During an average school year, the D.C. Everest Student Council —which advocates on behalf of students and represents their ideas, interests and concerns — would host a wide range of activities, participate in variety of community projects and host fundraising events. This, however, is no average school year. In light of current COVID-19 protocols, the DCE Student Council wondered: How can we best serve our fellow students? The student leaders brainstormed ideas, listened to student concerns and began examining the plausibility of creating a peer tutoring program. According to the council, they’ve “seen an increased need for academic support due to how COVID has impacted the learning environment.” The group researched peer tutoring programs at other schools and decided to launch Everest Elevates, a free peer tutoring program currently serving students at the DCE Senior High.
With the assistance of Student Council mentors Jenny Oosterhuis and Lisa Banks, both DCE School Counselors, the students outlined the Everest Elevates program and its goals and submitted a grant proposal to the D.C. Everest Area Education Foundation to fund the program. The Foundation board unanimously approved the grant.
According to the research the council conducted, “not only does tutoring help students academically, it also provides mentorship and relationship building opportunities for tutors and tutees, and a sense of community in the school because students are helping students.” Thus, the DCE Student Council designed the program to meet a variety of student needs and ensure equitable opportunities for all students.
Students interested in serving as tutors can choose to receive gift cards (to local gas stations and restaurants), monetary pay or volunteer. “We want to be sure that this opportunity is accessible to all students regardless of their work, home or academic responsibilities,” noted the council. For those in need of tutoring, the services are free. To ensure equity, the program is designed to provide tutoring for as many academic levels and subjects as possible, including Advanced Placement courses.
When the school year began, extracurricular and co-curricular student clubs were paused as district personnel and students worked together to find means of hosting these opportunities in accordance with COVID protocols. The D.C. Everest Senior High Key Club, whose mission is to build character and leadership skills through community service, developed service-learning project ideas that would help a COVID-impacted community.
Each year the Key Club assists elders and others in the community with autumn yard work. Luckily, they were able to provide this service again — helping at-risk and elderly adults by raking their yards.
In advance of the holidays, Key Club members created holiday cards for assisted living residents, hosted a Toys for Tots toy drive and crafted tie blankets for the Children’s Advocacy Center. The students created approximately 30 blankets during a three-week period, meeting in small, socially-distanced groups at the school or taking materials home with them to complete the blankets individually.
Megan Ackley, DCE special education teacher and Key Club advisor, and Julie Rice, DCE speech/language teacher and Key Club advisor, note they “have an amazing group of young adults and are very proud of the work they are doing. The Children's Advocacy Center serviced close to 300 children this year in our communities and were so very grateful to receive the blankets we delivered.” The Key Club, which currently has 40 active members and a student board of 5 members, is finalizing its spring community service projects and developing ideas for 2021.
Fourth grade students at Riverside Elementary joined First Lady Kathy Evers and Wisconsin Historical Society Education Coordinator Jenny Kalvaitis to celebrate the leading role Wisconsin women played in ratifying the 19th Amendment. One hundred years ago Congress voted in favor of the 19th Amendment, but in order to change the Constitution 36 states had to vote in favor of it. Wisconsin became the first state to do so.
Governor Tony Evers created the Committee to Celebrate the Centennial Anniversary of Wisconsin’s Ratification of the 19th Amendment. In partnership with the Department of Public Instruction and the Wisconsin Historical Committee, the Centennial Committee created educational toolkits and lesson plans for teachers that help them bring to life the movements that led to the ratification of the 19th Amendment.
First Lady Evers and Ms. Kalvaitis have been traveling the state sharing the stories of the diverse women in the suffrage movement and the challenges they faced in securing a woman’s right to vote. By sharing the personal experiences of the suffragettes, the committee hopes to demonstrate the importance of voting and inspire younger generations to vote.