Thursday . July 18 . 2019     |      Search

Entries for June 2015

30

(Beloit, WI) Excerpts Courtesy of the Beloit Daily News and the WI Department of Public Instruction

The School District of Beloit has been selected to be part of an Academic and Career Planning (ACP) pilot project during the 2015-2016 school year, along with 24 other Wisconsin school districts. The districts were picked out of 61 that applied, coming from all corners of the state in the three types of settings, urban, suburban and rural. Academic and Career Planning (ACP) will provide students, in grades 6 through 12 and their families the information and tools needed to make choices for their future, be it higher education, training, military, etc.

State law requires every school board to provide ACP services by the 2017-18 school year. ACPs are a part of the state superintendent’s Agenda 2017, which is focused on having all Wisconsin students graduate from high school college and career ready.

Since October 2013, Beloit and its district counterparts throughout Rock County have been actively ramping-up their ACP activities – compliments of the Inspire Rock County initiative. Inspire Rock County provides web-based career and readiness platform, infused with career development tools, social media elements and workforce data. Driven by Career Cruising, which a licensed software package, Inspire Rock County provides a seamless information gathering and sharing – as well as a communication and engagement – tool to connect and engage job creators, students, educators and parents. Specifically, this platform is designed to:

  • Improve the alignment of career readiness and preparation applications to match the needs of the local or regional business community.
  • Scale successful business and education programming to reach a wider or targeted audience.
  • Reduce the communication and engagement cycle time by removing participation barriers.
  • Nurture future employees by connecting and mentoring with them early in their career development phases.

ACP related progress, as well other related career readiness and preparation activities, are highlighted in the Spring 2015 Inspire Rock County Report. For additional information, visit www.inspirererockcounty.org

[Read the rest of this article...]

Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
29
(Milton, WI) By Jake Magee, Gazette, When it comes to technology in the classroom, the Milton School District isn't experiencing so much of a cultural change as a natural shift. After a year of assigning either an iPad or MacBook to every student for use in the classroom, teachers and students are embracing a new educational lifestyle. Assigned lab time is a thing of a past. Poster board projects are no longer necessary. Grading and testing are streamlined. The district is preparing students to succeed through the use of electronics, technology supervisor Ed Snow said. “We're preparing students for a world that doesn't even exist, yet,” he said. “Just like we all own a car, we're all going to use technology in the future.” CHOICE AND VOICE When a project is assigned to students, they're no longer beholden to a single format. In the past, it wasn't uncommon for teachers to assign a presentation with criteria, tech integrators Deb Dean and Sean Harvatine said. With technology, students now have options to demonstrate what they know. They can create iMovies, make a picture collage or explain what they've learned out loud through technology. Oftentimes, teachers have to put a hard stop on projects or students would just keep going, Harvatine said. “The kids are very creative,” he said. “This has allowed them to flourish.” The tech makes it easy to test understanding. Device assessments give tutorials and feed questions students answered incorrectly back to them until they understand the concepts. Students who grasp the material can zoom ahead. As teachers continue to warm up to technology, the culture continues to shift. When the 1:1 initiative began this past school year, seventh- through 12-graders could take their devices home to work on assignments and projects outside the classroom. That changed almost immediately as sixth-grade teachers began asking for the same opportunity for their students, Dean and Harvatine said. Soon after, fifth-grade teachers began asking, too. By Thanksgiving of the coming school year, fifth-graders will be able to take their devices home. Harvatine said he wouldn't be surprised if the trend continued to third-graders and beyond. At home, students can use their devices to continue studying and working on assignments, collaborate with classmates on homework, seek feedback from teachers or access additional resources, wrote Heather Slosarek, director of curriculum and instruction, in an email to The Gazette. Besides using technology at home and in class, students can troubleshoot issues with peers and teachers. The district started an iCadet program that allows students to use study hall time to work in the tech department. The iCadets are the first to help users with their device problems. When problems are too complicated, iCadets hand devices off to department staff. “They (students) have fixed hundreds of problems over the course of the last year,” Snow said. “It (the iCadet program) is more than just vital; it's teaching what we're doing at the same time. It just makes good sense.” TEACHING TEACHERS As tech integrators, Dean and Harvatine bridge the gap between technology and the classroom. Their job is to work with teachers and students and demonstrate how useful technology can be in education. Some teachers still aren't aware of technology's almost infinite possibilities. Others weren't keen on giving ownership of devices they didn't fully understand to students who grasped the tech right away, Dean said. To further teachers' understanding, Dean and Harvatine will share with teachers information they've learned at Apple Foundation conferences about how to use applications and programs to further student progression in the classroom. Teachers will bring class units with them to training classes in August. Dean and Harvatine will show them how to use apps and programs to enhance their lesson plans, they said. “The pressure level on a teacher goes way down once they see that … it's not from scratch. We're taking what they have and just twisting and turning it in a different direction for them, and hopefully through this training in August, this will spark some more changes or additions to their curriculum,” Harvatine said. Not everyone immediately embraced technology in the classroom, but now that it's been part of the district's daily regimen, many teachers and students have grown to love it. Plenty of teachers and staff are still learning. In the initiative's first year, teachers determined comfort levels with the tech, created new opportunities not possible before, Slosarek wrote. “Teachers used the first year to explore resources and opportunities to integrate technology into specific lesson plans,” she wrote. “We will continue to provide professional development to help teachers narrow those technology tools to ones that are extremely rich and appropriate for helping students meet the desired learning outcome of the lesson.” EXCITING AVENUES Devices in the first year of the initiative sustained little damage, Snow said. “The funniest thing we've discovered is that cats like power cords,” he said with a laugh. “We didn't see that one coming.” Technology opens new opportunities for student engagement, collaboration and communication, Slosarek wrote. “Our current students have grown up using technology, which some have stated is their 'true natural environment,'” she wrote. “This constantly changing environment allows teachers and students the ability to evolve and adapt to new expectations and opportunities.” Some parents thought students would be sitting in front of a device all day and teachers' jobs would become obsolete. “That's just not the case,” Harvatine said. “Good teaching's good teaching, and it happens with or without a device.” Using technology teaches students not only book smarts but how to communicate and behave as digital citizens. “Working within an ever-evolving environment … students will be more comfortable adapting to the real world that is constantly changing,” Slosarek wrote.

