Houlton families enjoyed the St. Croix Valley Art Bench Kick-Off event with a walk on the new bridge, information about the upcoming project, and a family picnic. Houlton students will be designing the “gathering space” for the bench area during the year. Students will also be part of the construction of the bench area spring of 2019. The St. Croix River Valley Art Bench Trail offers a unique opportunity to explore works of art created by local youth and community partners with a local artist. The Art Bench Trail extends from St. Croix Falls to Prescott.
Hudson School District has been awarded a WI Department of Justice School Safety Grant in the amount of $188,385. The School District will use these funds to build on existing safety and security infrastructure and crisis preparedness practices. Board of Education President, Jamie Johnson, commented on the grant award, “This grant is about our kids. It’s about having a safe place to learn and work. We want everyone who comes into our schools to feel welcomed and be confident knowing safety is a priority.”
Primary dollars within the grant will be used to cover entry glass doors and windows with a shatter-resistant film. This film is a barrier to individuals who try to gain access to locked entries through force. Hudson Schools started the process of designing hard locked entrances ten years ago. This is the first step in providing a safe school environment. The addition of the shatter-resistant film at all entries will further harden school entrances.
On a day to day basis, having large windows looking into hallways and classrooms are important in the supervision of students throughout school buildings. The increased supervision provided by large windows is beneficial to reducing bullying behaviors and other activities that do not support a safe and secure environment. The School District recognizes the vulnerability interior glass may create in the event of a violent incident. The School Safety grant dollars will also be used to cover the “storefront” type classroom windows with a shatter-resistant film.
In addition to these infrastructure improvements, the School District will be training all teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators, and school age care staff in the early recognition of students who may be in need of additional supports or at risk of violent behavior. This level of training and added support for Hudson students is critical to a comprehensive approach to violence prevention and crisis preparedness in school.
As an additional safety measure, the School District is partnering with Hudson-based Hedge Tactical Solutions security to install software that integrates with law enforcement communications. This software provides law enforcement with real-time information through school security cameras in the event of a violent incident, medical emergency, or another school incident that requires an emergency response.
Superintendent Nick Ouellette stated, “The Hudson School District is fortunate to have the support of our three law enforcement agencies; St. Croix County Sheriff, City of Hudson Police Department, and Village of North Hudson Police Department. Law enforcement has been an integral part of our school crisis teams. We look forward to working together to assess each of our school buildings to determine areas of vulnerability and opportunities to mitigate risk. We are all committed to schools where kids want to come and learn, staff want to work, and families are confident we are doing everything we can to keep their children safe.
Let’s keep reading all summer long! Houlton Elementary School is open for reading:
- June 27, 5:00-7:00 PM – Wild About Reading
- Participate in a scavenger hunt, a creative craft, and a snack!
- Bring your books back to exchange!
- July 11, 9:00-11:00 AM – Buggy About Books
- Learn about insects when our entomologist visits with some large and interesting bugs to see!
- We will also have a fun bug craft project, eat “ants-on-a-log” and exchange your books!
- July 25, 5:00-7:00 PM – Blizzard of Books
- Come make winter slime, and enjoy an Olaf snack to take home.
- Bring your books to exchange!
- August 8, 9:00-11:00 AM – Books on the Beach
- Bring a beach towel and beach clothes for storytime every half-hour.
- Write a postcard to one of your Houlton friends and we will send them out for you!
- Bring your books to exchange!
- August 22, 8:00-10:00 PM – Campfire Finale!
- We will have a campfire to enjoy s’mores.
- We will read under the stars and enjoy the night sky!
- Return all books!
Houlton Elementary School and its partnership with area Master Gardeners, were highlighted in the May, 2018 edition of the Wisconsin Master Gardeners Association newsletter. Thank you to St. Croix Master Gardener, Sandy Madsen, for sharing our story!
