Kenosha Unified School District

KUSD adopts employee handbook

chalk-board-KUSDAt a very long meeting of the Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD)  board, the employee handbook was approved by a vote of 4 to 3.  This was after extensive debate by the board.

There was first a motion to defer called by board member Rebecca Stevens.  The roll call vote was 3 to 4.  Those voting against the deferral were board members David Gallo, Bob Nuzzo, Tamarra Coleman, and Mary Snyder.  Then, the roll call vote on the main motion was to adopt, as presented.  The roll call vote was 4 to 3 in favor.  Those voting against were Rebecca Stevens, Jo Ann Taube, and Carl Bryan.  Those voting against said that the reason for their dissenting votes was that they didn’t get all of their questions answered.

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“Chalk Talk Kenosha” makes its way to Madison

Do you remember the community art project that was on display in various business in downtown Kenosha last summer?  Well, it has made its way to the state capitol art gallery in Madison.  See below for some pictures:

What are you

In a photograph a young woman holds up a sign that reads, “A man robbed me and put a knife to my kid’s neck.” With her hair pulled back in a practical ponytail and chips evident in her brightly colored fingernail polish, the young woman poses purposely for the camera. But is her message a plea for help, some kind of message the viewer is supposed to act upon?  Written in chalk on black construction paper, this chilling statement is a response to seemingly simple request:  Describe an incident that changed you. The request, stark response, and subsequent photograph are all part of a “chalk talk” workshop conducted at the Kenosha Literacy Council.

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Unified students to have indoor recess Tuesday

The Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) has made the following announcement regarding the effect of cold weather on Tuesday’s school day:

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“Reviving the dream through education”

Arthel Howell, chief of police of the city of Racine Police Department, keynote speaker

Arthel Howell, chief of police of the city of Racine Police Department, keynote speaker

“Reviving the Dream Through Education” was the theme of the 19th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., celebration which was held earlier this afternoon at the Madrigrano Auditorium at Gateway Technical College.  The room was packed with supporters, award winners, and their families.

The celebration started out with a video entitled, “Martin, Can You Hear Us?,” sung by Elaine Biggs, courtesy of YouTube.  The words repeated, “Martin, can you hear us crying?  Can you hear us now?”

Jacqueline Morris, chair of this year’s committee, then made the introductory remark that they were happy to honor Dr. King on President Obama’s second inauguration day.  Today is the observance of Dr. King’s birthday, and this is Gateway’s 19th annual celebration.

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Other Kindness Week activities

Kindness WeekIn addition to the Martin Luther King, Jr., celebration being held today at the Marigrano Auditorium at Gateway Technical College, 3520 – 30th Avenue, at 12 noon, there are other Kindness Week activities planned throughout the upcoming week:

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

The Kenosha Unified School District Theatre presents “Dessa Rose,” a musical drama about a white woman and a black woman in 1847, at 6 pm, at Bradford High School, 3700 Washington Road.  A discussion on race relations in the community will follow.  There is a $5 admission fee.

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Unified immunization deadline looming

The Kenosha Unified School District has made the following announcement regarding immunization and attendance:
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Lance Middle School to perform in Wisconsin Rapids

The following announcement regarding an upcoming out-of-town performance by The Lance Middle School eighth grade Symphonic Band was released by the Kenosha Unified School District today:
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KUSD votes to terminate Simmons Field lease

chalk-board-KUSDThere were three Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) standing committee meetings that took place earlier tonight.  Listed below is a summary of those meetings:

Planning/Facilities/Equipment Standing Committee Meeting

Patrick Finnemore, KUSD’s director of facilities, provided a report of background information on the Simmons Field lease termination.  In the fall of 2005, the KUSD was offered $2 million by the United Hospital System for Durkee Elementary School and related property.  It was decided that a new school would be constructed to replace both Durkee and Lincoln Elementary Schools on the former American Brass site.  A deal was negotiated between the district and the city of Kenosha that included the following:

  • The KUSD received approximately 6.36 acres of land at the Brass site for the construction of Brass Community School.

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Tremper HS releasing early due to main break

Kenosha Unified has released the following statement (via Facebook):

Due to a water main break that has disrupted all water service to Tremper High School, students will be released early. Buses are scheduled to arrive at 12:30. All home athletics, after-school activities, and the Financial Aid Evening with the Counselors have also been cancelled. KUSD is working closely with city officials to monitor the situation. All repairs are anticipated to be finalized by this evening so that school can resume as usual in the morning. Should you have any questions, please contact the school office at (262) 359-2200.

Hancock tries to dispel rumors

chalk-board-KUSDLast night, the Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) school board met for two hours.  Michele Hancock, superintendent of the district, made a PowerPoint presentation trying to dispel some of the rumors that she is hearing.  The rumors and facts that Hancock gave to dispel them are summarized below:

Rumor:  All staff will be fired when the contract expires on June 30, 2013.  Fact:  We cannot and would not do that.  State statutes protect that from happening.

