Page 1

The Sun Prairie Experience A Community Newsletter | WINTER 2019 IN THIS ISSUE

From the Superintendent Hello! On January 14th, 2019, the Board of Education adopted a resolution for the Spring Election on April 2nd, 2019, for the construction support of a second high school for the Sun Prairie Area School District. This adopted resolution came from the Secondary School Space Planning Committee’s recommendation. We are so proud to work collaboratively with our community in developing a School District that meets the expectations of our community and the needs of our students. To learn more about this referendum, you have a number of options. You can access our comprehensive web page for The Road to the Referendum, (sunprairieschools.org/ ref2019) you can attend one of the community information sessions, or you can reach out to me directly to talk about details and ask questions. I am here to help. Recently, I was in a meeting and one of our teachers was talking about how proud he was of our School District. As he was talking about the Sun Prairie Area School District, he said that this is a place where, “you can live your dream.” I was so inspired by this teacher, and I couldn’t stop thinking about the impact our teachers and our school experience can have on our students. The Sun Prairie Experience is the collective stories of our students reaching their dreams because of the support, expertise, and love of our staff. I invite you to join me in drawing inspiration and focus from this teacher as we support our students in reaching their dreams. See you soon, Brad Saron, Superintendent

Pages 2–3 School Board Updates Pages 4–7 Teaching, Learning & Equity - Academic and Career Planning - How We Choose Materials to Teach Students - Tech Tip - Black History Month - Student Spotlight Pages 8–9 Community Engagement - Kindness Retreats - Hour of Code - Hunger Hero Campaign - Habitat for Humanity - Spirit of Giving Campaign Pages 10–11 Workforce Focus - Staff Showcase - Employment Opportunities - Staff Wellness - Workforce Excellence Team Pages 12–15 Facilities & Operations -

District Financial Report Safety Initiatives Community Schools is Growing STEAM Programming at Westside Elementary - How Geothermal is Used in Our Schools - Summer School Planning is Underway

STAY CONNECTED AND INFORMED sunprairieschools sunprairiek12 @sunprairieschooldistrict Sun Prairie School District Sun Prairie School District sunprairieschools.org • 608-834-6500 501 S. Bird Street, Sun Prairie, WI 53590


From the School Board President Dear SPASD Community: Welcome to this edition of The Sun Prairie Experience! I hope this issue helps you learn about some of the many great things happening in our School District. The District has worked hard over the past few years to improve our communication with you, and this newsletter is just one of the methods we have implemented to help you better understand what is happening in your School District. In just over a month, we are asking you to consider supporting a building referendum of $164 million and an annual operating fund of $5 million to staff the potential new high school, pay down the building debt, and fund additional money for teachers. Sun Prairie teachers are some of the most educated, hard-working, and dedicated professionals anywhere, but they are paid less than many other teachers in other districts in Dane County. This has been a problem that the District has not been able to adequately address, but now is the time to fix the problem so we can attract and retain the very best. The number one factor in student achievement is the teacher, and the SPASD is committed to our professional educators as they teach, inspire, and love all of the children in this District. 2019 promises to be another memorable year for the SPASD. Please consider getting involved: attend SCO meetings at our schools, come to a School Board meeting to learn what the Board is working on, or volunteer at a school. This is your School District, and together we will make it even better for the 8,500 children we are proud to serve. On behalf of the Board of Education and Superintendent Brad Saron, thank you for reading this newsletter, and please reach out if you have any questions or concerns. Every Child, Every Day, Steve Schroeder, School Board President

MEET OUR STUDENT REPRESENTATIVES ON THE SCHOOL BOARD EMILY FLOOD is a junior at Sun Prairie High School. She was class president during her sophomore year and is the junior class co-president this year. Emily served as the Cardinal Heights student council president as a freshman, and this year she is the student council co-secretary/ historian. Emily also is the coyearbook editor this year and has participated on the forensics team since 8th grade. She has also been a Girl Scout throughout high school and is currently working on her Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouts. In addition, Emily plays the French horn in band. 2

When asked what she likes best about attending Sun Prairie Schools, Emily shares: “I appreciate the wide range of academic and extracurricular activities that are offered. From top-ranked athletic teams to a stellar music program to the wide variety of courses offered, students are given many opportunities to maximize their potential.” Emily says: “I’ve realized how many complicated issues the School Board has to address. It’s also been nice to see that although members may have differing opinions on topics, they remain on friendly terms with one another in and outside of meetings.” Emily plans to attend a four-year college and perhaps pursue law school.

