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."
MADISON - The Legislature's finance committee has adopted Republican Gov. Scott Walker's plan to eliminate 80 positions within the state Department of Natural Resources, including more than half of the researchers in the agency's science bureau.
WHITE LAKE - Students in White Lake spent the day outside of the classroom learning about invasive species today. It was the 16th annual Spring Lake Day at White Lake. It's part of the year-round Adopt-A-Lake program that teaches students about waterway and environmental preservation.
"Being on White Lake and being in the Northwoods, aquatic invasive species education is extremely important," said Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator John Preuss. "And a good way to reach out to people is through our students and through our youth."
Elementary students from White Lake School learned about the different aquatic invasive species such as purple loosestrife, and Eurasian watermilfoil. They also learned how to prevent them from spreading.
"Those plants spread by fragmentation and boat traffic," said Preuss. "And just educating people so they know the right steps to take and the laws to prevent this plant from moving around. We have 15,000 lakes in Wisconsin; just a small percentage have an invasive species."
Students also learned about the spread of a tree killing bug called emerald ash bore.
MERRILL - A Merrill public safety center can now use a new patrol car for training. The Merrill Police Department donated one of their retired police cars to the Northcentral Technical College's Public Safety Center of Excellence. The donation marks the end of Crown Victoria police cars for the city.
"We've just retired our last Ford Crown Victoria," said Merrill Police Chief Ken Neff. "A couple of years ago, Ford stopped manufacturing the Crown Victoria as a fleet vehicle. For years we've had Crown Vics, but now we've gone to the Ford Taurus and the Ford Explorer."
VILAS COUNTY - A warming climate could have significant impacts on Northwoods streams. Warming streams, in turn, could put pressure on trout populations in those waterways.
"If we think about streams, it is changing, and that's going to potentially change what can live here and the habitats that are available," said Dr. Noah Lottig, an assistant scientist at the UW-Madison Trout Lake Research Station in Boulder Junction. "We've seen that across a whole range of things and a wide variety of studies."
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