Schools

Sun
29
Mar

Preparing for careers


Photos submitted. Stoughton High School students Ben Erickson and Jared Braaten are learning all about engines as part of the school’s Youth Apprenticeship program. They are two of 13 SHS students enrolled in the growing program this year, which provides students with on-the-job training with local businesses, as well as high school credits.

It’s not easy for high school students to figure out what they want to do for a career while they’re still teenagers.

In the Stoughton Area School District, they can turn to school-to-career coordinator Cindy Vaughn, who oversees a youth apprenticeship program that is growing steadily.

This year it has 14 Stoughton High School students working as youth apprentices, “by far” the most the school has ever had, said Vaughn, who has overseen the program for all of its four years. She said the number of participating students will likely increase next school year, as well. 

“It’s a lot of kids, (but) we have the potential for more,” Vaughn said. “Our numbers have steadily increased over time; this year we’ve just seen really nice numbers.”

Wed
25
Mar

Water safe again at River Bluff


File photo by Mark Ignatowski With elevated lead levels still found in the drinking water at River Bluff Middle School in January, the district provided bottled drinking water.

A months-long search to find the source of lead contamination at River Bluff Middle School culminated in a report issued last week that split the blame between the school district and utility. 

But what is crystal clear is that the water is considered safe to drink again, and district officials will work in the next few weeks to turn the taps back on. 

The report, released last week from an independent third party, Process Research Solutions of Madison, wraps up a “comprehensive look” at the issue that began in January, according to a letter sent Monday by the Stoughton Area School District to parents and community members. Stoughton Utilities and the school district split the estimated $5,500 cost of hiring the consultant after the two sides could not agree on the source of and responsibility for the lead contamination. 

Fri
20
Mar

State budget would cut aid, change tests

Public school officials around the state are speaking out against Gov. Scott Walker’s controversial State Education 2015-17 budget proposal.

That includes administrators and school board members in the Stoughton Area School District, who drafted a letter to Walker and other legislators this week, outlining their problems with some proposals, including a large cut to state funding and new limits on revenue caps that local school boards can set.

While a cut to the expected increase in per-student funding and revenue caps would likely have the greatest effect on the day-to-day operations of the district and on residents’ property taxes, that’s not the only major change possibly ahead.

Mon
09
Mar

Dreaming of Summer photos

Stoughton High School students perform “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” last weekend at the SHS Performing Arts Center.

 

Sun
08
Mar

River Bluff counselor wins leadership award


Photo submitted. River Bluff Middle School counselor Lisa Koenecke was honored last month by the Wisconsin School Counselor Association.

From helping middle schoolers in need with academic or emotional issues to using warm water to get their tongues unstuck from frozen flagpoles, River Bluff Middle School counselor Lisa Koenecke does it all.

Last month, she was honored for her efforts when she received the Mary Gehrke-McAllister Leadership Award, presented by the Wisconsin School Counselor Association for outstanding leadership. Koenecke received the award during the group’s 50th anniversary conference on Feb. 18 in Madison.

WSCA professional recognition and scholarship chairperson Kaila Rabideau said Koenecke is well known throughout the state for her hard work and dedication to school counseling. 

Mon
02
Mar

Flooding puts old school’s future in question


Photos submitted. The old Stoughton High School, built in 1892, was recently damaged by flooding due to a burst pipe. District officials are working to determine the extent of the repairs needed, as well as the cost.

Some unexpected flooding at the former high school could force the Stoughton Area School District into taking a new look at how the old building fits into long-term plans.

A boiler failure in November flooded the structure with several thousand gallons of water, district building and grounds superintendent Calvin Merath reported at the Feb. 3 school board meeting. Since the incident, district officials have been trying to figure out how to proceed with the structure, which was built in 1892 and for more than a decade has been used only for storage. The school stands in the parking lot of the administration building on Forrest Street.

Fri
27
Feb

Still no solution to River Bluff water issues

District officials are hoping to get some answers “relatively soon” from a consultant on what is causing lead contamination in the River Bluff Middle School water supply, district administrator Tim Onsager said earlier this month. Students and staff at the school have been using bottled water since September after lead contamination was discovered in the building, leading to a disagreement between officials from the school district and Stoughton Utilities over the source of contamination. 

Both sides agreed last month to hire an independent consultant, Process Research Solutions, to find some answers, but it has yet to issue a final report.

“We’re waiting for the consultant,” he said. “They are highly recommended by the Department of Natural Resources. Ultimately, we both want the same thing; we want to get the issue resolved and find out what is the source of the lead contamination in our building.”

Fri
20
Feb

District Solo and Ensemble performances Feb. 21


Photo submitted. Megan Fisher practices her viola solo.

 Stoughton High School is hosting the District Solo & Ensemble Music Festival on Saturday, Feb. 21.  The all-day Wisconsin School Music Association (WSMA) sanctioned event showcases band, orchestra and vocal music students from Stoughton and other area schools, who will perform vocal and instrumental solos, duets, trios and small ensembles before an adjudicator. 

The competition, which is free and open to the public, will draw students from several area schools, including Janesville Craig, Janesville Parker and Milton.  Stoughton High School music director Daniel Schmidt is the festival manager.

According to a WSMA press release, the annual district music festivals annually attract thousands of students from middle, junior high and high schools throughout Wisconsin. 

Fri
20
Feb

State education cuts worry district officials

It’s been anything but smooth sailing for public school districts in Wisconsin during the past several years. 

Monday night, the Stoughton School Board heard more troubling news from director of business services Erica Pickett about the possible effects on the district of Gov. Scott Walker’s recently proposed 2015-17 biennial budget. Some of those include further funding cuts, including a $150 reduction from the state per student for the 2015-16 school year, unlimited expansion of a voucher program and possible elimination of Common Core standards. 

After the presentation, board members decided to collectively work on a letter to legislators on the education and finance committees, stating their concerns about some of the budget proposals.

Mon
09
Feb

Task force recommends continuing fifth-grade orchestra program

After spending the last several months researching the issue, a Stoughton Area School District task force has recommended keeping the district’s fifth grade orchestra program.

At Monday night’s school board meeting, elementary orchestra task force and board member Frank Sullivan said the group recommended establishing an afterschool program with a “very, very part-time” instructor (7-10 hours per week) to teach lessons at all three elementary schools, including a weekly group rehearsal. If the position gets 10 hours, the teacher could also co-teach whole group lessons with the River Bluff Middle School orchestra instructor after school once per week.

Transportation for students would be provided one day a week to the middle school for large group instruction, as well as three days per week to neighborhoods after lessons or whole group practice.

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