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
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 07/20/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We'll take you live to Wausau where a traveling wall honoring Vietnam veterans is being displayed.

Northwoods State Senator Tom Tiffany today rolled out a set of bills he's calling the "Homeowners' Bill of Rights." He tells us why the bill is important.

And we show you a camp in St. Germain where autistic children can step away and enjoy life with their families.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

+ Read More

MANITOWISH WATERS - St. Patrick's Day won't be back on our calendars for a while. But that doesn't mean you can't get your Irish on.

Craig Van Ark, owner of Ye-Ole Shillelagh in Manitowish Waters is hosting a three-day long Irish Fest with some of the best Irish musicians around.

"They're die-hard Irish people, so I said, 'Well, if you guys want to come up and do it, we'll put it together, and here we are," Van Ark said.

+ Read More

ST. GERMAIN - Families dealing with autism face different challenges. Some parents travel hours to bring their kids to a camp in St. Germain. The camp gives children and their families an opportunity to step away from their daily stresses.

+ Read More

Play Video

SCHOFIELD - How do you calm and comfort a child who just escaped a house fire?  It's a challenge firefighters face often.

A Wisconsin-based program may have an answer.

"Reach a Child" donated six backpacks full of books to the Riverside Fire District in Schofield on Thursday morning.  Firefighters can hand out the books to children at the scene of emergencies.

+ Read More

EAGLE RIVER - On Thursday, the Wisconsin Department of Tourism awarded the Eagle River Area Chamber of Commerce a Joint Effort Marketing grant.

Chamber Executive Director Kim Emerson says she was thrilled the Chamber received the $5,000 check to promote the third annual SepTimber Ride.

"We needed more marketing dollars. Dollars to showcase the event to audiences that have not seen the event," said Emerson.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Mike Webster Stadium at Rhinelander High School will host another sports season in just a few weeks. Fans and players know rain is never fun to play in. But this year, it's even more important to have a dry season. The drainage system under the field has to be redone. The school district approved plans on Monday night to do just that.

+ Read More

RHINELANDER - Food pantries all over the country help to build hunger-free communities.

One Northwoods food pantry is celebrating a huge milestone it reached earlier this month.

The Rhinelander Area Food Pantry has distributed more than 5 million pounds of food in its 12 years of operation.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 





Click Here