MHS Spring Break 2018 Staff Update

The death of Senior Bryan Bignell was the sole focus for most MHS staff for the entire week as we worked with staff and students through the grieving process.  I am extremely thankful for all of the community agencies including many churches who responded over the weekend to assist us at MHS.  Special Thanks to the MHS crisis team supported by not only our other SDMA pupil services staff but also Dr. Zydowsky, Mrs. Kowieski, and Mrs. Hoyt personally.  We needed all of the assistance and are glad for spring break.
[The next portion is from Kayla Oliver – DECA Advisor and MHS Teacher]

DECA had an amazing run at State Competition! In order to move on to Nationals students had to place in the top 7 of their competitive event. Fifteen students went to State representing Menomonie and a total of 7 students have qualified for spots to compete at Nationals in Atlanta, GA at the end of April. Here are a few highlights we want to share with you!

  • Ireland McRoberts and Corinne O’Dell 3rd Place for their Community Service (Mr. Menomonie) Project.
  • Emma Levendowski and Delaney Bignell 3rd Place for their Learn and Earn (Stang Nation Sign Sales) Project
  • Erica Kinnard 2nd Place for her Fashion Merchandising Promotion Plan
  • Ally Neidermyer and Emma Levendowski 4th Place School Based Enterprise
  • Erica Kinnard Automotive Services 2nd Place
  • Mackenzie Brooks Human Resources Management 5th Place
  • Trent Weber medaled in a role play for Principles of Marketing
  • Ally Neidermyer was a finalist (top ten) for Quick Serve Restaurant
  • Erica Kinnard received Gold Student recognition
As a chapter, we also received recognition for reaching Gold Chapter achievements. We were also recognized for our Acts of Kindness, General Contributions to Charity, 100 hours of service, MDA Contributor, and Trick-or-Can.
Going to Nationals: Ireland McRoberts, Corinne O’Dell, Emma Levendowski, Delaney Bignell, Erica Kinnard, Ally Neidermyer, and Mackenzie Brooks.
This is the most students we have had qualify for Nationals! The students wanted me to be sure to share they did it for Bryan!
Thank you for all of your support and kind words this week!


David Muñoz, Principal

Menomonie High School
Building Leadership Team last meeting notes [forgot to send them last weekend – sorry about that-in short, staffing and reloads are on hold until after break – I have a staffing plan for the building together which includes a proposal for a net increase of 1 FTE but at this time it is an official proposal to ASC and we’ll see where we end up]
  1. Anti-Bullying Event -Tuesday 3/6/18 – no schedule change but rolling 9th grade field trip – Mrs Musser with details below

~March 6th – Anti Bullying Trailer Sponsored by US Army

~All Freshmen students will participate The trailer will be “running” every hour of the day with 30-35 students participating each hour.
~Current Health classes will use their class time to view the presentation
~First semester and summer health students will be assigned a time/hr based on seat availability and report to the health room (129) for attendance with Mrs. Musser. Guidance will deliver their assigned time on Monday.
~An announcement will run from Thurs-Mon giving freshmen information about the day.

~A message will go to parents/guardians on Thurs/Friday explaining the field trip.
~Attendance will be given to Martha

~Students should touch base with the teacher whose class they are missing. ~Teachers should allow them to make up any assignments/work.

  1. Staffing Update – DEM – what I’m thinking and what I’m working on developing for possible board approval – big picture building level FTE’s [math hire – interviews pending]

Middle School Staffing Plan

  • Very large numbers in Art and Theater – I would like to support
  1.  April 20th PD Plan – finish all BYOC work – whole day building work time after donuts and apples [see past documents] – let me know what I can do to help finish – show this byoc document to the MHS staff necessary in order to complete
  • This will be a public document for the first time in the BYOC
  1. Payments to State University Spending [youth and course options] now in excess of $25,000 – this is something that I used to budget $6,000 a year for …. This is site money

Which means I need to reduce department spending or other spending like paper or field trips or something in order to pay these bills