AISHA TUNKARA is a senior at Sun Prairie High School. Aisha participates in the Minority Student Achievement Network (MSAN), the Black Student Union (BSU), and Amnesty International. She has high expectations for herself and others. She is a leader in our schools and just an overall positive role model for all students. When asked what she likes best about Sun Prairie High School, Aisha shares: “I like the extensive amount of extracurricular activities available. These clubs have always been an active support system throughout

THE SUN PRAIRIE EXPERIENCE | WINTER 2019 | News from the Sun Prairie Area School District





The District will hold two Referendum Open Houses. We hope to see you on either of the following dates:

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 26 5:30 — 7:00PM Sun Prairie High School Library 888 Grove Street WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13 6:30 — 8:00PM Meadow View Elementary School 200 North Grand Avenue

HAVE QUESTIONS? Feel free to call the District at 608-834-6687

Cost: $164 million o Build a second high school o Reconfigure Cardinal Heights Upper Middle School (CHUMS) to serve 6th — 8th

grades (in addition to Prairie View and Patrick Marsh Middle Schools), relocate Prairie Phoenix Academy to a separate and dedicated space at the current CHUMS building, and minimal updates to secondary schools o Build a new multi-purpose stadium at the Ashley Field site for use by both high schools •

Annual Tax impact: $56 per $100,000 of property value

QUESTION #2: Operational Funding •

Cost: $5 million per year beginning in 2019-2020 o The first three years will fund $10 million in construction

costs, with the remaining $5 million to help bring teacher compensation in line with the Dane County market ($15 million total). Year four and beyond will fund operations of the second high school. •


Annual Tax Impact: $72 per $100,000 of property value


my high school journey. They’ve provided me with leadership opportunities that have built my confidence and passions for racial and social justice.” Aisha also shares that her experience as a student Board member has been amazing and has made her broaden her viewpoint and take careful consideration of the complexity of issues. “The individuals on the Board constantly exemplify the importance of equality and transparency to the public. I find these qualities important and sometimes lacking in other councils within

society, so I will, definitely harbor these traits that the School Board diligently practices and apply them in my own life.” Aisha will be attending the University of Notre Dame this fall to double major in pre-med and international relations. She hopes to pursue a career as a surgeon and take part in the World Health Organization or Doctors Without Borders Program to help relieve the effects of poverty and conflict around the world.

Vote Tuesday, April 2, 2019 SIX CANDIDATES SEEK THREE SCHOOL BOARD SEATS Current School Board members Steve Schroeder, Dave Hoekstra, and Caren Diedrich will seek reelection. Additional candidates Tim Fandek, Bob Jokisch, and Montie Bowie will also run.

2019 REFERENDUM ON APRIL BALLOT Ballot questions will address secondary space solutions and annual operational funding.

Do you have a group that would like to learn more about the referendum or the School District? Invite the Superintendent to your next meeting. Call 608.834.6562 to make arrangements.

sunprairieschools.org 3


Academic and Career Planning (ACP) What is ACP? The Academic and Career Planning process, or ACP, is a student-driven, adult-supported process in which students create and cultivate their own unique and information-based visions for post-secondary success, through selfexploration, career exploration, and the development of career management and planning skills. (Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction)

What does it mean to be college and career ready?

provides flexibility based on individual preferences and experiences. • Students have been exposed to different problem solving processes to help them innovate, invent, design and build products and systems in different types of environments and industries. • Students are able to navigate both the world of higher education and employment to support a transition to post-secondary options.

• Students understand their unique strengths and interests that align to a wide variety of future opportunities.

• S  tudents have developed knowledge, dispositions, and skills that will assist them in their future planning and readiness for post-secondary options.

• Students are an integral part in the creation of a personal plan for goal attainment that

The ACP process will assist all students by empowering them with the

You can learn more about the Academic and Career Planning process in Sun Prairie on our District website by going to the homepage for either of our secondary schools and looking under the ACADEMICS drop-down menu. Here you will find our ACP Parent Guide, Student Outcomes by Grade, a description of the SPASD ACP Process, and our ACP Implementation Guide.

PEG Partnership Over the past two years, the Sun Prairie Area School District has been working in partnership with the Pacific Educational Group (PEG) as part of our strategic goal to eliminate the opportunity gap for students of color through racial equity. The staff at PEG have been working with staff and community members to transform beliefs, behaviors, and results so students of all races can achieve at their highest level.

Three District teams have been formed to learn the Courageous Conversation protocol to help us engage in deep interracial dialogue and to address persistent racial disparities. The three teams within our system are as follows. 1. D  istrict Equity Leadership Team (DELT) is comprised of the superintendent, assistant superintendents, and District Office administrators. 2. LEADS is made up of all site and District administrators as well as program managers and administrative support staff.


knowledge and skills necessary to achieve academic, personal, social, and career knowledge and graduate ready for success.