[Read the rest of this article...]

Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
25
(Janesville, WI) Excerpts Courtesy of the Gazette The Janesville School District’s high schools, Craig and Parker, were recognized nationally in U.S. News & World Report's 2015 high school rankings. Craig and Parker High Schools, which are ranked in the Top 50 out of Wisconsin’s 466 high schools, were awarded the publication’s Silver Medal designation. Nationally, the magazine rated 21,150 high schools and 142 Wisconsin high schools made the rankings. The magazine’s ratings are based on each high schools' overall state test scores in math and reading, including the test performance of economically disadvantaged and minority students. Also considered were the number of students taking Advanced Placement or other college-readiness tests. ACT scores, however, were not factored into the ratings.

[Read the rest of this article...]

Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
24
(Janesville, WI) By Nick Crow Roosevelt Elementary School fourth-grader George Patzold knows about trial and error even if he doesn't know the term. "Dang it," he said as he talked to classmates Boston Falk Kluge and Lilly Barrier about how to perfect their project. "What should we do next?" George and his classmates were working on creating a three dimensional maze using recycled materials. The object was to make different levels that keep a marble running through the maze for more than two minutes. George and his classmates were working on slowing the marble at a particular point because it kept running off the course. "It's really fun because you can create whatever you want with it," George said. "It goes on whatever route we want it to." The project is one of six classes at Roosevelt teaching second- through fifth-grade students science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) as part of the school's summer program. "This is an example of how we're being innovative," said head teacher Lynn Little. "Here, the kids are using higher-level thinking to overcome the obstacles."

[Read the rest of this article...]

Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
20
(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, Beloit Daily News Beloit Senior Living, to be located in a vacant lot at 2250 W. Hart Road, will break ground in July on a 42-unit residential care apartment complex. There is a tentative completion date of late summer 2016, according to Meghan Giese, president of Great Lakes Senior Living, the umbrella company for Beloit Senior Living LLC. Once the facility is up and running at capacity it will bring 20 full-time jobs to Beloit. Beloit Senior Living could add up to 30 more residential care apartments and up to 40 community based residential apartments for those needing a higher level of care. In an earlier interview, Scott Schadel, managing partner for Beloit Senior Living, LLC, said he and other developers also run assisted living facilities in Milton and Waterford, Wisconsin. Giese said Beloit Senior Living has been looking at expanding in the area. She said Riverside Terrace is the only other comparable assisted living apartment complex in the area. The lot at 2250 W. Hart Road is vacant, but was approved for family apartment complex consisting of 14 four-unit buildings about a decade ago. Beloit’s Planning and Building Services Director Drew Pennington said Beloit Senior Living’s design team submitted site and architectural plans last week, so the review is underway. The city is also negotiating a development agreement, which stipulates the details for relocating the public water and sewer mains that cross the site and conflict with the building location. Pennington said the typical review time for a project of this size is four to six weeks. Giese said the complex will be a single-story facility. There will be 41 one-bedroom units and one 2-bedroom unit. There will be common areas including a kitchen and dining room area, offices and an outdoor courtyard. The facility will be staffed 24 hours a day and provide up to 28 hours of individualized care per person per week. Staff can assist residents, can tailor services to each resident and can offer medication management, assisting with personal care, housekeeping and more. “Our goal is to help people remain independent as long as they can,” Giese said. Typically the senior living age range is between 70 and 100 years old. Giese said Milton Senior Living has been in business for 14 years, and Waterford Senior Living has been in business for nine years. The facility will offer lots of activities and outings for residents to keep them heavily involved in the community.

