Thursday, July 26, 2012

Pre-service tour at Cabela's

Each year we take a significant tour for pre-service and on August 29 the teaching staff will tour the PdC Cabela's distribution center. Cabela's is a major employer in the area and a great supporter of the school district.

Staff taking the tour need to present a photo ID up arriving at the facility as Cabela's maintains certification by CTPAT (Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism) and FTZ (Foreign Trade Zone) so they can allow containers of goods arriving from overseas vendors an expedited trip through US Customs.

To visit the Cabela's official website hit the image below:

Forms needed from employees

Reminder from Patti:

There are still a few employees that have Health Insurance and have not turned in the HRA sheets. Until that is filed with Patti, the first half of the HRA money cannot be released.

For most others with Insurance, once your physical confirmation form and the other 2 points are completed, then you will receive the other 1/2 of your HRA money.

A reminder also that if you are making any changes to your dental/vison please get the forms in as soon as possible because the old plan ends July 31, 2012 and the new plan starts August 1, 2012.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

PdC Technology and Engineering Education website

Mr. Mumm has shared the new and improved Technology and Engineering Education website, which is still under construction. Great Job!

Click on banner below to go to the site:

Monday, July 23, 2012

High School Kitchen Dishwasher Upgrade

Building and Grounds Committee approved new a new dishwasher that is a high capacity commercial unit that will be fully installed. It is to replace the conveyor type washer that we have now.

Just some history; the good old dishwasher unit was installed in 1964 with a possible update done in 1968, that is only judging on the manuals that we have. The old dishwasher has performed well past a normal lifespan. Over the last few years it has been breaking down more often and parts are getting hard to find. There were two days in the last school year when it did not work at all. We hate to see the old dishwasher go as it has served us well for almost 50 years, but like all equipment, at some point it just needs to be replaced.

Food Service fact; we serve approximately 200 for breakfast and 900 for lunch on every normal school day. In addition, over the last years we continue to serve meals during our 45 days of summer school. We need to thank our food service staff for their hard work as every day they turn out a quality product with very low costs to the students of our district. One last item, the costs for both breakfast and lunch will remain the same price for the upcoming school year as this past year. No increase - another reason to thank our cooks!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Futuristic Stretch Goal to possibly take Bluff View grades 7 or 8 on a Foreign Journey

At PdC Public Schools we have Kindergarten through High School Foreign Language programming in both Chinese and Spanish.

Is it too much of a stretch goal to think about our Bluff View grades seven or eight students visiting countries that speak those native languages in the future? We have touched on this possibility at School Board meetings as a futuristic stretch goal. The video linked below may be looked at as an example program.

 Click the picture to go to the ECB/DPI video on the program.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Hug a Nerd Today!!

A TED Talk with Regina Dugan; she talks about what can happen when there less worrying about the fear of failure. She describes some of the technology and science projects that are being developed across the world.

Potential Natural Outdoor Classroom

On the north end of the former Northern Engraving factory site on St. Feriole Island, there is a small triangle of land that based on initial discussions with the PdC City could possibly be set-aside for an outdoor area that the school could use for educational activities.

Click here to go to the Google map of the Island; area is in upper left of this view

The site is estimated to be a triangle of about 150 feet across the south end and about 200 feet to the north point or approximately 15,000 square feet.

Click here to go to map of area

This size of a plot is not conducive to a school forest plan as those normally are 20 or 40 acres or even more. However, given the proximity to the Mississippi River (which is across the railroad tracks) and other natural features, the site may work well for an outdoor classroom.

Other sites on the factory property may be slated for development (band shell, overlook, parking, steel frame pergola, water spraying feature, etc.) but the initial vision for this "school" piece of land would be to keep it as natural as possible with a limited number small open areas to congregate with groups of students and a connecting series of interpretative trails. Educational uses are only limited by imaginations. Some ideas would be that an interpretive trail could be developed on which the flora could be grown and identified, fauna watching or studies could be encouraged through strategically placed information, and depending on development in the area there could be evening or night programming such as highlighting migrations along the river-way.

