More iPads, time changes highlight start of school year in Waukesha

Published on: 8/25/2014

As school begins, students will see technological and building changes, new school times and a few new names — most notably involving Les Paul — within the Waukesha School District.

The doors open on Tuesday, Sept. 2.

Students in the district began using iPads last year as part of the Waukesha One program, a district-wide initiative that incorporates technology to increase personalized learning and student achievement.

Students at Bethesda, Blair and Hillcrest elementary schools and Waukesha North High School were first to receive the Apple iPads, in fall 2013.

Students at Hawthorne Elementary, STEM Academy (elementary and middle school), as well as Butler and Central middle schools, received iPads in spring.

Superintendent Todd Gray said all schools will have iPads this year and will hold iPad rollouts as the school year progresses.

'Despite a few infrequent problems, they seem to be used for a number of different instructional applications,' Gray said. 'I expect each year of experience with these educational tools will bring more innovative uses and applications.'

New school times

Another change within the district this fall is with the start and end times for elementary and high schools.

In May, the School Board approved changes which will see high schools start school at 7:40 a.m., 20 minutes later than before. Gray previously said he's hoping by pushing back the start time that more students will utilize the 30-minute Academic Option period, a study-hall type option for students to voluntarily use at the beginning of the day.

Academic Option will now start for high school students at 7:40 a.m., with the schools' first hour beginning a half-hour after that. The end time for high schools, as a result, has been pushed back 15 minutes to 3:05 p.m.

The district's elementary schools will also now have 15 more minutes of instructional time each day.

Outside changes

Students at the former Central Middle School are also returning to a school with a new name: Les Paul Middle School - Central Campus.

The name honors Les Paul, the famous musician and inventor, who was born and is buried in Waukesha. Paul attended Central when it was called Waukesha Junior High and Waukesha High School.

Another noticeable change at the three Waukesha public high schools is new field turf at their football stadiums. The fields will be used for athletic teams, school clubs and organizations, physical education classes and other youth sports organizations in the community.

New staff

Students will see new leaders.

Heidi Williams is the new principal at Heyer Elementary. She comes to the district from the Kewaskum School District. Robert Blessington is Hadfield Elementary School's new principal. He was previously the assistant principal at Waukesha North High School. Chad Schraufnagel is replacing Blessington at North. He comes from the Hustisford School District in Dodge County.

Stephanie Blue is a new assistant principal at Waukesha South High School. She has been with the district for the last two years.

Joe Koch is the new assistant superintendent of student services. He comes from the Cedarburg School District.