[Read the rest of this article...]

Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
15
(Beloit, WI) Kaiser Property Group, Inc. secured another lease at 1 Reynolds Drive.  ConAgra, as part of an expansion and facility rationalization project, has executed a lease for 140,000 SF within the former Alcoa facility.  Originally purchased by Kaiser Property Group in late 2009, this 422,000 + SF property has undergone extensive interior and exterior renovations. These renovations have elevated this former aluminum wheel manufacturing plant into a Class A industrial / warehousing facility.  In addition to ConAgra, 1 Reynolds Drive is also home to another food company. Axium Foods, which is headquartered in Northern IL, is leasing approximately 120,000 SF. The property is being marketed for lease by Bill Mears, Coldwell Banker Commercial McGuire Mears & Associates. For additional property information, visit www.1reynolds.com .

[Read the rest of this article...]

Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
08
(Janesville, WI) Excerpts Courtesy of the Gazette Over the last four years, Roosevelt Elementary School has successfully combined gardening, academics and student lunches into a single offering. The idea started with a group of teachers who built the four raised beds and allowed anyone who planted food to take it home. Now, it's folded into the curriculum at the school. This year, the garden was the responsibility of the kindergarten classes and UW Extension agents visited the school to assist with delivering the farming / food educational programming. Jim Degan, manager of food services for the district, said schools such as Roosevelt and Jackson elementary schools, which also have gardens, connect students to the food they eat. Degan said that Roosevelt students consume more than 2,000 meals each week. It's important for them to take ownership and get involved, he said. According to Roosevelt Elementary School teacher Christina Campbell, serving at school the food grown by students was a goal from the beginning. "It's just a good age to get them started and to get them interested," Campbell said. "It gets them talking about healthier foods."

[Read the rest of this article...]

Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
08
(Rock County, WI)  A report highlighting the use of the County’s web-based career preparation and readiness platform, which is powered by Career Cruising, was released today. The Spring 2015 Inspire Rock County Report provides a snapshot of the activity, engagement and trends generated from this workforce development tool. A brief summary of the report’s finding is provided below. The number of students actively exploring career options continues to increase, as over 141,000 career pages have been viewed. Schools with pacesetting career exploration activities, as defined by representing 50% or more of their entire district’s total career page views, include: Aldrich Middle School, FJ Turner H.S., Edgerton H.S., Evansville H.S. and Milton Middle School. Considering that only the high schools are participating from the Clinton and Parkview districts, their page view activities were strong, as well. The number of identified careers, as well as higher education choices, recorded within student portfolios have dramatically increased. This year’s totals are 50% (or more) higher than last year’s benchmarks. The career engagement features, which are anchored by the Inspire Rock County elements, are gaining steam too. To date, over 1,000 message board posts between students and career coaches have been recorded. Considering there are 106 career coaches, ample capacity exists for students to access this career expertise and experience throughout the entire calendar year.  With a total of 208 work-based learning activities, divided into 12 distinct categories, a diverse school-to-career environment exists. Whether looking for a local employer to offer an internship, a job shadow experience, participate in a company tour and more, students - as well as instructors - are strongly encouraged to use the Inspire Rock County elements to research and/or secure their work-based learning activities. As the summer break begins this week and preparations for the fall academic period are just around the corner, this Report serves as a reminder regarding the usefulness of this career preparation and readiness platform. As districts continually explore ways to hardwire Career Cruising into their programming, these career exploration and engagement metrics are expected to move forward, accordingly. Inspire Rock County is a collaborative talent pipeline development and employment initiative between Rock County 5.0, the Southwest Workforce Development Board, the K-16 education system and the County’s business community. By integrating career development tools, social media elements and workforce data into a seamless system, job creators, students, educators and parents can connect and engage. For more information, visit www.inspirerockcounty.org .

