From chippewa.com: “Herald, Dunn County News launch Extra Effort program” – If you want a lesson in resiliency, you don’t have to look far. Just point yourself in the direction of the nearest school, where many kids provide daily examples.
For instance: students who come from split families and single-part families, who have had to deal with tragedy and loss; students who have had to work through communication barriers that impacted their studies; and students who have persevered through cancer diagnosis and other health ailments.
It is our goal to tell several of these inspirational stories in the coming weeks as part of a program called Extra Effort that we are launching in the Chippewa Valley. The program will honor high school seniors who have overcome challenges or provided exemplary service to the community, often with little recognition.
Extra Effort is about students on the verge of adulthood who have tales of struggle, illness and survival, or of making a dedicated effort to give back to the community. Their road hasn’t typically been an easy one. They likely aren’t star athletes or valedictorians. They probably don’t have perfect grades. But many of them have overcome tremendous odds, and the one thing they all have in common is the way they can inspire.
All area high schools have been invited to take part. The Chippewa Herald and our sister paper, the Dunn County News in Menomonie, will publish profiles of a student from each school in the coming weeks. Our first one will appear in Monday’s Herald.
We are partnering in this program with the University of Wisconsin-Stout, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Chippewa Valley Technical College, to recognize and provide some scholarship assistance to the Extra Effort winners. The three institutions will take turns in hosting a spring reception for the students who are chosen to represent their schools. This year’s reception will be hosted by UW-Eau Claire on Wednesday, May 21.
Extra Effort is based on a program that our fellow Lee papers in La Crosse and Winona, Minn., in conjunction with its higher-ed institutions, have been operating for several years. The program has been extremely well received by the public and the educational community.
“We’re very fortunate to develop this dynamic partnership with Chippewa Valley Technical College, the University of Wisconsin-Stout and UW-Eau Claire to honor some high school seniors who have overcome obstacles or provided exemplary service to their communities,” Herald Publisher Rusty Cunningham said. “Our programs in La Crosse and Winona have recognized and provided scholarship help to some courageous students who otherwise wouldn’t have received the recognition they deserve,” Cunningham said.
It is our plan to make Extra Effort a beloved yearly tradition in the Chippewa Valley, just as it has become in the River Valley.
“I can honestly say that this program tops my list as a favorite part of my career, because this recognition is nothing less than life-changing for these kids and an inspiration for us all,” says Patty Shepard, a counselor at Holmen High School. She said she could probably name every one of her school’s recipients and is in contact with many of them, all of whom continue to succeed.
“The Extra Effort program is an incredible endeavor that connects the area businesses and post-secondary institutions with our schools and most importantly, highlights the value of our youth through their incredible stories. We are so very privileged to be part of this program,” Shepard said.
We are privileged to be able to tell the stories of our 2014 Extra Effort recipients. They are deserving of your time, just as the subjects are deserving of your admiration.
March 7, 2014
From weau.com: “Tax cuts could change tech school funding” – A proposed tax cut could affect the way area technical colleges are funded.
Earlier this week, the state senate approved Governor Scott Walker’s plan to use the state surplus to cover $504-million in tax cuts.
Under the changes technical colleges would get more than $400-million from the state’s budget surplus- meaning homeowners would pay less toward funding schools like Chippewa Valley Technical College.
“From our point of view as a system it really brings us some balance in the system in terms of where our funds come from,” Wisconsin Technical College System President Morna Foy said.
Foy says the changes to buy down homeowners property taxes using the state’s surplus would mean more balance when it comes to funding schools.
“With this change happening in 2015 we would go back we would have greater balance state aid would account for 45-percent of our operating costs as opposed to 10-percent,” Foy explained.
What the cuts would mean for the average home owner and tax payers is more money in their pocket.
“For a typical working family in the state it means their property taxes will be down more than 100 dollars and it means there withholding the amount they see in their paycheck will actually go up by over 500 dollars through the end of the year,” Governor Scott Walker said.
Governor Walker says in addition to the shift in funding due to the budget surplus, the state will also give a one-time payment of $35-million to technical colleges to help cut down on the amount of time it takes to enroll in classes.
“There was $35-million available in the Wisconsin Economic Development budget and we shifted that into helping our technical colleges buying down our wait list,” Walker said.
Despite the increased money to technical colleges, area Democrats say it still doesn’t make up for the deep cuts that were made in the past year.
“It doesn’t address a few things. The first is it doesn’t address the fact that there was $72-million cut last year,” State Representative Dana Wachs said.
