Past Issues | December 2, 2013 |
|About DPI-ConnectEd||News from the DPI||State Superintendent’s Page||DPI Home|
1. Impacts of 4K Community Approaches – New Website
The benefits of a collaborative, community approach (CA) to four-year-old kindergarten (4K) are inspiringly far reaching, as a new DPI website makes clear.
“Kindergarten teachers have found that they’re able to jump into the curriculum a whole lot sooner,” notes Heather Cramer, early learning principal at the Stevens Point Area School District, in a video on the site.
Short clips from interviews with Cramer and others are a key feature of the website, which identifies impacts of the community approach for children, families, school districts, non-school programs, and the general public. The benefits touch the worlds of finance, special education, community relations, and more.
In another video, Kari Gault, 4K principal, Middleton-Cross Plains School District, says that because of 4KCA, many four-year-old special education students in her district “are finally able to attend a classroom with their peers.”
The website also reports on a survey of 4KCA programs regarding which benefits have been seen in their communities, and includes presentations for 4KCA districts on how to tell their own success stories.
The community approach rests on partnership. Together, a broad range of local early childhood players, from child care providers and preschools to Head Start and school district staff, forge a common approach to a common goal: the emotional, educational, societal, and physical well-being of children.
Wisconsin now ranks fourth in the nation for widespread 4K access according to the National Institute for Early Education Research, with 94 percent of Wisconsin school districts offering some kind of 4K. Since 2006-07, 4KCA has mushroomed by 450 percent – 90 districts – while public-school-only 4K grew by 22 percent – 54 districts.
“We used [Wisconsin’s approach to 4K] as a model,” says Libby Doggett, former director of the Pre-K Now campaign and now head of the U.S. Education Department’s Office of Early Learning. “You’ve gone where the energy is.”
Much like the community approach itself, Doggett told DPI-ConnectEd that Wisconsin’s method of growing 4K “builds on what’s out there and makes it better.”
The first community in Wisconsin, possibly in the country, to try this comprehensive public-private partnership approach was La Crosse in the year 2000.
Prior to 2000, The DPI’s early childhood consultant, Jill Haglund, was among those working to grow a much-needed collaborative mindset between public education and private child care without quite knowing where it would lead.
“The minute I heard about what La Crosse was starting to do, I was all for it,” Haglund recalls. “It’s the perfect way to build quality early childhood services and build consistent community expectations.”
More than a decade later, it’s time to showcase the impacts of 4KCA – which is where 4kca.dpi.wi.gov comes in.
2. Youth Views on Personalized Learning
Students participating in an event last week provided responses about how they like to learn and to be taught.
State Superintendent Tony Evers hosted the State Superintendent’s Youth Summit: A Dialogue on Learning and Education in the Future, November 26, 2013, at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. Many of the high school students who attended the event participate in the Wisconsin Educational Opportunity Programs (WEOP). Students were encouraged to share with the State Superintendent their ideas on what education and learning should be in Wisconsin. The summit extended the work of last year’s summit in Stevens Point in which students from four other WEOP sites participated.
During the summit, students answered some questions about their learning and how they would like to be taught. Some of the responses:
The responses reinforce those given by students in last year’s summit.
3. Farm to School Projects Funded in Wisconsin
Three Wisconsin organizations won federal Farm to School grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which they will use in their work with school districts:
The Bayfield Regional Food Producers Cooperative won $76,742 to tackle the challenge of northern Wisconsin’s very short growing season by installing and managing “high tunnels” (a low cost version of a greenhouse) as a supplement to area school gardens. The tunnels will let schools implement experiential, project-based learning in the spring and fall, and will help them provide nutritious vegetables in lunches and snacks. A related “agripreneur” program will encourage and train older students to use high tunnels for commercial vegetable production. Finally, the partners will help schools, families, and restaurants to develop healthy, easy meals that can be sourced from local producers.
The Research, Education, Action and Policy on Food Group (REAP) in Madison is receiving $83,185 to implement systems for increasing the locally-grown fruits and vegetables sold to school food services, starting with a focus on the new salad bars in the Madison district.
The Winnebago County Health Department’s “re:TH!NK” program won $99,870 to freeze local produce for use in school lunches, promote healthy eating through farm to school programs, and lay the groundwork for self-sustaining procurement of locally-grown food for school lunches.
Wisconsin tied with three other states for second place in number of Farm to School grants awarded. Only California saw a greater number.
4. Spanish-Language Transition Booklets
Just like the English version, each short volume in the Abriendo Puertas series focuses on a different aspect of life after high school: adult services, employment, postsecondary education and training, and self- determination skills.
The booklets can be used by individual students, families, IEP teams, classes, teachers, and small student groups.
The Spanish or English versions can be purchased individually or as a group on the DPI Publication Sales website.
5. Student Contests: White House Tech Films, Dream Careers, Flying Posters
Some current contests for interested students (or classes):
The first ever White House Student Film Festival invites K-12 students to create very short films addressing “big questions” about technology and education (both their own education and what they imagine for kids in the future). Official selections will be featured on the White House website and creators may have a chance to attend the film fest at the White House. Deadline is January 29, 2014.
Teaching Today is looking for high school students to describe their “dream careers” in writing, video, or PowerPoint. Winning works will be featured in the Holiday issue. Prizes include scholarships and Visa gift cards. More information is available from Andria Reinke, 715-360-4875. Deadline is December 16, 2013.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Aeronautics invites children, ages 7-17, to enter a poster contest with the theme of “Flying Saves Lives.” Top entries will advance to nationals, with the potential for international competition. Statewide winners will receive art supply gift certificates or in the case of the first place winner, the choice of a gift certificate or an airplane ride. Deadline is January 17, 2014.
IN THIS ISSUE: