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A different approach to the first day of schoolSubmitted: 09/03/2013
Story By Lex Gray


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."

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 01/24/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

Police departments across the U.S. are having problems recruiting officers, and North Central Wisconsin is no exception. Tonight we talk with local police departments to find out why fewer young people want to become police officers than in years past.

We talk to the Northland Pines School District Superintendent about a program that allows international students to get both a high school diploma and an associate's degree.

And we'll introduce you to a Langlade County couple who want to share their passion of sled dog racing with the community.

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

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APPLETON - Authorities say a man charged a decade ago in Wisconsin with trying to kill his girlfriend's unborn child has turned up in New York.

Sheriff's officials say the U.S. Border Patrol stopped a vehicle in Malone, New York Friday because of suspicious criminal activity. Manishkumar Patel was a passenger in the vehicle.

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EAGLE RIVER - In the next couple weeks, Gov. Scott Walker will release Wisconsin's budget for the next two years. Rep. Rob Swearingen (R-Rhinelander) and Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) thought it would be a perfect time to host listening sessions in a number of Northwoods communities. 

One of the sessions was at the Eagle River library Monday. Some people brought up the poor road conditions in the area. Tiffany says transportation funding is one of the items he will be looking at closely in the upcoming budget. 

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LAC DU FLAMBEAU - Neal McCoy doesn't take days off.  The 58-year-old country music star is in the middle of a months-long multi-state tour, which is something he's done for nearly 30 years.

But it's McCoy's daily tradition, which started one year ago, that's rejuvenated the patriotic front man more than any concert does.

"I haven't slept in for quite a while now," McCoy said with a laugh.  "I know, I'm leading this crusade, if you will."

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EAGLE RIVER - People stopped at the site of Eagle River's Ice Castle on Monday, cellphone cameras in hand. But unlike the previous week, they weren't taking pictures of the beautiful and iconic castle.

Instead, they were taking pictures of its demolition.

Warm winter weather made the Ice Castle's structure come apart--and made it a safety hazard.

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RHINELANDER - The YMCA of the Northwoods teamed up with LIVESTRONG to create a fitness program that supports
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YMCA wellness director Stephanie Ruckeim says it offers so much more than just physical strength.

"It's about trying to increase that muscle mass, increase their flexibility, their endurance and also work
on their self-esteem and self-confidence," says Ruckeim.

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MEDFORD - Mikayla Kelz grew up around politics. 

"When I was little my dad was actually a politician--just a local one, a district attorney," said Kelz. 

Seeing her dad work got Kelz interested in politics too.

"I remember going on the campaign trail with him and that just kind of sparked my interest," said Kelz.

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