This site would be opened (fence removed from the Villa Road side, but probably keep the fence on the railroad side) and not closed to the public. Alternative uses that do not damage the natural surroundings would be encouraged when not in use for school programming. Partnerships would be cultivated to further encourage community usage.

Ultimately, it would greatly enhance the educational components of the whole area if the school could gain access and usage rights of the Radio Station property which is located to the east of this Northern Engraving property. The Radio Station property has ponds and topography that is very conducive to scientific study. That would be an exciting possibility, but, at this time that is not finalized and it is only initial talking or dreaming.

This is a picture from the Villa Road looking west. The overgrown fence line in front of the train would be the back side of the property.

This is a picture from the north looking south. The shrubbery growth is the old factory fence line.

At this time we are looking for any ideas to create an overall vision for this piece of land that we can present to the City Council. Please let us know your ideas.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Update on our new Chinese Guest Teachers

Our 2012-2013 school year Chinese guest teachers are currently saying goodbye to their family and friends in China and preparing to take off for their journey to the U.S. On Sunday, July 22, they will arrive at UCLA for the STARTALK Guest Teacher Summer Institute, a 10-day pre-service professional development training organized by the College Board in collaboration with NCSSFL and the UCLA Confucius Institute.

The Guest Teacher Summer Institute includes opportunities for micro-teaching, as well as visits to local K-12 schools in summer sessions. The teachers have already taken part in a six-week training in China organized by Hanban that focuses on teaching Chinese as a foreign language and teaching Chinese culture.

The institute focuses on the following topics, among others:
-Cross-cultural awareness and effective communication in a U.S. cultural context
-Understanding the U.S. K-12 education structure
-Foreign Language Teaching Expectations in the U.S.
-Standard-based instruction and communicative teaching in the target language
-Understanding by Design and Differentiated Instruction
-Classroom engagement and classroom management principles and strategies
-Student-centered teaching

The Teachers will be arriving in Chicago at the O'Hare airport on August 3. We are in the process of planning a welcoming dinner in PdC later that week. If you are interested in attending, watch for details.

Click here for brief bio on Tang Min
Click here for brief bio on Zhang Yuanyuan
Click here for brief bio on Liu Jieyu

All New

U.S. Department of Education has a "new streamlined website and several social media tools that will make it easier for students and families to navigate the financial aid process and make informed decisions about paying for college."

Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education: Proud sponsor of the American mind.

Wisconsin School Law 2011 Changes

This was a year of significant changes in laws that have both effected and affected schools in Wisconsin. Our main legal firm has prepared an Annual Survey of Wisconsin Law / School Law Chapter. Boardman & Clark, LLP attorneys JoAnn M. Hart, Nicole J. Thibodeau and Richard F. Verstegen, co-authored the document linked below that discusses developments in school law during 2011. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Read and Move Initiative

Video release from U.S. Department of Education:
Let's Read! Let's Move! with Arne Duncan, LeVar Burton, and Miss America

Question; is School too easy?

From: Teaching Matters; U.S. Department of Education

According to a new analysis of federal research data...

- 37% of fourth-graders say their math work is "often" or "always" too easy.
- 57% of eighth-graders say their history work is "often" or "always" too easy.
- 39% of 12th-graders say they rarely write about what they read in class.
- 1 in 5 eighth-graders say they read more than 20 pages a day - most report that they read far less.

Some minor storm damage from last night

The winds that ripped through PdC blew over a number of trees and did some damage. However, as far as we know nobody was hurt, so we can all be thankful of that. Plus on the positive side, the storm brought us some rain which was needed.

At the High School, the concession stand and press box sustained some roof damage:

The wind mangled one of our batting cages:

At BAK we are checking the roofs, but at this time the only thing that we have found is some trim that was loosened:

District ELA/Reading Panel

On Tuesday night we convened a district reading group to to discuss what is, and what is not, working. It was a great discussion that was based on data, theory, and feedback from the classroom practitioners.

