OASD eNews - April 2021
IN THIS ISSUE
- COVID-19 Community Outreach Grant
- Kiwanis Autism Project
- Pandemic Positives
- Alumni Spotlight
- OASD 2021-2021 Calendar
- Referendum 2020 Progress Update - March 2021
- Recreation News
Oshkosh Area School District
215 S Eagle Street
Oshkosh, WI 54935
A Message from the Superintendent
As we move into the final stretches of the 2020-21 school year, we have a lot to be proud of. So many great things are happening in our schools and classrooms, thanks to the hard work of our students and the dedication of our staff. Of course, we know that the ongoing support and engagement of our families has a lot to do with the everyday successes as well - and for that we are so grateful.
While we are enjoying our time together this school year, we are also looking ahead and planning for a successful 2021-22. We plan to have all PK-12 students be fully in-person for the 2021-2022 school year and will maintain our K-12 virtual school option (eAcademy) for families who wish to remain virtual. Additionally, we plan to provide all of the activities that make up our PK-12 educational experience, including all athletics and extracurricular activities in-person as they would typically be scheduled. We will continue to use recommended safety and mitigation strategies to maintain learning environments that are as safe as possible.
Once again, thank you for being a part of the OASD! We look forward to continuing to serve our families and entire community.
Vickie L. Cartwright, Ph.D.,
Superintendent of Schools
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Oshkosh School District Awarded COVID-19 Vaccination Community Outreach Grant
Committed to helping marginalized and underserved populations
The Oshkosh Area School District (OASD) is the proud recipient of a nearly $100,000 ($99,997.36) grant from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) as part of its COVID-19 Vaccination Community Outreach initiative. Grant funds will be used to promote health equity and will allow the District to expand its community outreach efforts to marginalized populations as the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available.
The OASD is the only school district in the state to receive the grant, with a total of $6.2 million grant funds distributed. As a result of its established communication and engagement efforts, the OASD is uniquely qualified to conduct culturally competent outreach to marginalized populations in the Oshkosh community, including people of color, economically disadvantaged, households with disabilities, and non-English speaking households. This unique outreach initiative aligns with the District’s commitments to all means all, equity, and cultural responsiveness.
“OASD staff members have worked tirelessly to build trusted relationships between school and home with our over 9,000 students and their families,” explained Julie Conrad, OASD Director of Curriculum and Assessment. “This grant will allow us to leverage those relationships of trust to conduct critical outreach, reduce barriers, and advance health equity.”
The OASD is planning a comprehensive community education campaign to foster greater understanding and improve vaccine access. The initiative is expected to run throughout the summer months. As part of the grant application process, the District developed an initial outreach plan to identify target populations, tactics, and existing barriers.
“The District intends to promote COVID-19 information and vaccination access information to all OASD families, specifically targeting families who face economic, literacy, and language barriers,” explained Linda Pierron, OASD Director of Special Education and the designated administrator of the community outreach grant. “This is critical work because the health of families and our entire community impacts our students’ ability to be in school. It is an honor to serve Oshkosh in this way.”
Community outreach to non-OASD families will also take place. Additionally, a variety of tactics, including one-on-one support, will be used to overcome barriers facing many marginalized populations. Misinformation, mistrust, scheduling challenges, child care, language, transportation, and digital literacy are just a few of the barriers the OASD plans to address in order to better serve those in need amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Pursuing this grant opportunity was a collective effort within the OASD, spearheaded by special education and English as a Second Language staff members. The following OASD staff members were key advocates of the initiative; and will serve as managers of the grant: Julie Ruck, OASD special education support teacher; Yessra Sankari, OASD Community Learning Center coordinator; and Dawn Shimura, OASD ESOL program coordinator. The District also plans to work in partnership with numerous organizations to expand its reach and continue to serve marginalized families in the Oshkosh area. Additional information will be shared as this community effort unfolds.
More information about the grant program and other recipients is available from the Wisconsin DHS (www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/news/releases/040121.htm).
Navigating the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging to say the least, and the past twelve months have certainly been filled with unimaginable stress and pressure. However, believe it or not, this time has also been filled with countless positive stories and silver linings. As a District, we know that great things have been happening and we want to make sure we highlight and learn from those successes. Our incredible employees have been sharing their “Pandemic Positives” in an effort to reflect on this year’s growth and progress, while inspiring us all. Please take a moment to learn along with us as our very own OASD staff members share their silver linings!
