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Stronger Together 2020

If you or your family are interested in purchasing Stronger Together merchandise, please do so at the below link. The Deadline is Monday June 1st, 2020.

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Parent Resources
Parent at home Resources Link

April 17, 2020

Dear Parents and Community Members,

On Thursday, Governor Evers extended the statewide “Safer At Home” mandate through May 26. As part of this order, he also mandated that all Public and Private Schools would remain closed through the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. While this news was not unexpected, there was a glimmer of hope in many that we would be able to reconvene for at least a couple of weeks in order to bring closure to the year. We now know that will not be a possibility. I understand how disappointing this is for our families, our students, and our staff.

You can expect that we will continue to provide services to our students and families as we have done for the past month or so. Your teachers will continue to provide instructional activities throughout the remainder of the school year. For most of our parents that will be through on-line instruction. For those who are not able to access the internet, we will continue to make other arrangements. We know the system is not perfect, we have and will continue to make modifications based upon the experiences and feedback of our families. We will continue to provide daily lunches on scheduled school days. If families would still like to sign up for lunches please contact our Food Service Director, Diana Hegge at dhegge@fallriver.k12.wi.us.

We know the finality of this decision will lead to questions, questions regarding grading, Graduation, and credits, among others. I want to assure you our staff has taken a position that students will be “held harmless” as a result of this pandemic. We also know of the magnitude of stress which many of our families are experiencing due to factors related to the pandemic, and it is our goal to be a source of stability and connectiveness as opposed to another source of angst. Our decisions moving forward will be guided by adhering to these conditions. Please recognize we cannot function in the capacity we traditionally would in all aspects, it will be different until we can return to business as usual. We will keep you informed of decisions impacting our students as they are developed.

One of our immediate concerns is how do we assure that we are able to recognize our Senior Class and give them the recognition, honor, and experience that is warranted for such a milestone of life. I would like you, our community members, our family members, our alumni, and our Senior Class members to weigh in. Certainly we have some ideas, but we welcome you to share your thoughts. If you wish to make a suggestion, please send to our High School Principal, Brian Zacho, at bzacho@fallriver.k12.wi.us during the next week or so.

As always, if you have questions or need assistance, please feel free to contact our teachers or the appropriate building principal at bzacho@fallriver.k12.wi.us or rverrier@fallriver.k12.wi.us. We are here to serve you.

Finally, please know how much we all need each other at this time. We need understanding, cooperation, flexibility, and most importantly mutual understanding that this is challenging for all of us. Our strength at such times, comes in the form of knowing that we are in this together and that we are here for each other. Keep safe, wash your hands, and take care of those in your homes and life.

Dennis Raabe

Interim District Administrator

April 16, 2020

Dear Community Members,

My time as serving as your District Administrator is much nearer the end than the beginning. I am so pleased to turn over the honor and duty of leading the Fall River School District to Dennis Birr, a local resident, experienced administrator, and a highly reputable individual.

One of the challenges I noted upon accepting the role as your District Administrator was that our District has been deficit spending for several years. This has been a primary concern of the Board and community members alike. While occasional deficit spending from time to time is common, deficit spending cannot be sustained over an extended period of time. As in your home finances, if you keep spending more money than you have resources, at some point you run out of money.

The largest impact upon a School District Budget is personnel. In order to reduce our deficit spending it was necessary to reduce the amount of staff that service our School District. At the School Board meeting in April, I recommended reduction strategies for the 2020-2021 School Year, which primarily consisted of staff reduction strategies. The total reductions to the budget as a result of these decisions is $271,000. The Board approved of the recommended reductions.

We have two openings for the 2020-2021 School Year, one in Kindergarten, the other in High School English, that we will fill internally as opposed to filling these positions with new teachers. We are asking our Technology Integration Specialist to accept the role as Kindergarten Teacher. This will result in the reassignment of some of her duties to other staff members. Likewise, by terminating the GEDO Program and reassigning some of the duties of current Middle and High School staff, we can fill the position of our High School English position without hiring a new staff member. These steps will result in the reduction of two staff members.

Other staffing adjustments include assigning the Elementary Principal to serve in the role of the Special Education Director and to eliminate our Business Manager position by assigning these responsibilities to our District Administrator. Mr. Birr is regarded as a school finance expert in the State and is highly qualified for this role. These steps will result in another reduction of a full-time staff member.

The District will provide support and training to all the staff who will be accepting new roles. We appreciate their flexibility and their willingness to serve in the capacity needed. We have every reason to believe that they will excel in their new roles. The District will continue to consider reductions as the opportunities arise and we are optimistic that we will be operating with a balanced budget in the near future.

