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

MADISON - Wisconsin elections officials are putting together a formal security plan in advance of next fall's election.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission plans to work together with federal, state and local elections officials on the plan to prevent any security breaches.

The move comes as federal investigators, and the Senate Judiciary Committee, investigate Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER -
You can check out thousands of books from the Rhinelander District Library, but you do need to return them.  Now, the library hopes you stop by to take and keep one of the most important documents in our nation's history.

The library is giving out free pocket copies of the Constitution this week.  Director Virginia Roberts started the program last year and ordered 100 more copies this year for Constitution Week, which started Sept. 17.

+ Read More

RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander facility helps people shake drug addictions, counsels families, and assists others in getting their lives back together after issues such as arrests for drunk driving.

The Human Service Center has seen a 36 percent increase in the number of people it's helped this year.

But financial changes could dramatically impact those services.

+ Read More

Play Video

PORTAGE COUNTY - A crash in Portage County this summer tore apart a family. On July 8, a repeat drunk driver crossed the centerline and hit a motorcycle in the Town of Alban.

Now, a memorial on Highway 49 stands in memory of 48-year-old Robert Korhonen.

+ Read More

Play Video

PHILLIPS - A good apple pie makes any Thanksgiving dinner better. So when people from the Aspirus Pleasant View Nursing Home decided they wanted to give back to the community, making apple pies seemed like a great way to do that. With the help of students from Phillips High School, they peeled, sliced, and sugared their way to a team effort.

+ Read More

MADISON - Republican legislators are circulating a bill aimed at ending the federal requirement to use reformulated gas in six southeastern Wisconsin counties.

The legislation asks President Donald Trump's administration to grant a reprieve from use of the specially formulated gas that reduces ozone pollution. The requirement was implemented in 1995 in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee, Washington, Racine and Kenosha counties. Supporters say the gas is no longer needed because of advancements in emission control equipment.

+ Read More

MADISON - Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is signing the nearly three-month late state budget into law, a move that will allow him to transition into re-election mode.

Walker planned to sign the budget Thursday afternoon at an elementary school in Neenah.

On Wednesday, he made public nearly 100 items he was striking from the $76 billion, two-year spending plan.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 





Click Here