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The Sun Prairie Experience A C ommu nit y News let t er |

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From the Superintendent Every month or so, Ollie Berge and I have lunch together. Ollie was the Sun Prairie Area School District Superintendent from 1962 to 1975. He is now 93 years old. Ollie was Superintendent when our District built Eastside, Westside, C.H. Bird, and Royal Oaks. During Ollie’s tenure, the District also added an auditorium, a technical education wing, and more classrooms to what is today Cardinal Heights but then was the high school. The stories Ollie tells me during our lunches dramatically capture the rapid growth of a farming community. They include the drama of Cape Heart growing and dissolving; the disagreements and decision making surrounding the construction referenda, which ultimately passed; the struggles to provide students access to pools, hockey, and Career and Technical Education classes; and the historical record of a community unremittant in its support of students through innovation and relevance, not only within classrooms but also in activities and athletics. What I find most interesting is the harmony between what Ollie recounts in his stories from the past and the current trials and tribulations I recount while Ashley Field is being fully renovated and our second comprehensive high school is nearing the end of its design phase. The constant in our discussions is the community’s undaunting and timeless support of students. Although our service to the kids and families of the Sun Prairie Area School District is separated by decades, both Ollie and I are both so grateful for the support of this amazing community. The next time you are at the high school, take a walk down the long athletics hallway with pictures of all of Sun Prairie High School’s graduating classes. Locate a photo of a class between 1962 and 1975. Look at the students’ faces as if you were a character in Dead Poets Society. Find Ollie Berge. Tune-in to our video series Conversations with Ollie done in collaboration with the Sun Prairie Media Center, to hear for yourself the chronicle of events from five decades ago. With deep appreciation to Mr. Ollie Berge and to the Sun Prairie community, Brad Saron, Superintendent


Read how our staff and students are living out our vision and mission Teaching, Learning & Equity | 4-7 • • • •

Summer School Literacy Securely Seesaw

Workforce Focus | 8-9 • Community Clinic • Staff Wellness • Staff Features

Community Engagement | 10-11

• Task Force on Student Behavior and Bullying

Facilities & Operations | 12-15

• Transformation of Ashley Field • Referendum Update • School Safety

STAY CONNECTED Sun Prairie Schools

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Tune into Homeroom, the SUN PRAIRIE SCHOOL DISTRICT Sun Prairie Area School HOMEROOM PODCAST District’s podcast brought to WITH BRAD SARON you in partnership with the Sun Prairie Media Center. Host Todd Milewski and Superintendent Brad Saron bring in a special guest each episode and give updates on what is happening throughout the District. Homeroom airs on 103.5 The Sun on Wednesdays at 3:00 p.m. You can also listen anytime on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, or the District website by searching “Homeroom with Brad Saron.”

From the Board of Education Dear Sun Prairie Area School District Community, Welcome to this edition of The Sun Prairie Experience. Many great things are happening in your School District, and this newsletter is just one forum for us to inform you of those happenings. One year ago, the electors of the SPASD voted to approve the construction of a new high school, renovate Ashley Field, move Prairie Phoenix Academy to Cardinal Heights (soon to be called Central Heights), construct a new professional development center in Cardinal Heights, and tear down the existing Prairie Phoenix Academy. As you can imagine, the District has been very busy designing, planning, preparing, communicating, and making many decisions for these exciting changes. I am proud of the collaboration, commitment to excellence, and leadership happening in the SPASD as we prepare for the new Ashley Field in August 2020 and the new Sun Prairie West High School and renovated Cardinal (Central) Heights in August 2022. The District is also working hard to ensure that our amazing faculty, administrators, and staff are treated and compensated fairly. We are spending millions of dollars to increase teacher pay to ensure the SPASD professional educators are at or even above the Dane County average. We also recently approved a new Employee Wellness Clinic for our staff. We are even more excited to partner with the City of Sun Prairie on this new initiative. The SPASD / City of Sun Prairie Employee Clinic will open July 2020. With all of the changes happening in the SPASD, we have not lost focus on what is most important: the children whom we have the pleasure to serve. We will continue working hard every day to ensure that ALL children are safe, inspired, included, and loved in our schools. On behalf of the Board of Education, thank you for reading this newsletter. Please reach out if we can be of any assistance to you. It is our pleasure to serve this wonderful community. Every Child, Every Day, Dr. Steve Schroeder, President, Board of Education


WATCH OUR NEW VIDEO to learn more about School Board Governance

Visit our YouTube channel by going to YouTube and searching Sun Prairie Area School District.