3. S  ite E-Teams (equity teams) have been formed of seven to ten staff members from each of our school sites. All three teams began their equity journey by participating in the Beyond Diversity seminar and have participated in quarterly staff development. All teams have been charged with examining the impact of race on student learning and creating strategic actions to address disparities that exist at each site. The results of this work have been shared in our district, department, and site action plans, which are available on our District website.

THE SUN PRAIRIE EXPERIENCE | WINTER 2019 | News from the Sun Prairie Area School District

Curriculum Renewal and Design Process How do we decide what materials to use to teach students? We use a process called Curriculum Renewal and Design Process. Our staff reviews curriculum and instructional materials on a six-year cycle to ensure that our students have an exceptional learning experience that is aligned to state and national standards. Each content area moves through the six-year cycle with specific annual action steps. For example, the committee to review the Social Studies curriculum was convened for Year 1 of the cycle in 2016–17. Approximately thirty-five 4K–12 educators met quarterly to review standards, social studies data, course offerings, and instructional materials. During the 2017–18 school year, the Social Studies Steering Committee continued its work by meeting monthly to create new curriculum, modify course offerings, and select new instructional materials. Over the summer of 2018 and into the fall of the 2018 school year, all staff who teach social studies were involved in learning about our new curriculum and instructional materials for implementation in classrooms across the District. The committee is monitoring the implementation of the new curriculum and materials throughout this school year and will examine the impact they have had on student achievement during Years 5 and 6 of the cycle through 2021.

Selecting Social Studies Instructional Materials The Social Studies Steering Committee is a group of teachers from grades K–12 who have interest in improving student learning in social studies. This group is in year 3 of the six-year curriculum cycle. The committee chose to adopt the National Social Studies Standards and the Teaching Tolerance Standards. Here are two examples of “I can” statements for second grade, based on the Wisconsin Social Studies Standards:

WI DPI: I can describe how groups of people are alike and different. WI DPI: I can infer ways people change and adapt to new situations in places and within a family.

Once the standards work was complete, our steering committee conducted a thorough review of instructional materials available.

Sun Prairie Area School District Three-Phase/Six-Year Curriculum Cycle

Final decisions about what materials to adopt were made through dialogue and discussion about pros/cons and potential areas of overlap into other content areas (such as Reading/Writing workshops in grades 6–8).

Year 1:


4K–12 Self-Study & Review

Year 2:

Implementation & Refinement

Curriculum Review & Materials Selection

Year 5:

Year 3:

Year 6:


At the elementary level, our teachers adopted a set of children’s books to serve as mentor texts aligned to five themes in Social Studies (Culture, Civics, History, Geography, and Economics).


High Quality Programming for All Students

Implementation & Refinement

Initial Implementation

Year 4:

2 5

THE SUN PRAIRIE EXPERIENCE | WINTER 2019 | News from the Sun Prairie School District


Midpoint Review

sunprairieschools.org 5


When We Focus on New Teachers and School Leaders, Students Succeed! The Sun Prairie Mentor program is designed to provide the skills, resources, and support needed to create optimal learning environments that accelerate students’ academic and social emotional success. This work is embedded into the first three years of practice through a highly trained New Teacher Mentor. Mentors come into the classroom to plan, observe, analyze student learning and use tools that develop highly impactful habits of mind in practice. Our mentors include: Tiffany Drogue (Special Educator focus), Amy Ledford, Gina Pokrass, Emily Pederson, Kristin Wilkinson and Kayla Gauwitz (Student Service focus). Our newest administrators are also supported through their first year by coming together several times to network, ask questions and dive deeper into system practices. They are also asked to attend the New Building Administrators Academy offered through the Association of Wisconsin School Administrators.

The 2019 Sun Prairie Area School District districtwide celebration of Black History Month is well underway. Stephanie Leonard-Witte, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching, Learning, and Equity, and Teran Peterson, African American Parent Network Executive Council member, held collaborative meetings with administrators, Black Student Union advisors, and youth advocates to coordinate events for the District and community. The Black Student Union designed this year’s T-shirt. Watch our Facebook page during the month of February to see highlights from Black History Month events.

The Patrick Marsh Black Student Union created a video to kick off Black History Month. The group was joined by Carolyn Stanford Taylor, State School Superintendent

Tech Tip Plugged-in Parenting With the new year, the District began a series of monthly “plugged-in parenting” communications to our families. Check out our recent tips about cyberbullying. Anytime children enter digital spaces (online, texts, apps, social media, etc.), they are susceptible to cyberbullying.

