Students tell grandparents about today’s classroom

Oconto Falls Elementary School hosted its annual Grandparents Day on Oct. 7.

Fourth-grade students were excited to teach their grandparents what they are learning at school.

Grandparents and students practiced finding the median, mode and range of a set of numbers using candy corn.

Students and grandparents also used a Venn diagram to compare school now and in the past.


Enrollment up at Falls Elementary

A surge at Oconto Falls Elementary School drove up enrollment numbers in the Oconto Falls School District for the 2016-17 school year.

According to figures presented to the School Board on Monday, enrollment at OFES is up from 549 students in September 2015 to 577 as of Sept. 16, the third Friday of the month when the official census is taken at public schools statewide. The increase of 28 students at OFES contributed to the overall growth in the school district, with 1,748 students enrolled in 2016, 30 more than 2015.

A preliminary enrollment count taken Sept. 7 indicated OFES grew by nearly 50 students from September 2015, but miscommunication led staff members to count a dozen early childhood students twice, artificially inflating the numbers, Superintendent Dean Hess said.

Transient families moving out of the district also caused student numbers to fall from Sept. 7-16.


OFES wins national Blue Ribbon award

Times Herald photo by Joan Koehne
Students arrive at Oconto Falls Elementary School on Monday morning and walk beneath the “Committed to Excellence” message that serves as a guide for education in the school district. The elementary school won recognition in the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program for closing achievement gaps between student groups.

Oconto Falls Elementary School is one of 329 public elementary schools gaining national recognition in the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program. Oconto Falls Elementary was nominated by State Superintendent Tony Evers in January for closing achievement gaps among student groups.

“The recognition is appreciated, as the staff is highly committed to making Oconto Falls Elementary a great place for kids,” Principal Dan Moore said. “It’s the result of countless hours of hard work by many — a true team effort.”

Eight schools in Wisconsin won the Blue Ribbon award. On Nov. 7 and 8, the U.S. Department of Education will formally recognize the 279 public and 50 private schools at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Moore said the school will not send representatives to Washington, D.C., but will organize a celebratory assembly at the school.


Free flu vaccines available at area schools

Oconto County Public Health will visit Oconto County schools in October to offer free flu vaccines to students ages 3 to 18.

Oconto County Public Health will also offer free Hepatitis A, HPV and meningitis vaccines to all sixth-12th graders.

Consent forms and vaccine information sheets are available from the schools or at A completed, signed consent form is required for each student receiving any vaccine.


Sorlie participates in energy research program

Lisa Sorlie, district library media specialist for the Bonduel School District, spent part of her summer investigating the key challenges of making sustainable biofuels.

Sorlie, of Green Valley, participated in the Research Experience for Teachers program hosted by the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center and the Wisconsin Energy Institute.

Sorlie spent seven weeks at the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus working alongside GLBRC scientists. While immersing herself in biofuel research, she also developed instructional materials that will provide her students with the experience of investigating similar scientific questions in the classroom.

Sorlie scrutinized various yeast species for the Yeast Exploration and Analysis Science Team. Yeasts, which help convert plant sugar to fuel, are key to biofuel production.

She will return to Bonduel with a variety of instructional materials related to yeasts and advanced biofuels.


Wolf takes over as principal of St. Anthony School

First a Catholic school student, then a teacher and now a principal.

Catholic schools have long been at the center of Alex Wolf’s life. The Waukesha native has joined the staff of St. Anthony’s Catholic School in Oconto Falls as its elementary school principal and religious education director.

“We’re very excited to have Alex here,” said the Rev. Joel Sember, pastor of St. Anthony’s, Holy Trinity and St. Patrick’s churches. “He brings a varied background and a lot of youth and enthusiasm, and quite a bit of classroom experience as well.”

Wolf attended Catholic schools from first grade through college then taught six years at Catholic high schools, making him more than familiar with the Catholic school atmosphere.

“Where I came from, the Catholic school provided a safe haven for the kids and a loving environment,” he said. He said a Catholic school education also teaches things not found in a public school setting.


New leadership team comes to WMS

Washington Middle School is under new leadership for the 2016-17 school year.

Principal Stephanie Landreman joined the staff in June, replacing Lou Hobyan, who retired, and Tony Logue was named the assistant principal/curriculum director last month after Lucas Cromell resigned.

“We’ll make a really good team,” Landreman said Aug. 31, the day before school opened. “Together, and with the rest of our staff, we can move mountains.”

Logue said he and Landreman had developed a synergy in just the few short weeks they’ve known each other.

“We’re both very student-centered. We’re both big on building relationships. We’re both a little bit goofy,” he said.

Landreman, previously a teacher and dean of students for the Seymour Community School District, said she was familiar with Oconto Falls because both school districts compete in the North Eastern Conference.


Former OFHS classroom houses credit union, concessions stand

What do a concession stand and a credit union have in common? At Oconto Falls High School, a renovated classroom will be a credit union by day and a concession stand by night — with a school store yet to come.

A ribbon cutting was held Aug. 31 in a little-used classroom converted into a concessions stand and school credit union.

The concession stand, located across from the field house, officially opened Thursday for a home volleyball game, one of an estimated 40 indoor events in which food and refreshments will be served from the former math classroom.

With the transition to one-to-one technology, which puts a computer device in the hands of every student, an OFHS computer lab was closed. Once a math classroom was moved to the defunct lab, space was available for the renovation.


Kids learn to grow, prepare fresh vegetables in Seeds 2 Service

Times Herald Photo by Joan Koehne

Members of the Gillett School Board interact with students in the garden area developed behind Gillett Elementary School through the Seeds 2 Service program. Through the program, students learn to grow and harvest their own food, then use it to prepare healthy meals.

Members of the Gillett School Board broke from their monthly meeting Thursday night to visit the garden behind the elementary school. Seeds 2 Service created the garden, where students learn about growing and harvesting their own food, plus how to cook the food and plan healthy meals.

The program got its start in 2013, buoyed by $70,000 in grant funding. In the first years of the program, students made raised beds from kits, hauled dirt and mulch, and planted the seeds.

“They worked really hard on it. I think they’re pretty proud of it,” said coordinator Sara Peterson.

About 50 students were enrolled in the program, which met after school during the school year. This prevents some students from going home to an empty house, Peterson said.

During the summer, five or six summer school classes are offered, enrolling about 20 students per class.

“We talk about healthy eating, whole grains, and we try different foods with the kids,” Peterson said.


Businesses recognized for job skills partnership

Awards were presented July 21 at the Gillett School Board meeting to local businesses that partner with the Gillett High School Transition Program.

Receiving awards were Sunshine Child Center, the Gillett Public Library, Earthaven Museum, Woodland Village Nursing Center, the Gillett School District­­ and Howl’in Grooming and Training.

While participating in the transition program, high school students work on job sites to learn valuable information from mentors in the field. Representatives at each job site complete an evaluation of the student at the end of the job, providing feedback to the students and school staff.

The students are on the job three days a week and in the classroom twice a week.


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