[Read the rest of this article...]

Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
06
(Janesville, WI) By Neil Johnson, Gazette Brothers Shannon Kennedy and Shawn Kennedy have plans to bring their insurance service company's relaxed, white-collar culture—and its 35 employees—to a industrial building downtown that dates to the early years of Janesville. As early as October, SASid Insurance Development, known locally as SAS, plans to move its company from the office space corridor on the city's east side to the former Carriage Works building at 10 N. Parker Drive in the heart of downtown Janesville. SAS's move is part of a trend that's begun to spark in and around downtown Janesville: white-collar professional companies moving their operations into vacant or underused former industrial properties in the city's downtown core.   Earlier this year, local property developer Mark Robinson announced he plans to turn a circa 1890s former tobacco warehouse at 207 N. Academy St. into an office/retail property that Robinson says will house on one of its floors the Janesville-based website development firm Foremost Media. SAS, the Janesville-native Kennedy brothers say, has outgrown its days as a late 1990s dot-com upstart, and the 6,000-square-foot office it owns at 462 Midland Road. They say they're trying to expand employment in the next few years to as many as 60 workers who'd handle facets of insurance product marketing, design and technical services. The company's plan includes converting the vacant, 10,000-square-foot third floor of the late-1800s Carriage Works building to an open-space office that would keep intact the former carriage manufacturing facility's Spartan, brick-and-beam industrial character, but add touches of flare. The company plans a slide—that's right, a slide—that would allow workers to quickly and playfully scoot from the third floor to offices planned on the second floor. “We're in insurance, right? So we're well covered for something like this,” Shannon Kennedy said during a tour of the space that will house the company in a few months. A TRENDY TREND The idea of a slide, Shannon said, came from designs for a San Francisco tech firm's industrial-modern warehouse reboot. “The space we're looking at here, it's a little bit of Chicago, San Fran and Milwaukee, and we've got it right here in Janesville,” he said Foremost Media, like SAS, ran out of room to expand in its current office space on the east side, and opted to lease space the former warehouse the Robinson is now calling The Gray Goose. The city granted a $500,000 tax increment financing deal earlier this year to Robinson and Foremost Media to push forward the $2.5 million renovation, and Robinson is working on approval from the state for historical tax credits. The Kennedys bought the Parker Drive property in January 2015 for $525,000, according to Rock County Register of Deeds records. Shawn Kennedy said the company plans to keep its current office space and potentially lease it. They're in the middle of getting state historical society approval on designs and floor plans for the upstairs renovations at the Carriage Works, a part of negotiating tax credits for the work. Between the SAS and Foremost Media, their future locations would immediately transplant 60 professional workers who will spend their days downtown, the owners said. As the two companies grow, the number of workers the two firms could employ downtown could climb to 100. Darrin Wasniewski, Downtown Development Program manager for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, said he's been seeing the trend in medium-sized cities statewide. For service-based or niche companies, it can be unaffordable or unfeasible to build new offices. Small companies looking to expand are turning to use of vacant space in downtown areas. The shift, Wasniewski said, also is a response for companies' need to attract and retain younger talent. One way to do that is to offer a work location where younger workers could prefer to be. “What companies are finding is the millennial generation workers, and some of Generation X, they're wanting to be connected to the pulse of something. They don't want to be work out in an office park. They want to eat, drink,and walk around a downtown,” Wasniewski said. A HOMETOWN FIT For the 40-something Kennedys, who both were born and raised in Janesville, and are both Craig High School graduates Janesville's downtown is a natural fit. “We could have moved our company anywhere. Chicago—Pensacola, Florida, I don't know. But we wanted to be here,” Shawn Kennedy said. “We love Janesville.” Both Shawn and Shannon say their main reason for relocating to the third floor of the Carriage Works is not its cavernous space, which they plan to break up with clusters of desks, comfy couches, ping pong tables and a glass partition to separate a board room area with a southwest-looking view of downtown Janesville. Well, the space is part of the reason. The other is the location--being downtown. “We told our employees we were thinking of moving. And then we surprised them with this location. They've come here, looked around and they're thrilled,” Shannon Kennedy said. “But you know what they're most thrilled about? A walk to get coffee. A walk to get lunch. That's where we see employee growth opportunity for us. It's the byproduct of enjoying what you do but also where you are doing it.” On the building's finished second floor, which houses law offices and a yoga studio, SAS has set up sort of a test space for a few employees. The office overlooks Wiggy's Saloon, a bar and grill across the street on North Parker Drive. Chris McLay, an SAS employee who works in the office, pointed out the window at Wiggy's. “That's our board room over there,” McLay said. McLay wasn't kidding. “We actually do take clients in there. A lot,” Shannon Kennedy said. A WORKING CATALYST For downtown Janesville, which is in the middle of a cycle of street makeovers and a riverfront revitalization that public officials and private developers hope will redefine downtown as an entertainment-based area, relocation of firms such as SAS and Foremost Media comes at the right time and in the right form. SAS develops, administers and markets insurance products for outside insurance vendors. In the last three years, the group has posted revenue growth of more than 200 percent and has landed on lists of the nation's fastest-growing companies. The company is in a sweet spot that lies in technical, professional service and insurance fields—all of which are among the most rapidly-growing industries in the country. Locally, about 10 percent of jobs are linked to those fields, and those jobs range in pay from $45,000 to $70,000 annually, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data. Wasniewski said public initiatives for revitalizing downtowns can follow a few tracks, including plans for adjacent housing developments, creation of public amenities and a shift to a specific commercial sector, such as creating an entertainment district. But an insurgence of professional employment in a downtown, an influx of above-average wage-earning workers who spend money downtown, can help push overall revitalization forward. “Depending on the community, you need to start developing a critical mass of entrepreneurs of commerce coming back in to work. Then, retail and support service will spring up along side of it. They'll grow and expand together,” Wasniewski said.  The Kennedys are eying the possibility of developing a restaurant on the building's first level. The restaurant, they said, could make use of a long-forgotten grass lot on the backside of the building that's hemmed in by the building and the retaining wall of a raised parking lot. For now, the brothers say they're thinking mainly of the influx of their own workforce. “It's nice to know we'll be responsible for bringing 60 people or more into downtown every day. I think the time is getting ripe for this downtown,” Shawn Kennedy said. “There's enough people to support it. We just need to make it cool, and that's what we're working on.”

