September 21, 2017
Sandhill Elementary School students greet each other in Italian on Wednesday morning as part of Responsive Classrooms, a research-based method that 'gives teachers concrete practices for ensuring a high-quality education.' All three Stoughton elementary schools have implemented Responsive Classrooms this year.
Responsive Classrooms underway at Stoughton elementary schools
In the morning, the students gather in a circle and go around the room greeting each other, sometimes even in a foreign language, before moving into an inclusion activity. One day for a kindergarten class, it might be asking each student whether he or she would rather be a ship or a plane, and why. Another day, for a third grade class, it might be playing a few rounds of "Who remembers?" centered on students' favorite foods.

A morning meeting can seem like a simple thing, but it sets the tone for the rest of the day and is part of a new program at all three Stoughton elementary schools called  Responsive Classrooms, a research-based method that "gives teachers concrete practices for ensuring a high-quality education," in part through strategies that help foster a sense of community inside classrooms.

After being piloted at several Stoughton classrooms last year, the Responsive Classrooms program is now in place at all elementary grades (kindergarten through fifth) this year. The strategies can vary across grade levels and classrooms, but a key element is forging relationships within the classroom.

Mindy Holverson, a Sandhill educational assistant who is involved with a classroom community that practices Responsive Classrooms, has seen that impact firsthand.

"This morning when I was filling up my water bottle, I noticed a little boy standing next to me looking up with a big smile on his face," Holverson wrote in a Wednesday email. "I was so excited because it was a little friend from [one of the classes] who normally doesn't talk much or when he does, it is a bit awkward. I said 'Hi buddy' to him and he got the biggest smile and I told him I would see him in a few minutes. He was very happy and waved as he was walking away. As I left him, I saw another friend from [the class] who came up and said 'Hi Mrs. Holverson' with a big smile... After my interactions this morning, I see that it (Responsive Classrooms) is working and I am happy to continue making connections."

Dozens of Stoughton educators underwent training in Responsive Classrooms over the summer. Independent research, according to the Responsive Classrooms website, "has found that the Responsive Classroom approach is associated with higher academic achievement in math and reading, improved school climate, and higher-quality instruction."

For more information about Responsive Classrooms, visit its website at 

Would you like to see a video of Responsive Classrooms in action? Visit the videos on our Facebook page to see a morning meeting in one of our third grade classes at Kegonsa.

SASD celebrates Homecoming
Congratulations to our our 2017 Homecoming Court (pictured on the right).
A reminder about some of the key events we have scheduled this weekend for Homecoming:

Friday, September 22
  • 2:30 p.m. Pep Rally at Stoughton High School
  • 4 p.m. Homecoming Parade (parade begins at in the Lincoln Avenue parking lot and ends in the Devonshire parking lot)
  • 4:30 p.m. Homecoming Tailgate (Devonshire parking lot)
  • 7 p.m. Homecoming Game vs. Oregon (the announcement of the Homecoming Court and coronation will take place at halftime)

Saturday, September 23
Homecoming Dance, with the theme "Escape to Egypt," at Stoughton High School

Middle, high school go 1:1 with Chromebooks 
Students in grades 6-12 have been issued District Chromebooks to start the 2017-18 school year.

The Chromebooks, part of a broader Digital Learning plan for the district that also includes a new K-12 digital citizenship curriculum, provide students' with access to online learning resources, online textbooks, assessments, apps like Google Classroom (a blending learning platform) and more. 

"The Stoughton Area School District is committed to preparing our students for the emerging world in which they will live," according to the program website. "This means we are devoted to planning and implementing personalized, research-based digital learning strategies so all students can achieve their full potential. Providing each student with a Chromebook is essential to support this initiative."

Kegonsa secures grant to expand outdoor classroom
Kegonsa has begun generating ideas for a $3,000 grant to expand its outdoor learning program.

The grant is from the Healthy Classrooms Foundation, a statewide nonprofit committed to improving the health of children throughout Wisconsin, said Kegonsa kindergarten teacher Angel Schroeder, who applied for the grant for the school.

Champion BMX biker, AGT contestant brings nifty moves, positive message to Fox
Fox Prairie students saw some cool bike moves and heard an  even cooler message from Matt Wilhelm on Monday (September 18). 

Wilhelm, a champion BMX biker and former semifinalist on America's Got Talent, spoke and performed at an all-school PBIS assembly. He talked about the importance of always trying your best, never giving up and standing up for each other. The kids loved it, and some teachers were good enough to let Wilhelm jump his bike over them for his final act!

Thank you to Fox Prairie Working for Kids for helping to bring Wilhelm to Fox.

Google Expeditions grows virtual learning opportunities 
Visit the United Kingdom to learn how a professional chef can find inspiration in nature for a high-protein sourdough bread.  All without leaving the classroom.

Students in Soughton High School's Culinary Arts 2 class were the first to use our district's new Google Expeditions kit this school year.

River Bluff students ramp up for literacy challenge
Many River Bluff Middle School students are taking the 40 Book Challenge. 

