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Sun Prairie students head back to the classroom

Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 11:20 AM CDT
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SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. (WMTV) - While many southern Wisconsin students are savoring their remaining days of summer, learners in Sun Prairie are already back in the classroom.

Monday was the first day of school for the Sun Prairie Area School District, which received an exemption to start school prior to September 1st.

“That’s going to give us the ability to end school early in May so that we have next summer, a little bit longer time period to finish construction of Sun Prairie West High School,” said Nick Reichoff, Director of Student Policy & School Operations.

Sun Prairie West High School will become the third high school option for Sun Prairie students, with two comprehensive high schools and an alternative high school. The current high school will be renamed to Sun Prairie East High School next year.

This will also allow administrators to reconfigure which grades attend which schools within the district in the 2022-2023 school year. Middle schools will now be grades 6, 7 & 8 instead of just 6 & 7. 9th grader students will then attend high school.

The high school also welcomed a new principal on Monday. Renee Coleman said her goals include making sure students are supported and feel a sense of unity.

“We want them to feel like their relationships with our staff and other students are being restored and that we’re really taking that time to inspire them to be their best self. We’re going to really focus on being successful and rewarding that success,” said Principal Coleman.

127 of the district’s 8,500+ students chose to attend school virtually this year. There is no hybrid option this year, so students are either full-time virtual or full-time in-person.

Masks are required for all students and staff throughout the district, no matter their vaccination status.

Sun Prairie High School Senior Sarah Rhoads walked into Sun Prairie High School for the first time since March of 2020. She learned virtually all last year and is ready to interact with her peers face-to-face again.

“It was so hard having that disconnect with like group projects and conversations, so I’m really looking forward to having meaningful work with my peers and getting just to see them again in person,” said Rhoads.

Rhoads is member of the school choir and said after a year of practicing solo and meeting via zoom, she’s excited to harmonize again.

“I’m really looking forward to having that experience as it should be in-person, all together,” said Rhoads.

In a similar position is Sun Prairie High School Junior, Carson Schmoldt. He’s ready to reignite the bond with his soccer, FBLA, and DECA teammates.

“For soccer we had a shortened season in the spring, but it was nothing like a traditional season so I’m definitely glad to be back on the pitch with all of my teammates. I’m also glad to be back in FBLA and DECA in-person because we had online competitions last year, but we’re hoping to be back in-person for this school year,” said Schmoldt.

Monday was Schmoldt’s first time walking into Sun Prairie High School, since his sophomore year was entirely virtual and the year prior, he attended Cardinal Heights Upper Middle School.

While virtual learning presented new challenges, it also gave him a newfound sense of accountability in his own academic performance.

“I think going into this year we’re going to take the lessons we’ve learned from online school and just use them to make it for a great year in-person,” said Schmoldt.

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