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The annual Wisconsin State Spanish Pronunciation Contest Championships is becoming a tradition in South Milwaukee. For those not familiar, it’s a contest where students study a fragment of text—this year and last year, it was a poem fragment—and practice pronouncing it exactly correctly.

Today on the podcast, we will hear from four students who participated and got a first- or second-place medal for mastering the poem. Then we’ll hear from Cheryl Caruso on three decades of teaching a global language – Spanish – and how, during her career, language education is taught and how students are different today than before.

News Story

AP Environmental Science teacher Daniel Lesniak and Technology Teacher Ben Quartermont share about the grant they've won and how students will be engaged in real research in the fall. 

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An annual tradition is about to happen at Rawson Elementary School, and that’s why third-grade teacher Bill Gaynor has student art collected from the entire year in every corner of his classroom.

Soon that artwork will be gently placed into a box, wrapped with care by students, police officers, firefighters, and other volunteers, and delivered with notes of care and encouragement to area cancer patients urging them to keep their spirits up and fight the Cancer Bully.

On this episode, we’ll hear from Mr. Gaynor about the cancer box project and talk a little bit about his career as an educator and who his students are – a fitting tribute during Teacher Appreciation Week.

Students in DC

On April 3-6, 2024, Grade 8 students from South Milwaukee Middle School spent three full days in Washington D.C. as part of their educational journey in Social Studies. 
 

TMJ4 Story

An end-of-year project at Lakeview Elementary School to study urban planning and dream up ideas for the former Everbrite site just two blocks away has caught the attention of TMJ4 News and reporter Elaine Rojas-Castillo. 

Mia Johnson Alumni Update

Congratulations to Mia Johnson, Class of 2022, for being named the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Softball Player of the Year.

summer school image

Summer School in South Milwaukee is a special time of exploration, learning, and fun. For elementary students it's a great time for some to catch up on reading and math skills, and for others to explore new passions and enrich their learning experiences. 

Middle school students have an opportunity to explore their creativity and build on skills, and for high school students, it's a chance for credit recovery or a way to take classes that free up time for electives during the school year. 

Instrumental Music Education

How do public schools teach students to play music? It's a process that starts as early as Kindergarten, but by high school can mean deep involvement in a world of musical opportunities. In this episode, we speak to instructors from elementary, middle, and high school about the process of learning and loving to play music as part of school.

 
What About.... Your Referendum Questions

For several weeks now School Board members and District representatives have been out in the community with tables, like at the Bucyrus Club and various sporting events talking to residents about the 2 million dollar non-recurring operational referendum that’s on the ballot on April 2nd. We had a big information night at the high school and have two more planned out in the community. 

Today’s podcast is a version of one of those sessions – I’ve invited administrators from each area affected by the referendum to tell us about what the additional dollars would be used for

The referendum is called Safe, Supported, and Successful. We’ll start with student and staff safety, then student success, and then hear about how we’re supporting students and staff. 

Then, at the end, I’ll take the questions we’ve gotten about the referendum and ask Business Services Director Dan Arnold to answer them. 

Career and Tech Ed: Learning a Living

History in our country is a pendulum, swinging back and forth, directing where we pour our energy. The 1990s and early 2000s saw a push toward a college education and attendance for all of our students because a high school diploma was no longer adequate for the job market.

That pendulum has swung again, maybe to somewhere in the middle and we’re finding rewarding, well-paid careers are not only for those with college degrees but for those with the skills to excel in a profession, so high schools are adapting and teaching those skills as part of a free public education.

steam night

STEAM night – a celebration of all the work in our schools through the lens of STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math – is one of the biggest events during the year and certainly the biggest one-day academic event outside of graduation. 

In this episode, we’re bringing you three audio postcards or snapshots from STEAM night, one from technology, one from engineering, and one from the arts.

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In this episode, we’re talking about one of the newest student activities in South Milwaukee – First Lego League. If you’re not aware of what it is, it’s more than bricks and Lego figures, though those are certainly part of it.

At the suggestion of a parent who wanted his daughter to be involved in some sort of robotics club, South Milwaukee Middle School started up two First Lego League teams as an after-school activity.

2024-25 Calendar

On Wednesday, January 10th, the School Board approved the 2024-25 school year calendar. The calendar is the work of a committee made up of administrators, teachers, and parents who meet to consider all of the state requirements and the needs of the schools. 

Giving Back to Belong: SMWay Podcast

 

In our last episode, we heard about music students giving back to the community by using their talents to carol out in South Milwaukee. 

Today we’ll hear a little bit about South Milwaukee Middle School’s Cold Winter Warm Hearts initiative last year and how they’re building on that effort this year. While the projects are meant to help others, there is some real thought behind what giving to others can do for an organization’s internal culture and the members of that community. 