  • I’m hopeful that the new laws and policies bring this number down but I’m not sure as it’s brand new
  • While I’m supportive of providing opportunities for all of our students the course options laws that I presented to team leader when it was new have been very difficult to manage from a building financial perspective.  
  1. School Safety –
  • Talked about a more real ALICE drill with callouts via PA in terms of locations for an intruder
  • Use PD day on April 20th as ALICE setup for non-barricade drill
  • Sub Training

MHS 3/2/18 Staff Update

The students and staff put great effort forth with the ACT this week.  THANK YOU STAFF!!!  You did amazing work with the ACT!!!  It was different work but important to present the best testing environment for every student.  We are thankful that our learners were able to focus all of their effort on these days for this important national assessment.  The Girls Basketball Team won the WIAA Regional Championship on Monday defeating Rice Lake who they’d lost to earlier this year.  The Girls Team battled hard in the Sectional Semi-Final but did lose to end their season Thursday Night in LaCrosse.  The Boys Basketball Team lost their playoff game on Tuesday.  Mr. Hundt conducted the Spring Sports meeting on Wednesday for many families with many Spring Sports starting on Monday!  The Forensics Team continued their march toward the State Competition at Sub-Sectionals on Thursday and Science Olympiad looks forward to their home tournament on Saturday at MHS.  The Science Olympiad Team and Forensics Team both are top teams in the state and we look forward to their end of year run.

SPRING BREAK IS 5 DAYS AWAY!  You’ve earned it and the Seniors have informed me that it’s 56 school days until graduation.

MHS 2/22/18 Staff Update

We ran our ALICE safety drill with students this week.   Thank You to all staff who made this go.  Ironically we had already planned for this drill before the events in Florida.  Every drill is an opportunity to learn and improve our response which we have done and will continue to do with all of our safety drills.  We will be following up on the ALICE drill at the next staff meeting.  The Forensics Team continued their improvement winning their home tournament Saturday as they prepare for sectionals and state competition.  Most Winter Sports teams have completed competition with the exception of both Basketball Teams.  Girls Basketball plays a home playoff game on Friday night.  Stop out for Basketball Friday Night OR if basketball isn’t your thing the musical is also running Friday night.  The Addams Family musical put on by MHS students and staff continues performances Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening at 7:30 pm.  The show is amazing!  If you have a few hours this weekend stop out, I promise you will not be disappointed with the performance.

Think ACT Tuesday and Wednesday ………..

MHS 2/17/18 Update [sorry for the delay]

The Global Education Achievement Certificate students and staff put on a wonderful show Sunday at their first ever world tour.  Our GEAC staff recognized at the Monday board meeting for their exemplary service to the district very much push the students to be the best they can be with all of the projects and experiences involved in earning the GEAC state certificate.  The Forensics Team continued their quick improvement by taking 2nd at the Baldwin Invitational over the weekend with many place finishers.  The Forensics Team hosts their home tournament this weekend at MHS.  The Boys Basketball upset Hudson on Friday Night and the Girls Basketball Team earned a 3rd seed in the playoffs and a home playoff game later this month.  The Addams Family opened Friday with many students, staff, and community members involved in what was an outstanding production led by Mr. Audric Buhr.  Please get out to the Addams Family if have have an opportunity they have shows through this weekend and next weekend.  Audric has again produced something amazing and I even saw Jimmy Anderson [Orchestra Teacher] working himself tirelessly with the Musical pieces.  Thank you to all students and staff who make this performance and this school once of the best in the State of Wisconsin!  On a related not Tyler Miller and I heard this week that our proposal to the Quality Educator Convention was approved.  Tyler and I will be presenting on aspects of how we are striving to use Educlimber more and more as a tool to improve and enhance what we provide for students.  Rest assured that Tyler and I will be giving a lions share of the credit to the great staff we work with for that which we have achieved and for those things we are regularly striving to improve.


Good Luck Wrestlers at Sectionals! 


