Milwaukee Public Schools reps visit Northwoods fab labsSubmitted: 02/02/2017
Lane Kimble
Lane Kimble
News Director

Milwaukee Public Schools reps visit Northwoods fab labs
EAGLE RIVER - Sparks flew in front of Valencia Carthen's eyes, sparking inspiration to take back home.

"The first thing you learn as a brand new teacher is steal, steal, steal the best ideas," Carthen said.

The Milwaukee Washington High School principal was getting ready to unpack her school district's first fab lab equipment Friday. Thursday, she and 12 other Milwaukee Public Schools members checked out several Northwoods labs with 3D printers, laser engravers, and routers.

"I had a small idea, which I thought was a big idea, but just going on this tour... The sky's the limit for these kids," Carthen said.

The tour through Northland Pines, Three Lakes, and Florence happened after a conversation between State Representative Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma) and MPS Superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver. The two agreed small and big districts need to work together.

"A lot of times people think the rural schools just won't have access to different resources, but they've shown us what they can do with what they have," Dr. Driver said. "So, now my folks are going back and we're all thinking like, OK, we can do this."

State Representatives Rob Swearingen (R-Rhinelander), Jeff Mursau (R-Crivitz), and Felzkowski made a point of visiting Three Lakes. In 2014, it became the first K-12 district in the state to get a fab lab.

"This is where future education is heading," Three Lakes senior Jack Connelly said.

Connelly and his team showed off their creation to lawmakers and school representatives. They also explained their goal of forming a business.

"I have no doubt in my mind that any student is capable of replicating what we've done here," Connelly said. "The reason I know that is because I didn't think I could do this six months ago."

Since Three Lakes' successful launch two and a half years ago, about 150 school districts statewide have built or signed on to build fab labs. 

"We're can-do people," Felzkowski said of the Northwoods' leadership in starting fab labs.  "And maybe that's because we've had to be. We don't have everything at our fingertips. The challenge was put out there and we've risen to the challenge."

It's thanks largely to a 2015 law that offered districts $25,000 matching grants through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to buy equipment.

"It's not only going to help northern Wisconsin, but it's going to move education forward as a state," Rep. Felzkowski said. "So that a kid in Northland Pines, a kid in downtown Milwaukee, a kid in Brookfield all have the same opportunities and the same ability to learn and have that successful life."

Learning from the labs takes a strong curriculum, which is something Northland Pines is just working out in its first year with a lab.

"If we can come up with some good ideas from Milwaukee Public Schools, if they can come up with good ideas from us, it's definitely a success story," Pines Administrator Dr. Mike Richie said.

Valencia Carthen knows her district will face the same challenge, but one Milwaukee is ready to face thanks to some new ideas shared from the Northwoods.

"Sometimes the best ideas are in the rural areas, sometimes the best ideas are in the urban areas, but you have to learn how to share," Carthen said.

State Representatives Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) and Michael Schraa (R-Oshkosh) also joined the tour.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com


Play Video

MINOCQUA - A Minocqua store will stock up on more locally sourced food products this spring and summer season. The Wild Berry Market teamed up with a new community-supported agriculture group, or CSA.

The Lake Superior CSA combines local farmer products into vegetable, meat, and fruit boxes.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander man's wallet will soon get a lot fuller.

Paul Webster is one of the lucky players who won $50,000 playing Powerball from last week's drawing.

Webster bought his ticket at Wagner's Westside Shell in Rhinelander.

Shell Cashier Brenda Novak says she doesn't know Webster, but hopes to meet him soon.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Chilly temperatures and gray skies greeted people in the Northwoods on the first day of spring.

Despite the near freezing temperatures, a team of two wanted to give you a reason to smile Tuesday.

Hometown Chiropractic chiropractor Grace Nash stood along Highway 47 in Rhinelander with her coworker holding up green signs with positive messages like 'Smile it's contagious.'

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Looking back on his 28 years as airport director, Joe Brauer says he has a lot to be proud of. 

"When we got the disabled passenger lift, the non-motorized one, we were very, very proud of that," said Brauer, who's worked as the airport director for 28 years. He's also been in the airline business for 20 years. 

Now, the longtime Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport director will be passing things off to a familiar face. 

+ Read More

ARBOR VITAE - You won't want to wear your best clothes to one race in May.

Minocqua's Color Run Fundraiser is a 3K and 5K race for Arbor Vitae-Woodruff and MJ1 schools.

The race is one of the schools' biggest fundraisers for field trips, additional school supplies and equipment.

The Color Run raised almost $20,000 last year.

+ Read More

MADISON - The Wisconsin Senate has unanimously approved an $80 million juvenile justice overhaul plan that would close the troubled Lincoln Hills prison by 2021 and replace it with smaller regional facilities.

The Senate voted without any debate Tuesday to pass the plan, which largely mirrors what the Assembly unanimously approved last month.

+ Read More

Play Video

EAGLE RIVER - Jesse Kuczmarski always dreamed of owning his own body shop. His wife, Chantel, thought it would be neat to work with her husband.

Both now have what they want. The Kuczmarskis became the new owners of Accent Auto Body in Eagle River in October.

Jesse works on cars, while Chantel handles social media, taxes, and administration.

"The first day that we worked together, we looked at each other, and we just thought, wow, this is just so amazing to be able to work together," Chantel said. "It was so peaceful in the shop."

+ Read More
+ More General News

Click Here