Reading Panel Discussion 2012.07.17

Main Points:
1. DIBELS gone, PALS in
2. More comprehension – has to be priority
3. Need more non-fiction, technical reading
4. More outside of the day reading needed; home and intervention programs
5. Need to step it up; challenge more, higher level reading, accelerate vocabulary
6. May need to make drastic upgrade in grade one

General Notes:
1. PALS will replace DIBELS and will be given in grade 4K, K, 1, 2, 3
a. The logistics of the testing will be worked out later
2. Laura will meet with K and 1 teams and she will determine whether we continue with Maps for Primary Grades (MPG) – this decision needs to be soon
a. More research to conclude if PALS can give us a benchmark score, grade level and teacher data
b. More research to determine if PALS can be the Universal Screener for RtI
3. 4K, K, 1, and 2 will find ways to work on comprehension skills as the “gut feeling” and data seem to show that the phonics programming is working well, but that “we are weak on comprehension” and that is now the major roadblock
4. More Vocabulary, early and often; need to challenge students even more with higher level words
5. Teach technical reading skills and reading text conventions
a. Need to agree on generally accepted usage or practices and carry them through the grades
b. Teach the format of a text book at all levels; index, glossary, etc.
c. Skim / scan
d. Back / front
6. It was discussed that the current Houghton Mifflin ELA series in grade one is way too low and is not used to full efficacy.
a. First grade is currently using HM but trying to incorporate more comprehension strategies, and therefore not always getting through the lessons in entirety.
b. Comprehension strategies and fluent reading practices are what they feel is lacking in their current book.
c. Alternatives will be explored such as moving something down, adding something, or get a new series (at this time the feeling is that we may have totally outgrown the current series and need to change – maybe even yet this year)
7. Grade 5 materials need to be studied as they may be too low and uninteresting to students
a. Aaron is going to consult some people and work with Kerry on this
8. General consensus that we need more reading time if a child is behind; we cannot catch them up within the school day
a. There has to be an expectation of reading outside of the school day for all students at all levels; more reading at home or …
i. We need the parents; in early grades to stay on track, at least 15 minutes of daily reading in the home, more as they age 
ii. If that is not happening at home for some students, do we need to expand the intensive after-school program at all levels? (students want to please their teachers, they even try to sign the sheets for the parents)
iii. The 9 student after-school rotation devised by teachers shows promise of working – how can we improve that model? Do we need to expand it? Start earlier, consistent through year?
9. Non-fiction, technical, reading needs to be stressed and incorporated more at all levels
a. Research projects
b. Timed Cold Reads
c. Help to guide and find materials of interest to students
10. High School will need to develop innovative ways to help students with higher level work
a. Keep kids in the basal programming but supplement (not supplant) with extra intensive time with a small number of students that are reading at elementary levels 
i. Study to see how many are coming up from lower grades
ii. An intensive intervention program this year in the special education department indicated real promise at students raised 320 points
b. Need to identify and intervene before high school
11. Programs to encourage reading – reading counts; prizes etc.
a. Concern that some kids do not get prizes – the good stuff goes to the good readers. Can something be structured to combat that?
b. High School is reporting much more reading with the extra reading requirements thorough reading counts – kids carrying and reading books
12. 95%+ (or some figure that you put in here) of the children in our system that are behind in reading are due to environmental issues; they just have not learned/mastered the skills. There are only 5%- (you put a figure in here) of students that are truly disabled.
a. We need to figure that out as early as possible and intervene
13. Desire to continue meeting as a Reading Panel group

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

PdC Public School has all OPEB funded

The District is committed to ensuring that any promised benefits are fully funded to both protect the District and our valued Employees. The following transactions have been recorded which bring our total Fund 73 investments in line with what is owed in the future based on all past promised OPEB benefits. Unless there is something that we are not aware of, we are now fully funded.

1. With our 2011-2012 school year payment, we will have $463,086.27 invested in our Fund 73 OPEB Trust Fund account. This amount is set-aside and should totally cover all past retiree vested benefits that are owed into the future years. 

