Every Family, Every Day | Oct. 2023
Celebrating our diverse students, staff, and families
Update from the Department of Systemic Equity & Inclusion
The Department of Systemic Equity and Inclusion’s Community Cabinet is in the process of implementing feedback from members that aligns with the Equity Framework to ensure that the group’s experience is the best possible while staying centered around connecting, learning, and offering input and feedback that is intended to be shared with the appropriate District process leads. The DSEICC will resume meetings in November, with the first meeting scheduled for November 21, 2023. Please contact the Department of Systemic Equity and Inclusion for more information.
Restorative Justice Practices
We are in year three of phasing in Restorative Justice practices across the school district. The 2023–2024 school year has kicked off with full implementation of restorative justice at all middle and high schools and three elementary schools (Westside, C. H. Bird, and Meadow View).
Restorative Justice Practices foster creating a culture of care in schools that focuses on community building and relationship building. Restorative Justice Practices, when fully implemented with fidelity, result in an increase in academic achievement and a decrease in students being suspended and expelled from school. This is especially true amongst students of color, who are more likely to experience exclusionary discipline practices.
Our schools that are in full Restorative Justice implementation have Restorative Justice teams and a dedicated Restorative Justice coach(es) at each site that serves as the building's process lead. Restorative Justice teams work collaboratively with administration, teachers, students, and families to change the trajectory of our students who would otherwise be more susceptible to being suspended or expelled while also increasing all students' sense of safety and belonging in school.
Our District goal is to have all 15 sites fully implementing Restorative Justice Practices beginning with the 2025–2026 school year. To learn more about our Restorative Justice Practices and Implementation progress, please contact the Director of Systemic Equity and Inclusion.
The term “E-Team” is short for Equity Team. Each school site has a leadership team that is comprised of various staff roles, including teachers, administration, student services, and E-Teams, to name a few. The site leadership teams work in tandem with their respective school staff and receive coaching support from the Teaching, Learning, and Equity District Support Center Administrators around the implementation of our District's Instructional Framework. This support is referred to as SP100 coaching.
These teams are sometimes referred to as site E-Teams but may also be referred to as site leadership teams, site SP100 Teams, etc. What the teams are called varies from site to site (as teams choose different names depending on what roles are represented and even to include school spirit, such as the school's mascot), but the goal of their work is the same, identify a problem of practice, develop a theory of action that integrates the problem of practice, and to design an action plan that addresses the POP through the theory of action. All site-identified problems of practice isolate race, are supported with data, and align to the site's scorecard.
Because equity work begins with a personal examination of self, because everyone's personal equity journey is different, and because of the need to ensure that inequitable practices are confronted and addressed and not ignored, sites developed more diverse teams of staff who have expressed a passion for deep equity work and provided them with additional equity training to ensure that they are equipped to support all staff member that experience or observes behaviors and practices that are not equitable. Members of these leadership teams receive internal and external E-Team training to help grow their equity lenses and to help them develop their colleagues’ skills and confidence to hold courageous conversations about race and other equity matters as needed. These teams also lead the equity training at their sites so that all staff are trained to be equity-centered.
100 Black Men of Madison Partnership
We have renewed our partnership with 100 Black Men of Madison and added Prairie Phoenix Academy to the partnership. The partnership with 100 Black Men of Madison creates opportunities and access for our students to engage and participate in learning programs and attend unique events such as The Back To School Celebration, Helping Those Who Help Others, The 100 Black Men of Madison Democracy Project, The African American History Academic Challenge, The Saturday School and many more. Please contact the Department of Systemic Equity and Inclusion if you have any questions about the partnership with 100 Black Men of Madison or if you want to learn more about the projects shared here and the many others that our students are involved as part of our partnership.
CEOs of Tomorrow Partnership
At a recent School Board meeting, Dr. Michael Morgan (Director of Systemic Equity and Inclusion), Nikole Sconiers (Principal of Prairie Phoenix Academy), Jamie Racine (Community Schools Coordinator), Dr. Sarah Chaja-Clardy, (Director of Secondary Teaching, Learning, and Equity), and Dr. Roxie Hentz (Executive Director of CEOs of Tomorrow, Inc.) presented an update on our District’s partnership with the CEOs of Tomorrow. They were joined by two students involved with the program.
The CEOs of Tomorrow program started in 2016, and its goal is to inspire young people to discover their entrepreneurial talents and use them to make the world a better place. They have engaging, hands-on activities that help kids learn important life skills and make a positive impact while also earning money.