THE SUN PRAIRIE EXPERIENCE - News from the Sun Prairie Area School District | SPRING 2020


Current School Board members Tom Weber and Carol Sue Albright will seek reelection and run unopposed. In addition, there are contested city council races on the ballot.

The 2020 Census will begin soon. Help shape Sun Prairie’s future by being counted.

Meet Our Student School Board Representatives Quinn Williams is a junior at

Sun Prairie High School. He wants to become a high school art teacher in the future. Before his role on the School Board began, he participated in the Secondary School Space Planning Committee, which led to the referendum passing in 2019.

requires consideration from students, teachers, and staff. This experience has taught me that no decision is an easy decision, and often there are many positive and negative consequences to a decision an individual may make.”

Quinn says that the most exciting part about being on the School Board is seeing both the number of people and the effort it takes daily to support over 8,500 students. “Whether it be the design of the second high school or the migration plan for future students, it

Quinn’s role on the Board allows him to advocate for students on various topics or concerns that may come forth to the Board. “I am thankful to be able to serve students and to be the liaison between the Board and School District, so that all students’ voices are heard.”

Emily Flood serves as the

“I’ve enjoyed being able to see firsthand the many ways in which we involve our community in decisions. From referendum outreach and information sessions to our numerous postreferendum committees, it’s clear how much the Board values constituent input.”

Senior Class President and Student Council Vice President at Sun Prairie High School. She is also an editor of SPHS’s yearbook, is an active member of the Sun Prairie Forensics Team, plays the French Horn in band, and has been a Girl Scout since elementary school. After high school, Emily plans to attend the University of Chicago as a political science major. Emily finds her student representative role on the School Board interesting in a time of great change for Sun Prairie.

As the first student representative to have served for two years on the Board, Emily hopes to establish a clear set of responsibilities and obligations for student School Board members that make the position one of a liaison between District leadership and student voices.

This year, Quinn and Emily together planned a voter registration drive, held input sessions for students to give feedback on the design of the second high school, and reached out to the school community to raise awareness of Board actions. Their goal is to increase student engagement at both a school and District level.




Exciting Changes for Summer School 2020 Enrollment in our Summer School programs continues to grow, doubling in size in just a few short years. Based on attendance data and input from stakeholders, the District continues to respond to the needs of students and families, leading to some exciting changes on the horizon for Summer School 2020: 1. Summer School will now be one five-week program to allow students, families, and staff a break before starting the fall 2020 school year. Summer School will run June 22–July 23.

2. Classes will be held Monday–Thursday, 8:00 a.m.–1:30 p.m. This will give all students the opportunity to participate in four classes and enjoy breakfast and lunch, which will be prepared by the District nutrition staff. 3. Registration will be done in Infinite Campus, through your Parent Portal. You will be able to “request” four (4) classes and two (2) alternate classes to fill your student’s schedule. 4. Registration will be open March 9–27, giving families three weeks to request classes.

Diversity Across the District What Is an Equity Team?

Our school-based Equity Teams (or E-Teams) are the “engine of transformation” for our School District to move beyond equity training and into tangible work to create an equitable learning environment. Made up of teachers and building leaders, our E-Teams apply their training in the assessment of school operations to “uncover, understand, and examine” bias and racism. E-Teams develop collaborative schoolbased plans to address and make progress on overcoming obstacles while developing opportunities to advance our District’s vision of “Every Child, Every Day.”

Our Equity Team, in partnership with Community Schools, has also been expanding our programming for the last two years to include a robust after-school program that includes clubs like Step, Ultimate Frisbee, Drama, and many more. We also planned and held our first Day of Pampering that offered free services, such as haircuts, nail painting, and a holiday store, to our students and families We look forward to partnering further with our students and families to bring more events and opportunities like this to our Westside Community.

Principal Nikki Burke shares what E-Teams are doing at Westside Elementary School:

Westside is an incredibly loving and diverse community. We pride ourselves on our equity work and our relationships with students and families. We look forward to future growth in this area and the continued academic and social emotional success of our scholars.”

Our E-Team comprises of a committed group of staff and faculty who work together to lead equity work in our building. Part of our work this year was to bring professional development and coaching by Dr. Sharroky Hollie and his staff from The Center for Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning to our staff at Westside. This included a book study for all teaching staff, which focused on validating and affirming our students as well as using culturally responsive protocols in the classroom to build relationships with our students and increase engagement.

Pacific Educational Group providing equity training to our E-Teams.