Rumor:  Staff reductions and class size increases are the result of the Transformation Plan.  Fact:  No.  These changes are due to budgetary constraints and wage increases that have been included in the contract.  Eight hundred million dollars ($800 million) has been taken out of the Wisconsin education system.  I have never seen anything like it.

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Grewenow Hosts Second Annual Art & Craft Fair

The gym, lunch room, and even a few of the hallways of Grewenow Elementary School were jam-packed this past Saturday, for their second annual art and craft fair. Over forty vendors were on hand, with such a variety of items that last-minute holiday shoppers were bound to find something for almost anyone on their list. Candles, home décor, jewelry and ladies’ accessories were plentiful, but there were some more unique items to be found too. At Larry Kruescher’s table, the Packers/Bears fan rivalry played out as he had steel football helmet signs for both teams for sale. Wild ‘N Welded had some whimsical metal sculptures available, and Michelle Gogoel was selling empty bottles that she’d turned into working lamps.

Vendors also contributed items to a raffle, with the tables for this stretching down almost the length of one of the halls. Across the way, the jolly old elf himself, Santa, and Mrs. Claus were greeting children and posing for pictures with them. Students from the first through fifth grades entertained visitors to the fair, singing carols in both English and German.

Another special addition was a table set up so that people could stop and write a letter or a card to a soldier serving overseas this holiday season. They will be distributed using information from the website any

After visitors shopped and enjoyed all of the activities, there were plenty of snacks and other treats to top off the afternoon. Joe Catuara was there from Trolley Dogs, offering service with a smile and plenty of humor. The Grewenow PTA had dessert covered, with baked goods and beverages available too. Judging by the crowds and festive atmosphere, Grewenow’s 2012 art and craft fair should go down in the books as a success.

Jefferson Elementary students send warm holiday cheer to Children’s Hospital

Jefferson-Blanket-Project-001-webNearly 30 girls recently gathered in the gym at Jefferson Elementary school to help make the holidays a little merrier for children affected by illness.

Working in small groups that were spread out over almost the entire length of the gym floor, the students used this “Girls’ Night Out” to team up and make no-sew blankets to be donated to the Advocacy Center at Children’s Hospital. Made of a cozy fleece material, the blankets featured bright, cheerful, colors and patterns with animals, flowers, and positive sayings. The room was a flurry of activity as students laid out the material, cut fringes on each side, then tied the fringes together to complete the blankets.

“Girls’ Night Out” is a monthly program in its fifth year at Jefferson, with mostly fourth and fifth grade students participating. The main aim of the program is to encourage character and team building amongst the participants. Organizers of the program try to do a mix of community service activities and experiences that students might not normally have an opportunity to participate in outside of school. In the past, the group has gone to the cosmetology department at Gateway Technical College for haircuts and other pampering, have had tennis students over at Tremper High School teach them the game, have gone to the Y to do yoga, rock climbing, or other activities that they might be interested in, and have done the landscaping that is in front of their own school.

The students worked quickly and intently on the blankets, many beaming with pride as they showed the finished products to the teachers and other staff on hand. After the blankets are donated and the holiday break is over, they’ll be back to their next project.

Unit responding to Indian Trail Academy for medical call

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At 7:55 a.m., a Kenosha Fire Department medical unit is responding to Indian Trail Academy in Kenosha for a medical call.

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Kenosha Police Shop-With-A-Cop 2012 coverage

/Earlene Frederick photo

Officers from the Kenosha Police Department were matched up with children from the Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) to do some Christmas shopping Sunday morning at Wal-Mart as part of the police association’s annual Shop-With-A-Cop event.

About 40 youngsters participated.
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Bullen Middle School crossing report

Bullen Middle School –

The principal of Bullen Middle School, Kim Fischer, spoke at the Public Safety and Welfare Committee meeting yesterday, regarding the children street-crossing situation at the school, which is located at 2804 – 39th Avenue.  Mike Lemens, director of public works, said that the situation was reviewed at great length.  “If people followed the state law, there would be no problem.  People driving and not obeying the law is the problem.  Pedestrians have the right of way.  School zones are 15 mph.  We tried everything to modify the behavior.  Where enforcement efforts are made, compliance comes about often.”

Fischer expressed her frustration several times. “Kids have gotten hurt.  I’m almost six feet tall.  That’s a 35 mph zone.  That’s not the speed limit at any other middle school.  It’s 15 mph.  I am out there standing in the street every morning and every afternoon, and sometimes I get nervous.  I need my kids to be safe.  I don’t want to see another child hit.”

