Every Family, Every Day
Connection Newsletter
November 2017
Spotlight on the Grow Your Own Program
One of Sun Prairie's recruitment strategies includes a program to help current non-certified staff earn their certification in hard to fill teaching areas. The district, in partnership with Edgewood College, has established a "Grow Your Own" Teacher Program to develop a diverse pipeline of teachers from the Sun Prairie School District community. The program, now  in it's 3rd year, has recently added three (3) additional participants, for a total of four (4) students.

"The Grow Your Own program helps us recruit, prepare and retain a greater number of teachers of color and male teachers interested in elementary education. The best human resources can be found within our own school com munity." the district's' Employee Relations Manager, Tracey Caradine says. "The district believes in the power of a diverse teaching workforce and recognizes that some of the best candidates can be found within our district."

Timothy Slekar, Dean of the School of Education at Edgewood College says that  "Working in partnership with school districts like Sun Prairie is part of the School of Education's mission.  The Grow Your Own partnership also helps Edgewood's School of Education continue to solidify its commitment to social justice and inclusion by working directly to help Sun Prairie diversify its teaching force and helping those future teachers focus on a justice model of inclusive educat ion".

The program is open to non-certified, full time school district support staff who already have a Bachelor degree and is interested in earning a teaching certification in o ne of the district's hard to fill areas (special education, science or math); Male employee interested in teaching elementary aged students; or bilingual employees interested in teaching English Language Learning students.

The district provides financial assistance and mentoring by a peer advisor along the way.  The student, the district and Edgewood College each pays 33% of the tuition to attend. The tuition is considered a loan from the district until the participant has become a teacher and worked in the capacity of a teacher for the district for three (3) years.

Current Grow Your Own participant Ronald Caito reflects on his experience, " I am thankful that the Sun Prairie School District and Edgewood College formed a partnership to provide an opportunity for expansion of diversity in the teaching population.  Although my journey has been arduous at times, I have grown as a thinker and have become more reflective. The support that I've received, not only from the district but also Creekside Elementary, has been instrumental in helping me to be successful in this program."

Like Ronald, all of the current participants are in the  2-year Advanced Certification Elementary (ACE) program at Edgewood College. If you have questions about the Grow Your Own program please contact Tracey Caradine at 608-834-6522.
MSAN Conference 

A group of Sun Prairie students attended the MSAN (Minority Student Achievement Network) National Conference in Ohio with approximately 250 other students from across the country. High School Assistant Principals Nicole Toepfer and Chad Whalley chaperoned the trip. There were so many opportunities for learning and growing inlcuding: 
  • Two keynote speakers: Jeff Johnson & Jamie Almanzan
  • Two college tours: Case Western University or Cleveland State University and Kent State University
  • A visit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - emphasizing the role of music in the social movement
  • MSAN's Got Talent - students sign up to show everyone what they've got (included spoken word, singing, dancing, rapping, beat boxing, etc.)
  • Action planning - intensive work creating an action plan for SPHS based on equity data
Here is what some of our students said about attending this conference:
"Going to the MSAN conference was a great experience in my opinion. I thought it was eye opening, especially when seeing how students my age are so passionate about making change in their schools and in the world." - Melody
"I had a blast especially seeing all these people who were different, beautiful, and leaders in the school community. I loved meeting them and telling others about Wisconsin and them telling me about where they live. I was also very happy to see that, these are people just like me who are basically fighting for the same thing and that just made me so happy. The experience was truly the best and will never be forgotten"  - Jamal
"What the experience meant to me was that here, everyone sees fighting for minorities as a losing battle.  Seeing all of the different races, sexualities and all of the people coming together gave me hope for change.  It was inspirational for me, it changed me, as a minority, I am not alone.  There are other people around the country going through what I am going through." - Destiny
District Radio Show
The District has a bi-weekly radio show on 103.5 called Homeroom, Superintendent Brad Saron gives an update about the district and also brings along a guest to introduce. This program is a great way to stay connected to the School District.  Homeroom is hosted by Sun Prairie Resident, Todd Milewski and is brought to you in partnership with the Sun Prairie Media Center.

You can listen to 103.5 live on Wednesday's at 10:30 am. If you are not able to catch the show live, visit the webpage to hear a program recording. An archive of the past 20 shows with a large variety of featured staff can be found on the webpage as well..

On October 18, 2017, the shows guests were Cardinal Heights and High School Youth Advocates, Curtrell Robinson and LaRon Ragsdale. Replay the show to learn what a Youth Advocate does and how they support student success.

On November 29, 2017: Meet Reggie McGee, our new Cardinal Heights Upper Middle School principal. Reggie transitioned from the High School this year to Cardinal Heights. He will tell us about all of the great things happening at Cardinal Heights this year so far and the great things we can expect.
Municipal Diversion Program

The Sun Prairie Police Department in conjunction with the School District are working together on a new initiative. This is a restorative justice initiative aimed at reducing formal charges and impacting racial disparities in the juvenile justice system. Here are some highlights of the program.

  • Used to address the school-to-prison pipeline, which is a pattern of criminalization of students that increases the likelihood of future contacts with law enforcement
  • Focuses on 12-16 year-olds who have committed a non-traffic related municipal ordinance violation
  • Alternative to traditional municipal court process; participation is voluntary
  • Prioritizes accountability and healing over traditional monetary punishment, and victims are consulted as to an appropriate plan
  • Participants must accept responsibility for their actions and follow through with an agreement to repair harm
  • Participants may be required to do community service, a letter of apology, restitution, written assignments, speaking with the victim, or getting a job
  • Participants have access to human services support such as mental health and AODA counseling
  • If program is successfully completed, citation is dismissed and there is no court record
  • Program is victim based, offender focused, and community driven; Repair the Victim, Repair the Offender, Repair the Community
AVID College Acceptance 

All of our AVID students have been working incredibly hard this semester during AVID tutorials to succeed in their classes.  Students have also been using AVID strategies in their classes, researching colleges, writing college essays as well as applying for college acceptance and scholarships.  Our Sun Prairie AVID students each have individual determination to succeed with the support of their AVID family.  The AVID District Director Kathy Enstad says, "I am incredibly proud of each and every student and to be a part of the Sun Prairie AVID family." Congratulations to just a few of our college accepted AVID students! #cardinalpride #AVIDproud

Shania with her acceptance letter from Alabama State University, a Historically Black University
Deseray with her acceptance letter to UW-Milwaukee

Out and About
Charmaine Burns and Superintendent Saron serving lunch at Northside Elementary.
PPA Students attending the Black Women's Wellness Day at the Alliant Energy Center

S tay Connected to the Sun Prairie Area School District
We invite you to engage with the School District and follow the success of our students and staff. Here are just a few ways to stay connected:

Help spread the word....we are seeking to diversify our workforce. View current employment opportunities here.