MINOCQUA - Lakeland Union High School offers amenities many larger districts don't have. The school's hard work and investment in their students is paying off in better graduation rates and grades, but one sore spot on their report card is truancy.
Last school year, one in three students was truant habitually. That number is unacceptable to Lakeland Principal Jim Bouché
"This is like a job. Being in high school, being in school is a person's job. And it prepares them for their later life, moving into the true real world situations… And when it comes to being on time, it's very important. Tardy or 'unexcused' is not something that's acceptable in the workforce," says Bouché.
Despite truancy Lakeland Union improved its failure rate- that's the number of classes failed- by 20 percent last semester.
The district has invested heavily in technology, and the goal of giving Lakeland students a competitive education compared to big cities.
One new concept, called "study labs" for different subjects, makes it impossible for kids to slip through the cracks.
"We don't call them 'study halls'," says Bouché, "We're working with our students with teachers in all of these labs. They're not hall monitors, or study hall monitors. They're being worked with, one-on-one in many cases, with teachers that are assigned to those different areas... Failure is not an option."
In the last 4 years Lakeland dropped their failure rate from 7.3% to 2.5% and improved their graduation rate from 83% to 95%.
Principal Bouche says their new plan for truancy involves working with the courts, parents and elementary schools to reestablish how important it is to show up for school.
MINOQUA - Students often create projects for class, but it isn't every day that students create projects for regional competitions. Many Northwoods students gathered in Minocqua to compete in a history day competition.
"This year's theme is called taking a stand in history," said Lakeland Union High School's Department Chair of Social Studies Mike Mestelle.
ST. GERMAIN - A school bus doesn't feature a lot of amenities. Seats, windows, and that's about it. But a company out of St. Germain thinks buses, and other big vehicles, make the perfect kitchens.
Caged Crow Fabrication is owned by Josh Romaker. HeÂ moved to the Northwoods about three years ago. Around the same time a woman in Madison approached him to help refurbish an old camper. He decided to make it into a food truck instead.
"We took on the challenge and that first build was featured on US Today and some magazines and our phone just started ringing. We've got them in Denver, Salt Lake City, New Jersey," said Romaker.
That was just the beginning for Romaker's company, Caged Crow Fabrication in St. Germain. They now specialize in food trucks of all kinds.
"If a customer wants a food truck that looks like a barn or a steam train or a school bus conversion, we really stick to the unique food truck builds," said Romaker.
The 1982 bus that Caged Crow Fabrication is working on now will be complete in a little over a month. The team made up of just a few workers has one rule- they never build the same thing twice. And they take their time.
"We have a sign on the wall here that says 'quality over quantity'. I think our reputation right now is really based on the attention to detail and I think we want to keep that up," said Romaker.
If you're interested in checking out more work from Caged Crow Fabrication, follow the link below.
MARATHON COUNTY - The suspect in a Wisconsin shooting spree that left four people dead has been identified, and court records show one of the victims was his wife's divorce lawyer.
A person close to the investigation identified the suspect Friday as 45-year old Nengmy Vang. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the person wasn't authorized to speak ahead of authorities officially identifying Vang.
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