Fort school board OKs academic, career plan

September 22, 2017 GMT

An Academic and Career Plan for 2017-18 was approved by the School District of Fort Atkinson Board of Education Thursday night.

The board took that action during its regular monthly meeting.

Lisa Hollenberger, director of Pupil Services, explained that Academic and Career Planning (ACP) is a “student-driven, adult-supported process in which students create and cultivate their own unique and information-based visions for post-secondary success, obtained through self-exploration, career exploration, and the development of career management and planning skills.”

In the School District of Fort Atkinson, she said, students receive ACP services and resources from four-year-old kindergarten (4K) through grade 12 mainly through its counseling program.

Chapter PI-26, the director said, is new legislation in the State of Wisconsin that requires every school district to provide academic and career planning services to pupils enrolled in grades 6-12.

“Previous Education for Employment and Academic Career Planning rules are combined into PI-26,” Hollenberger noted. “The purpose of these programs is to prepare all pupils for future employment, ensure technological literacy and promote lifelong learning, promote good citizenship; promote cooperation among business, industry, labor, post-secondary schools and public schools, and, most importantly, establish a role for public schools in the economic development of Wisconsin.”

There are four pieces to the puzzle regarding Academic and Career Planning through the Department of Public Instruction model, she said.

“Throughout our programming, what we do is we make sure we’re looking at who the student is, where they want to go, how they’re going to get there, and then helping them formulate that,” Hollenberger shared. “And then reorganizing it (plan) and recalculating it as needed. So at every level from elementary all the way through 12th grade, we’re taking a look at knowing, exploring and planning, and then going.”

One of the PI-26 requirements, she said, is to conduct an annual labor market industry analysis “which basically aides in driving our instruction.

“So we look at the market around us and where are their (employment) needs, (and) how can we get students prepared to go out into the needs of our surrounding area,” Hollenberger said. “What’s really cool is the platform that we use in Career Cruising (workshops) — the students learn about the education and training requirements for occupations that actually fill those needs.”

Another requirement, she said, is Career and Technical Education — of which Fort Atkinson already has a strong program in place.

“We’ve got career and technical education that focuses on academic and technical skills, as well as work-based learning, leadership and 21st century skills,” Hollenberger indicated.

Additional areas where these skills are taught, she pointed out, include agriculture and natural resources, business and information technology, family and consumer sciences, health science; marketing, management and entrepreneurship; technology and engineering.

“The School District of Fort Atkinson has a multitude of career-based learning which is also one of the requirements that shows district support for the ACP process, which are in job shadowing, internships, service learning and youth apprenticeships,” Hollenberger said.

One of the main components of ACP, she indicated, is ongoing communication.

The School District of Fort Atkinson notifies parents with an annual letter that informs them what services students receive each year, provides opportunities for participation and updates parents on progress throughout the year. Information also is conveyed at open house and orientation events, informational letters are sent to parents, parent-teacher conferences are held, and there is conferencing with counselor, parent and student.

Up-to-date Academic Career Planning information also is available through the district’s website.

An annual review of the PI-26 education requirements will be completed by the director of Pupil Services and district administration. A review will be published annually to the district website.

Business and education partners with the school district, Hollenberger said, include affiliated local businesses, Madison Area Technical College and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

The district’s long-term and ongoing goals, she said, are “placing a high degree on those soft skills, so just creating good people who are going to go out and do good work; engaging students in the application of the skills and knowledge that they’re learning; developing self-directed learners who can creatively work collaboratively with others and reason conceptually to solve important issues; and, of course, professionally we’re going to continue to refine our ACP process to expand community and industry connections and broaden parent involvement.”

Summer School

Also Thursday, the board heard Director of Instruction Amy Oakley report on the 2017 Summer School program.

She noted that the district offers a traditional K-8 summer school, as well as camps for summer elementary students.

“We do a noncompetitive, online signup process to ensure we’re offering sections of classes based on the number of requests to make sure students get the classes they want,” Oakley said. “We try to offer selections based on parent and student requests, and we work hard to provide parents options for physical activity, academic, technology, art, game-based, thematic … all sorts of fun choices for parents.”

The secondary level, she said, has been an area of growth the past couple of years, trying to establish the idea of “camps” for the middle school-age group that are shorter-length and shorter commitment.

“We also offer credit recovery which is a BlendEd structure for students with on-site teacher support,” Oakley indicated. “We also have expanded enrichment camp offerings for middle school students.”

New K-8 traditional courses based on parent requests, she said, were Magical World of Harry Potter, American Girl World, Pokemon Battle Zone-beginner and advanced, Introduction to Rocket Science, Computer Animation, Dance, and Book Friends featuring classic storybook characters and craft projects.

“In addition to the new classes we offered, we instituted a new breakfast and snack program in our summer school program, which was a big hit,” Oakley said. “Parents loved the fact that now they could drop off their students at 7:30 a.m. Breakfast is optional, but all students received a snack at 10 o’clock. It was a nice little break.”

New grades 4-12 camp offerings, she said, ranged from computer coding to culinary and leadership camps, a Gamers Club and mindfulness camp to a Run This Town camp, So This Is Middle School camp, and Softball Skills and Drills camp.

“So, lots of new camp offerings,” Oakley said. “We hope that this (area) will continue to grow — we’ve gotten good feedback.”

Also, new two-week-long middle school intervention camps for math, reading and writing were offered for students who identified as deficits.