THE SUN PRAIRIE EXPERIENCE - News from the Sun Prairie Area School District | SPRING 2020

5. Students who qualify for transportation based on home location will need to have a full schedule (8 a.m.–1:30 p.m.) in order to receive transportation services. 6. High school students will be provided numerous opportunities to earn credits and participate in specialized classes. There are also a variety of “camp type” and performing opportunities provided for all students outside of the regular five-week session. We are proud that so many students take advantage of the learning opportunities we offer through Summer School. Visit the Summer School website to learn more. www.sunprairieschools.org/academics/summer-school

Literacy: New Phonics Program (4K-2nd Grade) One of our most important endeavors is helping students develop a love for reading. Last school year, teacher-leaders on a literacy steering committee piloted a new and innovative literacy program with impressive results. This year, classrooms across our District in four-year-old kindergarten, five-year-old kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grades launched this new phonics program as a way to strengthen our literacy curriculum. What does it look like in the classroom? Phonics lessons are broken into units, and each of these units are aligned to our District’s reading and writing curriculum. Teachers give a brief lesson, and then kids experiment with and apply the new knowledge and skills in activities. Students engage in high-leverage phonics strategies during 20 minutes of phonics instruction. Students learn phonological awareness, letter knowledge, word solving strategies, and high frequency words, all in an energetic and coherent approach. This program was created so that students could play, enjoy, and experiment with letters, sounds, and words.

level mascot is embedded in phonics programming, modeling strategies, and helping with the transfer of phonics skills to reading and writing. This phonics program also features the grade-level mascots in all of the materials. Lessons involve singing, pretending, inventing, talking, writing, and spelling, all with the support of the grade-level mascots.

Engagement is through the roof. I am seeing kindergarten students do things earlier than they have done before. I am really excited about the growth that we are seeing. The kids are engaged, learning, and having fun.

— Gina Neumann, Instructional Coach This is my absolute favorite thing to teach. The kids are excited about phonics. I have seen a huge difference in engagement. The kids have learned so much quickly.

— Mrs. Compton, Horizon 2nd-Grade Teacher

In a classroom, you will see students engaged in independent work. They are trying out words and making connections to new words. You can also see students on the carpet in “rug clubs” engaged in partner work. Students are taking what they learn and trying it out with their group. Our goal is to foster a love for reading in all of our students. Stuffed animal mascots Milo the puppy (4K), Mabel the elephant (5K), Rasheed the lion (1st grade), and Gus the dragon (2nd grade) help our students do their best learning. Each grade-






WE OFFER A FREE 4-YEAR-OLD KINDERGARTEN PROGRAM We are now enrolling for the 2020–2021 school year. Any child who is age 4 by September 1, 2020, can be registered. Begin the registration process online, at:


The SPHS automotive program and students were recognized for utilizing the Ford ACE program. This is a Ford vehicle service training program used by Ford Motor Company to train its employees. It is available to high schools around the country, and SPHS is being recognized as one of the top 100 schools in the nation utilizing this program for students earning industry certification. Congratulations to Jim Halvorson and our amazing students!

What Is Securly? Technology use is defining the way of life for our world, and we strive to prepare our kids for this reality by teaching and reinforcing skills in ethical, responsible, and safe technology use. Securly is a tool used by the District to keep harmful content on school-issued devices away from our students.

them of any online activities pointing to self-harm or bullying related to their child.

The Securly tool allows parents to observe their child’s activity while using school-issued devices by viewing their child’s Activity Feed. Parents also receive Flagged Activity notifications that inform

If you haven’t already, download the Securly app on your phone to stay connected to your child’s activity.

Parents can even PAUSE use of the school-issued device while at home (for students in grades 6–12 who bring a school device home)!

Click Here

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Pictured with our outstanding students are Jim Halvorson, SPHS Automotive Teacher; Nancy Everson, School-toCareer Specialist; Keith Nerby, SPHS Principal; Tony Baker, General Manager of Metro Ford; and representatives from the Ford Motor Company.

Click Here Send your Message!

If you cannot access a site your child visited, or if you would like to offer feedback about a site you feel should be more closely monitored by Securly, please follow the steps above to reach support from your mobile device.

