Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

Merrill Charter Serves Students StatewideSubmitted: 04/03/2013
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 - State superintendent candidate Lowell Holtz sent a campaign-focused email detailing his support among Republicans using his Whitnall Public School email address during a school day.

The email sent in May appears to be in violation of the state law prohibiting the use of government resources for campaign work.

The email was provided to The Associated Press by the liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now which received it through an open records request.

Holtz did not respond to a request for comment.

Former chief state elections administrator Kevin Kennedy says the email does break the law, but it's not likely to rise to the level of something warranting prosecution. Kennedy says it shows more of a lack of judgment than criminal act.

+ Read More

OCONOMOWOC - A Wisconsin couple is charged with child neglect and suffocation after police say they gagged and "hog-tied" a 12-year-old boy with duct tape while they went out to dinner in December.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the victim's mother and stepfather, of Oconomowoc, each face misdemeanor counts of child neglect and felony counts of suffocation as parties to the crime. The woman faces an additional charge.

+ Read More

RHINELANDER - The Oneida County woman accused of mistreating animals in her rescue won't go to court next week.

The Oneida County District Attorney's Office confirmed Friday morning that Stephanie Schneider's court appearance Monday has been pushed back.

Police seized 39 dogs from her "It Matters to One" animal rescue in Sugar Camp earlier this month.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - When it snows here in the Northwoods, we usually think about driving conditions and shoveling our driveways. But turns out dealing with the snow can mean both work and play.

If you're sick of digging out your car, try being Chuck Doemel.

"This year's been a really, really mild winter. I can only think of about seven times that we've had to plow and move the snow and move the cars around," said Doemel of Rhinelander Honda.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Movie fans will see if their favorite movie wins "Best Picture of the Year" at the Academy Awards on Sunday.
There are some big names nominated this year, but there are a few many people in the Northwoods have never seen.
Rouman Cinema is giving people a chance to catch up on movies that will be winning the big awards. 

The studios that produce the movies, decide what theatres get to show them and when.

A lot of it has to do with marketing and the demographics of the area.

Diverse movies like Moonlight and Fences often don't come to the are, until months after they're released.
George Rouman owns Rouman Cinema he says it's up to the studios, not him.

"People may or may not be into this type of thing but for those who are interested in really good, excellence quality performances, it's a great chance to get out here and see some of these movies and see what some of the buzz is about," said Rouman.

Rouman created a three week Oscar special where he'll be showing about 15 Oscar nominated films.

Rouman believes that people in the Northwoods have a right to see and know about movies featuring different cultures and people.

+ Read More

MERRILL - A school bus crashed after hitting a plow truck Friday morning.  It happened on U.S. Highway 51 near the County Highway K exit near Merrill around 11 a.m.

The State Patrol says the bus tried to pass a plow truck when it hit the plow. A Lincoln County Deputy on scene said the bus hit the plow's wing .  There were children on the bus at the time.  One child was treated for a minor injury, but troopers say everyone will be OK.

The children boarded a second bus to continue on their way.  The wrecked bus needed to be towed from the scene. The bus was labeled as a Lamers school bus. Newswatch 12 reached out to the Green Bay-based company for comment and further info, but the message was not returned.

+ Read More

Play Video

TOMAHAWK - Police departments often seize drugs, cash, and vehicles involved in crimes. Tomahawk uses up to $10,000 a year from those to fight crime. But a new bill could take that money away.

"You're handcuffing your police officers," said Tomahawk Police Chief Al Elvins.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 





Click Here