The tax cut bill now heads to the state assembly for a vote on March 18th. If approved it would head to the governor’s desk for his signature.
March 7, 2014
From beloitdailynews.com: “Police recruits aim to improve community relations” – By Geoff Bruce – The most recent recruits of Blackhawk Technical College’s Police Recruit Academy are stretching their legs and building some bridges.
The first ever “Miles for a Message” campaign is the brainchild of the most recently graduated class of academy recruits, Class 13-64.
“The recruits decided that they wanted to do something. These people want to become law enforcement officers, not just study about it,” Blackhawk Technical College Recruit Academy Coordinator Doug Anderson said.
Miles for a Message will take place April 5 and consist of two halves. The first will be a relay run beginning at 8 a.m. consisting of many runners teaming up to conquer the 26.2-mile course. The morning jaunt will start from Blackhawk Technical College’s Central Campus, 6004 S. County Road G, between Beloit and Janesville, and will head south to Beloit before winding through the city to pass by nearly all of its schools. The run will conclude at the Rotary River Center in Riverside Park in Beloit.
Following the morning run will be an afternoon organization fair. The fair will run from approximately 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Rotary River Center. The purpose of the fair is to introduce citizens to all of the organizations in the area that may be able to help in difficult times. Police academy graduate Bryanne Tudor says that one ultimate goal of the event is to promote good relations between citizens and law enforcement.
“(My class) all talked about it and we realized a lot of underprivileged people don’t really know the resources available to them,” Tudor said. “As law enforcement, it’s important to us for people to know their resources.”
There is no charge for organizations wishing to take part in the event. For more information on either portion of the event, interested parties can contact Tudor at 608-436-6869.
So far, a handful of organizations have signed up to participate in the organization fair following the run including the City of Beloit, Town of Beloit, and Town of Turtle Police Departments, as well as the Rock County Sheriff’s Department.
“I think that each generation of police officers will see this grow in importance. There can no longer be that disconnection of guys just riding around in squad cars and only connecting when someone’s in need or in trouble,” Anderson said. “We need to get officers out of the car and taking the time to interact with people.”
The event’s first half will also raise money for two Stateline Area organizations via pledges. Runners who sign up to run a leg of the 26.2-mile relay will collect at least $75 in pledges and will be able to sign up to run as much, or as little, as they want.
Benefiting from the funds raised by the pledges will be Project 16:49 and the Merrill Community Center.
“Project 16:49 has really taken off, especially with the opening of their new house. I think that they tackle an issue we all need to be aware of,” Tudor said. “As for Merrill, it’s just been a great organization for so long and we really wanted to show support for it.”
Project 16:49 opened its first house to provide long-term residence for homeless teens last month. Executive Director Tammy DeGarmo says that things with the Robin House are going well so far.
“We’ve had almost everything we need for the house donated to us. We’ve had so many people want to volunteer and help out,” DeGarmo said. “We’re excited for this because it’s not easy to take the time to organize an event and right now we’re very busy with the Robin House and helping our other kids. So to have them put this on for us is wonderful.”
Merrill Community Center Executive Director Regina Dunkin recently participated in a panel at Beloit College regarding the incarceration problem in Wisconsin. Prior to that forum, she made points echoing Tudor’s desires to build bridges between law enforcement and citizens. She stood by those remarks Monday.
“I think it’s another opportunity to show the humanity of police officers,” Dunkin said. “Often we hear from kids that they have negative ideas about police because they’ve gotten in trouble or their parents have gotten in trouble. This is a way to change that perception and show that police officers are people too.”
Like DeGarmo, Dunkin was flattered by the decision by the recruits’ to make Merrill Community Center one of the beneficiaries.
“It’s just wonderful. We don’t always have people in the community willing to take the initiative on things like this for us,” Dunkin said. “It’s really going to help us in continuing to serve the children and families of the center.”
Participants who wish to have a running buddy can sign up together. Runners are not responsible for finding and fielding an entire team to run the 26.2 miles.
“Once we have all the sign-ups, we’ll sort people into teams to make sure that the distances that people want to run add up to 26.2 miles,” Tudor said. “If you have someone you want to run with you can write that down and we’ll make sure you get to.”
The run will pass by over a dozen schools in the Beloit area including Turner High School, Rock County Christian High School, and Beloit Memorial High School.
Throughout the morning, teams will go over the Rock River a couple of times. But whether it be at White, Henry, or Grand Avenue, if Tudor and her colleagues have their way, there will be plenty more crossings on a lot more bridges in the days to come.