2. We have transferred $73,275.21 into Fund 73 to cover the potential cash value of unused PTO / Vacation carryover into future years. This is also held in Fund 73. This amount will need to be adjusted at the end of each fiscal year to make sure that no future liability is created.

3. Another transfer of $77,430.21 into Fund 73 is also being made to cover unused HRA money which is owed to employees in the future as they use their HRA dollars. This also needs to be updated each year.

4. All current year retirees have received their early retirement stipends per their agreements, and this was booked in the 2011-2012 fiscal year, so there will be no liability created.

5. All active employees who requested Vacation or PTO payout have been paid according to Handbook language.

Hitting this benchmark of having these liabilities fully funded is also very important to our school operations as past liabilities are now set-aside and will not be a drain on current or future operations.

The Fund 73 Trust Fund is invested in a very conservative portfolio through Mid America A & R Solutions, Inc.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Seeking Input on Virtual Academy


Prairie du Chien Public Schools is exploring the start of a Virtual Academy which has the vision of being committed to supporting families in an on-line educational setting. This may allow parents the choice to educate their children in their home or in a combination of face-to-face and on-line learning. Our goal is to provide learning opportunities, curriculum and assessment, tailored to family needs. We especially are interested in possibly providing this service to students/families in our district that currently do not attend in a traditional school setting.

The Prairie du Chien Area School Board is looking for input from families that may have interest in these types of educational offerings. We are looking for a committee/council of community members to discuss programming of an online charter school. If you are interested, we would love to have you attend a meeting on Tuesday, July 24, 2012 @ 6:30 a.m in the High School Learning Lab.

Economic Growth - Programming

Many items of significance to our long-term planning are featured in this video embedded below. Specifically, the continued growth in the health care sector highlighted by EPIC, Tom Still focusing on potential growth areas in the economy, and Bruce Maas discussing the new 100 gigabit nationwide broadband network.

With the upgrades we have planned, or accomplished, in our STEM programs, the additions over the past few years of the Project Lead the Way programs in both Engineering and Bio-medical plus the newly added software programming courses we are continually attempting to match up our programming to stay ahead of what seems to be the growing sectors of the economy. We desire to give our PdC Public School graduates the best possible preparation going into the future.

Monday, July 16, 2012

PdC City TIF Annual Reporting

The City of PdC has 6 TIF Districts. In these TIF areas, none of the property taxes levied go to the the Technical College, County, or the School. The City retains all taxes in these areas and the monies are to go toward economic development projects. The City has $7,291,877 in Long-Term Debt Outstanding for various economic development projects in these TIF areas.

Click here to see City TIF Report

Friday, July 13, 2012

State of Emergency - Drought Declaration Issued

Governor of Wisconsin release:

This week I declared a state of emergency in 42 Wisconsin counties due to drought or abnormally dry conditions. This allows farmers to receive certain permits in an expedited manner, helping them manage the abnormally dry weather.

The declaration covers these counties: Adams, Brown, Buffalo, Calumet, Clark, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Fond Du Lac, Grant, Green, Green Lake, Iowa, Jackson, Jefferson, Juneau, Kenosha, Kewaunee, LaCrosse, Lafayette, Manitowoc, Marquette, Milwaukee, Monroe, Outagamie, Ozaukee, Portage, Racine, Richland, Rock, Sauk, Sheboygan, Trempealeau, Vernon, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha, Waupaca, Waushara, Winnebago, Wood, and any county contiguous to the named counties at the discretion of the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources and upon written notification to the Governor.

I’ve also encouraged farmers to report crop conditions to their local U.S. Farm Service Agency office.

One additional resource available to farmers is the Wisconsin Farm Center, housed in the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The Farm Center staff can provide referrals and information about available services, including such things as finding feed, financial planning assistance, and mediation between farmers and creditors. Farmers can call the center toll-free at 1-800-942-2474, or The center is staffed 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.

