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NEWS STORIES

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: 01/28/2015

- Railroads across Wisconsin could start fining people who walk along railroad tracks. It's an effort to save lives after one of the most deadly years in the state's travel history. Eight people died in train-involved deaths in 2014. Newswatch 12's Karolina Buczek went to the Tomahawk Railway to find out why there are so many accidents and what can be done to stop them.

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- And find out about the "Snow Days Sweepstakes" put on by the Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce.

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

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Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announced the plans for the trail in 2012, and just this week, the trail got its name.

It will be called the Iron Belle Trail.

The Michigan DNR held a three-week trail naming contest this past fall.

It got nearly 9,000 entries.

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WASHINGTON, DC - The director of the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Tomah says he had already taken steps to address reports of overmedication of patients before federal officials announced a review of prescription practices at the Wisconsin facility.

Tomah VA director Mario DeSanctis says his staff began looking into the unusually high rate of opiate prescriptions in 2012. In an interview with the La Crosse Tribune (http://bit.ly/1BxJtoY ) this week, DeSanctis says steps to institute solutions to the problem have already been taken.

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MADISON - Update; 1/28 3:26pm

Gov. Scott Walker says he is not going to reconsider his decision to reject a new casino in Kenosha.

Walker commented Wednesday after a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, urged Walker to change his mind.

Walker reiterated that he believed approving the $800-million casino would put the state on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars in losses due to terms of a compact with the Forest County Potawatomi Tribe.

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CLARK COUNTY - Tuesday morning, we learned more about the men wanted to get to Alaska when their plane crashed in Clark County on Monday.

The crash happened near Owen, killing the pilot's father.

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CRANDON - A Crandon man will spend more than ten years in prison for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl last year.

34-year-old Gerald Schleisner found out his sentence Tuesday.

This was the second time Schleisner has been convicted of sexually assaulting a child.

He was convicted in 2007 in Milwaukee County.

Schleisner apologized to the victim in court Tuesday.

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