Tuesday, September 8, 2020 - 10:50 am
Five area organizations were selected as recipients of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards' Business Honor Roll award recipients from the District in 2020.
Biopharmaceutical Technology Center Institute/Promega, Eppstein Uhen Architects, Friends of Pheasant Branch Conservancy, KEVA Sports Center, and SPARK were nominated by District officials for the awards in August. The District learned in early September that all five would receive the honor.
Each business recently received a framed certificate and a pen-and-pencil set. They will also be recognized at the Board of Education virtual meeting on Monday, Nov. 16, Director of Communications Perry Hibner said.
"We very much value the partnerships we have with this year's recipients along with all of our prior award winners,'' he said. "The toughest part of this is every summer narrowing down which organizations to nominate because there are so many who do so much for our District. We are fortunate to have so many partners making a difference for our students and staff.''
The Biotechnology Youth Apprenticeship Program has included many MCPASD high school students, including five this past year, connecting them with other partners Genetic Visions-ST, Wisconsin Crop Innovation Center, and Lucigen. More than 300 Kromrey Middle School students participated in a bioluminescence genetic transformation field trip at the BTC Institute in May 2019. A week-long summer program is offered to high school students. There are also summer science programs for upper elementary and middle school students. The partnership with BTCI also includes a Biotechnology in the World of Medicine evening course for MCPASD high school juniors and seniors.
EUA was selected as an architectural firm in advance of the district’s 2018 referendum. EUA staff members provided guidance, drawings, and support and information to the community and were instrumental in the two referendum questions passing with more than 72% support. Since then, they have continued to coordinate regular meetings on the building projects and made sure we stay on or ahead of schedule with regards to designs needed. Pope Farm Elementary School was turned over to the district in July and is our seventh elementary school and first new once since 1996. It is a beautiful facility that takes advantage of much of the adjacent Pope Farm Conservancy. Middleton High School is currently in the first phase of a two-phase rebuilt and expansion. MHS will have the capacity for 3,000 students and will have the kind of collaboration spaces needed for 21st-century students and partnerships with our community.
"Thank you to the District for nominating Eppstein Uhen Architects and spotlighting the partnership we’ve built together,'' EUA engagement specialist Andy Lyons said. "The honor means, even more, knowing we were nominated by such a widely respected and award-winning District.''
FOPBC has a 25-year relationship with the district. In 2020, they sponsored a nature writing project for fifth-grade students at Kromrey and worked with the MHS Green-Ecology Team of students on a series of community events and the Organic Dinner fundraiser. In 2019, FOPBC facilitated an art-based collaboration involving Northside fourth-graders and senior citizens at Attic Angels. They also worked with CSCS students looking at district buildings and how to keep migrating birds from colliding with windows. For many years they have sponsored a photography contest with pictures from high school students being published in the FOPBC calendar. Since 2010, they have offered and paid for field trips by elementary students to the conservancy. They work with MHS biology classes annually to restore farmland into prairie.
"This has been a wonderful partnership over the last 25 years,'' FOPBC board member and retired MHS environmental science teacher Deb Weitzel said. "Outdoor education is extremely important both to the mental and physical well-being of students. And now with COVID, being outdoors as opposed to indoors is even more important.''
KEVA Sports Center and owner Eric Fritz have hosted fundraisers for the Middleton High School athletic department and allowed Kromrey Middle School students to use the facility for physical education classes when the school was rebuilt after the successful 2012 referendum. KEVA has made donations to the band, Choral Boosters breakfast, and multiple sports programs. The MHS girls soccer team uses their spaces for tryouts in the spring. KEVA assists the MHS transition program, helping high school students with cognitive disabilities to learn work skills. The facility has also been used for a cancer fundraiser by MHS students. KEVA was also a primary sponsor of the MCPASD Education Foundation’s annual appeal in 2019.
"We very much appreciate being nominated for this award,'' Fritz said. "It's always nice to recognized for our involvement with the District.''
SPARK is a parent-led group that provides support, education, and a social outlet for parents of a child or children with special needs. They host Teen Groups and a family picnic each year so students and families can connect. They promote inclusion by having presenters at Human Rights Week at Middleton High School. They host coffee talks for parents to connect and share experiences. They bring in experts on a monthly basis for evening presentations to families. They have used grants the past two years from the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities to increase awareness for more competitive integrated employment for district students and graduates with disabilities.
"This is fantastic news. We are so pleased the District nominated SPARK and we are honored to be recognized,'' said Kristin Voss, who helped found SPARK in 2016 along with Lisa Hellenbrand. "This has been such a positive partnership and one that we know has benefited students, families, and the community.''
It is the ninth year WASB has offered the program. This year a record 14 school districts nominated nearly 50 businesses.
MCPASD is the only district in the state to have 45 organizations recognized over the nine years of the program, which recognizes school districts and local businesses that have partnered to provide additional learning opportunities or support students, staff and their local communities.