Amy Von Holzen - Autism Teacher, Oshkosh West High School, eAcademy
“We have MANY options when it comes to connecting with students. Some students may be more comfortable talking to their teacher in person, some might be more comfortable talking through a Google Meet, or an email, or a Google Chat...be flexible in communicating with students and you may be surprised what you are able to find out about them!”
Michelle Carbiener - English Teacher, Oshkosh North High School
“I learned to use technology to give my students more timely and specific feedback on their writing.”
Christine Koehler - Literacy Teacher, Carl Traeger Middle School
“Teachers leaned on each other like never before. The collaboration and reaching out to help with curriculum, technology, or emotional support strengthened us!”
Kiwanis Autism Projects Brings iPads to Oshkosh Students
A few lucky students in the Oshkosh Area School District (OASD) are the proud new owners of iPads, thanks to an incredible partnership between the District and the Oshkosh Mid-Morning Kiwanis Club. Funds for the iPads were raised by the Club through the Wisconsin Upper Michigan Kiwanis Autism Project, which provides iPads for children on the autism spectrum. As a result of its generous fundraising initiatives this year, Oshkosh Mid-Morning Kiwanis was able to provide iPads to 14 students. Students also received a $100 iTunes gift card, and a protective case and shield for their new device.
“Kiwanis is all about the children,” explained Dave Applegate and Colleen Harvot, Oshkosh Mid Morning Kiwanis members who were able to present the iPads to students and families. “This is just one way that we are able to give back and make a difference in the Oshkosh community and we are honored to do so!”
Special education staff in the district helped complete grant applications for students, with the understanding that an iPad at home can make a world of difference. iPads are incredible tools for children on the autism spectrum because they are adaptable and accessible. From communicating wants and needs to learning language and math to calming behavior, an iPad can transform a child’s ability to interact with the world around them.
“We are so excited for these students and families,” stated Claire Habeck, an assistive technology specialist in the Oshkosh Area School District. “Our teaching staff use similar devices to help engage students in the classroom and having this access while at home is a game-changer for the students and their entire family.”
The Oshkosh Area School District is committed to meeting the unique needs of all learners and provides a wide range of education opportunities for students (ages 3 through 21). Some students have varied academic, social, or emotional needs that are served through a variety of special education programs.
“Our incredible Special Education team works collaboratively with students and families to provide access to the resources that will ensure academic, social, emotional, and physical growth in order for students to reach their fullest potential,” stated Linda Pierron, OASD Director of Special Education. “The ultimate goal is to see students as independent and productive citizens, leading fulfilled lives.”
The Oshkosh Mid-Morning Kiwanis is a local organization of men and women dedicated to serving the children and young people of Oshkosh, as well as supporting initiatives by Kiwanis International that help children throughout the nation and the world. New members are always welcome! To learn more about the Oshkosh Mid-Morning Kiwanis or the Kiwanis Autism Project visit www.oshkoshkiwanis.org.
Alumni Spotlight: Gordon Hintz, Oshkosh North High School '92
The Oshkosh Area School District is proud of our alumni, and we are pleased to showcase their accomplishments in our new “Alumni Spotlight.” The Alumni Spotlight is an initiative of the OASD Education Foundation, in partnership with the student new sources at Oshkosh North and Oshkosh West high schools - The North Star and The Index, respectively. The Alumni Spotlight highlights the incredible accomplishments of former OASD students while inspiring current students with a variety of career choices and life lessons from our very own alumni.
The April Alumni Spotlight features Gordon Hintz, Oshkosh North High School '92 graduate. Hintz is the Wisconsin State Assembly Minority Leader. The Alumni Spotlight interview was conducted by Oshkosh West High School student journalist Drew Lasky '21. CHECK IT OUT:
Spotlight an Alumni
We know that our alumni have some of the most fascinating stories to tell and we are always honored to share their accomplishments and achievements. Nominate yourself or an OASD alumni today:
The OASD Education Foundation strives to engage the community in supporting Oshkosh public schools. The Foundation is committed to providing resources for innovation, fine arts, athletics, and scholarships to enhance students' lives. To learn more about the Foundation visit www.oshkosh.k12.wi.us/district/oshkosh-education-foundation or contact Theresa J. Duren, OASD Education Foundation Director at email@example.com | 920.424.0395.