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Northwoods League lease approved by Parks Commission

One of the items on the Board of Park Commissioners agenda this evening was the approval of the lease between the city, the Board of Park Commissioners, and Baseball Like It Oughta Be, LLC, and Northwoods League, Inc., for Simmons Athletic Field.  Mayor Keith Bosman spoke on the issue.  He said that they have been working on the lease since May, and on the issue as a whole since October, 2011.

Vern Stenman, president of the Madison Mallards, was also in attendance at the meeting and spoke.  John Richardson, assistant city attorney, is the attorney who has been working on the lease agreement, which is providing private funds for a park that sadly needs rejuvenation.  Capital improvements in the amount of $500,000 are being made by the team, and greater than $300,000 in lease payments will be made to the city.  The team will play 35+ dates from April through September, and they will maintain the field for the high school teams.

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TID approved by the City Plan Commission

Tax Incremental District (TID) #15 was unanimously approved last night at the City Plan Commission.  Three related agenda items were all approved for the property that represents the old KYF Building in Library Park, in downtown Kenosha.  The first had to do with designating the district as a blighted area.  As explained by Zohrab Khaligian, community development specialist, at least 50% of an area needs to be blighted and in need of rehabilitation, or be an industrial user, in order to be considered as a TID.  A video was presented of the inside of the building showing peeling paint, holes in the ceilings, the condition of the single rooms upstairs, etc.  Khaligian stated, “This building is no longer feasible to be used as a recreation facility.  It will require a lot of money to renovate this building.”

John Fox, a Kenosha resident and downtown business owner, stated that he was against this designation.  He stated that the building was in the same condition when it was bought.  The owner of the property across the street from the building also spoke against the TID.  He said that when he converted his building into apartments 8-1/2 years ago, he invested a lot of money with no help from the city.  He said that “the owner knew what he was buying when he bought the building.  The ceiling on the third floor was leaking.  The city is giving away all this money ($300,000).  It’s not fair.”

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Walls of Whittier brightened by new murals

Janette Louden /Joe Barr photo

Whittier Elementary School got to add some great new art to their halls last week, thanks to the talent of Janette Louden, a visual artist and former Kenosha resident.

Originally from England, Louden got her start working as a graphic designer for a firm there, and went on to illustrate characters for educational materials. This particular skill came in handy again after Louden moved to the U.S., and was asked to redesign the Whittier School mascot, Thunder Paws, during the time she lived in Kenosha.

Recently, Paula West, whom Louden used to share an office with, asked if Louden would be interested in painting a mural for Whittier. She agreed, though she says that it took a bit of thought about how best to do it, since she now lives in Minneapolis.

Louden explained:
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McKinley Middle School up for sale

The McKinley Middle School is officially on the market.  The Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) has listed the property.  You can read the specs by clicking this link:  McKinley Middle School Property.
Offers to Purchase will be received until a qualified offer has been
accepted by the District.

Dimensions of Learning Academy is President’s Challenge Physical Fitness State Champion School

Principal Diana Pearson (left) and physical education teacher Terry Hedman.

There was excitement, cheers, and a definite sense of pride and school spirit during the daily all-school “morning meeting” at Dimensions of Learning Academy (DOLA) on Friday, and with good reason. The announcement was made that they had been awarded the title of President’s Challenge Physical Fitness State Champion School for 2011-2012.

This is the highest award for outstanding achievement in physical fitness, and DOLA, a Kenosha charter school, was the only school in the state of Wisconsin to receive this distinction for the ’11-’12 academic year.

Principal Diana Pearson and physical education teacher Terry Hedman presented individual awards to 37 DOLA students Friday morning, from grades 2 through 8.

Pearson praised Hedman for her dedication and excellence in teaching (citing her past nominations for “Teacher of the Year”), a factor that she credited in the school winning the award. One former student who is now in ninth grade even returned to accept his award in person, and to serve as a representative for other former students who couldn’t make it to the ceremony.

The President’s Challenge is a program of the Presidents’ Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, and began in the 1960’s, as a fitness test for students. It includes challenges and physical fitness tests that schools around the country participate in each year, designed to encourage children to live healthier, more active lives. Awards are given to both schools as a whole, and to individual students.

Beginning in 2013, a new program, the Presidential Youth Fitness Program, will be introduced.

KUSD Fine Arts and Band Boosters to present jazz festival Nov. 17

Photo by Clinton cardozo via stock.xchng

The Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) Department of Fine Arts and Kenosha Band Boosters will again present the Annual Jazz Festival on Saturday, November 17th, at Tremper High School (8560 – 26th Avenue) at 7 pm.

The public is welcome to attend all activities leading up to the evening performance. Tickets for the evening performance are $4 for students/senior citizens, $5 for adults, and $10 for a family pass. Tickets will be available at the door.