What you need to know: • C  YBERBULLYING IS REAL. People can be mean. Technology makes being mean easier. • A  WARENESS AND COMMUNICATION ARE KEY. Talk to your children openly and often about their online behavior. • S  POT CHECK. Your children may not like it, but tell them to expect spot checks. This will help you better guide them in navigating online activity. 6

February Is Black History Month

• D  EVELOP A PLAN. Talk through scenarios of how to deal with cyberbullying before it ever happens so that your children have a plan to fall back on if it does. • S  ET LIMITS. Bullying can happen at any time of the day, but it can have a greater impact on kids when there is no relief. • C  HECK YOURSELF. Much of what our children know about digital behavior stems from what they see at home. Model healthy online habits. Children are always watching!

Remember although cyberbullying can be scary, a lot of healthy and positive relationships can come from connecting digitally. A strong focus on kindness and empathy is always important in supporting healthy relationships in both the digital world and the real world. For more information and tips, please check out our cyberbullying resources on the District website.

THE SUN PRAIRIE EXPERIENCE | WINTER 2019 | News from the Sun Prairie Area School District

t n e d u St ight Spotl Sun Prairie High School students attended the Wisconsin Leadership Summit in Wisconsin Dells. Faith Stevenson, SPHS faculty member, coordinated the opportunity to send ten of our students to participate in sessions with Wisconsin’s most influential leaders of color in business, government, education, and the nonprofit sector for two days of discussion, networking, professional development, and planning for the future of communities of color across the state.

The Pajama Game Nominated for 18 Awards The SPHS production of The Pajama Game was critiqued by reviewers from the Overture Center’s Jerry Award program, which recognizes and honors excellence in high school musical theater. Sun Prairie High School has won the highest honor the past two years with its productions of Urinetown and Seussical. The Pajama Game has now been nominated for 18 awards this year, including: • Outstanding Musical

• O  utstanding Lighting Design: Maddy Werschem

• Outstanding Ensemble

• Outstanding Costume Design: Sharon White

• O  utstanding Lead Performance: Mitchell Nadolski as Sid Sorokin

• Outstanding Sound Design: Jamesen Alighieri

• O  utstanding Lead Performance: Erin Milleville as Babe Williams

Award recipients will officially be announced in May, and our students may be asked to perform at the Overture Center. We would like to

• O  utstanding Supporting Performance: Madison Mosley as Gladys, Jamal Stone as Prez, and Jenna Martinez as Mabel

• Spirit Award: Erin Milleville

congratulate everyone involved in this amazing production!

• O  utstanding Dance Performances: Emma Elsberry Tenebruso, Ryan Heck, and Noah Richmond • Outstanding Direction: Marsha Heuer • O  utstanding Musical Direction: Steve Sveum and Kelsey Odorizzi • Outstanding Choreography: Marsha Heuer • O  utstanding Stage Management: Lincoln Miller, Samantha Wilcox, and Emma Bryant • O  utstanding Scenic Design: Rob Wagner, Tim McCarthy, and Lindsey Hoel-Neds


THE SUN PRAIRIE EXPERIENCE | WINTER 2019 | News from the Sun Prairie School District

sunprairieschools.org 7


SURVEY Results

Kindness Retreats

Thank you to the Sun Prairie Area Community for taking part in our September survey. We received 4,024 total survey responses. 78% of survey respondents said that they are satisfied with the Sun Prairie Area School District.

Thank you to so many generous sponsors, Kindness Retreats were again held at all nine elementary schools for 4th graders during January and will continue into February. These day-long retreats presented by Youth Frontiers, Inc., a Minneapolis-based nonprofit organization, teach 4th grade students how to treat others with kindness. Through this work and focus on kindness, we hope to help reduce bullying in our schools.

Parents, staff, and other community members also think that the District does a good job at building pride in our community and using technology to enhance the learning experience!

#SUNPRAIRIEKIND, a local community initiative to celebrate, encourage, and emphasize kindness throughout the community started around the same time as the Kindness Retreats in our School District. School employees and community members were encouraged to include this tag in posts related to Kindness Retreats and other acts of kindness. Let us spread kindness around Sun Prairie like confetti!

Hour of Code In December, a group of Sun Prairie High School students assisted professional programmers as they provided an Hour of Code at elementary schools throughout the District. Parent and Google staff member Steve Scherer helped coordinate this event last year at one elementary school. This year, the Hour of Code has been expanded to more of our elementary schools. Curt Mould, Director of Digital Media, Innovation, and Strategy says, “Sun Prairie


schools has committed to rapidly expanding our computer science opportunities and pathways for students. Computer sciences are an exciting, important, and viable career. Because much of what we interact with on a day-to-day basis is influenced or created through computer science, we want to make sure that our students have as many opportunities to learn and grow their skills in this exciting field. It is an incredible opportunity for our elementary-age students

to interact with professionals in this high-performing industry in addition to high school mentors and staff.�

THE SUN PRAIRIE EXPERIENCE | WINTER 2019 | News from the Sun Prairie Area School District

Be a Hunger Hero! Kaleb, a fourth grader in our District, stopped by the District Office to drop off $10 that he was given to “pay it forward” and another $20 of his own money. He asked that the money be donated to kids without money in their lunch accounts. Will you be our next Hunger Hero? Your donations are tax deductible and always appreciated. Kids with proper nutrition function better in school. Call 608834-6544 or stop by the School Nutrition Office for more information.