I am hopeful that this emergency declaration will help our agricultural community withstand the recent hot weather. Avoiding long term damage to Wisconsin’s agricultural industry is important as we work to create the economic environment that allows employers to create jobs.

The UW-Extension also provides frequent updates on the situation through their Drought 2012 Blog, which can be accessed at:

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Blasting in PdC Quarry

If you feel the earth move today, it may be because the Kramer Company will be blasting today around 1PM

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Health Risk Assessment during Pre-Service

The finger prick health assessment will be scheduled in 10 minute rotations throughout the pre-service mornings 8/29, 8/30, 8/31. Those employees with insurance will be assigned a time.

This is a full blood work covering the tests as outlined in the document linked below. This document is also in your initial WPS packet. People being tested will need to fast beyond midnight as this is a good blood work analysis including blood sugar levels.

The test and followup forms take very little time and the payoff is huge as the full HRA is released when completed, the district cost of the insurance is partially determined on what percentage of people get the testing done, and most importantly it may help someone.

Click here to see health assessment documents:

None of this information will be shared with the district at an individual level. The composite results may be used to tailor future programming to benefit the group, but individual results are held as confidential medical information by WPS.

Reminder to get change forms in

From Patti:
Just a reminder that if you are making any changes to your Dental or Vision Insurance that the forms need to be back to me by July 15th so I can have the changes for the August 1, 2012 new year start. Thanks for all your help.

Due to ongoing drought, no watering during day

PdC City Release:

The City of Prairie du Chien will be instituting mandatory water restrictions, effective on Wednesday July 11th. Under City Ordinance, the Water Utility Manager may impose voluntary or mandatory outdoor water usage restrictions on all water users in order to avoid undue stress on the Water System, and to maintain an adequate water reserve. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Books That Can Support Character Development Logo
Click here to go to U.S. Department of Education release on some summer book ideas for students/parents

New Digital Magazine

Check out the newest Education Week product, which is a brand new digital edition called Digital Directions, by clicking the picture below. 

Cover: Digital Badges

If you liked what you saw, sign up by clicking here, it is free 

Hummingbird Moth Video

I took this just before dark last night on our front deck We have seen these moths a number of times over the years on our flowers, but we have not had a camera in hand to catch a picture - they do not stay put to pose. Last night I was just coming in from a meeting, so I had my phone and captured this video closeup. Sorry about the first 20 seconds of bouncing around until I got it focused in.

Click here for more information on Hummingbird Moths per the Wisconsin Master Gardener site:
Click for more information on these amazing creatures from Island Creek site:

BP awarded as provider for vehicle fuel for 2012-2013

At last night's board meeting, BP was approved as the fuel provider for the district vehicles/busses for the next 12 months. Once the BP cards are activated, we will put the new cards in the vehicles and we can make the transition from to BP. While we can fuel our vehicles at any BP station. However, we receive an additional rebate by using Krachey's BP, by Huckleberry's.

Administrative Presentation at School Board Meeting 7.09.12

1. On-line Charter is being studied in-depth with an agenda item for further discussion in August. A Board Committee was established to head this probe.

2. More information is being gathered on CNG. This will be an on-going study of costing and benefits that will have an agenda item in August. Will continue to work with the Extension Service as consultants.

3. Building and Grounds issue; concern that the new fields are not getting enough water to sustain through this period of intense heat and drought conditions. This will be followed up on immediately.

4. If Kindergarten numbers continue to grow, we may need to add another Teacher.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Wisconsin’s ESEA Accountability Waiver approved

Dear District Administrators:

This morning, the U.S. Department of Education approved Wisconsin’s ESEA Accountability Waiver proposal. Additional information is available on the Department of Public Instruction newsroom website at

A copy of Wisconsin’s Waiver is posted at

Next Steps

We will release a packet of accountability-related resources next week for  your review before a public press release of a sample school report card the following week.  These resources include sample report cards, an interpretive guide, a technical manual, and talking points for administrators.  We look forward to working with districts over the summer and into the fall to build understanding of the new accountability system, and to help connect that system to other major efforts.

