February 2022 \\\ Communications Update
In This Newsletter
- Message from Superintendent Gerlach
- Dates to Remember (with Parent-Teacher Conference Tips!)
- SPASH to Present the First Musical since March 2020
- Meet the Team: Equity Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)
- Geometry and Construction Gives Students Math in the Real World
- PoDS Expands to 12th grade - Now Enrolling 7-12 Students for 2022-23
- Supporting Children's Mental Health: Tips for Parents and Educators
- 2022-23 4K Enrollment Opens February 21 - Open House Dates Now Available
- P.J. Jacobs Students Collect Donations for the Mobile Pantry
SPAPSD Families and Community;
As we move into our third week of the second semester, students, teachers, and school staff continue to address the challenges of a third consecutive year affected by COVID-19. While no one could have imagined the profound impact the pandemic has had on our educational system, I am encouraged and inspired by the resiliency and grit I see each day from students, team members, parents, and our community. We are moving forward together.
This semester we are celebrating the return of more of our traditional school experience staples. These include the high school musical, SPASH's Red and Black Week and Winter Formal, and as we move into spring I am hopeful that we'll continue to see a decline in cases continuing to move us closer to "business as usual". With deliberate and intentional strategies and action, together, we will continue to strive forward to meet the needs of students academically, socially, and emotionally in healthy and safe learning environments. As we work together toward seeing these goals realized, I thank you for being strong and active advocates for your students.
Craig Gerlach Ed.S.
📣 Dates to Remember
- Feb 10 - High School (10-12) Parent-Teacher Conferences 4:00 - 8:00 p.m.
- Feb 17 - Elementary (PK-6) and Junior High (7-9) Parent-Teacher Conferences 4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
- Feb 21 - Elementary (PK-6) No School, Parent-Teacher Conferences 11:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
- Feb 21 - 2022-23 4K Registration Opens
- Mar 2 - E-Learning Day
- Mar 21-25 - No School, Spring Break
- March 28 - Summer School Registration Opens
- March 31 - End of Third Quarter
👩🏫 Are you heading to parent-teacher conferences? Here are a few tips before you go.
🎒 Ask your student if there is anything they want you to talk to their teacher/s about.
📚 Prepare questions or topics in advance so you don't forget them at the conference.
🌟 Relax and be yourself. We're excited to tell you about your student and their progress.
❓ Ask questions if you don't understand. We're here to help.
🍎 Thank teachers. They are working really hard for your students!
📞 Don't be a stranger. Conferences are a great way to connect with teachers, but we want to stay in touch throughout the school year. Don't hesitate to reach out.
🙌 Thank YOU for being a strong advocate and partner in your student's education.
🎶 SPASH to Present First Musical Production since March 2020
👋 Meet the Team: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Samuel S. Dinga, Ed.D., Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Coordinator
What brought you to this position?
A friend and mentor, Kevin Quevilion who is the executive director at the BGC encouraged me to apply.
I accepted this position because I believe that I can create an equitable and inclusive space for students to grow and thrive. I understand that my longevity and involvement in the community would be an asset to help develop a great partnership and mutual benefit between the SPAPSD and the area businesses and the community at large. I am also most excited that for the first time, my four kids who are in the school district would directly benefit from the work I do.
What aspect of this job excites you the most?
Working with staff, students, and all the different businesses and organizations in Portage County makes for a very interesting role. I am very excited to work with the students and staff in creating inclusive spaces and educating others on the importance of a diverse and inclusive school district.
What can/should families or the community reach out to you for?
Families and community organizations can reach out to me at email@example.com or 715-345-5475 for the following:
Any equity, diversity, and inclusion training and needs
Speaking engagements in relation to EDI
Event planning for cultural events
Gigi Angela Stahl, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Program Specialist
What brought you to this position?
I spent the last 3 years working at Western Michigan University teaching leadership development and outdoor adventures with students and staff. Additionally, I coached and played Womens Rugby. Prior to that, I lived in the Stevens Point community for 5 years while completing my undergraduate degree.
I am passionate about building communities where love is sustainable. I believe that the Stevens Point area community is composed of passionate meaning makers who are invested in one another. I wanted to join this community because I see my values reflected, I see areas where my strengths can support the work of others and tasks that I can play a role in seeing to completion. Public education holds great value and responsibility in our culture and I am excited to work within a system with the opportunity to develop and empower leaders for today and tomorrow.
What aspect of this job excites you the most?
I like to think of myself as a specialized learner, and I can not wait to share in learning with students and staff!
What can families reach out to you for?
Families can reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, as a resource for students around topics of equity, diversity, inclusion, mental health, child development, and family relationships.
