My Heart Is Broken...

Rhinelander's first Charter school is closing

I'm proud to say I've served my community by being on the school board and I tell you what, there'd be no crime in the state if judges sentenced people to serve their term on one.  You can do nothing right.  That was the case last night in a very difficult committee meeting.  Here's the text of my news story today:

The Rhinelander School District’s Operations and Strategic Planning Committee voted last night to recommend to the full board not renewing the contract of the Northwoods Community Secondary School or NCSS after this school year.  The move has the support of the school’s governing council which has been dealing with falling enrollment among other things affecting the charter program.  Superintendent Kelli Jacobi said this is not a fiscal decision and affected teachers and support staff will be absorbed into the district while current students finding success with the project-based programs of NCSS will continue them.  Jacobi also said such programs are in the discussion phase of becoming part of the high school schedule.  Other middle and high school students will be assisted with the transition into other schools.  NCSS was a state and national award winning part of the district for many years and had many other Charter schools modeled after it.  Jacobi said this was a very difficult decision to make.  The school board acts on the proposal next week.  

I bring this up because I also served as the governing council president for two terms at NCSS and helped write the contract to keep the popular school running with an attentive group of peers and a staff second to none.  Times have changed as parents tend not to be as engaged anymore.  That was just one small reason for dissolving the Charter.  Kelli Jacobi was in on the ground floor of building this operation and has been an advocate of the project-based concept of learning.  This is a tough one to handle.  There are so many questions still surrounding charter schools, which shouldn't be.  These are talented, smart, creative kids that simply don't fit the factory mold of education. I've judged the projects, attended graduations and have witnessed first hand the success these students achieve in life.  I'm heartbroken to see it go...


- MM