Hodag Schools Foundation to receive ‘largest private donation ever’
By Eileen Persike
A pledge of over $500,000 by Dr. Lee Swank to the Hodag Schools Foundation was announced at Monday night’s School District of Rhinelander Board of Education meeting. Superintendent Kelli Jacobi read a statement by the foundation indicating the HSF has been working with Dr. Lee Swank regarding “the largest private donation to the foundation and the school district.”
Swank’s donation is reportedly being directed toward facilities to help lengthen shortened sports season, potentially to include an indoor multipurpose facility “so kids in the community can utilize a year-round space, especially during inclement weather.”
In the statement read by Jacobi, HSF wanted to “provide the great news tonight, thank Dr. Swank and the foundation, while providing a positive and exciting tone for the Christmas break and near future to hopefully gather more support and donations.”
The donation and a formal contract will be reviewed at the January school board meeting, when more information will be available.
School board approves new classes
Rhinelander High School students will have more classes to choose from next fall. The board of education approved adding 11 new classes in several subjects, including art, technical education, choral music, science, four in math and one elective.
“[These are] changes that we have been working on for some time to help work on missing pieces, gaps at the high school to ensure that all our students have the opportunity to be successful,” Jacobi said.
Instruction and Accountability Committee chair Judy Conlin said there will be no additional staffing needed for the additional classes. College Mathematics and Mathematical Reasoning are college-level classes which means students will get a college credit for taking the class at RHS. The district has two teachers who are approved to teach courses for Nicolet and a third is in the training process.
“It’s nice, we’re kind of balancing,” Conlin said. “We’ve had AP classes for years…and now we’re validating the college and technical side of it and another opportunity for the student to get transcriptive credit there.”
A leadership development class will also be offered in the fall as an elective. “It’s a way to encourage seniors who may need only one or two courses to be able to have something that will benefit them in terms of their academic career planning.”
Additional high school counselor
The board approved the hiring of a full time counselor at RHS to help with additional responsibilities placed on the staff.
“During financial constraints a decade ago, one of the counseling positions at the high school was eliminated and as more has been asked of them we realized we have got to ensure that we have staff that can handle all of this,” Jacobi said.
The district is required to have academic career planning, and the Youth Apprenticeship (YA) is expanding, Jacobi said, noting that with the state using the American College Testing (ACT) as the accountability document for the state report cards, “we thought this is a critical time to put this in place.”
Funding for the position is expected to be, in part, from building the YA program.