Growing Young Learners by Sandy Madsen
Houlton Elementary, a rural school of 226 K-5 children, in the Hudson School District sought out Master Gardeners to lead a student-based gardening program. The principal emailed the St. Croix Valley MasterGardener Association in search of a willing volunteer, and I responded. The school was already very conscious of environmental concerns and encouraged many sustainable activities. They were ready, willing and able to add more health and nutrition to their curriculum through gardening.
The program began in 2009 and grew slowly over the last 10 years. By creating additional learning experiences every year, the gardens now include a perennial flower garden, a 1-acre restored prairie, an 80’ x 12’ bed for corn, beans, squash, raspberries and asparagus, a 700sq ft rain garden, a butterfly garden and 5 raised beds for vegetables, fruits and seed trials. Just last year their dysfunctional, glass sun room was replaced through generous grants. We now have a beautiful 12’ x 20’ greenhouse!
This program thrives because of unwavering support from every person in the school as well as the St Croix Valley Master Gardeners Association (SCVMGA). The Principal and her Administrative Assistant are on the front lines fighting for many things that promote our program, such as applying for grants and recruiting families to volunteer during the summer. There is unlimited support from the custodians, who among many other activities, take a leadership role by assisting composting. The cafeteria cooks inspire us by preparing and serving whatever we grow and harvest, for example, kale chips, roasted brussel sprouts and pizza sauce, which are devoured by the students. The enthusiasm of the teachers and students often amazes each of the Master Gardener volunteers, as every student in every classroom is involved. The gardening curriculum often embellishes the academic curriculum. An example of this is the enrichment of the Native American Unit through planting a Three Sisters bed full of corn, beans and squash.
The SCVMGA supports the program both financially and physically. The Houlton gardening program has received a SCVMGA grant every year since its inception. Also, many Master Gardener Volunteers come when needed. Like the day the Rain Garden was planted, when 10 Master Gardener Volunteers helped 40 fifth (5th) graders plant over 400 plants. There are a few dedicated Master Gardener Volunteers that lead the students each and every week during the growing season. The school’s gardening program has 5 components that all work together: 1)
- Composting- cafeteria scraps as well as garden refuse enhance composting.
- Classroom planting projects- each of the 11 classrooms has two planting projects, one starting in the greenhouse and one outside.
- Garden Club- each classroom sends three different students each week during noon recess for garden maintenance.
- After School program- takes responsibility for the flower gardens.
- Summer Family Volunteers- each week, one or two families assist with harvesting and maintenance.
Houlton Elementary School was designated as a 2017 US Department of Education Green Ribbon School. The school has a superior level of accomplishment in all of the required qualities for this recognition. The award is given to schools that reduce environmental impact, improve health and wellness and provide effective environmental and sustainability education. The entire school is committed to all of these behaviors, which are also used as the foundation of their gardening program.
It is truly a delightful and rewarding Master Gardener project.
Learn more about the Master Gardener program at www.wimga.org
On Tuesday, June 12th, the Elementary Attendance Boundary Committee reviewed two draft options for new attendance boundaries. Both draft options will be revised further based on the input from the Boundary Committee members. It is important to note that these draft options will change.
Draft Option #1
Draft Option #2
- Click here to read the powerpoint presentation associated with the above options and the committee’s feedback.
- The Boundary Committee is scheduled to meet on September 18th to work on the revised draft options developed by RSP and Associates.
- Community members are welcome to observe Boundary Committee meetings.
- Draft options #1 and #2 were developed by RSP and Associates based on the feedback gathered at the Community Forum on May 15th.
- Click here to view the Elementary Attendance Boundaries webpage with all documents.
If you have questions or comments related to the work of the Elementary Attendance Boundary Committee or attendance boundaries in general, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
A Community Forum on Elementary Attendance Boundaries is scheduled for Tuesday, May 15 at 6:00 PM. The public forum will be held at River Crest Elementary School in their cafeteria/multipurpose room.