Festival activities begin Friday afternoon at 4 pm as nine high school jazz ensembles appear in performance/clinic sessions with guest artists. The event resumes Saturday at 8 am at Tremper where five middle school jazz ensembles will appear in performance/clinic sessions. Each band will work with a team of clinicians who are outstanding jazz artists/educators from southeastern Wisconsin, Fred Strum and José Encarnación. The day’s activities will conclude with an evening public performance. The concert will feature jazz bands and KUSD’s alumni/staff band.

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Stocker Elementary veterans’ day observance

Stocker Elementary School’s Singing Sharks Choir

This morning at Stocker Elementary School, 6315 – 67th Street, a veteran’s day observance was held.  April Nelson, the school’s principal, welcomed everyone.  The pledge of allegiance was led by Stocker second graders:  Sara Ward, Emma Oplawski, Lindy Snyder, Madelyn Wilson, Toby Bennet, Joey Ciardo, Lauren Andrews, Aidan Habel, Nora Mena, Kiannah Wierzchowski, Ja’Daeyah O’Bryant-Murray, and Tegan Peura.

Then, the Stocker Singing Sharks Choir sang “Free Like Me,” by Teresa Jennings, under the direction of Betty Peterson.  Click below to hear this very inspiring song:

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City Plan Commission approves KYF project

Earlier tonight, the City Plan Commission met to discuss the $8 million project for the development of the old Kenosha Youth Foundation (KYF) Building across from Library Park in downtown Kenosha, located at 5800 – 7th Avenue.

Community development specialist Zohrab Khaligian said that $200,000 is being requested in Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) tax credits.  The developers will be back in one month (on December 6th) and will hold a formal public hearing, which will be properly noticed.

A joint review board will be set up made up of the four taxing authorities:  the city, the county, Gateway, and the Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD).  It will then go before the Finance Committee and the Common Council in January.  For the next 27 years, they will agree to forgo the increased tax revenue from the development until the debt is paid off.

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Transit Department holds two public hearings

Today, the Transit Department held two public hearings on the proposed bus fare increases.  Only nine people attended the morning session, and three people attended the evening session.  Most of the dialogue exchange discussed in this article happened at the morning session.  Check our previous article for details on the proposed fare increases:  Public Hearings on Bus Fare Increase.

Ron Iwen, transit director, said that no route changes are planned, just the rate increases.  They are also proposing leaving the Saturday service the same as it is now.  Currently, four buses run on Saturday.  Iwen stated that the department experienced a loss of funding from the state last year.

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Units responding to Washington Middle School for medical call

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At 12:27 p.m., Kenosha Fire Department units are responding to Washington Middle School for a medical call.

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Somers Elementary having Barnes and Noble Book Fair Nov. 11

Somers Elementary is having a Barnes and Noble Book Fair this Sunday, November 11th, from 9 am to 7 pm at the Racine location (2710 South Green Bay Road, in Mount Pleasant).

A percentage of the proceeds will go toward the Somers goal of raising funds for nine classroom iPads. Shoppers simply need to mention Somers Elementary at the register  when checking out. They can also participate on-line November 11th to the 15th by entering book fair ID # 10878528 when checking out.

“60 In 60” Recruitment Drive for mentors for students under way

Making a difference in a child’s life can be as simple as sharing a half hour to an hour of your week with a Kenosha Unified student. The Kenosha Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) has launched a new mentor recruitment drive, hoping to encourage more people to do just that. Called “60 in 60,” it aims to add sixty new mentors to their program by December 8th, and to help get children off of the waiting lists at schools that have one.

Mentoring takes place once a week, and volunteers are able to choose any grade level from Kindergarten to eighth, at any KUSD school. All of the mentoring takes place at the school of their choice, during school hours. While mentors can do some tutoring during weekly sessions if they‘d like, that’s not the aim of the program. It’s meant to provide children with a caring, supportive adult who will be a stable role model in the student’s life, a vital element that may be lacking in some children‘s lives. Program coordinators provide orientation for those interested in becoming a mentor, and ongoing training is available at UW-Parkside several times a year (though it is not mandatory). Experienced mentors are also available to help get new volunteers started and to provide ideas and advice.

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Pleasant Prairie Village Board approves plans for warehouse/distribution center

The village of Pleasant Prairie has issued the following press release regarding a proposed 1.18 million square foot warehouse/distribution center on approximately 87.5 acres of land east of County Highway H and south of Bain Station Road:
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Kenosha Unified School District school report cards available

The Kenosha Unified School District has made the following announcement regarding the new school report cards issued by the state:
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Units responding to Reuther HS for medical call

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At 11:58 a.m., Kenosha Fire Department units are responding to Reuther High School, in Kenosha, for a medical call.

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