EAGLE RIVER - The Northland Pines School District just got $300,000 in grants from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. One grant will help start a Montessori Learning Center for 4K through fourth graders. It's set to open in the fall of 2015, most likely in St. Germain. The district will spend this year planning and hiring staff.
"The kids have a little bit more freedom, and it's a lot more child-centered than you would see in a traditional approach. You might walk into a traditional classroom and see all the kids reading from a textbook or maybe learning the same math problem. Rarely, probably never, would you see that in a Montessori classroom," Eagle River Elementary and Northland Pines Middle School Principal Tony Duffek said of the Montessori model.
The district was one of only six in the state to get the planning grant, and it was the only one in the Northwoods.
"I think it speaks volumes about our school district about how innovative we are and how we're always, you know, I think a step ahead of the game and see what we can do to make sure we are serving the community the best we can," Duffek explained.
The district already has a charter school focused on project-based learning in Land O' Lakes. It's currently open to fifth through eighth graders.
The other grant the district received will help expand the program to include high school students.
"Every kid learns differently. Every family wants something for their child's education. We're confident that we meet kids' needs in the traditional setting in Northland Pines School District, but the reality is that there is a small percentage of students that really need a different learning environment for them to reach their maximum potential," Duffek added.
The district hopes to open the charter school to high schoolers within the next three to four years. It will start accepting applications for the Montessori Learning Center November 1st. Applications will be available on the school district's website closer to that time.
THREE LAKES - Plenty of Three Lakes High School students didn't know what they want to do for a career as of Friday morning. By Friday afternoon, many still weren't sure, but dozens got an inside look at possible careers.
The school held its annual Career Day on Friday morning. About 25 presenters included police, an FBI agent, college teachers, and graphic designers.
The school first held Career Day in 2009. Organizers hope students realize they have plenty of opportunities close to home.
RHINELANDER - A former contracted janitor accused of sexually assaulting a Rhinelander student appears headed for a trial.
Stavros Iliopoulos appeared in Oneida County Court on Friday afternoon. Attorneys told Judge Michael Bloom they had not reached a plea deal. Bloom decided to schedule one final pre-trial conference for late August before a two-day jury trial was set for Sept. 4 and 5.
In late November, police said Iliopoulos, 65, took a girl into a dark closet and hugged, kissed, and touched her inappropriately at Northwoods Community Elementary School, a public charter school in Harshaw.
Iliopoulos worked for a contracted company, Victory Janitorial, at the time.
LINCOLN CO. - The Lincoln Co. Sheriff's Office is calling a death east of Merrill on Thursday a homicide.
In a press release on Friday morning, the sheriff's office said a 77-year-old woman was found shot and killed around 8:30 a.m. on Thursday. In the same home, a 78-year-old man was found critically injured from a gunshot wound.
It happened at a home on Range Line Road in the Town of Pine River.
The sheriff's office said it believes the shooting is isolated and the public is not in danger.
The Lincoln Co. Sheriff's Office and Wisconsin Department of Justice Crime Lab worked to process the scene.
WOODRUFF - Shoveling snow can hurt your back. But some may not know that staring at all that snow can hurt your eyes.
The term albedo tells us the amount of light that's either absorbed into the ground or reflected back up. On days like Friday, the snow pack will really make it look brighter out and boost the albedo amount. That's hard on the eyes.
Dr. Kirby Redman is an Optometrist in Woodruff. He says there are simple ways to protect your eyes from the sun's damaging rays.
All sorts of animals are affected by icy conditions. Some Northern Wisconsin owls dive INTO the snow to hunt small rodents. But recent freezing rain has formed an ice crust that owls can't break through. That means owls are beginning to starve.
Amanda Schirmer has been working at the Northwoods Wilderness Center for the past four years. She says that owls may hang around birdfeeders to prey on smaller birds. They may also be seen near roads.
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