Pure Pride: School District of Green Lake

Student reading

An Environment of Excellence

For decades, people associated America’s small towns with one-room schoolhouses, and true to that image, the Green Lake School District is a one-roof schoolhouse. Proudly referred to as a public school that feels like a private school, students from four-year-old kindergarten through twelfth grade attend classes in the same building. Divided by separate wings, this convenient arrangement encourages a family-friendly community atmosphere focused on innovative education. In 2012, the Partnership for 21st Century recognized the school as one of its exemplars, a model for schools around the country. In 2014, Green Lake High School was selected to America’s Most Challenging High Schools list and ranked in the top 6 percent of Wisconsin’s high schools.

Smaller is Better

Research supports that with small, personalized class sizes in the lower grades, students benefit. The Green Lake School District goes above and beyond this to provide smaller classes throughout the entire education experience. Teacher-student ratio is the lowest in the area, allowing achievement to be closely monitored and personal attention to be provided.

4K–12 International Baccalaureate World School

With the challenges of a new world economy, Green Lake has chosen a progressive path. The school district is the first 4K–12 International Baccalaureate World School (IB) in Wisconsin. Green Lake High School is the state’s first all-IB high school. The school district is currently authorized to provide the Diploma Program (grades 11–12), the Middle Years Program (grades 7–10), and the Primary Years Program (grades 4K–6). These three programs combine to offer each student a well-rounded, internationally minded, and inquiry-based approach to learning.

What does IB offer? IB is for every student, and provides a style of learning that encourages thoughtful understanding of what is being studied. Expectations are high, and students enjoy a challenging approach that promotes critical thinking and reflection. Students no longer need to ask, “Why do I have to learn this?” Each lesson, at all levels, is clearly defined and made relevant to the world. Starting in second grade, a second language is taught and is required until tenth grade.

Enriched and Innovative

Along with quality academics, the curriculum emphasizes health and wellness, athletics, and the arts. While many districts are cutting noncore classes, Green Lake elementary students are taught by specialists in vocal music, band, art, computers, and have daily physical education.

At the middle and high school level, students are very involved. Seventy-five percent of students participate in a minimum of three extracurricular activities. The philosophy is that while in middle and high school, students should have the opportunity to play a sport if they wish. The performing arts are valued, and from fifth grade on students are given the opportunity to play an instrument and become members of the band or choir. Both the performing and visual arts have excellent participation rates and outstanding community support.

Hands-on learning takes place in technology education where students can learn marine technology or take pre-engineering courses from the Project Lead the Way program. One example of this is a team-taught project between math and technology education where the students learn math by building a boat.

Impressive Results

The adage “good things come in small packages” certainly holds true. The District had a state report card rating of “Exceeds Expectations.” Green Lake High School graduates are a measure of the success of the school district—85 percent of graduates continue on to higher education. Alumni have enrolled in undergraduate and graduate work at institutions, such as the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Marquette, Amherst, Cornell, Duke, Northwestern, University of Chicago, Stanford, and Purdue to name a few.

In a beautiful, serene lake environment, the Green Lake School District has distinguished itself by providing a world-class educational experience for its students.

For more information, call (920) 294-6411 or go to glsd.k12.wi.us .

Mary Allen is the district superintendent.