THE SUN PRAIRIE EXPERIENCE - News from the Sun Prairie Area School District | SPRING 2020

What Is Seesaw? Our elementary schools have started using Seesaw as a way to track learning and communicate with families. Seesaw is a digital portfolio that supports enhanced student engagement, communication with families, and documentation of learner growth. With this tool, teachers can empower students to create, reflect, share, and collaborate. Students “show what they know” using photos, videos, drawings, text, PDFs, and links. We have seen great success with Seesaw this year! SOME STORIES FROM OUR STAFF AND FAMILIES: Seesaw has been an amazing way to connect with families. In physical education, we take almost daily videos of what is happening in class. Students use Seesaw to capture their throwing, kicking, cup stacking, and gymnastics skills. Kids enjoy videotaping and taking pictures of themselves. Families tell me all the time that they appreciate how Seesaw opens conversations about what is happening in their child’s learning. — Jeremy LaFleur, PE Teacher at Northside Elementary Seesaw has been a wonderful tool to provide families with a snapshot of our learning. It has made our reading celebrations and writing publishing accessible to all families. Students are always asking if we can put something on Seesaw so they can share their learning connections with their families. It is a quick way I can involve families with just a picture and the prompt ‘Ask your child about what we learned today.’ — Chelsea Roggenbauer, 1st-Grade Teacher at Westside Elementary When our child’s teacher introduced Seesaw, I was pretty excited, because parents can have a real-time view of what their child and their classmates are doing in school. I think that’s really, really neat. Seesaw allows an immersion from a parent’s perspective, to see what their kids are doing on a daily basis. — Sun Prairie Parent

Plugged-in Parenting TECH TIP Have your kids been spending more time this winter using apps, iPads, computers, and cell phones? Check out Common Sense Media’s parent guides to YouTube, Fortnite, Instagram, SnapChat, Tik Tok, and more: www.commonsensemedia.org/parents-ultimate-guides While these are helpful tools in giving us more information about the apps our kids are using, we must also remember that apps are ever changing, and something new is always around the corner. The best thing we can do as parents is to keep the lines of communication open with our children. Having open dialogue, asking questions, and practicing what to do in tricky situations is always the best way to keep our kids safe and positive in a digital world.








The School District will be opening an Employee Wellness and Health Clinic in July 2020 in conjunction with the City of Sun Prairie. The clinic will be accessible to current SPASD and City of Sun Prairie employees, as A joint meeting of The Board of Education well as their spouses and dependents. It will initially be and City Council was held in September. located at Dean Clinic in Sun Prairie (Tower Drive) from July 2020 through fall 2022, and will then relocate to Cardinal Heights upon completion of the school renovations. It will have its own entrance and will be staffed and operated by Dean Medical Group, offering convenient hours and low- or no-cost services. School Board President Steve Schroeder says: “We really care about our employees’ mental and physical health. If this clinic is widely utilized, we believe we will see cost savings that will keep our annual health insurance premiums as low as possible. We want to be able to offer our staff a health insurance plan that is top quality while keeping low premiums.” Why Create an Employee Wellness and Health Clinic? • The clinic will provide opportunities to improve employee health and wellness through access for employees, spouses, and dependents. • The clinic will increase employee engagement by supporting the health of our employees. • The clinic will support the recruitment and retention of high-quality employees. • The clinic will provide the opportunities to prevent and manage chronic conditions, which will decrease the District’s Medical Loss Ratio (MLR claims in comparison to premiums paid), affecting our ability to manage our premiums for everyone. Health insurance is a large cost for both the District and employees. The District pays $13.2 million a year, and employees pay another $2.3 million for premiums. • The clinic will help guide employees to appropriate care/resources. • The use of the clinic will reduce employees’ out-of-pocket costs. EMPLOYEE WELLNESS • The clinic will provide opportunities to better manage disability claims and work-related injuries.

Staff Wellness Committee Our Staff Wellness Committee continues to work hard to provide engaging wellness activities for our staff, build our wellness website to support our employees, build strong community partnerships focused on wellness for our staff, and continue to make our School District a great place to work.

THE COMMITEE’S MISSION: To create a culture that supports and provides opportunities, tools, and resources that inspire all employees and their families to become full partners in managing their overall well-being.



Examples of wellness initiatives include: Complimentary wellness offerings: • monthly challenges and prizes • weekly wellness tips • financial counseling and mental health therapy • sessions through the Employee Achievement Program (EAP) • mindfulness training • memberships for premium mindfulness apps Discounted wellness offerings: • in-building chair massages • fitness memberships and classes • chiropractic care • acupuncture

THE SUN PRAIRIE EXPERIENCE - News from the Sun Prairie Area School District | SPRING 2020


CONGRATULATIONS! Go to sunprairieschools.org and click on the employment icon on the right side of the page to learn more about how to apply!