The Oshkosh Area School District (OASD) Board of Education is in the process of conducting a search for the District's next superintendent. Stakeholder engagement is vital to this search process. Information about the timeline, process, and engagement opportunities will be posted to the OASD website on the Superintendent Search webpage at www.oshkosh.k12.wi.us/board/superintendent-search. Please check this webpage for ongoing updates and important announcements.
Superintendent Search Timeline (as of 03.30.21)
- The Board of Education conducted a request for proposals (RFP) process March 16 - 23, 2021, with the purpose of identifying consulting firms to conduct a search for a new superintendent of schools. NOTE:
- Under Board policy and Wisconsin law, the Board of Education is tasked with selecting and supervising a superintendent.
- A search firm is considered a valuable Board asset in the process of hiring a new superintendent. In addition to ensuring that the Board is in compliance with state and federal laws, a search firm will develop a district profile as a recruitment tool in postings, advertise and recruit qualified candidates, facilitate Board and stakeholder interviews, and conduct extensive professional and criminal background checks among other actions.
- A review of the submitted proposals took place during the March 24 executive session and from that meeting, the Board was able to put forward a resolution to select Cooperative Education Service Agency 6 (CESA 6).
- A Special Board Meeting was held in open session on March 29 and the Board voted to select CESA 6 to assist in its search for a new superintendent. NOTE:
- The current Board believes that it is important to begin the search process at this time in order to have a qualified superintendent in place by July 1, 2021. This timing will allow CESA 6 to begin background work in April 2021.
- The current Board also believes that the new Board that will be seated on Monday, April 26, 2021 (following the April 6 election) needs to be involved in the hiring process, including interviews and final selection.
- Next Steps: A detailed search process and timeline will be provided by CESA 6, with the goal of having a new superintendent in place by July 1, 2021. During the month of April, CESA 6 plans to interview each OASD Board Member, including those elected on April 6, to gather input into the values, qualities, and qualifications desired of the next superintendent. A stakeholder survey will also be developed to gather staff and community input. Additionally, a Board workshop, in an open session, will take place to discuss the search process and finalize the candidate profile and job posting. Advertising and candidate recruitment are expected to take place in April/May. Additional information will be shared as the process progresses.
Referendum 2020 Project Progress Report - March 2021
Since the voter-approved November 3 referendum, the District has been hard at work developing plans to address facility needs. Monthly progress reports will be published with the goal of creating a shared understanding of the District's ongoing referendum efforts.
Check out the March 2021 Referendum Project Progress Report to learn more:
Free School Meals and Family Food Boxes
Beginning Wednesday, April 7, the free school meal distribution at Oshkosh West will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. (extended time). In addition to a week’s worth of school meals, families will also be able to receive Farm to Family Food Boxes - a partnership with Feeding America - which has been extended through the month of April.
Those accessing free meals cannot enter the school parking lot until 4:30 p.m. to allow students and staff to safely exit the area before the distribution begins. Vehicles must enter the parking lot Eastbound on Taft Avenue (making a right turn into the parking lot). There will only be one line to enter the parking lot. Anyone attempting to enter Westbound on Taft (making a left turn into the parking lot) will be asked to continue down to the end of the line. This is to ensure proper traffic flow and safety. No one is to enter off of Eagle Street for the meal distribution. This entrance is only to be used by students, staff, and athletics accessing the parking lot.
Thank you, Oshkosh! Give-Education Day Raises $5,575
Thanks to an outpouring of community support, over $5,000 was raised to support Oshkosh public school students and teachers during Give-Education Day on March 24, 2021. Organized by the Oshkosh Area School District (OASD) Education Foundation, the inaugural event aimed to raise funds for a variety of initiatives including grants to support new and innovative classroom projects, materials and supplies for OASD classrooms that are beyond building budgets, and provide basic needs items for the District’s most vulnerable students.
Nearly 50 community members and organizations came together to support the Foundation during Give Education Day. As a result of the community’s generosity, the Foundation was able to exceed its $1,500 matching donation, which was gifted to the campaign by the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation. In total, $5,575 was raised.
“We are so grateful,” exclaimed Theresa Duren, OASD Education Foundation Director. “To see our community come together to support our students and teachers is an incredible testament to the critical role our schools play in our community. Together we can do so much good!”