March 7, 2014
From weau.com: “Walker attends Manufacturing Show at Chippewa Valley Technical College” – How technology is used in manufacturing was the major focus of a show at CVTC Thursday.
The manufacturing show featured more than 20 companies and a number of programs at the college. It also included a junkyard battle competition where area high school students showcased their talents.
Governor Scott Walker was at the event to see all the college had to offer. He said it’s great to have the connection between the technical college and area high schools to show younger students the opportunities available after graduation.
“It’s amazing to see the things they make, really incredible work, and its great to see all the high schoolers coming by to see the oppourtunities in manufacturing,” said Governor Scott Walker.
More than 40 regional manufacturing businesses were also at the event to talk to guests about career opportunities.
March 6, 2014
From ccdaily.com: “Making success part of college culture” – Editor’s note: This article continues a series profiling nominees of the American Association of Community Colleges’ (AACC) 2014 Awards of Excellence. Featured this week are the four finalists in the category of student success. Winners in each of the six categories will be announced at the AACC Annual Convention next month.
At Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC), student success is more than a concept – it’s a part of the culture. The college’s Dream…Learn It. Live It initiative ensures that student success is woven into every facet of the student experience.
Every employee at NWTC is responsible for finding ways to help students master their courses, remain in college and complete some kind of credential.
“For people who are willing to work and earn that credential, helping them succeed is both a smart policy and the right choice,” said NWTC President H. Jeffrey Rafn.
Program advisors work with students from application through graduation. Four-week courses allow students to concentrate on one subject at a time while maintaining full-time status. Supplemental learning with academic coaches and tutors is available for the most difficult courses. Struggling students are identified earlier and directed to the appropriate student services.
To help students struggling financially, college employees created a food pantry, a second-hand clothing store and an employee giving campaign on campus.
What the data show
The college also improved the quality of its data, allowing for more informed decision-making.
This transformation at NWTC wasn’t always easy or comfortable — systems and assumptions had to be changed — but college leaders, faculty and staff have found ways to turn challenges into triumphs.
“The business intelligence available to us has been significantly redesigned so that we can see what helps students succeed and where they may fall through the cracks,” said Matthew Petersen, associate dean for general studies at the college.
March 6, 2014
From lacrosstribune.com: “Southwest Tech, PdC Memorial open Fennimore Clinic” – Prairie du Chien Memorial Health Clinic-Fennimore opened Monday in the Southwest Wisconsin Technical College campus’ Health Sciences building.
Nurse practitioner Peggy Barton will serve as the clinic’s primary provider. Barton has worked 32 years in nursing and has 19 years of experience as a nurse practitioner, certified in women’s health and family care, with an interest in diabetes.
Primary care services offered at the new clinic include annual health and wellness visits, health promotion and maintenance, disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment, general consultation and referral.
Dental services and behavioral health services will be added later this year.
March 6, 2014
From postcrescent.com: “Fox Valley Tech opens expanded transportation center to fill industry need” — GRAND CHUTE — Automotive students at Fox Valley Technical College have made themselves at home in the newly expanded J. J. Keller Transportation Center.
With the goal of helping to meet a growing demand for automotive careers, the school enlarged the facility by more than 20,000 square feet. The $6.2 million addition created 10 learning bays for automotive programs; three drive-through learning bays for diesel programs; classrooms; an instruction bay for the school’s truck driving program; and a learning bay for a trailer technician program.
The bigger transportation center is the third of five major building projects completed at FVTC so far since 2012, when voters approved $66.5 million in spending.
Aric Van Ess, a second-year diesel technology student from Cedar Grove, likes having more room and using new tools.
“There’s a lot more activities you can work on,” Van Ess said. “You’re not all bunched up working on a truck.”
Van Ess works part-time in the industry, and he sees the same things in the classroom that he does on the job. Students work on trucks that are driven on roads, so the problems they fix in school are the same ones they would see in the real world.
Van Ess plans to take courses in the new transport trailer service technician program after he completes the diesel technology area.
The new program is possible because of the extra square footage added to the facility and was started at the request of local industries, said Dan Poeschel, associate dean at FVTC.
The referendum allowed the automotive program to double in size, accommodating every student who enrolls. In the past, officials had to put students on waiting lists because there wasn’t enough room.
Most students will have jobs lined up immediately after graduation. FVTC automotive students who graduated last year have a combined job placement rate of 98 percent, according to figures provided by the college.
Poeschel said graduates can earn starting wages of $15 per hour or higher.
“[The addition] provides education and good jobs to students coming in who can really have a lifelong career in this industry,” he said.