The Pecatonica Post - January 2024
Happy New Year. I cannot believe we are into the second semester of the 2023-24 school year!
I wanted to spend a little time this month talking about student achievement, particularly at our middle school and high school. Oftentimes it is difficult to truly understand how our students are performing when we look at a single report or test score. Nonetheless, it is important that we are transparent when it comes to how well our students are performing. So let’s take a look at some of the numbers.
As the numbers clearly show, Pecatonica middle school students are consistently performing at a higher level than their peers across the state. When we look at the percentage of secondary students scoring proficient or advanced in English/language arts, it has increased by 21% over the past two years. It is important to remember these tests are a miniscule snapshot of the learning that goes on daily in our buildings. There are so many factors that can play a role in how our students perform on these tests….sleep, hunger, stress, etc. Bottom line, great things are happening at Pecatonica, across all grade levels.
I am thrilled to share that we will be adding AP Statistics to our repertoire of Advanced Placement courses starting with the 2024-25 school year. Several other new courses are also in the works. We are striving to provide our high school students with as many opportunities as possible to explore future career options. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!
Quick construction update: The bidding process is now closed and the Core Planning Team will be reviewing those shortly. We are still anticipating breaking ground in April (assuming the frost is out of the ground). Construction of the new secure entrance at the middle school/high school will begin in June and wrap up in August, just in time for our students to return. We will post regular updates and pictures to our website once construction begins.
I want to conclude my message this month by thanking our communities for their endless support. It truly takes a village! Through your generosity, we have been able to wipe clean nearly $2,000 of negative lunch account balances. Through your donations we have also been
able to restock our Birthday Book Club which ensures every elementary student receives a brand new book on their birthday. Thank you…our Viking Nation is truly special!
Until next time, Dr. Dani Scott
The Pecatonica Post - December 2023
Welcome to December! I have three important topics to highlight this month.
First and foremost, I hope you can join us for our upcoming music programs. Our K-5th grade winter music program will be held on Friday, December 15th starting at 1:00 PM. While our middle school/high school winter concert and art show will be on display Wednesday, December 19th starting at 6:30 PM.
As we inch closer to the winter season, now is a good time to remind everyone of our school cancellation procedures due to inclement weather. Many factors are taken into consideration when making weather-related closure and cancellation decisions - the amount of snow predicted, for example, or the temperature of sustained wind-chills. We also take into consideration that we have students and staff driving on the roads perhaps when snow is falling or ice is predicted. The school district is also in contact with other districts, the bus company, the National Weather Service, and county emergency management to ensure that we make decisions that are in line with our guidelines.
Decisions to close school due to the weather are generally made by 6:15 AM.
It is critical that your contact information is up to date in our student information system so that you receive timely notifications. We will communicate closings and delays on our website, mobile app, Facebook page, through Infinite Campus Instant Messenger, as well as through WKOW, WISC-3, and NBC15. If you need to update your contact information, please contact your child’s school.
Lastly, our appreciation goes out to our parents, community, staff, bus company, and emergency personnel who keep our students safe every day. A team effort goes into keeping our students safe and nothing can be more stressful than fretting if we made the right call or not. Thank you for your understanding when we err on the side of caution. If you, as a parent, are not comfortable having your child attend school or a school event based on your assessment of the weather, please communicate that with the school office.
Secondly, I’d like to highlight some local resources that can help you or a loved one deal with the stress, sadness, loneliness, and/or other challenges that can arise this time of year. While many of us find the holidays a time of joy and celebration, others experience a completely different set of emotions. Some of the reasons for that can include stressful schedules, separation from loved ones, overwhelming financial obligations, and/or seasonal depression.
Warmlines are operated by peers, people with life experiences similar to yours. They listen without judgment and use their training and own experiences to help steer clear of a mental health crisis before it happens. They are available to talk to you at length about whatever is stressing, depressing or causing you anxiety. Warmlines are phone numbers that you can call to gain support, understanding, and provide early intervention with emotional support that can prevent a crisis. Please note: You may need to leave a message with your name and phone number to get a call back. More information and resources can be found at https://www.suicide-swwi.org/get-help-now.
● Uplift WI Warmline – 534-202-5438 (12pm-12am)
● Wisconsin Farmer Wellness Helpline: 888-901-2558 (24/7)
● Service Member, Veteran & Family (SMVF) Warmline: 262-336-9540 (24/7)
Until next time,
Dr. Dani Scott
The Pecatonica Post - November 2023
I cannot believe the first quarter of the 2023-24 school year has come and gone! The fall colors
decorate our landscapes, and we’ve even seen some dreaded snow fall from the sky. This time
of year I try to pause and take stock of all that I am thankful for. One thing that consistently tops
my list is being part of the Pecatonica Area School District! I recently shared my “State of the
District” address at our annual meeting and budget hearing. I’d like to take a moment and
reiterate some of the incredible things that are happening in our buildings.
First and foremost I’d like to highlight the academic achievement of our students. Yearly
(in the spring) our students in grades 3rd through 8th complete academic assessments that help serve as one measure that is part of a “report card” for public school districts across the state of Wisconsin. When we compare the achievement of our elementary and middle school students with other districts in our conference……well, I’ll let the numbers speak for themselves.
