West Middleton highlights engagement efforts

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West Middleton has been working on a number of efforts to engage its students and families since the start of the school year.

An after school program has been in the works since September and a pilot program began earlier this month. The school is offering arts and crafts two days a week and basketball two days a week. West Middleton is able to offer scholarships, after care and transportation home for students who live in the Elver Park area. Principal Katrina Krych said 15 students from the Elver Park area who haven't been able to participate in after-school activities previously are involved in this.

She also praised Rebecca Price of the City of Middleton Recreation Department and Rebecca Carlin and Meaghan Case of the Wisconsin Youth Company for their efforts.

Krych also announced that the District will provide funding to keep the after-school program running for up to 50 students a day, with at least half coming from the Elver Park area, for the rest of the school year.

She is also excited about efforts to build stronger relationships with families in the Elver Park area. The District has developed a K-12 Elver Park planning group that has met to plan community events and problem solve barriers to strong relationships. West Middleton has held one event at the Elver Park Neighborhood Center, and will also host a Reading Night there on Feb. 21. More events are planned for the spring.

In addition, Krych said the school has been fundraising to be able to support the needs of families, including transportation to and from school events. School staff have also been available to families at bus stops several times a month and make frequent home visits to connect with families and transport students to school on a daily basis, she said.

Finally, West Middleton has created a Parent Action Team that meets monthly to work on ways to improve the school.

Krych reported the efforts have resulted in improved student attendance at school, more communication and trust between school and the families and a stronger sense of community. 

"We still have more work to do, but we are headed in the right direction,'' she said.