At Prairie Phoenix Academy, the CEOs of Tomorrow program has been active for a few years. Students there have learned how to start and run their own businesses, like Phoenix Bangin’ Sauces and Hugga Mugga Café. The program helped students test and improve their products, create marketing plans, and learn how to manage a business. CEOs of Tomorrow has also been part of the after-school program at Westside Elementary through Sun Prairie Community Schools.
This year, our partnership is getting bigger. We’re offering students at Sun Prairie East and Sun Prairie West high schools the chance to learn outside of regular school hours while earning high school and Madison College credit. You can learn more about it in the video below.
We want to say a big thank you to Dr. Hentz and her team for making these opportunities possible for our students. And we're also grateful to all the school district staff who help with this partnership.
Fifty enthusiastic scholars from Sun Prairie East, Sun Prairie West, and Prairie Phoenix Academy embarked on an unforgettable educational journey exploring higher education options and cultural enrichment in Ohio and along the East Coast. The six-day adventure, led by Sun Prairie East High School Principal Renee Coleman, will be an exceptional opportunity for our students to gain insights into college life, history, and culture.
The itinerary was carefully curated to give students an immersive experience of HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), museums, and cultural centers. Each day of the tour will be packed with enriching activities and visits, including:
Central State University in Wilberforce, OH:
Coppin State University in Baltimore, MD & the African American Museum in Washington, D.C.:
Howard University in Washington, D.C. & Hampton University in Hampton, VA:
Bennett College in Greensboro, NC & International Civil Rights Museum in Greensboro, NC:
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, OH.
Dr. Michael Morgan, Director of Systemic Equity and Inclusion, expressed his delight at the students' high levels of engagement leading to the tour. "This journey is about exploring academic opportunities and cultural awareness. We aimed to inspire our students to dream big and appreciate the rich history and culture surrounding them. I am immensely proud of our students' curiosity and enthusiasm."
The college tours will provide invaluable insights into higher education institutions and deepen students' understanding of the cultural and historical significance of the sites they visit.
This trip is sponsored in part by American Family Insurance and by our Department of Systemic Equity and Inclusion. We also want to give a huge thank you to our chaperones and planning team.
Hispanic Heritage Month Celebrations
Our District celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15–October 15. You can read the School Board proclamation in recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month here.
Below are just a few highlights of the many celebrations that happened across our schools:
Hispanic & Latino Family Night
In late September, Westside and Northside Elementary worked together to host a Hispanic and Latino Family Night in coordination with the District, Sun Prairie Community Schools, and the Department of Systemic Equity and Inclusion. Attendees learned about and celebrated the cultures and heritage of our Hispanic and Latino friends and families in a night filled with music, dancing, food, and love. Community partners were there to serve food and provide families with resources and support.
Meadow View Otters Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with SP West Wolves & SP East Cardinals
Meadow View fifth-graders celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month by visiting Sun Prairie West High School. The SP East Hispanic Student Union and the SP West Latinx Club hosted a celebration that included learning, music, dancing, and enjoying candies from Mexico, Venezuela, and Colombia. The fifth-graders also helped the Latinx Club and the SP West ProStart cooking class prepare delicious Hispanic dishes. It was a great learning experience for the Meadow View Otters and a wonderful opportunity for our SP East Cardinals and SP West Wolves to share their knowledge and talents!
Northside Students Have Some Special Guests
Northside Nighthawks celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month by learning about Hispanic and Latino cultures through some amazing presentations from Latinos who work in our district. Guests included:
Cynthia Bell, Meadow View Principal, who spoke with 5th-grade students about Cosa Rica
Isabel Simonetti, District Employee Relations Manager, who spoke with Kindergarten students about Puerto Rico
Sonia Rubiano, Northside Bilingual Assistant, who spoke with 4K students about Argentina
Benito Alvarado, Northside 4th-grade Teacher, who spoke with 4th-grade students about Mexico
Alicia Rosas, Northside Kindergarten DLI Teacher, who spoke with 1st-grade students about Ecuador
Edi Rey, Northside Music Teacher, who spoke with 2nd-grade students about Colombia
Hilda Guzman-Grau, wife of Bryan Grau, Northside Multilingual Learner Teacher, who spoke with 3rd-grade students about Chicana
Staff Spotlight: Marcus Porter
Audio and video recording continue to be areas of growing student interest. This growing interest is reflected in all three of our high schools, which now have professional-grade digital publication spaces and recording studios. Overseeing these spaces and providing guidance to students using them is Marcus Porter, our studio facilitator.
Mr. Porter works with students to better understand how to use the equipment, offers creative advice and solutions, and gives guidance on music and the industry. He says: “Students are learning how to write songs, make beats, record and engineer their own music and run the space. They also learn the industry and much more. They can use these skills however they see fit in entertainment fields if they choose that path.”
