Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Super Girl!

Monica Keel’s quest for inspiring girls to be their best self began more than thirteen years ago.  While she was in college, Ms. Keel  volunteered at a weekend summit called Sister-to-Sister.  She participated in the summit for two years while at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater campus.  The vitalizing program was designed to help middle-school-aged girls learn strategies for building healthy relationships.  

When Ms. Keel left UW-Whitewater and began her teaching career, the experience she had at the Sister-to-Sister summits left her with the deep-seeded knowledge of the power of inspiring girls to live their lives as authentic, remarkable young women.  While teaching, Ms. Keel kept on the lookout for a program similar to the Sister-to-Sister Summit that she could incorporate into a possible summer-school course for girls.

Thirteen years later, Ms. Keel, who is currently teaching kindergarten at Wilson Elementary School, saw the founder for a non-profit organization called Super Girls on the news.  The founder, who is a Wisconsin native, explained that the Super Girl program is structured around six-core principles.  Each principle is further developed into ten lesson plans and provides a focused program that involves skits, role playing, discussions about real-life experiences, conversations around cyber-bullying, true understandings around bullying, positive relationships, and leadership.

Ms. Keel contacted the organization and attended one of their training sessions in May of 2014, which made her a Super-Girl Facilitator.  In 2015,  Ms. Keel held her first Super-Girl sessions in three different elementary schools in Beaver Dam as an after-school class.  She has also held Super-Girl sessions over the summer at the Seippel Homestead.

Ms. Keel currently offers Super-Girl sessions to Beaver Dam 4th and 5th grade elementary students, as well as a Beaver Dam Middle School group offered to 6th-grade girls.  The curriculum of the program is modified to span 2nd grade through 11th grade, and Ms. Keel would like to eventually offer enough sessions that all 5th-grade girls would be able to participate.  Ms. Keel emphasizes that “Strong, healthy girls is a goal we all share — parents, educators, and community members.”  

If you would like to learn more about the Super Girl Program, or would like to find out how you can help support and grow this program, please contact Ms. Keel at

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Kindness at Lincoln School

Teaching students is both an honor and a privilege.  Helping students reach their academic potential and watching them grow is one of the most exciting things that can happen in a school.  Ask any teacher, and they will tell you there is nothing better than being a part of student success.  As educators, we value academics.  We also value the way we treat one another.  Caring and kindness matters.  

The staff and students at Lincoln School display caring in many ways.  In October, one of our crossing guards was injured while helping our students cross the street safely.  Students and staff donated money toward a  get-well gift to let her know we were thinking of her.  Students made her cards and wrote letters to let her know that we cared about her. We also celebrated our grandparents in October by having them join their grandchild for lunch.  The students loved eating with their grandparents and showed appreciation for them.  In November, Lincoln School participated in the district-wide food drive, and the amount of food collected was nothing short of amazing.  Prior to Christmas break, the staff at Lincoln School raised money to help a family in need.  Our gift was in knowing we helped make someone’s Christmas special.  In January, we showed our crossing guards that we care about them by having students deliver special treats everyday,  and we also invited them to have lunch at school on a day of their choice.  We value  the special people who are a part of our students’ lives.

Now we are joining efforts with our PTO to make caring a priority in the month of February.  Spearheaded by Jessica Michael of the PTO, the staff and students at Lincoln School are going to focus on how we can care for one another.  At the beginning of the month, we will provide the students with a calendar that provides many different ways students can exemplify caring in their school, at home, and in their community.  The ideas presented do not need to happen in any particular order, nor are they required.  The hope is that students will realize their acts of kindness positively affects the receivers of their goodwill and will then entice the students to continue their caring behaviors.  The students will have the opportunity to share their good deeds with their classmates and teacher throughout the days and month.  The teachers will provide opportunities for students to share how it made them feel when they showed someone else that they cared for them.  

Lincoln School will also celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Week, February 16-19.  Throughout that week, there are special activities for students in which to participate.  The week is another opportunity for students to show people they care by participating in the following opportunities: collecting canned goods, having a special dress-up day, and participating in a dollar-hat day with donations going to the American Family Children’s Hospital Cancer Fund.  As parents and teachers, we hope that students will remember how it feels to treat others with kindness and caring.