“Lots of appreciation from parents on that, and we saw some nice progress from students that participated,” Oakley informed the board.

The director said the 2017 summer school had the district’s highest course offerings ever with 118.

A breakdown of K-12 summer school enrollment, she said, shows a total of 729 elementary students, 416 high school students and 327 middle school students participated, for a total of 1,472 students. A total of 859 K-8 students were enrolled in traditional courses (not camps), she noted.

“Some interesting items to note … we had our highest overall enrollment that we’ve ever had of noses, and we had our highest number of offerings to date with the first year for many of our camps,” Oakley commented.

There were fewer high school credit recovery days to align to the K-8 summer school start and end dates, she pointed out.

The director said 93 parents participated in a summer school survey, which garnered much positive feedback.

“Parents appreciated the class caliber and selection, our helpful and friendly staff, the hassle-free registration, the bus service from Rockwell and Barrie (elementary schools), and the free breakfast and snack,” Oakley said. “We also got overall kudos for a high-quality and organized program, and positive feedback on the new classes and camps.”

One suggestion, she said, was for administrators to consider the length of the traditional K-8 session to not extend to the last week of July.

Looking ahead toward summer 2018, the director said staff will: consider options for the length of K-8 summer school next year, research community Vacation Bible School dates, research new course and camp offerings, consider adding lunch to the summer feeding program, do continued study of traffic challenges, study a possible swim lesson program, and mull maximizing the partnership with the Fort Atkinson Boys and Girls Club.

“It was an awesome summer,” Oakley concluded.

Meanwhile, in other business, the board:

• Accepted the resignation request from Emmalee Davis, full-time middle school language arts teacher, effective immediately.

Liquidated damages for failure to perform will be imposed in the amount of $2,173.85.

The board of education thanked Davis for her one year of service and dedication to the students and community of the School District of Fort Atkinson.

• Approved paying from district funds .25 FTE reading intervention and .15 FTE math intervention formally funded by Title 1 a funds to continue intervention access for Barrie Elementary School for the 2017-18 school year.

• Approved .1 FTE additional staffing for adaptive physical education services at Fort Atkinson Middle School for the 2017-18 school year.

• Recognized Crossroads graduate Ansleigh Link, who was introduced by Crossroads instructor Jude Hartwick and presented with a high school diploma by Fort Atkinson High School Principal Dan Halvorsen in recognition of her meeting all academic program requirements established by the district and by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Members of Link’s family and friends were in attendance at the ceremony.

• Approved the School-Based Behavioral Health Counseling Memorandum of Understanding with Fort HealthCare Inc. for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years.

District Administrator Dr. Lynn Brown said the Behavioral Health Memorandum of Understanding is “a collaborative partnership” with Fort Memorial Hospital Foundation this past year to bring additional behavioral health services to the school districts of Fort Atkinson, Jefferson and Whitewater.

“Our portion will fund a behavioral health specialist for 1 ½ days per week for two years,” Brown said. “Salary and benefits are estimated to total $21,546 per year for our portion.”

The Fort Atkinson school district, she said, has submitted a grant to the Fort Atkinson Community Foundation for $18,000 per year for two years toward the cost of school-based behavioral health counseling for the school district.

“We anticipate that a portion of the $21,546 is billable, meaning we will get reimbursed,” Brown noted. “The grant specifies that the other portion will be raised by the Fort Memorial Hospital Foundation; however, the School District of Fort Atkinson will provide office space and supplies for the behavioral health specialist while they are serving students at their site.”

• Approved turning over the entire operation of the Kathleen Grabil Thorndike Scholarship to the Fort Atkinson Community Foundation (FACF), including the transfer of funds of approximately $60,000 to be managed by FACF and to handle operation of the scholarship.

Moreover, the school district designated FACF as the “appointing committee” for this scholarship, and relinquishes all control and operation of the scholarship to FACF acting as the appointing committee.

The school district had accepted funds from the E.J. Thorndike and Elizabeth R. Thorndike Trust, and agreed to establish the Kathleen Grabil Thorndike Scholarship.

The funds had been invested in a certificate of deposit, but only generating sufficient funds to award a $100 scholarship for the last year or two, there being approximately $60,000 in the account.

The Fort Atkinson Community Foundation Board of Directors had passed a resolution indicating its willingness to accept management of the funds and handling all operations of the Thorndike Scholarship.

• Accepted the following donations: School supplies and monetary donation from Frostie Freeze in the amount of $366; school supplies from Ball Corporation employees; school supplies from Golden State Foods employees; school supplies from Rick Olson of Modern Woodmen of America; school supplies from BKS Dental Offices; a Keurig coffeemaker from Scott Spoerl of Farmers Insurance to Fort Atkinson High School.

Also, two custom-made Chromebook carts designed, constructed and donated by the family of Jayden Weber; monetary donation of $1,000 from Meemic Foundation’s Back-to-School Grant to English Language Learners at Purdy Elementary School; BrainPOP online classroom subscription from DonorsChoose to English Language Learners at Purdy Elementary, valued at $150; flexible seating from DonorsChoose for students at Purdy Elementary, $890; monetary donation of $10,000 from the Theodore Batterman Family Foundation, Inc. to Fort Atkinson Archery Club; transportation of hurricane relief supplies to Mohanan Elementary School in Houston from W & A Distribution, and boxes from Generac and Keystone Foods to package and deliver supplies donated from district parents and students.

The board thanked the aforementioned donors for their generous gifts and partnerships with the community.