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Students to Learn Dangers of Texting and Driving

Nearly 500 Middleton High School seniors will learn about the dangers of texting and driving and be encouraged to sign a pledge to never text behind the wheel during an event at the school on Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 8:40 a.m.

Middleton High School is teaming up with AT&T, AAA and the Wisconsin State Patrol in a public awareness campaign to urge the school’s students, and all Wisconsin drivers, that text messages can – and should – wait until after driving.

The school assembly will feature AAA’s distracted driving simulator, where seniors will have the chance to experience firsthand the dangers of texting and driving.  Students will also be shown an AT&T documentary called “The Last Text” that shares real stories about lives altered by someone’s decision to text and drive.

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Butler Brothers Earn Top Honors at District Spelling Bee

Two young brothers took home silver and gold from a recent spelling bee in the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District (MCPASD).

Colin Butler, an eighth-grader at Glacier Creek, won the District Spelling Bee, which took place at the Performing Arts Center.

More than 100 students competed in the bee, which lasted approximately three hours. The event is organized by the MCPASD advanced learning team. It is open to all elementary and middle school students in the district.

“We have some great spellers,” said Ruth Bachmeier, who attended most of the event and works in the district’s communications department.

The championship became a family affair as Graham Butler, Colin’s younger brother who is a fifth-grader at West Middleton, earned second place. Anders Burck, a sixth-grader at Kromrey, took third.

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MHS Students Win 60 DECA Medals

It was a record-setting day for the MHS DECA students at the District 3 Conference on Saturday, Jan. 12 in Sun Prairie.

Seventeen MHS students were named series champions, DECA adviser Bob Hutchison said. For comparison, five students were series champions a year ago. In all, 38 MHS students competed.

The students performed role plays based on scenarios they would encounter if they had a job in marketing. The students also took multiple choice tests to measure their knowledge on marketing and economic concepts.

Students won medals based on their performance on the tests and role plays. The judges gave medals to the top two students in each role play, while medals were given to the top 20 percent on tests.

The MHS series champions were:

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Clark Street Charter School Focuses on Project-Based Learning

When a lion cub stalks a fallen tree branch, it’s actually honing skills it will need to become an efficacious hunter. When two puppies wrestle, they are developing a physical vocabulary that will allow them to successfully interact in an adult canine hierarchy.

Anyone who has ever watched a nature documentary knows learning life skills doesn’t have to be drudgery.

The Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District’s new charter school is applying a related philosophy to people, specifically to students who struggle in a traditional high school classroom. It’s called “project-based” learning and it allows teenagers to research things about which they are passionate.

“You can’t force anyone to learn anything,” said Heather Messer, a National Board certified science educator and advisor at Clark Street Community School.  “But curiosity is one of the primary things that drives kids to learn, so our goal is to spark curiosity.”

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Students Practice Government In Action

The U.S. Congress could learn a thing or two from MHS students.

MHS students passed 10 of 15 bills that they voted upon during two legislative sessions held in December. The bills were part of the new semester-long U.S. Government and Politics class.  

The course was developed by a team of social studies teachers as part of the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District curriculum renewal process and has been three years in the making.  

“I was very pleased with the job the students did,’’ said David Piovanetti, one of the class instructors. “They took their roles as lawmakers seriously and acted professionally.’’

For three months, students studied the legislative process, researched issues and drafted their own bills. On Nov. 15, more than 300 students participated in the inaugural Hearing Day. The session simulated the U.S. legislative committee hearing process, Piovanetti said.

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Former Middleton High School Student Arrested in Mexico For 2010 Shooting

When authorities began tracking a Mexican national suspected of killing 19-year-old Antonio Perez, they didn’t know the fugitive’s whereabouts.

In fact, they weren’t even sure if the suspect, a Middleton High School student, was a teenager or a man in his early 20s. The person they sought also went by three names: Ivan Mateo-Lozenzo, Alberto Ramirez and Arain Gutierrez.

The two-and-a-half year investigation that followed culminated December 28 in the arrest of the individual now known as Arain Gutierrez. He was captured in Cancun, Mexico.

His real age is yet to be verified, according to authorities.

Gutierrez was awaiting extradition as of this newspaper’s press time, but the incident long ago prompted local school officials to reexamine how they verify the identities of their pupils. (A law enforcement agent familiar with the case said extradition of Gutierrez could take as long as a year.)

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MHS Students Work Hand in Hand With DNR Biologist, UW Grad Student

Several MHS biology students found out what it's like to work in the field last month.

Jeff Erickson and Dan Drangstveit took 18 students to the Sandhill Wildlife Center on Dec. 13 and 14 to work with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources biologist Dick Thiel and a University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate student.

The students explored research techniques used to study timberwolves, porcupines, and bison, Erickson said. They also studied the natural history of these animals. 

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Two School Board Races Will Be Contested

Five people have filed to run for three seats on the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District Board of Education.

Nomination papers and the Declaration of Candidacy had to be filed by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 2.

In Area I, incumbent Jim Greer, 5228 Scenic Ridge Trail, Middleton, will run against David Dahmen, 5621 Dahmen Dr., Waunakee.

In Area III, incumbent and BOE vice president Diane Hornung will run against Fred Zietz, 7734 Welcome Dr., Verona. In Area IV, incumbent and BOE president Ellen Lindgren will run unopposed.

Each year, three seats on the nine-member BOE are up for election. Citizens residing in the areas are eligible to run. The terms are for three years. The spring election will be held on April 2.

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Lt. Governor Visits West Middleton Students

During a visit to West Middleton Elementary School last week, Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch encouraged schools across Wisconsin to sign up for the STEP program and help ensure their students are prepared to respond to various emergencies and disasters, from tornadoes to floods to blizzards.

STEP (Student Tools for Emergency Planning) is a turn-key classroom curriculum for teachers to prepare 5th graders for various emergencies and disasters.

The program also shows students how to put together an emergency kit and develop an emergency plan with their families.

“When disaster strikes, it’s important that Wisconsin communities know how to respond and act quickly,” Kleefisch said. “The STEP program not only teaches students how to prepare for emergencies, but it also encourages them to share that information with their families. I encourage interested schools throughout the state to sign up for this program and help prepare their students for emergencies.”


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