🛠️ Geometry and Construction Class Gives Students Math in the Real World
Geometry in Construction students finished their unit on trigonometry and the students have been using right triangle trigonometry in their construction. They needed it to determine what angles to cut their wood at for their rafters and how long boards needed to be. This direct connection of construction to learning allowed all students to see the relevance of what they are learning which resulted in every single student passing the trigonometry test! 👏 👏 👏 The students are making great progress on their three big projects, two playhouses, and one shed. 🏠 We can't wait to see the final projects!
🎓 PoDS To Expand to 12th Grade - Now Enrolling 2022-23
Point of Discovery School, a public charter school within the Stevens Point Area Public School District, is now accepting enrollment applications for students in grades 7-12 for the 2022-23 school year. PoDS offers project-based learning grounded in expeditionary learning program principles and will for the first year, offer a Point of Discovery School diploma to the inaugural graduating class in 2023. “We are excited to be able to share what PoDS is about with students that might benefit from this type of educational model,” said Dan Lathrop, principal.
In its seventh year, PoDS has expanded from 50 students grades 6-8, to a 7-12 high school with an enrollment of 125 students and is proud to be the first public charter high school in Portage County, noted Lathrop. “We do school a little differently here through project-based learning, and we find that we are a good fit for students who are independent, creative, and want to think outside the box.” Families and students who are interested in learning more about the school are encouraged to reach out directly or visit their online home.
PoDS enrollment is open to all students entering grades 7 -12 for the 2022-23 school year. More information is available at www.PointSchools.net/PointofDiscovery.
Supporting Children's Mental Health: Tips for Parents and Educators
Mental health is an essential part of overall health, wellness and reaching developmental and emotional milestones for children. We asked school psychologists if there are strategies we can all use to support the mental health of children and they offered the following tips below adapted from the The National Association of School Psychologists.
🤗 Create a sense of belonging. Feeling connected and welcomed is essential to children's positive adjustment, self-identification, and sense of trust in others and themselves. Building strong, positive relationships among students, school staff, and parents is important to promoting mental wellness.
💪 Promote resilience. Adversity is a natural part of life and being resilient is important to overcoming challenges and good mental health. Connectedness, competency, helping others, and successfully facing difficult situations can foster resilience.
✅ Teach and reinforce positive behaviors and decision-making. Provide consistent expectations and support. Teaching children social skills, problem-solving, and conflict resolution supports good mental health. "Catch" them being successful. Positive feedback validates and reinforces behaviors or accomplishments that are valued by others.
🦸♂️ Encourage helping others. Children need to know that they can make a difference. Pro-social behaviors build self-esteem, foster connectedness, reinforce personal responsibility, and present opportunities for positive recognition. Helping others and getting involved in reinforces being part of the community.
👟 Encourage good physical health. Good physical health supports good mental health. Healthy eating habits, regular exercise, and adequate sleep protect kids against the stress of tough situations. Regular exercise also decreases negative emotions such as anxiety, anger, and depression.
☎️ School teams of counselors, social workers and school psychologists are here to support your student throughout their academic career. Please don't hesitate to reach out to them if you have question, concerns, or need help.
Adapted from NASP Mental Health Resources: Supporting Children's Mental Health, Tips for Parents and Educators.
🌟 Student Success Shoutouts 🌟
🧸 4K Enrollment Opens February 21 at 8:00 a.m.
The Stevens Point Area Public School District, 4K Point for the Future program will open registration online, Monday, February 21, 2022, at 8:00 a.m.
There will be a Program Wide Virtual Q&A on Wednesday, February 16 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. with some sites also hosting in-person Open Houses. Virtual tours can also be found on the Districts 4K website. The program, which began in 2007 serving 300 students, has grown to serve an average of 550 students each year. Curriculum and instruction is delivered through a community based program across 16 facilities including childcare facilities, parochial locations, district schools, and other public venues. Early registration is highly encouraged as student placement and sections may be adjusted based on enrollment.
4K for the 2022-23 school year is available to incoming students who will be four years old on or before September 1, 2022. If a family has no computer or internet access, accommodations will be made at the Bliss Educational Services Center, 1900 Polk Street, Stevens Point. For a full listing of sites or more information, contact the District’s Educational Services Office, 715-345-5466, or visit them online at www.PointSchools.net/4K.
🛒 P.J. Jacobs Students Collect Donation for the Mobile Pantry of Portage County
Throughout the month of December, advisory periods at P.J. Jacobs collected food donations for the Mobile Pantry of Portage County. Students enjoyed a little healthy competition while also learning to give back to our community and support others when needed. Donations collected filled the mobile pantry van more than twice!!