We have a temporary opening on the School Board. Interested parties can provide a letter of interest which should include: where they reside in the District; their background, education, and experiences that will enhance their ability to be a member of the board; and a written statement of why they wish to be temporarily appointed to the Board. Letters should be sent to the Fall River School District Office, Attention: Keith Miller, School Board President, 150 Bradley Street, Fall River, WI 53932. Applicants will be interviewed at the May Board meeting and the replacement will be selected by a vote of the board.

Finally, as I write this letter, I am not optimistic that we will be returning to traditional school for the balance of this school year. We will soon have to make decisions on summer school, what graduation will look like, and a variety of answers to questions which are yet to be asked. Please know how hard our staff is working to address the needs of students and staff. Your support and understanding has been so important to us. Whatever the challenges ahead, we will overcome them by working together. This too shall pass, wash your hands, continue to care for your loved ones and those you live among.

Dennis Raabe, Interim District Administrator


March 30, 2020

Dear Parents and Community Members,

I hope this letter finds you each in good health and spirits. Paraphrasing some Billy Joel lyrics, “These are some times we will remember, but they will not last forever”.

We all want to know, “When will our children be going back to school?”. Nobody has the definitive answer to that question, but we know that given the recent extension of the social distancing decree that it will be no sooner than May. Is there a chance that students will not be back this school year? That is a distinct possibility. One model I viewed indicated that the apex for contracting the virus in Wisconsin may be on the 22nd of May. I hold out hope that we will be able to bring our students and staff together before the end of the year, but at this point there is uncertainty. What about Summer School? Summer School information will be shared, once we have more information on when schools can reopen. 

None of us have experienced the likes of this event in our lifetime (excluding a centenarian or two who lived through the 1918 Pandemic). Therefore, there is not a roadmap of how to proceed, including how we address some of the issues related to schools. I know there are questions. What will happen to graduation? How will credits be assigned? Will my child/children receive grades. I want to assure you that we are considering these issues and will have a plan moving forward. I also want to assure you that we will treat our young people with great fairness, empathy, and concern. Our intention is to not allow this world health event to harm our young people or their academic standing in any manner in which we retain control.

You will notice that our teachers at all levels will begin to phase from primarily enrichment activities to more core level instruction. Please know that while teachers may give feedback to students on their work, we will not be grading work in the traditional means. We have decided this based upon our knowledge that not all students have the same resources, availability of time, or availability of support as their peers.

Please recognize that as much as we want to normalize this period for our students, there are many factors out of our control. We may need to handle some aspects of the school, which are different than the past, and we only ask for your continual understanding that these are unordinary times.

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank all our staff for the exceptional efforts they are taking in continuing services to our District and Community. The food service program has and will continue to provide lunches for those who request it. Our custodians are being diligent in assuring a sterile environment and will begin projects that ordinarily would be completed during traditional school breaks. Our teachers have demonstrated persistence, creativity, collaboration, and flexibility of which I have not seen in my career. Our support staff, key office positions, and administration have all stepped up to assist when and where they are needed.

I know that these are trying times for parents and families. I know personally how difficult it is to be isolated from those who you love and care about. I would be very interested in knowing what any of you are doing that has helped you keep sane, or somewhat sane,  in this crazy environment, kept engaged during a time isolation, or brought a bit of  joy to you and yours. If you have ideas, please send them to me at draabe@fallriver.k12.wi.us

All the best, wash your hands, stay home, and remain positive.

Dennis Raabe, Interim District Administrator


Following are links you might find informative and helpful:

Columbia County Health Department Website

Wisconsin Department of Health Services Website

Center for Disease Control Website







2019 Annual Meeting Information

Data and Goals publication

2019-20 Annual Meeting

Budget Booklet (a couple images are from 2018-19)

2019-20 Budget Publication

Trees for Threes


The Fall River School District will be planting two new trees at the new Prairie Street Complex thanks to grant money from a new Milwaukee Bucks program.

The Bucks and American Transmission Company partnered this year on a program called "Trees for Threes." For every three pointer the Bucks make at the Fiserv Forum this year the program sponsors the planting of a new tree in Wisconsin. The Bucks made 573 three-pointers at home this year.

The Fall River School District applied for the grant and received money to buy two trees.  Congratulations!

****We are Live!!****
A live look of the ongoing Referendum construction on Prairie Street is available below:

Prairie Street Complex - Referendum Progress - Live link


The “Referendum Information” page is available on our District web-site  to keep our District stakeholders aware of progress, as well as opportunities to be involved in the process.  The most current information regarding bid packages and upcoming meetings are located there.

The Fall River School District Academic Standards notice and Educational Options Information is: Here

 

Thank you for your support of the Fall River School District!






 



 

Upcoming Events

Monday, March 16 -?????
*No School
*All Activities Cancelled

Thursday, May 28th
*Special School Board Meeting at 6:00 pm

Wednesday, June 24th

*School Board Meeting at 6:00 pm

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