Under the challenge, students set a personal goal to each read  40 books within many different genres during the school year. The idea is  to explore many types of literature and to extend the experiences of the reader.

Tunable lighting partnership featured in video
Our friends from Stoughton Utilities and WPPI Energy put together this video about our partnership that piloted tunable lighting in Fox Prairie and Stoughton High School classrooms. Check it out!
Nominate an SASD educator for a Kohl Fellowship
The nomination period is now open for the annual Kohl Teacher Fellowship program, which recognizes Wisconsin educators.

"The Kohl Teacher Fellowship program recognizes and supports teaching excellence and innovation in the State of Wisconsin, USA," according to the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation, Inc. "Our goal is to support teachers in the pursuit of their unrealized goals for their classrooms or professional development."

Every year, 100 educators in Wisconsin are selected for Herb Kohl Fellowships. Those 100 recipients and their schools each receive a $6,000 grant. Nominations for the Fellowship will only be accepted using the online nomination form.  Nominations must be submitted by Friday, October 6, 2017.

For more information about the award, visit the Kohl Fellowship website  .

Shout out to Lunches for Vikings volunteers, organizers
We wanted to thank all of those who helped organize and staff the summertime Lunches for Vikings program!

This program provided free, nutritious lunches for students in need in the Stoughton Area School District and was a collaborative effort of the whole community, with our school district, city, youth center, faith communities and area businesses working together to meet the needs of our students. Meals were served from 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Monday through Friday at three sites: Fox Prairie Elementary School, Kegonsa Elementary School and Stoughton High School (near the baseball diamond on Jackson Street).

In a report to the Stoughton Area School Board on Monday, September 18, AnnMarie Oakland, one of the coordinators of the Lunches for Vikings program, reported that a total of 1,866 lunches were distributed across the three sites over a period of 59 days. An additional 150 lunches were donated at other sites during that period. Volunteers made sandwiches and assembled meals, took the lunches to the schools and served them to the students.

A big thank you again to those who helped organize and support Lunches for Vikings! The plan is for the program to be back next summer (2018).
Community volunteers sought to work with SHS students
Would you like to become involved in our schools and work with kids?

Stoughton High School is looking for community volunteers who are interested in sharing their time and/or talents with its students during the school's study hall period(s). During these periods, volunteers are needed to act as either mentors or academic coaches in subjects such as math, reading, social studies, etc. 

Volunteers will work under the guidance of SHS staff who supervise the study halls and will help our students strengthen critical learning and life skills.  Academic study hall periods go on throughout the school day at SHS, and we welcome whatever support volunteers can lend, whether that is for a full study hall (about 50 minutes) or less.


Contact Brad Ashmore, SHS Assistant Principal, at 877.5603 or  Brad.Ashmore@Stoughton.K12.WI.US, or Liz Hrodey, SHS Associate Principal, at  Liz.Hrodey@Stoughton.K12.WI.US or 877.5605 for more information.  Volunteers only need to bring their driver's license when they come to volunteer so they can be entered into Raptor, our computerized school visitor management system. Thank you for your support!
Community Connection
You can find out the latest activities and programs organized by local organizations and nonprofit groups by visiting our  Community Flyers page . You can also download some of the most recent flyers bundled into a single PDF file.

Reminder: Sixth grade orientation coming up
Sixth grade families are encouraged to attend the Sixth Grade Parent Orientation night that will be hosted by River Bluff Middle School from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, September 26.

The event is voluntary, but families who do attend can learn tips for helping their child navigate the middle years.
Our 2017 Summer EXCEL at a glance
Summer EXCEL is our summer program that offers both academic and enrichment classes to our students. Did you know this last summer's program had:
  • A total student enrollment of 655
  • A total of 74 staff
  • 37 Enrichment classes
  • 16 Academic classes

Watch for information about the 2018 session later this school year!

Video highlights Girls Make Electric Guitars workshop
Check out the video made by a Stoughton High School alumnus about the Girls Make Electric Guitars workshop that took place this summer!

Sandhill third-graders' dreams take flight
Sandhill third-graders spent the first week of school creating hopes and dreams for the year to get excited about learning and make a personal connection to what they will learn in school. Last week,  the students went outside to release those hopes and dreams that were attached to  balloons to
let the world know they are excited for their learning this year!

SHS wins WIAA Award of Excellence
Stoughton High School is one of 15 in the State of Wisconsin to receive an inaugural WIAA Award of Excellence for the 2016-17 school year.

The award recognizes efforts and achievements in the areas of sportsmanship, ethics, integrity, leadership and character.

Casey named 'Teacher of the Year'
Stoughton High School music educator Ryan Casey has been named "Teacher of the Year" by the Madison Area Music Association.

The association "supports youth music in the greater Madison area, and strengthens and engages the music community as a whole."  Congrats Mr. Casey on your award!
SHS Counseling organizes 'Kick-off to College'
Following its "Kick-Off to College" program on Sept. 6, t he Stoughton High School Counseling Department has compiled some great information for seniors who are considering attending college after graduation.