Michael J. Thompson, PhD
Deputy State Superintendent
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The vision of Harvard and MIT on online education

From youtube blurb: The new venture, called edX, will provide interactive classes from both Harvard and MIT — for free — to anyone in the world with an Internet connection. But a key goal of the project, Faust said, is "to enhance the educational experience of students who study in our classrooms and laboratories."

UW scientists play key role in discovery of a new particle consistent with Higgs boson

UW-Madison has dozens of scientists involved in the experiments, analysis, and data handling at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), including numerous graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. The Wisconsin groups play key roles in both ATLAS and CMS as well as oversight of computing resources through the Open Science Grid.

Click here for more information on Wisconsin connection to discovery

National Parks Educational Program Message

From LEAF: Professional Development Opportunities

LEAF - Wisconsin's K-12 Forestry Education Program's profile photo

1. Tree Identification Workshop

Gain confidence in your tree identification skills. This hybrid course provides you with the skills you’ll need to identify tree species that grow in different ecosystems of Wisconsin. The online portion helps you learn the botany terminology and major tree groups. The field portion gives you hands-on practice.

Location: Online & Madison, WI
Dates & Times: August 6 - August 24, 2012
August 6 - 10: Online Sessions - Three 30 minute sessions
August 11 (Saturday), 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM – Field Trip at UW Arboretum, Madison, WI
August 12 – August 17 – Online lessons, Three 30 minute sessions
August 18 (Saturday), 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM Field trip, Madison and Baraboo Hills area, WI
August 18-24 – Online wrap-up

Instructor: Catherine Woodward, PhD
Non-Credit Fee: $35
Credit Co-Pay: $65 with scholarship granted
Registration Form | Information Flyer

2. No Teacher Left Inside Institute

NTLI is designed to provide teachers with in-depth, hands-on experiences they can take back to their classroom. The four-day workshop is rooted in developing a learning community, drawing on each other's experiences and expertise, and having fun while learning from colleagues. This year, teachers will be able to choose from one of three tracks to focus on.

The Institute will be held at Beaver Creek Reserve in Fall Creek, Wisconsin. Lodging is available in the cabins or dorm onsite, camping, or in nearby hotel requested (transportation not included). Sponsored by Wisconsin Green Schools Network, DPI, and LEAF.

Location: Beaver Creek Reserve - Fall Creek
Dates & Times: August 6 - August 9, 2012

Reflect on the work that all educators do for sustaining this great country. I thank my PdC Public School staff for all they do every day. You’re doing a great, important, and vital job!

All over the United States we celebrate the Fourth of July. Family outings, parades, and fireworks are all staples of the day. But of course, the day itself is to signify freedom, and the ability to rule ourselves in a free country, as this is the recognized birthday of the Declaration of Independence.

Thomas Jefferson was the main author of the document and the drafting committee included John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Livingston and Roger Sherman as well. It was, and still is, an amazing piece of work that continues to have its ideals live on.

These gentlemen who authored the founding document of this country believed in the need for an educated society. We will start with Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson is in many ways was one of the main fathers of public education in the United States at all levels. There are many documented Jefferson quotes and writings that argue for and support the need for a good education system. His life works include many additions to education including, as he wanted as part of his epitaph, the “FATHER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA”. He even proposed a constitutional amendment, which did not pass, that the federal government must “come in aid of public education”. He did all of this as he understood that in order for people to self-govern that they had to be educated to be able to make wise decisions.

Now to John Adams. I will directly quote him as he most eloquently stated that “The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves.”

Ben Franklin also was a strong supporter of a well-rounded public education as he saw the need for an educated populace that could allow business and government to flourish together. Franklin, like Jefferson, was instrumental in all levels of education as he was a main supporter of the establishment of the higher education institution today known as the University of Pennsylvania.

Robert Livingston was also a man who supported education. He was said to have 4000 books in his personal library. He is credited as a principal founder of the American Academy of Fine Arts. Robert Sherman was an early benefactor of Yale and actually served as the treasurer of Yale for many years.