In addition to mentoring our high school students, Mr. Porter has also worked with students across the District. In October, he worked with third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade Westside Elementary students in music class to compose a Westside Rap. Students are working to finalize the song, will record it in a District studio, and will then make a music video.
Just before school started, our students were able to experience a week of Mr. Porter’s Rap Camp, and our staff had a professional development opportunity to learn more about the studio equipment and how students can best use it. Eli, a 12th-grade student, said: “Rap Camp was a lot of fun! It was great to make songs and have people to share them with and bounce ideas off of. It was a really calm environment and a fantastic opportunity. I took it as an opportunity to work on writing lyrics, and by the end, I had some cool little songs I could play for my friends. I'm far more confident in myself and my abilities after going through it. Getting to meet and work with other students who have similar interests is always really rewarding. I'm hopeful that more and more students will work with and get to grow through the District's studios.”
Program Spotlight: Dual Language Immersion (DLI)
The new Dual Language Immersion (DLI) program at the Sun Prairie Area School District is off to a great start! Currently, the DLI program features four kindergarten classes, each comprising 15 students. Two of these classes are located at Northside Elementary, while the other two can be found at Westside Elementary. Additionally, Spanish-speaking families at Creekside and Royal Oaks have the option to enroll their children in this innovative program. It's a unique opportunity for students to embark on a bilingual journey from an early age.
What makes the DLI program stand out is the way it's designed. In a typical school day, children spend half their time learning in Spanish and the other half in English. This approach not only helps students become fluent in both languages but also nurtures cultural understanding and appreciation. It's like having the best of both worlds!
But this program isn't just about language; it aligns with the District's mission and vision of providing equitable outcomes for all students. It's a crucial part of the District's commitment to supporting Spanish-speaking multilingual learners. With a 50-50 split between Spanish and English instruction, it's a powerful tool in bridging the language gap. And with a 50-50 makeup of primarily Spanish-speaking and primarily English-speaking students, it’s a great environment for students to learn from each other as well as their two-person team of teachers.
The DLI program is set to expand, adding a new grade level each year. For example, next year, it will include both kindergarten and first grade. This means more students will have the opportunity to unlock the "superpower" of speaking two languages, just like one enthusiastic student shared with their parents. Learning two languages isn't just a skill; it's a unique gift that opens doors to diverse cultures and opportunities.
More information about the 2024–2025 application process will be available for eligible families in January. We thank our staff, families, and community for supporting this innovative learning experience and opportunity for students to become global citizens.
If you have questions about our DLI program, reach out to Tony Jennaro at email@example.com.
This year, the District was thrilled once again to be a sponsor of the Sun Prairie Multicultural Fair! This amazing event honors and celebrates the different and vibrant cultures of our community by bringing people together for an afternoon of performances, activities, unique foods, and more. We again had a booth at the fair this year where we connected with our community members and shared giveaway items with kids. We want to thank the Fair organizers and volunteers for putting on an amazing event and for letting us be a part of it.
100 Scholars Program
One of our amazing outside-of-school-time programs between Creekside and Northside Elementary in partnership with 100 Black Men of Madison is our 100 Scholars program. This program supports students who might need an academic boost in literacy and mathematics. It provides a very low student-to-teacher ratio, which has seen great success with scholars, it includes opportunities for parents and caregivers to engage with teachers and discuss academic progress, and it fosters unity and empowerment and builds a bridge between home and school.
Here's more info about 100 Scholars:
“Reading and Math are Equity”– a 100 Black Men of Madison initiative – also known as 100 Scholars, is an academic skills development program for students of Dane County who are not yet achieving at their full potential in the areas of reading and math. The focus of program is to advance academic performance in the core skills of reading (and comprehension), writing, and math. The curriculum also emphasizes reading fluency with activities that focus on higher-level critical thinking questions to engage students’ interest and sharpen their reading comprehension skills. The writing activities are designed to help students discover how to identify patterns within words to enable them to read and write the words correctly. Math concepts instruction is predicated on a combination of fun kinesthetic, visual, sensory, and repetition strategies to build proficiency and confidence in math computation.
The intended outcome of this program is that by addressing practical learning skills, Scholars of this program will make exceptional growth. Families are integral partners, and are engaged regularly with parent/caregiver conferences, as well as things like technology workshops, or being asked to visit as guest readers.
Kids Achieve Together: Westside's Afterschool Program
The afterschool teaching team at Westside Elementary is one of the best around. Did you know that 95% of their teaching team are also Westside Elementary school day teaching staff? Wildcats already have amazing relationships with them, so as a result, there is so much learning and lots of fun that happens after school at Westside, where they believe that love comes first and then the learning will happen!