Kids with proper nutrition function better in school.

Habitat for Humanity Students in Sun Prairie will get some significant hands-on learning experience building a Habitat for Humanity house courtesy of a first-ever partnership between the Sun Prairie Area School District and Habitat for Humanity of Dane County. This partnership unites the strengths and resources of both organizations in building a home for a Sun Prairie family during the 2018–19 school year. The partnership builds on Sun Prairie High School’s existing home construction class, which provides hands-on building experience and vocational training along with practical application of critical academic skills. In November, students in the home construction class started building on the construction site, located on Vandenburg Street. A foundation was poured before the students started, but the rest of the house will be entirely studentbuilt with the help of teacher Justin Zander.

The class has been building daily, so the home will be complete by the end of the school year for a Habitat family to move in. In addition to learning real-life construction skills, students are getting to know the Habitat family they’re building for and are part of a cooperative service-learning project that directly supports affordable housing in our community. Habitat has eleven additional homes planned to be built over the course of the next three years in Vandenburg Heights.

THE SPIRIT OF GIVING CAMPAIGN provided food and gifts for 463 families this past holiday season. The Spirit of Giving is run by the Sunshine Place in conjunction with the Sun Prairie Area School District and with generous support from area businesses and community members. Sun Prairie Community members adopted a family and provided gifts, and students and families in our schools donated food. Thanks to the Madison Reading Project, every child in the 463 families also received a book this year. We are really proud of our students for being a part of this community-wide event and helping to impact so many. Prairie View Middle School students finish loading the collected food into the truck. 9

THE SUN PRAIRIE EXPERIENCE | WINTER 2019 | News from the Sun Prairie School District

sunprairieschools.org 9


Staff case Show SANDRA KOWALCZYK, Reading Specialist at Patrick Marsh Middle School, has been selected by the State Superintendent’s International Education Council and the Department of Public Instruction as Wisconsin’s 2018–2019 Global Educator of the Year. This award recognizes outstanding educators at all levels. The program annually honors an individual who has succeeded in providing high-quality learning opportunities for students as well as demonstrating exemplary contributions to the profession, specifically related to global education. Sandra has also been nominated for the 2018–2019 National LifeChanger of the Year award. She has made a tremendous impact in her 28 years in education. From her Global Reading Challenge to Breakfast with Books to the Thailand–Wisconsin Sunrise Program, she has spearheaded countless initiatives to advance literacy across the globe. Sandra’s teacher profile can be found at: http://app.lifechangeroftheyear.com/nomination_detail.cfm?NominationID=2688. Scroll to the end of her teacher profile to leave a comment of support.


Did You Know...

Sun Prairie students have reported a decrease in risky behaviors such as unprotected sexual activity, tobacco, and alcohol use. At the same time, trends have increased for students reporting anxiety and depression. Using this data, members of our Sun Prairie teacher and student service teams started the process of reviewing the skills that our students need to thrive in their schools and communities. Standards for this work have been developed by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. These standards, as well as other resources, are being reviewed by Sun Prairie staff. Guidance lessons at the elementary level are teaching these skills, but we are working to have lessons and activities developed for students at all grade levels within the next two years.

Staff Attended World-class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) Annual Conference English Learner teaching staff from across the District attended the WIDA Annual Conference in Detroit in October. This conference is the premier event for educators of pre-K–12 multilingual learners, bringing together educators from around the globe to network, share best practices, and discover innovative classroom strategies. The focus of the conference was Teaching for Equity in a Multilingual World. Ann Williams, our English Language Learners Coordinator for the District, shares: “The learning was awesome, and the team worked together to identify a plan that allowed us to attend several sessions during each chunk of time. The learning that we brought back will be used to further refine our English Learner Plan.”

10 THE SUN PRAIRIE EXPERIENCE | WINTER 2019 | News from the Sun Prairie Area School District

Staff Wellness We are proud to introduce our new Wellness Coordinator, Karyn Richmond, who is an Occupational Therapist at Royal Oaks Elementary School. Outside of continuing to be a great Occupational Therapist, Karyn will be leading our District Staff Wellness Committee in creating opportunities for staff members to be emotionally, mentally, and physically well. The committee will be working to create a wellness policy that focuses on ongoing wellness opportunities for staff, as well as seasonal activities that focus on wellness.