First, let’s hear from two eighth-grade students about what they did last year and its impact on them.

To Go or Not to Go... to Referendum

Today on the podcast we’re talking to members of the school board about some serious topics. In one way or another, since the spring, the idea of a referendum has been mentioned as a way to close the gap between the district’s revenue and its expenses.

But it’s one thing to mention going to a referendum, it’s another thing to really consider what that would mean. The School Board is out listening to the community as they deliberate what they should do.

We check in with two school board members and ask what they've been hearing.

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This Friday, December 15th, your child’s report card will be available electronically on Infinite Campus – that’s the website and phone application the school district uses to track grades, attendance, and other student information. No paper report cards will be sent home. 

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Today, we’re talking about student report cards – specifically Elementary school report cards, because they’re changing.

How and why would a report card change? Good question. We associate report cards, as a rule, with letter grades - A, A minus, B etcetera. Get an A or B, and you’re doing well. B- or C there might be some issues, Ds and Fs indicate problems. Pretty clear markers, but not very informative and not really how we assess how elementary students are doing.

Director of Curriculum and Instruction Christie Gajewski is joining us today to talk about the change South Milwaukee elementary parents will see in the language on the report cards.

Deidre Roemer

American Education Week, Youth Apprenticeship Week, student celebrations, and a School Board continues to work on a potential referendum: Superintendent Deidre Roemer's bi-weekly update.

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Report cards are as a part of school as pencils and chalkboards. The goal of the report card is to give parents an idea of where their students are in their studies and an early warning sign that they might be struggling in a subject and need some help. 

Schools and school districts have report cards too – for many of the same reasons. 

Summer Morrison Alumni Update

Congratulations to Summer Morrison ('01) for her work with Green Bay Packer Running Back A. J. Dillion to create Quadzilla Finds His Footing - a children's book about trying new things. Morrison has a number of children's books she has illustrated. See them all at https://www.summermorrison.com/

student sewing

Sarai and other students recently explored how their sewing machines work in Clothing Design and Construction. The class is one of three electives available to students in the fashion and interior design industry. 

Emily Duelge

First-grade teacher Emily Duelge is a brand new teacher at Rawson Elementary School – but she’s no stranger to the school. Duelge (Pronounced DULL-GEE) is a South Milwaukee alum, attended Rawson Elementary School, and is teaching in the classroom next door to where she sat when she was a first grader.

SMWay Podcast: Bullying

In this episode, we’re learning about a new system to address bullying in South Milwaukee schools. Instances of student bullying and conflict have been managed from building to building. This year schools have access to new Department of Public Instruction resources to implement a District-wide system – one that’s being piloted in the Middle School.

Strategic Visioning Process Begins

On Tuesday, October 4th roughly 40 students, community members, teachers, and administrators joined Superintendent Deidre Roemer to begin the Strategic Visioning process that will eventually guide the District in its work.

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For some time, South Milwaukee has had an attendance problem, and over the last two years the District has worked to improve those rates – after all, you can’t improve reading or math skills, prepare for high school or pass a class to get credits to graduate if you’re not in school learning.

Senior Brady Ahler

Senior Brady Ahler is one of 16,000 students in the nation to be named a 2024 National Merit Scholarship semi-finalist.  That sounds like a lot of students, but Ahler was one of 1.2 million students to take the PSAT and National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT) last spring.

inside of the newly renovated fieldhouse

The 2023-24 school year saw some major improvements – some by choice, some not – at the High School. The building, which was built as part of a referendum, was built in 2004. The 20-year bond that financed the construction was paid off early in 2022, but like any investment, it needed its wear-and-tear components replaced. 

District Celebrates Field Project Milestone

September 8th, 2023, was an important day in the history of South Milwaukee Schools – it was the first day the newly renovated Spaltholz Field at Bucyrus Stadium hosted an official sporting event. Fittingly, it was the varsity home opener against rival Cudahy.

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It’s a new school year and an exciting time for our students and teachers. For a group of teachers in South Milwaukee, it’s REALLY a New Year, because it’s their first year.

Student nurse

Alejandra Blemontes knows how to work. At just 17, she has graduated early from South Milwaukee High School, works as a pharmacy technician, picks up waitress shifts at her godparents’ restaurant, and is enrolled in college to be a registered nurse. 

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Season 2 Episode 2 - In this episode of the podcast were hearing from the unsung heroes of that American ritual of the first day of school. The Buildings and Grounds staff.

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Today we’re introducing South Milwaukee’s new superintendent, Deidre Roemer. We’ll hear a little bit about her family, her career, where she’s been, and what led her to South Milwaukee.