APPLY TO BE A SUBSTITUTE! Inspire learning in today’s youth while having the ability to set your own schedule. HUMAN RESOURCES CONTACTS:

Chris Sadler, Human Resources Director Isabel Simonetti, Employee Relations Manager Email: humanresources@sunprairieschools.org

OUR STAFF RECEIVE WORLD-CLASS PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT These five staff members attended professional development at Columbia Teachers’ College to build their knowledge base on supporting children with special needs in the reading and writing workshop.

Our District would like to congratulate Gina O’Brien (left), Erica Fessler-Enders (center), and Kate Maselter (right) who recently passed their 2019–2020 National Board Certification. This certification is 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.

“I chose to seek National Board Certification because I wanted the challenge that I knew it would provide. It has been many years since I obtained my master’s degree, and I knew going through this process would force me to look at and reflect on my teaching. I want to be the best I can be for my students.” —Gina O’Brien, Grade 7 Teacher “As someone who sees learning as a lifelong pursuit, obtaining National Board Certification seemed like the next logical step in the continuation of pushing myself as a teacher and learner. The certification process challenged the way I reflect on my teaching practices, and it pushed me to develop stronger lessons that will challenge all learners in my classroom. It is easily one of the hardest things I have done in my life! I also appreciate the District’s mission to financially recognize this certification.” —Erica Fessler-Enders, Grade 7 Teacher “I chose to get my National Board Certification in order to be more reflective with my teaching. I was ready for the challenge to go through this rigorous process so I could get to know my students better as learners. Having a small group of close friends to go through the process with was an extra bonus that made it that much more rewarding!” —Kate Maselter, Grade 7 Teacher




Task Force on Student Behavior and Bullying The Sun Prairie Area School District strives to maintain a learning environment that is safe and a culture that is respectful and conducive to effective learning. A 43-person District Task Force on Student Behavior and Bullying, consisting of staff, students, and community members, was formed in July to accomplish the following goals: • to understand our current data and contributing factors in order to identify key issues • to examine the current prevention, response, reporting, monitoring, and communication practices • to advise the School Board and District administration regarding improvements • to provide avenues for community partnerships going forward Led by our Director of Student Services, Jennifer Apodaca, and School Board member, Tom Weber, the group met seven times over several months and brought recommendations to the School Board on February 10th. You can follow the work of the task force and access all of the meeting agendas and summaries on the District website.



Superintendent Saron answers questions from community members at Bob and Vel’s Coffee Shop at the Prairie Athletic Club. Coffee with the Superintendent occurs several times each school year.

Community members stop by the Open House at Sun Prairie High School to learn more about approved Referendum projects including Ashley Field and the second high school.


If you missed our amazing high school students in Footloose, you missed an award-nominated show! We are proud to announce that the Sun Prairie High School production of Footloose has been nominated for more than a dozen Jerry Awards. The Overture’s Jerry Awards is one of Wisconsin’s High School Musical Awards Programs that encourages, recognizes, and honors excellence in high school musical theater.

Footloose cast & crew with staff on staff appreciation night.



Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Ensemble, Outstanding Orchestra, Outstanding Overall Design, Outstanding Lead Performance (Jamal Stone, Emma Elsberry Tenebruso, Mitchell Nadolski, Madison Mosley, Evan Ackley, Megan Snyder) Outstanding Supporting Performance (Jada Kyles) Outstanding Dance Performance (Jamal Stone, Emma Elsberry Tenebruso) Outstanding Direction (Marsha Heuer) Outstanding Musical Direction (Kelsey Ororizzi, Steve Sveum) Outstanding Choreography (Marsha Heuer) Outstanding Scenic Design (Russell Wolff, Tim McCarthy) Outstanding Lighting Design (Maddy Werschem) Outstanding Costume Design (Karla Martinez, Noah Richmond) Outstanding Sound Design (Mathew Weyer)

THE SUN PRAIRIE EXPERIENCE - News from the Sun Prairie Area School District | SPRING 2020



HOW TO GIVE US FEEDBACK We have added a few new ways to provide feedback to the Sun Prairie Area School District. The Hikarigaoka Girls High School Wind Orchestra visited Sun Prairie in preparation for their featured performance at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Convention on December 19 at the McCormick Center in Chicago. All 109 Japanese students did home-stays with our families (an impressive feat just before the holidays). More important, Sun Prairie students made AMAZING connections with their peers from across the globe.

