Loading
An unknown error occurred:
XMLNode
Container/Path Not Found:
xml_var1


An unknown error occurred:
XMLNode
Container/Path Not Found:
xml_var1

An unknown error occurred:
XMLNode
Container/Path Not Found:
xml_var1

An unknown error occurred:
XMLNode
Container/Path Not Found:
xml_var1


An unknown error occurred:
XMLNode
Container/Path Not Found:
xml_var1

An unknown error occurred:
XMLNode
Container/Path Not Found:
xml_var1

An unknown error occurred:
XMLNode
Container/Path Not Found:
xml_var1


An unknown error occurred:
XMLNode
Container/Path Not Found:
xml_var1

An unknown error occurred:
XMLNode
Container/Path Not Found:
xml_var1

An unknown error occurred:
XMLNode
Container/Path Not Found:
xml_var1


An unknown error occurred:
XMLNode
Container/Path Not Found:
xml_var1

An unknown error occurred:
XMLNode
Container/Path Not Found:
xml_var1

An unknown error occurred:
XMLNode
Container/Path Not Found:
xml_var1


An unknown error occurred:
XMLNode
Container/Path Not Found:
xml_var1

An unknown error occurred:
XMLNode
Container/Path Not Found:
xml_var1


63°F

63°F

59°F

59°F

59°F
NEWS STORIES

High School Program Unites Traditional, Special Education StudentsSubmitted: 04/01/2013
Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com


MINOCQUA - You might think of special education in schools as a group isolated from the rest of the student body.

But in Minocqua, thanks to a unique group, it's the exact opposite.

"Some people are nice to me, some people are not," says special education student Shawn Ravey.

For students in special education, fitting in at high school can be tough.

"I need someone to talk to," he says.

At Lakeland Union High School, Shawn and other special ed students have not only someone to talk to, but much more.

"They're completely just like us. We have friendships, and, maybe we don't hang out every weekend, but just seeing them that one class period makes your whole day. People are like, how do you do that, and I'm like, how do you not?" asks Natalie Sell.

It's called Circle of Friends.

If you look on the school's website, it's listed under Activities, like Forensics or Student Newspaper.

But, makes clear Special Education Instructor Carolyn Brusch, "we're not a club. We're not a project. People make friends in natural situations. It isn't episodic. It's daily."

Every day, high schoolers with a more traditional curriculum spend part of their day in Carolyn Brusch's special education room - with their friends.

"You feel like you're helping someone in their life. You feel like you're making them feel like they have somewhere to belong," says Lakeland senior RaChell Morenweiser.

There's no division here between "normal" and "special" students.

Instead, they just do what friends do, like play games, tell stories, work together on homework, maybe a few chores, and even hit the gym.

Over the decades, special education went from nonexistent in public schools to, later, a segregated area for a segregated group at a segregated time.

Brusch has seen the evolution during her 27 years at Lakeland.

"Nobody wanted to be special anymore. They wanted to be a part of the group. That's what I like about Circle of Friends," she says. "I think it's an acknowledgement that we really have more in common than we do different, and really all people belong together."

The idea only works because of the enthusiasm of what Brusch calls her TA's.

"My TA's are great. That's the beautiful part of it. I can use each part of their personalities, each of their strengths, and each of their talents."

Each one is in Brusch's room, with her students, every day.

"I go in there, and R.J. has a nickname for me. He calls me 'Gingy'. We have nicknames, we joke around, we have fun. It's really about the relationships that you build with each of them," says Kate Herzog.

For some TA's, the idea of Circle of Friends was something new.

"I would always see them, and they'd be like, 'oh, hey Missy!' So they would always come up to me. So I didn't know how to get involved, really," says Missy Johnson.

But now that she's in the circle, "I spend Wednesdays through Fridays, all afternoon in there."

"Being in high school, it's always about fitting in, and having your group of friends that you can relate with and hang out with, and do fun things with. I just thought it would be cool to do that with everyone in this room and make them feel like anyone else walking through the hallway," says RaChell.

But you see, RaChell might have a little closer connection than some of the other TA's.

"I personally know how it feels to be treated differently by other people just because of my appearance - with a wheelchair."

It's brought her closer to her friends in the circle.

"Some kids in here learn different ways, just like I get around."

The TA's definitely have a big impact on their special ed friends.

But don't think for a moment it only goes one way.

"I was thinking about graduating the other day, and I think I'm going to miss them the most out of anyone in this school, because they mean so much to us," says Natalie.

"I have students who were TA's that graduated who still will text me, or they'll Snapchat with R.J., or will do Facetime with Hannah," says Brusch.

"The feeling of belonging, just like any other high school student, they know, you know?" says RaChell.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS
Improvements on the way for this weekend's PotatoFestSubmitted: 08/28/2014

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Rhinelander's first-ever PotatoFest last year started as a charity fundraiser and way to recognize the potato's importance in our area.

After last year's success, the event will expand even more this weekend.

PotatoFest features a parade, eating and cooking contests, live music all day, and the YMCA Couch Potato Race.

+ Read More
Wisconsin faces $281 million budget shortfallSubmitted: 08/28/2014

MADISON - Wisconsin tax collections are more than $281 million short of estimates, a drop that could require the Legislature to take action to keep the budget in balance.

The state Department of Revenue on Thursday released the figures for the fiscal year that ended in June. Those figures show the state collected $281.2 million less than was anticipated by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau in January.

That is nearly 2 percent less than anticipated.

+ Read More
Free school meals for all Lac du Flambeau Public School students this yearSubmitted: 08/28/2014

Play Video

LAC DU FLAMBEAU - All students at the Lac du Flambeau Public School will get breakfast and lunch for free this year. A federal program will reimburse the school for all free meals given to students.

The program is called the Community Eligibility Provision. It's part of the 2010 Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act. Schools can participate in the Community Eligibility Provision if they have a high poverty rate.

90% of Lac du Flambeau Public School students already got free meals last year. 23 students needed to pay a reduced price and 25 needed to pay full price.

+ Read More
Kwik Trip opens in RhinelanderSubmitted: 08/28/2014

Play Video

RHINELANDER - You can find a new option for coffee, gas and groceries in the Northwoods.

Kwik Trip opened its doors in Rhinelander.

It's a family-owned gas station and convenience store chain out of LaCrosse.

There are 420 locations in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.

The newest location in Rhinelander will bring 30 jobs to the area.

+ Read More
Wisconsin mourning dove season to begin Sept. 1Submitted: 08/28/2014

MADISON - Wisconsin wildlife officials are reminding hunters that the state's new extended mourning dove season will begin next week.

Hunters will be allowed to kill the state's official peace symbol from Sept. 1 through Nov. 29. That's 20 days longer than previous seasons.

+ Read More
Tomahawk Public Library to close for a monthSubmitted: 08/28/2014

Play Video

TOMAHAWK - People living in the Tomahawk area will need to find another library for a while.

The Tomahawk Public Library will be closed for the month of September. No library materials will be due during the month of September.

The library will get a more than $80,000 facelift.

All carpeting will be replaced, and all walls will be repainted.

+ Read More
Headwaters Art League exhibit openSubmitted: 08/28/2014

Play Video

LAND O' LAKES - A local art league in Land O' Lakes will soon open their art exhibit to the public.

The Headwaters Art League will put on the exhibit at the Gateway Lodge on County Road B. A reception will be held from 4 to 6 pm on Friday. The group leaders want to use the event to promote communication between local artists.

"We hope to have a number of our artists participating in the show here," said Art League Founder Barbara Nehring. "Some to explain how they do their works and what inspires them."

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 




Click Here