Verona Area School District officials hope a new method of getting information to incoming kindergarten parents will allow more of them to have a full understanding of choices of where to send their children.
The new project will be in partnership with FACTv, the city of Fitchburg’s television station, and will involve creating a video with site principals giving a short explanation of their school. The video will be put online and sent out as a DVD to all incoming kindergarten parents, along with a newsletter with more information.
VASD director of community services John Schmitt said the principals are also hoping to hold multiple “open houses” at their sites to answer more personalized questions and offer tours to interested parents. In past years, the district has held an incoming parents meeting in early January, but Schmitt told the school board last Monday that turnout has been disappointing in recent years.
Three Verona Area High School teachers received certification in October from a national organization that provides Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) educational programs.
The organization, Project Lead the Way, focuses on giving students an opportunity to learn STEM subjects, including engineering and biomedical science, through hands-on activities and projects, and to earn college credit while doing so.
At VAHS, the students certainly are getting that experience.
“A teacher isn’t always standing in front of the classroom,” said sophomore Carissa Waldo, who is in the Human Body Systems class taught by Hope Mikkelson, one of the newly certified teachers.
“I like how it’s really hands-on,” sophomore Julie Touchett added.
The programs, which are heavily project-based, allow students to complete activities at their own pace, even when it comes to quizzes and tests.
Parents of Savanna Oaks Middle School students received a letter last Wednesday detailing a cafeteria mix up involving glass cleaner.
The letter stated three pans full of marinara sauce had been “inadvertently prepped with a glass cleaner instead of a non-stick cooking spray.”
First through fourth graders from Verona Area International School as well as sixth graders at SOMS were potentially exposed to a dose that was “unlikely” to cause any problems, poison control said, according to the letter.
The chemical was Zep 40, a glass-cleaning agent.
Verona Area School District superintendent Dean Gorrell and SOMS principal Steve Penne signed the original letter and also sent out a follow-up letter Nov. 8 outlining a review process the school had undergone.
Photo by Scott Girard.
Students and a teacher embrace following Calvin Terrell’s emotional presentation, which included students coming to the front of the Badger Ridge gym and apologizing to other students or people in their lives they have bullied.
Hundreds of middle schoolers packed together in the Badger Ridge Middle School gymnasium last month, and the only sounds were sniffles and tears.
No talking, laughing or even whispering.
Social justice speaker Calvin Terrell was nearing the end of his two-and-a-half hour presentation to the Verona Area School District’s seventh- and eighth-graders. As he had the students imagine sitting in the corner of a locked classroom, hearing gunshots just outside in the hallway, he received word that the situation he was describing was actually happening thousands of miles away in Nevada.
That reality confirmed to the students and staff in attendance that the fictional story was less imaginary than they’d like to think.
The Verona Area School District will receive $3.6 million more in state aid in the 2013-14 school year than in 2012-13.
That’s good news for taxpayers, who will pay a lower tax rate than last year.
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction announced the final aid numbers Monday, and Verona was one of the biggest beneficiaries among the state’s 424 school districts with a 17 percent increase.
VASD will receive a total of $23,870,573 for the current school year after $20,236,470 last year.
That increase will lead to property owners paying $12.27 per $1,000 of assessed value, according to VASD business director Chris Murphy, down from the $12.78 they paid in 2012-13.
The owner of a $250,000 home would pay $3,067.50, down $120.50 from a year ago and $30 less than what was projected at the district’s annual budget meeting in June.
The Verona Area School Board passed a policy Monday that would allow students to take technology devices such as iPads or Chromebooks home with them from the classroom.
The policy comes as the district expands the technology it uses in classrooms, specifically in the new Exploration Academy high school, which will be the only school to use the technology policy for now.
“We’re going to start small, if they feel there’s a readiness level or some specific circumstances … to bring those forward,” said district technology director Betty Wottreng. “Right now we’re looking at Exploration Academy as being our first run.”
The policy will offer parents a chance to pay a $20 fee that would limit their liability to $100 for the first incident if the device is damaged or lost while it’s outside of the school. Parents would also have the option to opt out of the fee, but would then have to cover the entire cost to repair the device in the case of damage.
New Century Charter School hosted its annual Harvest Festival Friday, and kids were surprised with a pumpkin patch in the school’s front yard to begin the day. The festival lasted from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. and allowed kids an opportunity to play with dirt and pumpkins while also teaching them math and science lessons.
The children first made “wormeries,” or small worm habitats. Teachers and parent volunteers gave children information on the concept of growing worms and how that relates to composting.
Students also had the opportunity to pick a pumpkin out of the pumpkin patch and measure its circumference and weight. After they had their measurements, they placed “pumpkin tickets” on two graphs, one for circumference and one for weight, allowing them to see the relationship between the measurements. Then, kids completed a “Harvest Fest Challenge Packet,” which required them to work on math and writing challenges relating to the measurements they made.
Wisconsin Badgers football coach Gary Andersen and mascot Bucky Badger visited third through fifth graders at Core Knowledge Charter School Oct. 2 along with representatives from the Verona Subway to talk to the kids about healthy eating and exercising. After Andersen spoke, he and Bucky signed a few autographs and posed for pictures with the kids.
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