RHINELANDER - The first day of school usually means a long day of new schedules and different expectations. But teachers at Rhinelander High School mixed it up this year.
Dozens of high schoolers running around a field doesn't look like a typical first day of school. That's exactly the point.
"We decided it would be a great way to ease the kids into the school year," said Allie Johnson, an English teacher. "[We can] get our expectations out, walk them through procedural changes that have happened, go over the rules, and also give them some time to bond."
Time to bond doesn't just mean catching up on what happened over the summer. Students did team-building exercises with their classmates. "We were working together to get across the line," said junior Morgan Blaser. "We all have to move at the same time, act at the same time, and react at the same time, and by doing this, that might help us build stronger relationships in the classroom, and help us learn how each other works."
Teachers hope the day will set the tone for the year. They're rolling out a second year of PBIS, or Positive Behavior Intervention Systems.
"The focus is on teaching good behavior and expectations," Johnson said. "So walking kids through these areas in school, teaching them the behaviors, hopefully will reinforce them, and then everyone gets the same message, the same expectation is out for everybody. So to start the school year this way will definitely have an effect in the hallways and in the classrooms."
Blaser says the school felt more like a family because of PBIS - and it helped the whole school behave a little better.
"Our focus last year was tardies, and tardies went down immensely. I think the number was 15 percent over the course of the year, and so it has had a great effect," Johnson said. "It's also affected the school climate. I think kids are much more positive. Kids are more respectful and responsible because those are our key values in PBIS."
VILAS COUNTY - People in Vilas County will see a new member of the Sheriff's Department.
His name is Helo, and he's the new K9 unit.
He's a year-and-a-half-old Belgian Malinois from Hungary.
Helo replaces Draco, the Vilas County K9 who retired in 2016.
Helo and his handler, Deputy Zac Stern, recently got back from a six-week long training program in North Carolina.
"Give him a command, they're all in Dutch, that way I'm the only one who's familiar with the commands," Stern said.
Helo will be with Deputy Zac Stern on all of his shifts. He also lives at home with Stern.
Helo is trained in drug detection and apprehension.
"They're able to do things a lot more efficiently than we can and a lot faster," Stern said. "Kind of referring to the tracking, whether it's a missing person or a criminal we're trying to track down, obviously he can do that a lot faster."
Deputy Stern says Helo is a very friendly dog, and if you see them out and about, don't be afraid to say hello.
PHILLIPS - Kids see plenty of pressure these days and that pressure can cause kids to turn to drugs.
However, the AM Vets POST 50 teamed up with Phillips Elementary fourth grade students to give kids a different type of stress relief.
Chloe Borchert was one of nearly 70 students who skipped school to fish on Solberg Lake Wednesday to enjoy the Hooked on Fishing Not on Drugs program.
"I hope to catch a lot of blue gills and croppies," said Chloe.
AM Vets Commander Douglas Rasmussen says this is the 10th year the AM Vets teamed up with the school. Every year the AM Vets purchase 100 fishing rods to give out to the Price County fourth grade students.
TOMAHAWK - Tomahawk High School seniors will say goodbye to their school in a couple of weeks. But not before they leave something behind.
A special group of students was selected to participate in the art show. Madison Krueger-Brown, Katie Vannatter, Hayley Strong and Ciarra Clifford have been committed to the arts during their high school careers.
On Wednesday they got a chance to showcase their work.
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