At the top of our website (sunprairieschools.org), you can click on “We Are Listening.” This is a great place to give a positive comment, suggestion for improvement, ask a question, and more. If you ever have a concern about content on a website or school technology, please include a URL in the comment. The Sun Prairie Area School District takes allegations of bullying and safety very seriously. You can now submit a tip to the District’s Electronic Safety Tip Line. All tips will be investigated, but keep in mind this process can only be as thorough as the information provided.

Music was in fact a universal language that helped break the language barrier and brought students from very different cultures to have a better understanding of each other. In the process, many new friendships were formed as well as memories that will last a lifetime. — Steve Sveum, High School Band Director The Masonic Lodge of Sun Prairie recently donated $5,000 to the Hunger Hero Campaign.

We Are Thankful for Hunger Hero Donations! The Sun Prairie Area School District has been honored with the Advocacy in Action Award for its outstanding commitment to music education advocacy.

Thank you to the variety of individuals and companies that donated to our school lunch program. Your tax deductible donations are always appreciated. Students who have proper nutrition function better in school. Though we continue to make efforts in collecting past-due funds, we also make sure that students are not denied a meal because of past-due funds.




The Transformation of Ashley Field It was bittersweet for the grounds crew as they painted Ashley Field for the last time on natural grass to get it ready for the Sun Prairie vs. Madison West football game on October 18, 2019. This was Dale’s (brown coat) seventeenth season maintaining the facility. Dale says, “We are sad to see it go but excited to be part of the creation of the new facility.” Dale first painted the field with Tom Renz in 2003 as they were the only two grounds people at that time. The field was maintained previously by Jack Hensen (lead groundskeeper before Dale) for fifteen years and by Dick Silvers before him. The last grounds staff (shown here) to paint Ashley Field are John Hernandez, Scott Breuchel, Aaron Laskowski, Ray Nee, and Dale Wiessinger. A groundbreaking event for Ashley Field was held on October 18, 2019, immediately following the last football game. Construction has begun on the multipurpose field and will be done in time for the fall 2020 sports season. Check out the website for bi-weekly updates on the construction progress of Ashley Field.

SAVE THE DATE: April 23, 2020 Watch for more information about the Sun Prairie West High School groundbreaking event this spring.

Hydroponics The Nutritional Services Department purchased a hydroponic growing unit to be used at the high school. Teacher Kristen Kvalheim and the Nutrition Department are partnering to grow produce in Kristen’s classroom that can be served to students on the salad bar in the cafeteria. Already this year, green leaf lettuce has been grown, harvested, and walked right down the hall to our high school kitchen. The lettuce was served at lunch that same day. Teachers and students commented on how aromatic and fresh-tasting it was.


Chuck Czaplewski is the student manager in charge of growing the produce. “It is

a great learning experience, the system works great, and I have definitely learned how to follow instructions and apply problemsolving skills while learning the importance of nutrient balance in plant production.”

THE SUN PRAIRIE EXPERIENCE - News from the Sun Prairie Area School District | SPRING 2020

Post-Referendum Update Over the next three years, we are charged with designing and constructing a second high school, reconfiguring our middle schools and our alternative high school (PPA), and rebuilding Ashley Field. The Sun Prairie Area School District (SPASD) is committed to keeping our community informed, engaging community and staff, and gathering input and ideas as the logistical and design committees progress through the planning and design processes. In order to better understand the processes that will help shape the future of the SPASD, we’ve developed a number of committees and planning teams as well as a project timeline. Additionally, we’ve developed a webpage with information about the design, construction, and logistical processes. Recent Updates: • The Sun Prairie City Council passed the Development Plan for Ashley Field on November 19th. • The SPASD School Board approved the new names and mascots on October 28th. • The SPASD School Board approved the student migration plan on October 28th. • The SPASD School Board acted on new procedures for Voluntary Placement and “Grandfathering” Provisions on October 14th.

The following planning committees are “in progress” to develop plans/recommendations related to the successful completion of the second high school and Ashely Field projects: • Core Planning Team • Activities, Athletics, and Recreation Sub-Committee • Current and Second High School Sub-Committee • Operations and Capital Maintenance Sub-Committee • Middle School, Prairie Phoenix Academy, and Professional Development Sub-Committee • Athletics and Activities Future Configuration Committee • Naming Rights Committee • Traffic Safety Committee • Middle School Schedule Committee The School Attendance Boundary Task Force is slated to begin in the fall of 2020, with a recommendation to the School Board in the spring of 2021. Those who would like to serve on this committee will be able to submit their participation intent prior to the development of the task force. Because school staffing plans are dependent on curriculum decisions and attendance boundary decisions, the staffing plan process is scheduled to begin in the spring/summer of 2021.