Congratulations Are in Order! Congratulations to our very own Joanne Kilen, Exceptional Needs Specialist/Early Childhood through Young Adulthood for passing her 2018– 19 National Board Certification. This certification was designed to develop, retain, and recognize accomplished teachers and to generate ongoing improvement in schools nationwide. It is the most respected certification available in K–12 education.

The Workforce Excellence Team The Workforce Excellence Team meets once a month to discuss current issues in the schools to find out how to better support our employees. We also work on handbook language to ensure that we are bringing consistency to our practices in regards to employees. The team is made up of support staff, administrators, and teachers to get a balanced perspective on the discussions and decisions within our meetings. Our team looks forward to working toward a fourth Best Place to Work in Sun Prairie award in 2019!

New Employment Opportunities As positions become available within the District, they are posted on the WECAN site. All applications must be submitted electronically through WECAN: https://wecan.


Human Resources Contacts: Chris Sadler, Human Resources Director Isabel Simonetti, Employee Relations Manager

Volunteering in Our Schools We love to have parents, guardians, and community members volunteer in our schools. Visit the District website to access the volunteer forms: sunprairieschools.org/ community/volunteering-in-thedistrict.

Email: humanresources@sunprairieschools.org

11 THE SUN PRAIRIE EXPERIENCE | WINTER 2019 | News from the Sun Prairie School District

sunprairieschools.org 11


General Budget


Tax Levy

Property Value

Tax Rate















% Change







50 45

STATE $55,242,734

General Fund Expenses


General Fund Revenue

40 35

$14,313,000 th





sf er




$594,543 ce


ra n



ts R et


bj lO ita

ap C




ec bj

lO ita ap

ed as N

rc h


ic es rv Se

en Pu



oy ee








0 LOCAL $40,081,094

Tr an













FEDERAL $1,120,329

30 $19,312,711


($ in Millions)


District Financial Report

Sun Prairie Area School District Initiated Safety Activities The Sun Prairie Area School District was pleased to be awarded two large safety grants from the Department of Justice in July and October 2018. Between the two grants, the District was awarded more than $750,000 in funds, which will allow us to further our current efforts to increase the safety and security throughout the District. The District is working on plans for using the funds for safety and security software, training, equipment and building enhancements (i.e. AV intercom systems, visitor identification systems, additional locking mechanisms, etc.). Students, staff, parents, and community members will be updated on the safety and security improvements as they come to fruition.


We are proud of the work staff and students have done to improve safety and security, but everyone realizes that planning and preparing for a safe environment is ongoing work. Safety is everyone’s

responsibility. We are pleased to have powerful partnerships with our local emergency responders. We work side by side with police, fire, EMS, public utilities, and the Sheriff’s department to continually assess and improve our practices. We encourage everyone to visit the Safety & Security page on the District website for additional information.

Thank a Bus Driver! School Bus Driver Appreciation Week is celebrated in February. Thank you for getting our students to school and back home each day.

12 THE SUN PRAIRIE EXPERIENCE | WINTER 2019 | News from the Sun Prairie Area School District

Community Schools Continues to Grow Programming Over the past two years, Sun Prairie Community Schools (SPCS) has grown in the number of programs and partnerships serving youth and families at Westside Elementary, Prairie Phoenix Academy, and the greater Sun Prairie community. SPCS is a partnership of the Sun Prairie Area School District and the City of Sun Prairie. This school year, with increased funding from SPASD and the City of Sun Prairie, we have expanded our work to Patrick Marsh Middle School. Students, staff and families will see new partnerships and programs as part of the school, coordinated

by Community Schools Site Coordinator, Lisa Goldsberry. She is building relationships with students, staff, and families to learn about community priorities and what types of programming and partnerships would work best at Patrick Marsh. The Boys and Girls Club of Dane County will also be launching after-school programming at both Patrick Marsh and Prairie View this year. Our Community Schools sites at Westside and Prairie Phoenix Academy (PPA) continue to grow. Our 21st Century Community Learning Center (CLC) grant funded programs at Westside Elementary are providing beforeand after-school opportunities to almost 200 youth. Program

offerings include: Kids Achieve Together, Service Learning, Sports Club, and Mindfulness Club. At PPA, we are launching our second CLC grant in partnership with the Northeast YMCA and Boys and Girls Club of Dane County. The Youth Center has expanded opportunities for teenage youth, and we are seeing higher participation. We also welcomed Rach Weatherby as our new Site Coordinator at PPA! Later this year, a new Community Schools site will start at C. H. Bird Elementary as well.

The 2018–2019 school year has been exciting, and we look forward to growing our new sites and continuing to improve our existing ones!

