Two distinguished graduates of DeForest Area High School will be the first inducted into the new Alumni Hall of Fame. Chris Dorsey, Class of 1983, and Laura Green, Class of 1998, will be inducted during a reception and ceremony on Thursday, September 24, 2015. The public is welcome.
The Norski Walk of Honor recognize individuals within the school district community who have had a significant impact on the schools and thus enriched the quality of life in the greater DeForest area. Two distinguished individuals – Dale Jenkins and Sue Paulson – will be honored this year on Sunday, September 20 in the Performing Arts Center. The public is welcome — RSVP is requested.
High school Agriculture and Natural Resources Instructor, Dan Kvalheim, recently received a $1,000 grant award from Whitetails Unlimited to purchase tools for maintaining the school district’s Big Hill Environmental Learning Center. The funds were matched with another $1,000 from the FFA’s Land Lab proceeds. In addition, two businesses, Johnsons Sales and Stihl, provided a discount on the purchase of the tools.
Kvalheim wrote the grant application on behalf of the Big Hill Committee and DeForest FFA. According to Kvalheim, the funds will be used to purchase tools for use in removing invasive plants, shrubs, and trees at the learning center, with the ultimate goal of improving the health of the forest and improving wildlife habitat. Students in the high school Conservation class, along with volunteers, maintain the Big Hill. In the past they relied on volunteers bringing their own tools and supplies.
Big Hill Environmental Learning Center is a school forest located on 60 acres near Hwy. 19 that is jointly owned by the DeForest Area School District and the Town of Windsor. “The prairie covers roughly ten acres of reclaimed gravel pit, with the remainder being mixed hardwood woodland, two ponds, and small oak savannah, and unimproved brush,” said Kvalheim.
Several teachers and local business people came together on Thursday, August 20 to learn more about Wisconsin’s labor market and academic and career planning for students.
The day began at the school district’s administrative offices with a presentation by Jim Morgan, Vice President of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce. Jim discussed the changing employment demographics in Wisconsin and how current and upcoming generations, such as the Millennials, Gen X, Y, and Z, impact the workforce. He also shared information about Future Wisconsin, a 20-year strategic vision for the state to ensure our economic competitiveness, and how academic and career planning can help students prepare for jobs of the future.
Judi Walsh, the school district’s Program Coordinator for College and Career Readiness, then updated participants on what’s happening in the DeForest Area School District and around Wisconsin to better help students prepare for success in education and employment. “Academic and career planning, when done well, can improve student outcomes and post-secondary graduation rates,” said Walsh.
During the afternoon, the group traveled to Madison Area Technical College Health Education Center where School of Health Education Dean, Mark Lausch, provided a tour of the new Health Education Center, and provided information about programs and employment opportunities in the expanding health care industry.
The last leg of the day was a tour of the BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute, located at Promega on Madison’s south side. Barbara Bielec, the Institute’s K-12 Program Director, gave a tour of the BTC building, emphasizing STEM careers & training. She also facilitated an electrophoresis activity for the group and provided information about educational and employment opportunities through the BTC Institute.
This summer, over 140 teaching and support staff attended the district’s Norski Camps to learn more about integrating technology and STEM tools in meaningful ways for student learning.
According to Christine Rybak, the district’s Technology Coach and co-organizer of the Camp, “Norski Camp combines the best concepts of professional learning and the structure of EdCamps into an event of summer learning and leading at DASD.” This was the third year of the multi-day camp that began in 2013 as a new approach to professional learning in the district. An additional day in June was added for classroom support staff geared toward their learning needs.
Instructional staff attended Norski Camp August 4-6 at the middle school. Sessions were offered at the beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels, and were designed to improve instructional strategies and professional workflow, and learn additional tools to improve literacy.
A new addition this year was the Maker Studio. Spearheaded by Learning Information Systems Coordinator, Kimberly Bannigan, a temporary maker space was created where staff could experience and tinker with STEM activities. During the three days, staff tried their hands at controlling robots, creating circuits, programming, assembling a Raspberry Pi computer, 3D printing, and other STEM activities. Several staff members from the DeForest Public Library attended the Maker Studio sessions. “As we begin to implement Project Lead the Way programs and build new spaces, it’s important for staff to be well-versed in maker technologies and the opportunities they offer all learners,” said Bannigan.
The June 15 camp for classroom support staff included learning more about Google tools, iPads, classroom technologies, Microsoft Office programs, Skyward, and other technologies. Sessions were organized around their work, needs, and common questions. Library media specialists and library assistants helped plan and deliver sessions for this new event.
The district’s Technology Integration Leadership Team, made up of staff throughout the district, meets continually plan professional development opportunities and provide leadership for activities such as these. According to Rybak, who leads the team, they have five guiding principles as they are developing Norski Camp:
- Provide relevant and initiative-inspired learning opportunities that are facilitated by our peers and colleagues.
- Connect learning targets to ISTE Standards for Teachers, district areas of focus, and individual curriculum. Start with the Why.
- Schedule enough time per session to dive deep, personalize, and make meaning.
- Incorporate choice and flexibility wherever possible.
- Teach and learn together in a comfortable and casual setting.
More information and photos are available on the Norski Camp website.
$1,000 grant to promote healthy lifestyles
The DeForest Area School District is pleased to announce that DuPont Pioneer donated $1,000 toward a mobile learning effort that promotes healthy lifestyles.
The grant will specifically be used to purchase I-pads to assess physical activity and help students learn about nutrition. Shelly Minick with DuPont Pioneer in DeForest sponsored the grant.
“I commend the work of the school in working with our youth to learn about nutrition and adopting more active lifestyles which includes healthy eating,” said Minick.
“We want to thank DuPont Pioneer for this grant. We plan to use these funds to work with students in grades 9-12 via the use of I-pads to assess their physical activity, nutrition and to implement advocacy projects aimed at healthy living,” said Robyn Tisch with DeForest Area School District.
Pioneer makes contributions to community-based organizations on behalf of the business and employees. Consideration for outreach grants are given to communities where Pioneer representatives, employees and customers live and work and that support quality-of-life initiatives to create an improved, sustainable lifestyle for people worldwide.
DuPont Pioneer is the world’s leading developer and supplier of advanced plant genetics, providing high-quality seeds to farmers in more than 90 countries. Pioneer provides agronomic support and services to help increase farmer productivity and profitability and strives to develop sustainable agricultural systems for people everywhere. Science with Service Delivering Success®.
DuPont (NYSE: DD) has been bringing world-class science and engineering to the global marketplace in the form of innovative products, materials, and services since 1802. The company believes that by collaborating with customers, governments, NGOs, and thought leaders, we can help find solutions to such global challenges as providing enough healthy food for people everywhere, decreasing dependence on fossil fuels, and protecting life and the environment. For additional information about DuPont and its commitment to inclusive innovation, please visit www.dupont.com.