******Below from Mr.Seguin***********

Feb 22nd PD Schedule

Hello SDMA Staff,
Thursday, February 22, 2018 will be our next PD day for teachers, paraeducators and administrators. Below you will find our schedule for the day, as well a link to our EdCamp SDMA Session Board.  Please take some time to review both documents.
If when you are reviewing the avalible sessions, you do not see someting that meets your needs, please take a moment to fill out the EdCampSDMA Session Idea Submission Form linked below. (Remember, a successful EdCamp is dependent on our participants)
As a reminder, we will be at the High School for the EdCamp and will have coffee and refreshments in the commons starting at 7:30 AM. Our program will start at 8 AM in the Auditorium.
Thank you to everyone who is facilitating sessions, the day would not be possible without you!

As always, please let me know if you have any questions, or suggestions.
Thanks, and Go Mustangs!
Brian G. Seguin
Assistant Superintendent of Instruction
School District of the Menomonie Area
Menomonie, WI 54751

*Mr. Hasapopoulos – ACT*****************

Staff, the ACT is finally upon us.  We have our proctors set and staff willing to help with accommodations all ready to go.  The rest of us will be there to support our proctors (also knowns as Room Supervisors) on our two test days.
We will have two days for the ACT and WorkKeys.
Tuesday, Feb. 27th (ACT)
Wednesday, Feb. 28th (WorkKeys)
For next week:
On Monday, Feb. 19th, we will be running a half-hour assembly schedule so we can complete the Non-Test portion of the answer booklet.  Juniors only will report to the commons during the half-hour assembly time AND ELT time (10:10 am to 11:15 am).  At that time, we will walk them through the Non-test portion of their answer booklets.  All other students will be directed to go to an ELT for that time period.  We will have staff in the halls to help direct Juniors to the commons and other students to ELT locations starting at 10:10.  Thank you for accommodating the longer ELT time.
On Thursday, Feb. 22nd during our PD day, we will do our required ACT training session for all staff from 1:00 pm to 2 pm.  The powerpoint presentation we will be going through will be shared with you then.  Most of this addresses testing day procedures for our Room Supervisors/Proctors; however, all staff need to have awareness of the procedures in case we need substitutes and when we provide breaks to proctors.  The presentation should take no more than an hour.  A detailed schedule of the two testing days will be provided.
We will meet in the Tiered Lecture Hall at 1 pm.

Thank you for all your patience and help.

Michael Hasapopoulos

Assistant Principal
Menomonie High School

ALICE Reminder Slides from Staff Meeting — Start of 3rd Hour — Lockdown portion of ALICE only as in previous years as discussed at last staff meeting — practice barricade drill that we trained on at start of year and for every year since moving to ALICE — very timely considering events in Florida after staff meeting but before our planned drill

MHS 2/9/18 Staff Update

The Forensics Team kicked off their season with a respectable 5th place finish at the very competitive competition at UW-Eau Claire on Saturday.  The National Ocean Sciences Bowl Team took an impressive 3rd place last weekend at UW-Milwaukee which is unprecedented for a team only in its second year.  Brooke Brantner-FFA and Gabi Sobota-FCCLA represented Menomonie and the State of Wisconsin via their respective State Officer roles at the capital this week for a career and technical education visit.  The Class of 2022 – current 8th grade – visited the high school for the first time as a group with their parents on Monday Night for Curriculum Night.  Mr. Jeff Olson led a presentation Wednesday on the important topic of suicide prevention and awareness. We recognized both Mr. Sterry and Mrs. Huppert for their work with Academic and Career Plans at MHS.  Thank you to the counselors for working so hard this week and all weeks for National School Counseling Week.   Several Football Players signed their national letters of intent Wednesday and our GEAC students and staff will be presenting Sunday the first GEAC World Tour.

From GEAC – 
Happy Friday everyone!  Do you have plans for Sunday afternoon?  We would love to see you at the first ever GEAC World Tour from 1-4 pm in the HS Commons.  There will be 50+ high school students volunteering their time and talents to help bring the World to Menomonie.  It should be a fun, family friendly event for a cold winter afternoon 🙂

MHS 2/2/18 Staff Update

MHS Choral students toured the school district on Thursday displaying their musical talents.  The Dance Team performed at half time of the basketball game won by the girls team on Tuesday night.  The Boys Hockey Team played 3 games this week winning a big game on Thursday at the Fanetti Ice Arena.  The Science Olympiad Team continued their dominant run at a 4th State Championship in 5 years placing two of our teams in Michigan last weekend.  The MHS Forensics Team opens up competition this weekend in Eau Claire with the home Forensics Meet a few weeks away on February 17th.  Registration for the 18/19 School Year is in full swing with current MHS students and middle school students.  On Wednesday February 7th we will host a suicide awareness speaker from Upper Michigan.  We’ve altered our schedule and provided an opportunity for presentations to our staff and upperclassmen while the underclassmen work on an online youth risk behavior survey and academic career plans.


