Try 3 months for $3

There will be a new face in the iLEAD Charter School starting next school year.

The Mauston School Board approved the hiring of Jeffrey Heesch during its regular monthly meeting Monday, June 18. Heesch will teach business in the iLEAD Charter School and previously taught in the Pewaukee School District.

“He will take a position as a business teacher and it’s going to include some computer application certifications,” said Mauston High School Principal Jim Dillin. “One of the things in secondary schools is to give students opportunities for industry certifications. He’s going to create a mentorship program as well as do some different marketing opportunities for our iLEAD school.”

Dillin also touched upon Heesch’s existing ties to the Institute of Personalized Learning — which is a division of CESA 1 and has a stated goal “to launch and infuse a learner-centered framework for scaling personalized learning and nurturing powerful learners” — and the opportunities that could provide to the school district.

“His partnership with the Institute of Personalized Learning, which is at CESA 1 in the commons and is based in Milwaukee — it’s a partnership between entrepreneurs, businesses, universities and students — are going to allow iLEAD and MHS staff to develop some real relevant skills and also attack that opportunity gap that I’ve talked about a lot,” Dillin said.

Dillin, Mauston Police Chief Michael Zilisch and Superintendent Christine Weymouth also discussed with the board the ramifications of a school safety grant the district recently received. The Mauston School District was awarded a grant totaling $188,275 through the Wisconsin Department of Justice School Safety Grant program to go toward building safety improvements and safety training for faculty and staff members. Twenty Wisconsin schools received grants amounting in a combined total of $1,382,045.

The district already has budgeted grant money for safety improvements including active shooter response training, an improved visitor screening system at schools and medical kits for every classroom in the district. Grant money could also go toward improvements such as updated two-way radios, installing shatter-resistant film on select windows and remodeling entrances at Olson Middle School and Grayside Elementary School, where visitors have easy access to the full building without going to an office first.

“The biggest way to understand it is when you walk into Grayside, once they buzz you in the door, you’re basically in the school. There’s no restriction, you can just walk right into the commons, down the classroom wings and right into the gym,” Dillin said. “This is looking at putting up another barrier between the students and staff and the front office, so that person can’t wander right into the school. Same thing with OMS.”

The board recognized three students who were honored with Jerry Awards for their performances in last fall’s production of Seussical the Musical. Senior Ryan Williams, eighth grader Allison Lavold and sixth grader Hannah Rattunde were all honored by the Jerry Awards, formerly known as the Tommy Awards, which recognizes performances from high school theater productions across Wisconsin. As honorees, Williams, Lavold and Rattunde performed at the Jerry Awards Show at the Overture Center in Madison earlier this month.

Also at the meeting, the board recognized the retirements of Randy Myers, custodian for 31.5 years in the school district, and Julie Lankey-Smallwood, who spent the last 13 years as the district’s business manager.