I don’t want to brag (ok maybe just a little), but Pecatonica students outperformed many of their
peers in larger, more affluent Madison area districts in English/language arts and/or math (Sun
Prairie, Verona, Waunakee, DeForest, etc).
We know that this is just one snapshot of the amazing things that happen in our
classrooms throughout the year. For example, our high school students are taking bold steps to
prepare for their futures. Last year we had over 70 students earn 293 college credits while still
attending PHS! We had high school students complete apprenticeships in banking/finance;
health sciences; architecture & construction (heavy equipment operator); auto technician; and
agriculture, food, & natural resources, in addition to earning Microsoft Industry Certifications. The list goes on and on!
For first quarter of the 2023-24 school year, 140 students in grades 6-12 earned high
honors (GPA of 3.5 or higher) and 49 students, grades 6-12, made honor roll (GPA of 3.0 to
3.49). This is 88% of our grade 6-12 student population! We also want to celebrate the 65
students in grades 4K-12 who had perfect attendance for the first quarter. Our students are truly amazing!
All of this is possible because of two things……1.) your unwavering support as our
families and community members, and 2.) the tireless dedication of our faculty and staff. It
definitely takes a village! Thank you for trusting us to provide a world class education. I promise
you, our commitment to our students is as strong today as ever. We cannot wait to see what the
Until next time,
Dr. Dani Scott
The Pecatonica Post - September 2023
The 2023-24 school year is off to an incredible start! Thank you for coming out and supporting all of our fall athletes. We are so proud of our extracurricular opportunities for our students. This month we would like to highlight perhaps some not so well known academic opportunities for our high school students.
The Youth Apprenticeship (YA) program at Pecatonica Area Schools gives current juniors and seniors the opportunity to explore a career path through paid, on-the-job training, with an experienced mentor. YA options for students are based on the availability of positions through our local businesses. In order to participate in the YA program, students must meet the following criteria: work a minimum of 450 hours per year in the field of study (with a qualified employer) and complete 180 hours (two semesters) of related coursework. To learn more about the YA program and what pathways qualify for a YA, please visit: https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/apprenticeship/ya/ If you are interested in hiring a youth apprentice or your child is interested in becoming a youth apprentice, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Pecatonica Area School District would like to thank the following businesses for being a part of our YA program during the current and/or last school year: Woodford State Bank, J&R Underground, Monroe Truck Equipment, Argyle Concrete, Hilliard Concrete, Corner Mart Tire & Auto, BeeHive Homes, and Little Woodland Preschool.
The second programs we would like to highlight is the Early College Credit Program (ECCP) and the Start College Now. ECCP allows students enrolled at Wisconsin public, charter, and private high schools to take up to 18 credits of college courses at a UW, private, or Tribal college located in Wisconsin (for high school and college credit or college credit only). Depending on the course, there may be no charge to the student’s family. Start College Now allows high school juniors and seniors, in good academic standing, the opportunity to take courses at a Wisconsin technical college at no cost to the student’s family.
Transportation to the college campus for classes under either of these programs are the responsibility of the student’s family. For more information regarding either of these programs please reach out to email@example.com. Students MUST submit their ECCP and/or SCN applications (no exceptions) to their school by:
- October 1st for spring courses
- February 1st for summer courses
- March 1st for fall courses
Until next time,
Dr. Dani Scott
The Pecatonica Post - August 2023
Thank you for taking the time to read our new monthly newsletter for the Pecatonica Area School District (PASD)! We will update the community on news and monthly happenings throughout the district.
We cannot believe the 2023-24 school year is almost upon us! We are thrilled to announce 3 new faculty members will be joining us at the high school. Please help me in welcoming Crista Hale who will be teaching math, Jana Helgeson who will be teaching science, and Ricky Hendrickson who will be teaching English. As a reminder our first day of school for grades K-12 is Wednesday, August 23rd, while our first day for 4K students will be Thursday, August 24th. We hope you can join us for our open houses: Elementary Open House August 17th 4:00-6:30 PM, Middle School/High School Open House August 21st 4:00-6:30 PM.
Pecatonica’s reputation as a small, rural district with world-class educational opportunities continues to grow. We are thrilled to be welcoming over 15 new students for this coming school year! Our fall extra curricular activities will be in full swing this month. JV and varsity football kick off on August 11th with a scrimmage at Iowa-Grant. Our volleyball players will hit the court on August 19th with a scrimmage at Juda High School. Boys and girls cross country will travel to Iowa Grant on August 26th for an invitational. Please come out and cheer on our Pecatonica athletes! As a reminder, all scholars in grades 4K-12 can attend home extra curricular activities for free.
We continue to make progress toward our construction projects. We are nearing the end of finalizing the floor plans for both the elementary and middle school/high school. The District anticipates going out for bids this winter, and new construction and renovations will start in April (or as soon as the frost is out of the ground). The District finalized the sale of its bonds in July. We are thrilled to report that we were able to secure a lower interest rate (4.05%) which will save the taxpayers of this community over 1.8 million dollars over the course of the 20 year loan. Please check our construction webpage for regular updates. https://www.pecatonica.k12.wi.us/page/referendum-project
Until next time,
Dr. Dani Scott