MHS 1/26/18 Staff Update

MHS students and staff conducted another Academic and Career Planning session on Thursday.  The ACP’s provide a good opportunity for students to continue to explore and interact with ideas about their future endeavors.  The snow highlighted the start of the week pushing events and activities to other times.  The Gymnastics team went head to head with Hudson on Tuesday winning several events including the all around by Grace Braatz taking 1st in the all around and Chloe Oehler taking 3rd in the all around.  It was also teacher appreciation night at Gymnastics.  The MHS GEAC students spent the day Wednesday in Minneapolis at the Art Institute and Global Market.  Our global scholars spent the day experiencing global art, food, and cultures while achieving several of the certificate targets.  Mackenzie Brooks was awarded the optimist student of the month for all of her work in school and in the community.  The Swim Team lost by only a few points to Rice Lake on Thursday Night for parents night.  The Wrestling Team hosts the Whitetail Invitation on Friday Night at the High School with Boys Hockey also Home at the Ice Arena if you’d like to stop out and support our students.

 Teacher Highlight on the big stage

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Updates from

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Stories of learning and leading

In the 01/26/2018 edition:

The Work Behind the Work

By George on Jan 25, 2018 04:33 pm
Currently, I am training for a half-marathon race.  I don’t have a particular race in mind, but I am training for one.  As someone who has run marathons before, a half-marathon is daunting, but I also know that it is doable for my current health goals.

When I was asked what race I was going to do on Instagram, I simply said that my goal was to do the training.  The ability to finish a marathon is an accomplishment, and when I used to do it, people would say, “That is so impressive that you finished a marathon!”  My response was that the marathon was easy, it was the training that was hard.  If you properly train, the dedication and consistency to work hard when you don’t want to can be mind-numbing. Excellence is created from a formula; consistency plus high-quality effort over time.

That thing you see someone else doing is just a glimpse into that day, not the hours behind it to get to that point.

I have always loved this quote:

I don’t know if “20 years” is accurate, but that person you see in the gym that is incredibly fit didn’t just show up that way. An effort was not only given to doing things that were hard but also in not doing things that were hard.  This goes for many other things in our life as well.

If you see someone and you admire what they are doing, ask them what it took to get there.  Then ask yourself if you are willing to do the work to get where you want to be when no one is watching.

The work behind the work is often the hardest part of success.

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Recent Articles:

“Passive Learner” to “Active Creator”
The One Answer to All Questions in Education
Traditional Practice Versus Bad Practice
Relationships Are the Foundation of Great Schools (But They Aren’t Enough)
Closing the Feedback Loop

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Professional Reading Below from George Couros

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Updates from

The Principal of Change

Stories of learning and leading

In the 01/24/2018 edition:

“Passive Learner” to “Active Creator”

By George on Jan 23, 2018 03:55 pm
It was a blessing to be able to connect with Jam Gamble on her podcast (coming out soon) talking about speaking this morning. Jam is one of those people that just has a way of making you feel better about yourself only by being in her presence, which is a fantastic (and rare) gift to have.

One of the things that we talked about is the connection between being a good teacher and a good speaker.  I have thought about this a lot before the podcast, and as I look back at the early parts of my teaching career, I would say that I was an excellent speaker but not necessarily a good teacher.  I could talk all day, tell stories, make humorous connections to content, and my students would be engaged in the material.  When they would leave my classroom the following year, I would hear things from them like, “Mr. Couros, you were so much fun to listen to, and now it is hard to be with our new teacher because they make us do work.”  Early on in my career, I wore that statement like a badge of honor, but now I cringe at the fact that I set my students up to count on me to “engage” or even “entertain” them than to empower them to learn on their own.  If the students needed me to be interested in learning by the end of the year, I did more harm than good.