STEAM Programming at Westside With the help from some experts, Westside Elementary School staff have been implementing a STEAM environment throughout the school year. STEAM is an approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics. Dr. Dani Herro, Associate Professor of Digital Media and Learning at Clemson University, and Dr. Cassie Quigley, Associate Professor of Science Education at the University of Pittsburgh, have been working with the Westside staff to provide professional development and begin the creation of STEAM units using our adopted standards. The Westside staff completed their units and submitted them to Dr. Herro and Dr. Quigley for review in early September. In October, Dr. Herro and Dr. Quigley returned to watch the STEAM units in action in the classrooms and to provide additional staff development to faculty. They were impressed at how our staff integrated the standards. Some examples of the work include: • F  ifth graders researched and created information projects on creating an optimal cafeteria. They even visited Epic in Verona.

Conservation specialist Tony, from Groundswell Conservancy, shared information with our third graders about prairie restoration.

• T  hird graders learned about and designed green spaces. They took a field trip to Sheehan Park and invited a conservation specialist from Groundswell Conservancy to share information about prairies and prairie restoration. • S  econd graders learned more about the importance of resources to our bat population.

• F  ourth graders researched and designed community centers. 13 THE SUN PRAIRIE EXPERIENCE | WINTER 2019 | News from the Sun Prairie School District

sunprairieschools.org 13


What Is Geothermal and How Do We Use It in Our Schools? Geothermal energy is harnessing the heat capacity of the ground to help heat and cool our buildings. The temperature of the ground stays relatively unchanged, so we absorb heat from the ground to help heat our building in the winter and then absorb heat from our building and transfer it to the ground during summer. This allows us to reduce the amount of natural gas or electricity needed for heating and electricity used for cooling. The system works by passing liquid through a system of wells drilled deep into the ground, which allows the energy transfer to happen with the earth. The liquid is then pumped into the building to air handling equipment that exchanges the energy to either heat or absorb heat from the building. As the District has built new schools they have been able to incorporate the use of geothermal energy. Currently, Sun Prairie High

School, Horizon Elementary, Creekside Elementary, Token Springs Elementary and Meadow View Elementary all have geothermal systems.

The pump room is on display in Token Springs and Meadow View Elementary Schools as a learning experience for kids. The pumps take the water from the bore field and push it to the individual room heat pumps.

Focus On Energy At the new elementary schools (Meadow View and Token Springs), the District utilized Focus on Energy’s Design Assistance Program which offers incentives to design teams and building owners that can be used to reduce the upfront cost of high efficiency measures that exceed Wisconsin energy code requirements. These measures included lighting control strategies, more efficient equipment and control sequences for the geothermal heating and cooling system, better walls and windows, and higher efficiency domestic water heaters. Through

All Nine Elementary Schools Now Feature a Salad Bar Beginning with the 2018–19 school year, all nine elementary schools now have dedicated salad bars. The fresh salad bars feature an assortment of vegetables available for the students’ personal choosing. There is also a salad dressing and condiment choice. Kathy Walker, Director of School Nutrition, says: “Kids feel empowered when they are allowed to make choices. We merely make certain that they have taken enough to count as a half-cup serving.” One student at Northside Elementary was overheard saying, “I feel just like a grown-up making my own salad!”

the Design Assistance Program the District received incentives of $302,509 from Focus on Energy and $50,875 from Sun Prairie Utilities, a member of WPPI Energy. Energy-efficient steps taken in building the two schools have combined life-cycle energy savings estimated at more than 71 million kilowatt hours of electricity and more than 19,000 therms of natural gas. That’s roughly the amount of energy used by 6,024 homes in one year!


14 THE SUN PRAIRIE EXPERIENCE | WINTER 2019 | News from the Sun Prairie Area School District

2019 Summer School Planning Is Underway Although we are in the middle of winter, plans are well underway for Summer School 2019. The first day of the first session of Summer School is June 24 (Monday), and the last day of the second session is July 31 (Wednesday). There are no classes on July 4 (Thursday). Summer School locations are as follows:

Elementary Schools: • Eastside (serves students from Eastside) • H  orizon (serves students from Horizon and Meadow View)

Registration will be held on the following dates: • H  igh School (current 9–12): began Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019 • 4K Students: Wednesday, March 13, 2019

• N  orthside (serves students from Northside and C. H. Bird)

• E  lementary Students (current K–4): Tuesday, March 26, 2019

• T  oken Springs (serves students from Token Springs and Royal Oaks)

• M  iddle/Upper Middle Level Students (current 5–8): Tuesday, April 2, 2019

• W  estside (serves students from Westside and Creekside)

Information will be sent to parents/guardians throughout the upcoming months. We look forward to welcoming all students to these outstanding summer learning opportunities.