For more information, please visit our Building for Our Future webpage, sunprairieschools.org/ref2019, which we keep updated for clear and transparent communication with our community!

His teacher, Kristen Kvalheim, says: “We hope to refine the process and be even more productive soon. We have Chuck doing an independent study on managing the system this year and are just starting to use the concepts in the classroom curriculum. Next year we will hopefully fully integrate it into our Global Food and Sustainability course curriculum.” Student manager, Chuck Czaplewski, tends to the lettuce harvest.




Seven Sun Prairie Schools Earn “Healthy Kids, Healthy Schools” Awards

Our District’s Wellness Committee continues to do great work in our schools. In December, seven of our schools received “Healthy Kids, Healthy Schools” awards. The awards are provided through the Healthy Kids Collaborative of Dane County, recognizing schools that have supported wellness at a high level for both students and staff. Our schools completed assessments to gauge their activities in the following three areas: food, physical activity, and overall health and well-being.

District Continues to Focus on School Safety The Sun Prairie Area School District is committed to maintaining safe schools in order to establish a positive learning environment for students, staff, and community members. Much work has been done over the past few years to improve security. In fact, the District has invested nearly a million dollars in improvements over the past two years, due in large part to the Department of Justice School Safety Grant Program: •

The District ordered and installed consistent entry signage at each building. In addition, we have implemented visitor management processes with the installation of audio-visual intercoms and online screening software. All front office staff have been trained in the visitor entry management policies and procedures. The District has invested in other preventative measures, including updated digital twoway radios and additional video surveillance cameras.

At the Wisconsin School Safety Coordinators Association Annual Conference, Shelley Joan Weiss was awarded the “Coordinator of the Year” award for her work in Sun Prairie and across the state. Sun Prairie had a big delegation, including the first students to attend the conference in its history.

District staff have undergone proactive training related to childhood trauma. Trauma informed care is an approach that recognizes the presence of trauma symptoms and acknowledges the role that trauma has played in people’s lives. This training has helped staff members to recognize students who are suffering from extreme stress that impacts their well-being and to work with those students before something serious occurs.

Equipment designed to improve our response during an emergency has been purchased. This includes the installation of “Stop the Bleed” kits at all school sites and tourniquets in all District vehicles. Additional training in CPR and “Stop the Bleed” has been provided.

Other training has helped ensure that all staff members know how to respond to an active threat. Online ALICE safety training has been provided to all District staff members. ALICE, the gold-standard for active threat preparedness, emphasizes proactive strategies to improve the chances of survival during an active shooter event.

The District is grateful for a solid partnership with the Sun Prairie Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies. Our students and staff benefit from the training and rapid response of our partners.

Coordination of District safety procedures falls under the responsibility of the Director of Student Policy & School Operations. Broader feedback on security is obtained through the District’s Safety & Security Oversight Committee, which consists of a variety of administrators, teachers, staff members, and community partners. This group meets quarterly to review current topics in school safety and to guide the District’s implementation of safety measures.


THE SUN PRAIRIE EXPERIENCE - News from the Sun Prairie Area School District | SPRING 2020

Congratulations to our award winners: Silver Award — Creekside Elementary, Token Springs Elementary, Royal Oaks Elementary, Prairie View Middle, and Eastside Elementary Bronze Award — Prairie Phoenix Academy and Northside Elementary

Business Services Update

The Sun Prairie Area School District places a great emphasis on maintaining small class size. As we experience rapid enrollment growth, this requires much diligence to staffing and budgeting. This chart shows that since 2007, our District enrollment has grown by 43.3%. In addition, our teaching staff has grown by 42.5%. There is a strong correlation between student enrollment and teacher staffing growth in the Sun Prairie Area School District. Full Time Employee Change versus Enrollment Change Source: DPI PI-1202 and Enrollment Data

Full Time Employee


Cumulative Percent Change

45% 40%



31.80% 27.78%

30% 20%









19.32% 17.30%


10% 0%









43.31% 42.53%



12.32% 14.58%







2012 2014 Year







Each year, the District holds an Annual Meeting of the Electors to approve the tax levy. This year’s meeting is October 5, 2020. An Annual Meeting booklet is published to provide information on enrollment, budget, debt, staffing, and more. The Annual Meeting booklet and other financial information can be found on the District website, under the Business Services department.



