Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

Merrill Charter Serves Students StatewideSubmitted: 04/03/2013
Merrill Charter Serves Students Statewide
Story By Lex Gray

MERRILL - As odd as it may sound, hundreds of kids are enrolled in the Merill School District without actually living anywhere near Merrill.

That's the new reality of virtual school.

Bridges Virtual Academy opened this year.

Administrator John Hagemeister expected about 100 kids to enroll. Instead, he got 500 from all over the state.

That's because Hagemeister's idea is unique. Before Bridges, he homeschooled his own kids.

He wanted to combine the freedom of homeschooling with the resources of public school.

The Reimer family of Arbor Vitae made the switch to Bridges this year.

"We do our schooling at home, but we're not technically homeschooling anymore," says Kathy Reimer.

As a homeschooler, Reimer wasn't allowed to take part in public school classes.

But Bridges Virtual Academy gives her more options.

"We did art lessons at the Campanile Center, piano lessons, and dance lessons for the girls," she said. "We probably could've provided one lesson for them, but this allows us to give them opportunities to do things we wouldn't normally be able to do."


John Hagemeister started the academy with more opportunities in mind.

"These are taxpayers and if you homeschool, they don't get anything in return. Some people like it that way, because there's no entanglement, there's no extras," he said. "But if there's a way we can partner, why shouldn't we try? They're taxpayers, they're community members, they're looking for some kind of educational service through us, so let's try and do it."

Taxpayers - including the Reimers - bought a computer for each of her kids. They also share an iPad and have access to teachers.

There is a trade-off for that support. As a homeschooler, Reimer didn't have to evaluate her kids at all. Now, she has to administer school and state tests.

But that doesn't bother her.

"The testing only confirms what I already know," she said. "Because you're homeschooling, you know your kids' strengths and you know your kids' weaknesses."

But beyond the testing, Reimer still gets to do things her way. That's different from most virtual schools.

"A typical virtual school is like taking this and putting it online, the brick and mortar and putting it online, and that's not what they're looking for," Hagemeister said. "They're looking for something that's flexible, time wise, curriculum wise."

"That opens up our ability to do things for our kids, and give them opportunities that we couldn't give them," Reimer said. "So that is a really great thing."

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





 IN OTHER NEWS

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Though the Packers lost against the Lions Sunday, some fans could see a silver lining.

Sunday was Quarterback Aaron Rodgers first game back after a collarbone injury caused him to miss the past seven games.

+ Read More

RHINELANDER - You'll need to pull your shovels out again in just a few days.

Lifting and tossing all that snow can take a serious toll on your back.

You should stretch and warm up before you head outside just like you would for any other workout.

Bending with your back is a bad habit a lot of people keep doing year after year.

That bad form can "snowball" into a bigger back problem.

"Sometimes it is just the repetition of doing it wrong that causes more of issue than just going out and doing it wrong once," says Dr. Grace Zuiker Nash at Hometown Chiropractic Center in Rhinelander.

Bad form can put 500 to 800 pounds of pressure on your lumbar spine.

That could result permanent upper and lower back problems.

+ Read More

CRESCENT - Some people decided to bring their snowmobiles and ATV's out on the ice a little too early this season.
One man had to recover two of those vehicles after they sunk in lakes.
Tom Quandt own Bull Dog Off Road Removal. He got his first recovery call of the season Saturday, and a second Sunday.
He says getting two calls in two days is abnormal and that it's too early to bring vehicles out on water.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Shop with a Cop allows community kids to get to know some first responders on a more personal level. 19 kids got the chance to do just that during this weekend's event.

The third graders are selected based on if they have a financial need, have good behavior in school, or if they have possibly met first responders in a serious situation before.

+ Read More

Play Video

TOMAHAWK - A dance group in Tomahawk gets a second opportunity to show thousands of people what small town dancers can do. The Tomahawk Dance Team will perform at the Liberty Bowl half time show in Memphis In two weeks.
"We get to go out with a bang," said 17- year- old dancer Emma Gane.
At the end of the year seniors Emma Gane and Morgan Dischen will walk away from the dance team that brought them together four years ago.

"It's emotional to think about how fast things have gone," said Dischen.
However, first they'll step on stage in front of more than 60 thousand people.
"It's taking girls from this small town and putting them on this national platform," said Tomahawk Dance Team Coach Marina Olson. 

On December 30 the 11 girls on the Tomahawk Dance team will perform during the Liberty Bowl Halftime Show in Memphis Tennessee.
"It's just going to be different from our everyday small town life," said first year dance team member Semra Marquardt.

+ Read More

Play Video

MERRILL - It only takes a couple seconds to drop in some spare change or a couple dollars into a Salvation Army Red Kettle during the holiday season. One person, in those couple seconds, managed to make a big impact on Merrill's Salvation Army with their donation.

"It was unbelievable," said Salvation Army bell ringer volunteer Denise Ziech.

Ziech had just heard the good news.

+ Read More

Play Video

MINOCQUA - Earlier this month, the Minocqua Fire Department celebrated the opening of its new fire station. 

Now, thanks to a Northwoods couple, the fire department has yet another thing to celebrate. 

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 





Click Here