Supt Column - WSD is Proud, Grateful

Supt Column - Wausau School District is Proud, Grateful
Posted on 07/25/2017

MICHAEL SCHWEI FOR USA TODAY NETWORK-WISCONSIN

Sometimes, we need to step back, reflect and take it all in! As we close out one school year and look forward to the next, it is the perfect time to recognize and appreciate what the Wausau School District is all about and what it does for students. It is a proud school district that honors tradition, imagines possibilities and engineers change. Along with dedicated and caring faculty and staff members, administrators partner with parents, businesses, philanthropists and community nonprofit organizations to advance student learning, achievement and success. We know it takes all of us working together to educate our students to be ready for college, careers and life.

We are proud of our four, 4K Learning Academies that are specifically designed to meet our youngest learners' educational and emotional needs by offering research-based curriculum that contains a combination of structured and play-based activities designed to be fun and engaging.

These children advance to our 13 neighborhood elementary schools for personalized learning in kindergarten through grade five, then enter our two middle schools for grades six through eight, and then our two high schools for grades nine through 12. Our high schools offer a full complement of core and encore courses, an array of prestigious International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement classes, and a host of career and technical educational classes from woods to graphics, broadcast, metal manufacturing and automotive/diesel mechanics with state-of-the art equipment.

Wausau School District offers many other educational opportunities for students who live within the 258 square miles that encompass the district's boundaries. These include Wausau Area Montessori Charter School, which serves students in kindergarten through grade six with the use of Montessori principles, including experiential learning and individualized instruction; Wausau Area Virtual Education or WAVE, which is a full-time online option for students in grades six through 12, allows for up to two face-to-face classes in the district schools as well as participation in athletic and extracurricular activities; Enrich, Excel, Achieve Learning Academy, which serves students in grades six through 12 who find success in a setting other than the traditional high school setting; and Wausau Engineering & Global Leadership Academy, which serves students in grades nine through 12 who have an interest in a project-based curriculum with an overall emphasis on engineering, mathematics, science, technology and global leadership studies.

And, we have two more priceless gems for students to experience and explore at all grade levels; the Wausau School Forest and the Wausau School District Planetarium. The school forest is on the banks of the Wisconsin River and has been a part of the district's curriculum since 1942. The forest of pine and hardwoods, covering more than 400 acres, is a classroom unlike any other. Students learn about nature and working together. They learn there is a little more inside of themselves than they thought possible. Our recently updated planetarium is a world-class, state-of-the-art theater, and a component to both core and encore classes during the school day, with a variety of public programs offered on nights and weekends.

All of this is provided in attractive, warm and welcoming schools, facilities and grounds.

In stepping back, reflecting and taking it all in, the picture of the Wausau School District is clear, hopeful and bright. We are, indeed, proud. And we are thankful. We are thankful for our supportive community that allows us to expand and enhance our facilities and class offerings through tax dollars, for our parents who entrust us with their children, for our faculty and staff who have chosen to join the Wausau School District, and for our students who continue to amaze and inspire us.

Michael Schwei is the interim superintendent of the Wausau School District.