“Grandfather” Provision Policy Change

When the School Board has approved boundary changes in the past, grandfathering has historically been a practice as a part of Procedure JC-R. Grandfathering will now be reviewed each time there is a boundary adjustment. Grandfathering related to a family move during the school year is addressed in Policy JC, allowing for the option that students finish the current school year in their current school without an educational disruption. Grandfathering beyond the current year will not be allowed.

Voluntary Placement Process for Siblings Only

Families with students who have received Voluntary Placement approval will be allowed to apply for younger siblings to attend the same school. No new applications will be accepted for voluntary placement.



We Are Listening If you have questions, please contact us. 501 S. Bird Street, Sun Prairie, WI 53590 608-834-6500 sunprairieschools.org

Submit a question by clicking on the WE ARE LISTENING button on the top of our website.


Contact the District Support Center at 608-834-6500. By using the menu below, you can to reach our schools and departments directly. If you know your party’s extension, you may enter it directly. Press 8 to dial by name, or select one of the following options: Menu of Individual Schools High School Upper Middle and Middle

1. Patrick Marsh 3. Cardinal Heights 2. Prairie View


1. Northside 2. Royal Oaks 3. C. H. Bird 4. Eastside 5. Westside

6. Creekside 7. Horizon 8. Meadow View 9. Token Springs

Prairie Phoenix Academy Early Learning Resource Center

School Closing Info Enrollment School Nutrition Infinite Campus Payroll SP4K

DISTRICT CONTACTS Dr. Brad Saron Superintendent, 834-6502 Stephanie Leonard-Witte Assistant Superintendent, Teaching, Learning & Equity, 834-6516

Kevin Sukow Director of Facilities & Grounds, 834-6567 Eric Nee Athletic & Activities Director, 834-6713

Janet Rosseter Assistant Superintendent, Operations, 834-6683

Jennifer Apodaca Director of Student Services, 834-6520

Patti Lux-Weber Communications & Engagement Officer, 834-6562

Janet Thomas Associate Director of Student Services, 834-6638

Phil Frei Director of Business & Finance, 834-6510

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

Rhonda Page Business Services Manager/ Busing, 834-6512

Nicholas Reichhoff Director of Student Policy & School Operations, 834-6624

Chris Sadler Director of Human Resources, 834-6551

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

Kathryn Walker Director of School Nutrition, 834-6527 No student may be unlawfully discriminated against in any school programs, activities or in facilities usage because of the student’s sex (gender identity, gender expressions, and non-conformity to gender role stereotypes), color, religion, profession, or demonstration of belief or non-belief, 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 District Policy JB) The Sun Prairie Experience is published by the Sun Prairie Area School District. The District Support Center is located at 501 S. Bird Street, Sun Prairie, WI 53590. 608-834-6500 Visit the District website for more information: sunprairieschools.org

Upcoming 2020 Dates: FEBRUARY

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 27 | 4-Year-Old Kindergarten Registration 10 a.m.–6 p.m. at the District Support Center


FRIDAY, MARCH 13 | NO SCHOOL – Family/Teacher Conferences MONDAY–FRIDAY, MARCH 23–27 | Spring Break


MONDAY, APRIL 6 | Band-O-Rama, 7 p.m. at the High School Field House TUESDAY, APRIL 7 | Election Day WEDNESDAY, APRIL 8 | End of 3rd Quarter FRIDAY, APRIL 10 | NO SCHOOL THURSDAY, APRIL 23 | All City Orchestra Concert, 7:30 p.m. at the High School Field House, Sun Prairie West High School Groundbreaking Event, 5:00 p.m.


MONDAY–FRIDAY, MAY 4–8 | School Employee Appreciation Week SATURDAY, MAY 9 | High School Prom FRIDAY, MAY 22 | NO SCHOOL MONDAY, MAY 25 | NO SCHOOL – Memorial Day, Sound of Sun Prairie and Middle School Bands Perform in Memorial Day Parade


WEDNESDAY–FRIDAY, JUNE 10–12 | Finals THURSDAY, JUNE 11 | Last Day of School for 4K Students FRIDAY, JUNE 12 | End of 4th Quarter, Last Day of School for Students in Grades K–12, High School Graduation, 6:00 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Madison MONDAY, JUNE 22 | First Day of Summer School


THURSDAY, JULY 23 | Last Day of Summer School


TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1 | First Day of School for Students in Grades K–12

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The Sun Prairie Experience  

A Community Newsletter - SPRING 2020

The Sun Prairie Experience  

A Community Newsletter - SPRING 2020