Save the date for 2022! The OASD Education Foundation is already looking forward to participating in Give-Education Day next year, happening on March 23, 2022.
The OASD Education Foundation engages the community in supporting Oshkosh public schools and is committed to providing resources for innovation, fine arts, athletics, scholarships, and other resources to enhance students' lives. The OASD Education Foundation funds are managed by the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation. For more information or to make a donation, contact Theresa Duren at firstname.lastname@example.org or 920.424.0395. Additional information is available at www.oshkosh.k12.wi.us/district/oshkosh-education-foundation.
Help Needed: Hiring for Many Positions
We need your help, now more than ever! If you or someone you know is searching for a job or looking for a way to give back - we are hiring for multiple positions with immediate start dates.
Contact us! If you have questions about becoming a substitute or how to get your substitute license, call Jenni Johnson, OASD Substitute Staff Coordinator, at 920.424.1254.
*NEW* Permanent Substitute Teachers
Become a permanent substitute teacher for the rest of the 2020-2021 school year (ending June 3, 2021)! Benefits include full-time salary, health and dental benefits, and being assigned to one school, with the potential to temporarily shift schools if needed. Anyone with an Associate's or Bachelor's degree in any field can become a permanent substitute teacher, however, a DPI substitute license is required which includes completing an 8-hour training course.
Substitute Teachers and Teacher Assistants
Become a substitute teacher or teacher assistant and enjoy a flexible schedule. Anyone with an Associate's or Bachelor's degree in any field can become a substitute teacher, however, a DPI substitute license is required which includes completing an 8-hour training course. Substitute teacher assistants do not need a degree or license but should be comfortable working with students with special needs.
OASD Family Support Series
In an effort to continue to support our families, the District publishes a weekly support series. Tips and resources are posted online at www.oshkosh.k12.wi.us/families/support-series and on Facebook every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Families are encouraged to follow along on the District's Facebook page or website for the latest updates.
In Our Schools: Good News Spotlight
Black Light Gallery
The IDMS art program at Merrill Middle School recently completed an “Under the Sea Black Light Gallery” as part of an ocean-themed art unit. The project began in February 2020, was paused due to COVID-19, and resumed in January 2021. Students learned about things in the ocean and began to create ocean-themed art with an added twist of using fluorescent paint and turning their work into a black light gallery.
Reading with Cops
Students at Shapiro STEM Academy enjoyed meeting some of Oshkosh's finest through the school’s after-school program. The Boys & Girls Club is excited to partner with Oshkosh Noon Kiwanis and the Oshkosh Police Department on a new program called Kiwanis N’ Cops N’ Kids. Students had a ton of fun during the first program where they were able to listen to books read by an Oshkosh police officer or some students even chose to read to the officer. Each child then got to take a book home to enjoy. The program works to help youth develop their literacy skills and get to know law enforcement in their city.
Educator Book Review
Carl Traeger Elementary’s first-grade teacher, Jen Cardinal, was recently featured on the Judy Newman at Scholastic website. Jen reviewed Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon and shared how it can be used during morning meetings, teaching character traits, and promoting student reflection. Check out the online feature! Additionally, two Carl Traeger students, Eli in third grade and Rylee in second grade, offered student reviews of Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon.
Read Your Heart Out
Webster Stanley Elementary School recently held its 2nd Annual Read Your Heart Out Event (RYHO), supported by the Wisconsin RtI Center. Webster Stanley Elementary began celebrating this event in 2019 with a grant from the Green Bay Packer Foundation. This year’s virtual event allowed students to listen to books read by community members including Belynda Pinkston and Darryl Sims, along with Nasif Rogers, Ingrid Parker-Hill, and the mother of RYHO - Michelle Belnavis. Students enjoyed an interactive virtual drumming session by Dave Anania, Oshkosh North alum and member of the Blue Man Group. Lastly, students participated in a book-making activity created by Renee Schumacher.
Herb Kohl Student Scholars
Oshkosh West is pleased to announce that two students were selected for the 2021 Herb Kohl Student Excellence Scholarship recipient. Liberty Mugerauer and Rebecca Ziers were chosen to receive this $10,000 award because of their exceptional scholarship, leadership, citizenship, and school and community involvement.