The Elementary Attendance Boundary Committee had their first meeting on Tuesday, May 8th at River Crest Elementary School. The committee work was led by RSP and Associates. The first half of the meeting included an overview of the committee process, the role of the School Board, administration, the committee, and the community, and a look at the current elementary school attendance boundaries. (Click here to view the powerpoint presentation provided by RSP)
RSP also provided data on projected enrollments.
Committee Members agreed to the following guiding principles:
- The School Board considers this work as part of the district plan. It’s one part of a whole.
- The boundary should reflect providing better educational opportunities at each school for there to be an equitable student experience at each school.
- The committee recognizes the power of an elementary school to create community.
- The boundary can anticipate future growth of the neighborhood.
- The boundary proposed should utilize all the available District resources.
- Consider boundary lines that follow natural/manmade boundaries.
- Grandfathering/transfers/student options are determined by Administration.
- Decisions are not limited, but the School Board would prefer to not close a school.
- New elementary could be an option starting after the 2019-2020 school year.
- Elementary additions could be an option starting after the 2019-2020 school year.
- Conversation must remain on elementary boundaries only.
Committee members spent the final portion of the meeting defining what “neighborhood” means. The following definitions were identified:
- Neighborhoods are defined by natural and manmade boundaries. These need to be considered for transportation.
- Geographic boundaries that include walkability between homes and roads that connect an area.
- There are subdivisions that share amenities like parks.
- There are some neighborhoods defined by housing styles and lot sizes.
- Neighborhoods can be defined by their proximity to a school.
Community Forum – Tuesday, May 15, 6:00 PM at River Crest Elementary School
Join the Elementary Boundary Committee at the first of two Community Forums on Tuesday, May 15 at 6:00 PM. The group will be meeting in the River Crest Elementary cafeteria/multipurpose room. There will be a presentation on the elementary boundary resetting process and elementary enrollment projection data. Community members will be asked to provide feedback on how they would define neighborhoods.
If you have questions or feedback please email: email@example.com
This week, the East Gym’s west wall was demolished. The video clip below shows the demo robot at work on the wall. Above you are looking at the wall prior to it’s removal from inside the new gym extension.
Below is the demo robot on the east side where the new fitness center will be.
The video clip below is on the running track. Missing in this clip are the windows that have now been installed.
Now that winter is finally on its way out, the High School construction project is nearing completion of the classroom addition, forum area, media center, and administrative offices. Renovations have moved into the old choir and orchestra rooms, the east gym is undergoing its big transformation as it expands into a Varsity competition gym with 3 full courts, and the east side classrooms will be gutted once school is out for summer.
Recently Board President, Jamie Johnson, toured the construction site with Superintendent Dr. Ouellette as River Channel followed along. Check out their highlights below:
Additional images of areas under construction are below.
Hard to believe so much snow and ice in April! Above is a view of the new classroom addition from the soon to be enclosed running track. We’re excited to have this space available for students and the community next winter and spring.
Above is a view of the new choir room. The space is more than double and the practice rooms are a significant improvement from what we had previously. Check out the old choir room below. This space is under construction and will eventual open up into Project Lead the Way space for engineering classes.
Orchestra no longer has tiered seating but rather a large single level classroom space for more flexible use.
The terrazzo flooring is being poured and polished prior to the lockers being installed in the new main corridor. Gone is the “outdoor hallway”!
Here you can see a view looking down the main stairway from the media center. The wall straight ahead covered in plastic will eventually be demolished and open to the auditorium and forum areas. The area to the left, where the pink insulation is, will eventually become the secondary servery to add to the main cafeteria. This will provide substantially more seating for students and faster lunch service.
This photo might be hard to guess. Imagine you were walking into the old main entrance (Door 1) and the gym and restrooms are to your right and the commons to your left. What you are seeing is that hallway without a roof. You can see the tiles to the old restrooms on the right.