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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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AWARDED—Three school district administrators were recipients of the DPI award presented at the 92nd State Education Conference on Jan. 24 in Milwaukee. Front row from left are Jan Dooley, Wausaukee Superintendent; Vicky Oldham, NWTC-Crivitz Regional Coordinator; back row: Patrick Mans, Crivitz Superintendent; Dr. Tony Evers, DPI; Robert Berndt, Beecher-Dunbar-Pembine Superintendent.

3 Area Schools Recipient Of Rural Education Award

Area school district representatives conducted an education session, “Re-Imagining Rural Education,” at the 92nd State Education Conference in Milwaukee on Jan. 24th. The panel consisted of superintendents from Crivitz, Beecher-Dunbar Pembine, Wausaukee and NWTC personnel.

This same group was also recognized on Feb. 1 by the DPI and received a “Standing Up for Rural Wisconsin” award for its collaborative contributions to bringing educational excellence and community building to rural Wisconsin.

Dr. Tony Evers, State Superintendent of Schools stated at the Feb. 1 presentation, “Education excellence and community building exist throughout rural Wisconsin, these individuals and organizations exemplify the wonderful work that is going on each day in support of our students and communities.”

The partnership among the three schools and NWTC began with a needs analysis conducted in 2009 addressing the question - how to provide students with educational and career opportunities while meeting the needs of local employers in a cost effective manner. Common challenges are shared by the three districts - declining enrollment, shrinking revenues, and increased costs associated with program offerings. Local employers were seeking employees who graduated with requisite skill sets and NWTC was seeking opportunities to fill unmet workforce needs.

The result is that the NWTC Northwoods Learning Lab is situated at the Wausaukee School. Students from Crivitz, Beecher-Dunbar-Pembine and Wausaukee enroll through Youth Options in courses qualifying for dual credit in welding, automotive, nursing and engineering technology. Student enrollments continue to increase every year; as do the course offerings.

Members of the panel were Patrick Mans, Crivitz School Administrator; Robert Berndt, Beecher-Dunbar-Pembine School Administrator; Jan Dooley, Wausaukee School Administrator; Lori Suddick, NWTC Vice-President of Learning and Vicky Oldham, NWTC- Crivitz Regional Learning. Wausaukee School personnel representing viewpoints from their respective positions were: Misty Betts, School Counselor; Jennifer Klimek, Science Teacher; and Dave Kipp, Board President.

Benefits shared by the panel include: Students experience enhanced career exploration, develop important work/life skill sets, and financially realize a major portion of their post-secondary tuition paid through the school districts.

The partnering districts have expanded class offerings without significant added cost and realize efficient utilization of fiscal/ infrastructure resources. It is mutually beneficial by reducing the impact of open enrollment, sharing of staff and resources, avoidance of duplication of services, and preservation of the identity of the individual school districts within their respective communities. Additionally, fiscal resources are available for reallocation to innovative teaching and learning practices.

Teaching staff are challenged to use technology to supplement their teaching practices, share methods that enhance student learning, grow as educational coaches, and support their colleagues in professional growth.

Local economic needs are addressed through a reduction of local talent exodus and student preparation to meet workforce expectations.

NWTC as the lead provides a trained/educated, local workforce to fill manufacturing and employer staffing needs. Their partnerships with business also fulfill many of the equipment needs for training. In return the college realizes alignment of its strategic priorities and fulfills a moral imperative to the region it serves.

A clear understanding of the goals/needs of K-12 partners and the college results in mutually beneficial goals, alignment with workforce needs, and an understanding of limitations.

Further, integration of secondary and post-secondary education is occurring. The ongoing challenge is to provide quality coursework offerings and reduce the necessity of college remediation courses; and in the process to provide students and staff with new learning opportunities. The NWTC transcribed credit program is another option that demonstrates these dual benefits. More opportunities are being explored.

NWTC has been a willing and instrumental partner in growing this joint venture. The opportunities available because of this partnership will continue to evolve because the ability to change, innovate, and adapt will continue to be a part of the future in education.

Leadership from the school districts involved instills the qualities of courage, foresight and commitment to make extraordinary things happen. The State Education Conference co-sponsored by Wisconsin Association of School Board, Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators, and Wisconsin Association of School Business Officials, is attended by school district personnel and board members from across the state and spotlights best practices occurring in Wisconsin’s schools.


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