the Stoughton Area School District, however, the idea is to try to include as many students in that process as possible.

“A well-grounded TAG (Talented and Gifted) program supports many types of learners,” said SASD director of curriculum and TAG program coordinator Judy Singletary. “The key is knowing that ‘one size does not fit all.’”

Singletary said while labels such as “gifted” or “talented” can evoke a feeling of “exclusiveness or elitism,” the district’s TAG program is about meeting a wide range of academic and social-emotional needs for a wide variety of learners.


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