Middle/Upper Middle Schools: • C  ardinal Heights Upper Middle School (serves students from CHUMS, Patrick Marsh, and Prairie View)

If you have summer school questions, please contact us:

Secondary Schools:

JO GUYETTE, Middle/Upper Middle Programs jmguyet@sunprairieschools.org

• Prairie Phoenix Academy • Sun Prairie High School

KRISTY THAO, Elementary Programs kythao@sunprairieschools.org

BRITTANY BROWNING, High School/PPA Programs bdbrown@sunprairieschools.org Visit the website for more information: sunprairieschools.org/academics/summer-school

What’s New

CHECK OUT OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL CHECK OUT OUR BRAND NEW VIEWBOOK ONLINE We are proud to share just some of the highlights of what makes Sun Prairie Schools such a great place to learn: https://tinyurl.com/yc3bzejk

We are proud to have launched a new video highlighting the Sun Prairie Experience. We gathered some parents, students, and staff members to talk about what their Sun Prairie Experience looks like: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=1Nq0cMnOrNY&t=2s

15 THE SUN PRAIRIE EXPERIENCE | WINTER 2019 | News from the Sun Prairie School District

sunprairieschools.org 15

Upcoming 2019 Dates: FEBRUARY TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 26, Community Referendum Information Open House, Sun Prairie High School Library, 5:30–7:00 p.m. MARCH MONDAY, MARCH 11, All-City Choir Festival, High School Field House, 7:00 p.m. WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, Community Referendum Information Open House, Meadow View Elementary, 6:30–8:00 p.m. FRIDAY, MARCH 29, NO SCHOOL - Parent-Teacher Conferences APRIL MONDAY, APRIL 1, End of 3rd Quarter TUESDAY, APRIL 2, Election Day - School Referendum and Board Members on ballot

We’re Listening

MONDAY, APRIL 8, Band-O-Rama, High School Field House, 7:00 p.m. MONDAY–FRIDAY, APRIL 15–19, Spring Break MAY MONDAY–FRIDAY, MAY 6–10, School Employee Appreciation Week THURSDAY, MAY 9, All-City Orchestra Concert, High School Field House, 7:30 p.m.

CONTACT US Sun Prairie Area School District 501 S. Bird St., Sun Prairie, WI 53590 Phone: 608-834-6500

SATURDAY, MAY 11, High School Prom FRIDAY, MAY 24, NO SCHOOL MONDAY, MAY 27, NO SCHOOL—Memorial Day JUNE FRIDAY, JUNE 7, Last Day of School for 4K Students WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, End of 4th Quarter/2nd Semester, Last Day of School for All Students in Grades K–12 - HALF DAY FRIDAY, JUNE 14, High School Graduation MONDAY, JUNE 24, Summer School First Session Begins JULY MONDAY, JULY 15, Summer School Second Session Begins WEDNESDAY, JULY 31, Summer School Ends


Kathryn Walker

Superintendent 834-6502

Director of School Nutrition • 834-6527

Stephanie Leonard-Witte

Kevin Sukow

Assistant Superintendent, Teaching, Learning & Equity • 834-6516

Janet Rosseter Assistant Superintendent, Operations • 834-6683

Patti Lux-Weber

SEPTEMBER TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, First Day of School for All Students in Grade K–12 - FULL DAY MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, First Day of School for 4K Students

No student may be unlawfully discriminated against or harassed because of the student’s sex (including gender identity, gender expression and nonconformity to gender role stereotypes), color, religion, profession or demonstration of belief or nonbelief, race, national origin (including limited english proficiency), ancestry, creed, pregnancy, marital or parental status, homelessness status, sexual orientation, age, or physical, mental, emotional or learning disability. (SPASD Policy JB) The Sun Prairie Experience is published by the Sun Prairie Area School District. District Office located at 501 S. Bird Street Sun Prairie, WI 53590. 608-834-6500 Visit the District Website for more information: sunprairieschools.org

Communications & Engagement Officer 834-6562

Phil Frei Director of Business & Finance • 834-6510

Rhonda Page Business Services Manager/Busing 834-6512

Chris Sadler Director of Human Resources • 834-6551

Director of Facilities & Grounds • 834-6567

Eric Nee Athletic & Activities Director • 834-6713

Jennifer Apodaca Director of Student Services • 834-6520

Curtis Mould Director of Digital Media, Innovation & Strategy • 834-6531

Andrea Daniels Director of Secondary Teaching, Learning & Equity • 834-6572

Rick Mueller Director of Elementary Teaching, Learning & Equity • 834-6506

Profile for Sun Prairie Area School District

The Sun Prairie Experience  

A Community Newsletter | Winter 2019

The Sun Prairie Experience  

A Community Newsletter | Winter 2019

Profile for seheck