[Read the rest of this article...]

Actions: E-mail | Permalink |
05
(Edgerton, WI) By Jake Magee, Gazette A Med Flight helicopter landed in an Edgerton Middle School parking lot Friday afternoon. Fortunately, it was responding to a mock accident, not a real one. Students playing dead and injured victims of a crash, were cut from a vehicle by Edgerton and Orfordville firefighters and paramedics. The spectacle ended a day of hands-on learning for eighth graders about firefighting and emergency medicine. Six stations inside and outside the school let students experience what it means to be a firefighter or emergency medical technician. In one room, students tried on firefighter gear and used a thermal imaging camera to find hidden peers. At another station, kids tipped over traffic cones with powerful streams of water from fire hoses. Students also operated fire extinguishers, learned how to perform CPR and toured ambulances and fire trucks. Eighth-grader Zoe Thompson's favorite part was learning about being an EMT. “I think that was really interesting because I'm pretty interested in a medical career. I have a lot of things I'd like to pursue,” she said with a laugh. In its sixth year, the event is a great way to teach kids as they're gearing up for summer, said Ryan Beckwith, deputy chief of the Edgerton Fire Protection District. The district meets with second-graders to teach them fire safety at a young age. The middle school event is the last time the district meets with students before they graduate, he said. “The idea behind today is, now that they're a little older, we can talk about how you can be a little more safe, learning to use a fire extinguisher—just things that are more applicable to the age group now,” Beckwith said. “We wanna give them lessons they can apply.” The mock crash is an important reminder that fatal accidents can happen, even during the carefree bliss of summer. “Hopefully it's a safe message ... reminding them it's summer, you're a high schooler now, but you still gotta be careful,” Beckwith said. Teacher and event coordinator John Schuster pointed out that the event isn't just educational; it also connects students to important people within their hometown. “For me, as a teacher, it's about community,” he said. “It's tremendously successful.” The event is definitely more engaging and entertaining than sitting in a classroom and listening to a lecture or even watching a video, Beckwith said. “It's a lot easier to remember things when it's more interactive,” Thompson agreed. “Hands-on learning teaches a lot better than sitting a classroom all day.” Thompson was the simulated crash victim firefighters loaded into the helicopter. “This is a day where everyone is on the same level. Everyone's learning, young and old, and they're all just having fun,” Beckwith said. “It's a fun way to wrap up the end of the year.”

[Read the rest of this article...]

Actions: E-mail | Permalink |

5.0 UPDATES

For additional Rock County 5.0 information, click on the listings below and/or send an email to info@rockcounty5.com

Q3 2011

Q2 2011

Q1 2011

Q4 2010

Q3 2010

Q2 2010

Q1 2010

Q4 2009