Wausau School District returns to class Thursday

The district is continuing to use the "Leader in Me" curriculum
Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 1:05 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Students and staff at the Wausau School District returned to the classroom Wednesday.

The district’s superintendent said the new school year rings in many improvements for the district, since its referendum passed in April.

“We’ve been doing a lot of planning over the summer,” superintendent of the Wausau School District, Dr. Keith Hilts said. “We’re hoping to break ground on some school projects, and our new environmental learning center down at the school forest. Very excited about that.”

It will also includes communication improvements to get a better understanding of the community’s wants and needs with an app.

“We are going to be redoing our strategic plan, because that’s due to Sunset June of 2023. And so we want to start redeveloping that. And so, as you know, staff and families see opportunities, whether it’s in person online surveys, we hope that they’ll engage in that process,” he explained.

He said, learning will continue and grow, as before, with implemented programs, like “Leader in Me.”

“There isn’t a concerted effort in any particular area, students are just going to continue to experience that top notch instruction and assessment opportunities, as we always have.”

He said the district is in ‘pretty good shape’ starting off the school year as far as staffing goes. But, there are still openings.

“We just have very high quality, dedicated people, and they are dedicated to the kids, and establishing those relationships, and setting high expectations and helping them meet those expectations. So, so that’s what that’s why we are so focused on making sure we have the best quality people in our district.”

He also mentioned how the district has expanded on mental health services with a previous referendum that allowed the district to expand on its Pupil Services staff.

“We have more school counselors, and more school psychologists and social workers available in every school. So that’s one piece. And they’re very proactive, and they reach out to families and help offer supports there.”

And, with the expansion of what the district calls a Bridge Room, it’s seen fewer suspensions.

“We’ve had a huge reduction in the number of students suspensions, over the last few years. Take out the pandemic when students were in school, pre pandemic, and now it was it was more than a 20% reduction. And we think that is one piece of evidence that shows that our focus on Leader in Me and pupil services, and proactively teaching students these skills is really bearing some fruit at this point,” Hilts said.