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Sun Prairie among best communities in music education


The Star: The Sun Prairie Area School District has been named among the best communities for music education.

The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation recognized 527 school districts and 92 schools across the nation for their outstanding music education programs. Each year, the NAMM Foundation selects school districts to be recognized as among the best communities for music education (BCME).

Now in its 18th year, the awards program recognizes outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders who have made music education part of the curriculum. The districts NAMM recognizes set the bar in offering student access to comprehensive music education.

Selections are based on survey results in cooperation with researchers at The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

The designation takes on added significance this year with new research showing strong ties between active participation in school music education programs and overall student success for student ages K-12. A recent study of students in the Chicago Public Schools by researchers at Northwestern University, detailed in Neuroscientist and Education Week, builds on previous findings that participation in music education programs helps improves brain function, discipline and language development.

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La Crosse Logan High School opens food pantry

lax_logn_food_pantry Another school in the area is hoping to help the hungry here at home.

Logan High School recently opened ‘The Logan Table,’ a pantry set up for students and families who may have trouble having enough food at home.

The pantry is maintained by staff members at Logan and is stocked with items provided by the Hunger Task Force.

They held a curbside event outside the high school Thursday to make sure everyone had enough food to last through the upcoming spring break.

Teachers say about 48% of students at Logan qualify for free or reduced cost meals at the school and they didn’t want to see anyone go hungry.

“We worried that ‘how can you focus on learning when you don’t have food at home to eat?’ So we started the pantry at school so that the students could access it, because often you have to be 18 years old or you have to have a car to get to a food pantry,” said Logan H.S. Special Education Teacher Tricia Gibbons.

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Green Bay schools aim to turbocharge college prep


Green Bay Press Gazette: A new partnership between Green Bay schools and local colleges aims to get students thinking about and preparing sooner for higher education.

Michelle Langenfeld, superintendent of schools and learning, said the collaboration works at introducing the idea of college in elementary and middle schools and then incorporating more college-level courses in high schools. The goal is that, by 2023, all students graduating from the district will leave high school with a minimum of 15 college credits.

The initiative, Turbocharge with College Credit, involves Green Bay Area Public School District, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Representatives from the institutions announced the program Thursday during an assembly at Washington Middle School.

Jeff Rafn, president of NWTC, proposed the idea in 2015. He said there are more than 100 opportunities to earn college credit while still working toward high school graduation.

“There truly is a variety of classes,” he said. “Some we (NWTC or UWGB instructors) will come into the schools to teach, or the schools will have a teacher of their own, who’s certified, teach our curriculum.”

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Sap collection underway in Superior School Forest


Superior Telegram: Salamanders and sap were the stars of Wednesday’s expedition to the Superior School Forest. Second grade students from Four Corners Elementary School spent the day engaged in a host of activities, from “I spy” and creating animal footprints to team tic-tac-toe.

“I think it’s great,” said Mark Locken, who traveled to the forest with his son Tanner, 8. “It’s just the best experience for them.”

Parents enjoyed the outing too.

“You spend time with the kids and they get to learn,” said Ed Gallagher, who was with his daughter, Addyson. “She doesn’t do much sapping, so she gets to learn that process, and she made her animal prints.”

An aquarium full of small, spotted salamanders, prompted excitement and a few giggles from the kids.

“They look like snakes.”

“Are they slimey?”

“Can I hold one?”

“These are all very good questions,” said Lori Danz, school forest coordinator. “You could have written my lesson for me.”

Students learned that young salamanders look much like frog tadpoles in their early stages. They are some of the earliest amphibians to come out of hibernation in the spring, headed toward wetlands and bodies of water to lay their eggs.

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Montello High School Choir performs at Grand Ole Opry in Nashville


Marquette County Tribune: Montello High School Choir was welcomed by the Grand Ole Opry and its patrons prior to the March 25th performance.

The Music City Performance Program has become an exciting part of the Opry experience for visiting performing student groups. This program gives students and amazing performance experience at one of the nation’s iconic music establishments. “Being able to showcase talented students from across the country is very rewarding and fosters excellence in their musical development curriculum,” said Wayne Chandler, Director of Sales, GOO Entertainment Group.

The students performed for 20 minutes prior to attending the world’s longest running radio show. In addition, they received a commemorative performance poster and recognition during the Grand Ole Opry Performance. Their visit to the Grand Ole Opry was part of a trip to Nashville, Tennessee over their spring break, during which they experienced many sights and landmarks of the Nashville area.

Arcadia embraces diversity


LaCrosse Tribune: Growth has been good for the city.

Chuck Timm has owned Up Chucks bar on Main Street in Arcadia for nearly 15 years and has seen companies such as Ashley Furniture Industries expand and new businesses move in. That growth wouldn’t be possible without the large and growing population of Hispanic and Latino residents who call the city home, he said, and who make Arcadia the vibrant community it is.

“I welcome it,” Timm said. “It means more people and businesses on Main Street. It means more people to frequent my business and others.”

In the past five years, the Hispanic population has almost doubled according to U.S. Census Data. Hispanic students now make up the majority of the student population of the Arcadia School District, and the U.S. Department of Justice recently required the city to offer a bilingual ballot to residents in elections due to the city’s demographics.

According to demographic data from the U.S. Census at the DPI, the growth in the Hispanic population has been rapid. Hispanic people only made up about 3 percent of the population of Arcadia in 2000; now the Hispanic population makes up more than a third of the city’s residents.

The school district has seen an even more rapid shift, with the Hispanic population going from 9 percent of students in 2005 to nearly 53 percent last year. At the school’s elementary/middle school, the population ratios flipped between 2011 and 2015 with Hispanics making up more than a third of the students six years ago and reaching nearly two-thirds of the school’s population last year.

These students and their families have been a blessing to the community, school Superintendent Louie Ferguson said. At a practical level, the students have helped grow enrollment in the district, which has kept Arcadia from having to make cuts or eliminate programs.

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