Graduation, prom discussed at Rhinelander school board meeting
By Eileen Persike
[Correction: Please note an earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the organization that provides scholarships for graduating RHS seniors. The correct organization is the Rhinelander Area Scholarship Foundation.]
End-of-year activities and events for School District of Rhinelander students were discussed at Monday’s school board meeting. Gov. Tony Evers recently canceled the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year, which created a domino effect for annual activities in Rhinelander.
“Even if the order is lifted May 26, schools are to remain closed through June,” Superintendent Kelli Jacobi said. “So that affects our summer school which I had already sort of planned for. If we can’t plan, hire staff and get started on summer school plans, we can’t hold a traditional summer school.”
Jacobi said she wants to continue with credit recovery classes which currently are offered for high school students, but the Department of Instruction (DPI) may also make it available to students as young as seventh grade. These make up classes would all be done remotely.
If schools should get an all clear from the governor, Jacobi said she would like to offer a 4K summer camp of sorts, saying “That is the most vulnerable age group coming into the fall.” The camp would likely take place the first two weeks in August for students who could attend.
Additionally, students in the driver’s education program will need to get their behind-the-wheel hours in before fall. Jacobi said there would be “sort of” a summer school program, “just not traditional in any way.” The board granted Jacobi the ability to make decisions for these end of year and summer events as they come up.
Student Council representative to the board, Thaddeus Heck, informed the board of some of the students’ ideas, including a virtual graduation.
“We had the idea where each senior would come to the gym…at separate times in April or May and get recorded getting their diplomas,” Heck said “Then maybe we could sketch together some type of video.” The video could be aired on local television or streamed, he added. Another idea was to have the graduation outside, with students six feet apart and wearing masks.
“We would also like you to consider postponing prom to later on in summer and also for the class trip as well,” Heck concluded.
Jacobi said the administration has been working together on ideas for graduation and prom because, “We want it to be special for them.”
- Rhinelander School District applied to the DPI to have school hour requirements waived, as the DPI is allowing, for this school year only.
- The end of the school year may be moved up to May 29 to allow for a plan for return of books, supplies and Chromebooks.
- Jacobi said they have found work for all staff during the school closure.
- The Rhinelander Area Scholarship Foundation is working on alternatives for the annual scholarship night, and plans for the National Honor Society induction are also in the works.