C. H. Bird Leads the Way to Help People in Need
220 volunteers came to C. H. Bird to pack 40,000 meals for children in Haiti. This amount of food will feed 200 children for a year. Thank you to all the wonderful people who joined the effort to bring hope to Haiti. A huge shout out to Door Creek Church for partnering with Community Schools for this incredible event.
Black Women's Wellness Day
BSU students from Prairie View and members of the Central Heights Community Schools team attended The Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness’s Black Women's Wellness Day at the Monona Terrace in Madison. Lisa Peyton-Caire, the founder, CEO & president of The Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness, said the event aims “to inspire every woman we touch to elevate their mind-body-spirit-financial health, and to offer tools and resources to help us all rebound and reset, grow our voices as advocates for social change, and to place us solidly on the road to unlimited well-being and a life of possibilities.”
AVID Fall Signing
Our AVID program recently had its Fall Middle School Signing Ceremony, where students signed up for the AVID Elective class. AVID is all about getting ready for college. It's a system that helps students do better in school and prepare for higher education. AVID is mainly for students in the academic middle who want to go to college and are ready to put in the effort to get there. It gives them extra support to succeed.
The goal of AVID is to close the achievement gap by ensuring students are prepared for college and can do well in a world that's becoming more connected. AVID students are expected to do well in tough classes, join school activities, seriously consider entering four-year colleges, and become educated and responsible citizens and leaders.
AVID has several objectives:
- Raise the expectations for students who want to attend college and work hard.
- Get middle and high school students into challenging classes.
- Give students the help and support they need to succeed in tough courses.
- Empower students with important skills for college.
- Ensure all students graduate from high school ready for college or a career.
AVID uses a method called WICOR, which stands for Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization, and Reading, to guide its curriculum.
The AVID Elective class is available at Central Heights, Patrick Marsh, Prairie View, Sun Prairie East, and Sun Prairie West, and students need to apply and be chosen to take it. In this class, students learn organization and study skills, improve their critical thinking skills, get help from other students and college tutors, and participate in activities that make college more accessible and motivate them to apply. AVID students also get the chance to visit different colleges, so they can figure out what kind of college experience they want.
AVID strategies are not just limited to this elective class. They're used in all middle and high schools for students in grades 6–12, and they're used in all subjects to support the educational goals of all Sun Prairie students.
District Vaccine Clinic
On October 10th, our District hosted a free vaccine clinic for families to make sure that their students are up to date on their vaccinations. This clinic had a great impact in reaching families from a wide variety of backgrounds, including some of our families with limited access to healthcare.
We vaccinated 149 people.
- Ages 5-11: 49
- Ages 12+: 100
Ethnicity / Race
- Asian: 29
- Hispanic: 49
- White: 57
- Black: 14
- No Insurance: 64
- Badgercare: 33
- Insurance: 52
- Dtap: 5
- Hepatitis B: 22
- HPV: 15
- Influenza: 112
- Meningococcal: 13
- MMR: 23
- Polio: 31
- Tdap: 36
- Varicella: 32
How Do Our Two Comprehensive High Schools Compare to One Another?
During the evaluation of secondary boundaries by the Secondary Boundary & Bell Time Task Force, the expectation was that the two high schools would exhibit an equitable distribution of socioeconomic and racial diversity. Now, let's take a look at the enrollment statistics for the 2022–2023 school year:
Sun Prairie East High School:
Predicted: 27% Free and Reduced
Actual 2022-2023: 28.5% Free and Reduced (Difference: +1.5%)
Predicted: 29% Students of Color
Actual 2022-2023: 36% Students of Color (Difference: +7%)
Sun Prairie West High School:
Predicted: 29% Free and Reduced
Actual 2022-2023: 34% Free and Reduced (Difference: +5%)
Predicted: 38% Students of Color
Actual 2022-2023: 47% Students of Color (Difference: +9%)
Celebrating Growth in Student Enrollment!
We are delighted to share the exciting news that our student enrollment has experienced a remarkable increase this year. As of our official 3rd Friday in September count, which is reported to the DPI (Department of Public Instruction), we saw an increase of 66 new students. Since that time, we have continued to welcome an additional 82 students into our schools!
Our Community of Exceptional & Diverse Educators & Staff
Fostering a sense of belonging and representation is a fundamental priority for our students. Within our district, we've established a significant objective aimed at enhancing diversity within our staff across all positions. Presently, we have achieved a representation of 15.03% of employees of color, up from 12.71% five years ago. This commitment to inclusivity not only enriches our educational environment but also ensures that our students can more readily relate to and find inspiration in the individuals who make up our dedicated staff. While we are proud of our progress, we will continue our efforts to ensure our staff are representative of our community.