If you have read this blog for any amount of time, you have seen that I have often focused on moving from “engagement” to “empowerment”. This is something that I thought of while writing this post:

This is important to state…engagement and empowerment are not mutually exclusive from one another, but you can be engaged without being empowered, but if you are empowered, you are definitely engaged.

It is also important to understand that “lecture” is not a bad thing. I think that being a great storyteller and making content interesting is an essential trait of a modern day educator.

My point is that if the learning in the classroom is all about what the teacher does, and less about what the students create, then what is the long-term impact that this will have on our students? Do our kids learn that someone else will make it happen for them, or that they can make it happen for themselves? Yes, we need others on that journey to support us, but what is our contribution to solutions moving forward for ourselves and others?

If you want to see the effectiveness of a teacher, don’t look at what they do, but what their students do because of them.

From “The Innovator’s Mindset“:

“…we must keep in mind that a culture of compliance will not foster the environments we want for students or educators. Demanding compliance will not effectively prepare learners for being productive citizens today, nor in their futures.”

Not only is shifting the mindset from “engagement” to “empowerment” beneficial to our students (and in my belief, society as a whole), it is also advantageous to the teacher. In a time where teacher burnout and stress is becoming more of a factor in education, ramping up your passion for doing the majority of the work for your students will only accelerate this truth.  One of the best teachers I know told me that as she focused on becoming more innovative in the classroom and focused on empowering her students, she not only saw their learning go up but her workload going down.  How many of you reading this would take that trade-off?

Think about this standard practice for many educators…

Teachers come in weeks early to decorate their classroom (and let’s be honest, often because they feel the pressure of other teachers doing the same thing), doing all of that work themselves.  They will make it picture perfect for their students, and show a bit of themselves on the walls. I used to do this early in my career and put every child’s name on a basketball to welcome to the classroom.  Imagine if you walked into that room and hated sports.  A student would be thinking, “Seriously? A year with this guy?”  So then we put in ALL of that work, and then we keep saying things like “our classroom.”  If it were “our classroom,” we would use that time to help kids have ownership over the room.  You can share a little piece of yourself in your space, but do the students see themselves through their creations, represented on the walls where they spend their days?  Take that approach and you get less work for the teacher, and more ownership and empowerment for the student.

If we continuously focus on “engaging” our students, will there be a point where creating high quality, high production videos, could replace the engaging content of a teacher, for less money?  I hope not, but we have to realize that content is everywhere, and if “meaningful creation” is not a factor in the work students do daily, what impact will that have on the profession?

Take a look at this picture created by my brother (Alec Couros)  years ago called “The Networked Teacher”:

Image by Alec Couros

Here is what we need to understand about the above picture; the technologies will change but the arrows won’t. We will never live in a time again where people won’t be able to create and share content with relative ease to the entire world.  That picture would not have been created when I went to school, but it exists now.  What does that reality change for our schools?

Shauna Cornwell recently wrote the post, “The Art of Science and Innovation,” where she gives distinct examples of students moving from “passive learner” to “active learner” or “creator.” Some of her ideas are listed below:

She sums up these ideas beautifully at the end of her post:

“There will always be a time and place for teachers to use a more lecture-style format, offer mini-lessons, and use direct teaching, but in today’s changing world we know that our students also need more than that.  Innovative teaching and learning is about finding a balance that offers our students more regular opportunity to play an active role in their own learning.”

As you read any new book or attend a new workshop, continuously ask the question, “Is this more about what the teacher can do for the student, or about empowering and finding ways so that the student can eventually do things for themselves?”  This subtle shift will be needed for our students to create their futures, instead of hoping someone else will do it for them.

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Recent Articles:

The One Answer to All Questions in Education
Traditional Practice Versus Bad Practice
Relationships Are the Foundation of Great Schools (But They Aren’t Enough)
Closing the Feedback Loop
Does Spellcheck Make “Learners” More Intelligent?

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