All of these people believed in the importance of a comprehensive education for the masses. This is as important today as it was in the 1700’s. So along with the hot dogs and fireworks, we can also reflect on the work that all educators do for sustaining this great country. I thank my PdC Public School staff for all they do every day. You’re doing a great, important, and vital job!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

All Employees Leaves in hours

For simplicity, all leaves are now converted to hours in AESOP. All types of leave for everyone are now under one standard. The amount of time stays the same, but before this change some where tracked in days and some in hours. The rules all stay the same also, such as vacation needs to be taken in full or half days. This is just a recording and tracking change in our system. As always, if you see something that does not look correct in your records, give us a call or e-mail and we will check it out.

Update on Building Projects

Paul continues his work on the BAK office project. Internal walls are going up.

High School back entrance is also progressing as floor to ceiling envelope is in.

Praying Mantis

Just for fun - some pictures of a Praying Mantis that had wandered into our garage. Coaxed him, or her?, on to a broom and took it back to the woods. It has been said that many alien creatures in the movies are based on this guy - I can see why! In the third one below; he is watching you!!

QR Codes in the Classroom ideas and tutorial

A QR Code is a Quick Response Code and it is a picture of a design that is somewhat similar to a bar code. Click here to go to the site explaining how QR codes are being used.

Or view this 20 minute tutorial

Monday, July 2, 2012

WPS on-line member site

You can access your WPS information directly over the web including claims and other information such as searching for a specific doctor. You will need your 9 digit number from your insurance card. You will need to make up a unique username and password. Click the picture below to enter the WPS site or go to Click on 'Members' and then within that 'Register'.

WPS Health Insurance based in Madison Wisconsin insuring Wisconsin's Health since 1946

Summer Reading Activities at Libraries and Online

DPI Release:

Research shows students not engaged with educational activities over the summer test lower at summer’s end than at the beginning. Estimates place this learning loss at two to three months’ worth of learning—a quarter of the school year.

However, reading 4-6 books per summer has been shown to help readers maintain their skills, while reading 10-20 helps them improve. Summer reading incentive programs at libraries across Wisconsin provide enriching, engaging activities including art, music, hands-on science, and storytelling. Many also offer adult programming.

[ BadgerLink Header Image ]

Online, Wisconsin students and families can use BadgerLinkto access educational activities such as these: Encyclop√¶dia Britannica offers not only informative articles but also educational games in its “Learning Zone” and in the “Learning Materials” section of its Elementary, Middle, and High school editions. The encyclopedia is also available for mobile devicesLearningExpress Library provides test preparation and skill building for children, teens, and adults. Kids can practice math or grammar, prepare for the SAT, ACT, or AP tests, and more. NoveList and NoveList K-8 offer book recommendations, book lists, and discussion guides for fiction books. TeachingBooks provides K-12 book-related multimedia: author interviews, book trailers, authors reading their works, book lists, and discussion guides.

Boaz Almog uses quantum physics to levitate and trap objects in midair. Call it "quantum levitation."

This is cool! (pardon the liquid nitrogen pun)

TED description:
How can a super-thin, three-inch disk levitate something 70,000 times its own weight? In a riveting, futuristic demonstration, Boaz Almog shows how a phenomenon known as quantum locking allows a superconductor disk to float over a magnetic rail -- completely frictionlessly and with zero energy loss.

In October 2011, Boaz Almog demonstrated how a superconducting disk can be trapped in a surrounding magnetic field to levitate above it, a phenomenon called “quantum levitation.” This demonstration, seemingly taken from a sci-fi movie, is the result of many years of R&D on high-quality superconductors. By using exceptional superconductors cooled in liquid nitrogen, Almog and his colleague Mishael Azoulay at the superconductivity group at Tel Aviv University (lead by Prof. Guy Deutscher) were able to demonstrate a quantum effect that, although well known to physicists worldwide, had never been seen and demonstrated in such a compelling way.