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Institute for Learning Partnership

Category Archive: University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

Great Lake grant will boost Phuture Phoenix programs



GREEN BAY — The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Phuture Phoenix program has been awarded a one-year, $177,579 grant to expand and focus efforts to prepare disadvantaged middle and high school students in Northeastern Wisconsin for higher education.

Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation (Great Lakes) announced the award Monday, Feb 20. Through community investments, Great Lakes funds programs that foster workforce development and improve economic competitiveness by increasing the number of disadvantaged students who start and complete a postsecondary degree or certificate.

“This award not only demonstrates support for the mission of Phuture Phoenix, but more importantly it will allow us to increase and improve our efforts on behalf of young people in Northeastern Wisconsin,” said Phuture Phoenix Director Kim Desotell.

The grant will provide funds for a grant coordinator and 10 Phuture Phoenix Phellows, pre-service education majors who oversee more than 275 pre-service education students who tutor and mentor in 10 middle and high schools in the Green Bay area. It includes a significant research component to collect data and measure the program’s effectiveness.
The grant also provides for three ambitious pilot programs:

— Parent Training will provide programing to help parents prepare their child for college. It will focus upon the parents of minority, first-generation and other disadvantaged populations. Research shows that parent support is critical to student success in attaining post-secondary education.

— After School Academic Tutoring will be offered at Green Bay West High School for struggling students to help them maintain passing grades. The desired effect will be to provide “just in time” assistance so students don’t fall behind and into a pattern of hopelessness.

— ACT Preparation for disadvantaged students at Green Bay West High School will include mentoring and academic support to help guide students through test preparation activities. Students who are effectively prepared for college entrance exams perform better on these critical tests and enjoy more opportunity for postsecondary education.

“The Phuture Phoenix program’s focus on academic enrichment plays a crucial role in helping disadvantaged students prepare for — and succeed in — postsecondary education,” said Amy Kerwin, Great Lakes’ Chief Educational Opportunities Officer. “We are pleased to provide funding to support both the expansion of their services and the evaluation of the program’s impact on the students served.”

The Phuture Phoenix program began in 2002, originating from a conversation between Ginny Riopelle, a leader in the Green Bay community, and Cyndie Shepard, the wife of former UW-Green Bay Chancellor Bruce Shepard. Both were struck by the fact that many children from low-income families don’t believe higher education can be in their future. Shepard and Riopelle decided to bring fifth-graders to the campus to offer a first glimpse of college life.

From that beginning the Phuture Phoenix program has evolved steadily. Last year Phuture Phoenix welcomed its 10,000th fifth-grade visitor. A related Education course has been added to the UW-Green Bay curriculum and each student is required to perform 35 hours of tutoring/mentoring in the field. Also, Phuture Phoenix now has been replicated at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash., the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Silver Lake College in Manitowoc. Thanks to community generosity, there are now students attending UW-Green Bay on Phuture Phoenix scholarships.

While the Phuture Phoenix program has grown, so has the need. When Phuture Phoenix was initiated, about 30 percent of Green Bay students were receiving free-or reduced-price lunches. That number has almost doubled in the past decade. At West High School, where the three pilot programs will be implemented, 66 percent of the student body receives free-or reduced-price lunches.

“The success of Phuture Phoenix isn’t determined solely by how many students attend UW-Green Bay, but whether we can help young people growing up in challenging circumstances pursue their own post-secondary options,” Desotell said. “This grant will support our efforts to help students develop the tools and confidence to help themselves and pursue their dreams.”

Phuture Phoenix is a program within the Institute for Learning Partnership at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. For more information about Phuture Phoenix or the Institute for Learning Partnership, contact us at (920) 465-5555 or

Knowing that education has the power to change lives for the better, Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation and Affiliates helps millions of students pay for college and manage their student loans. Through Community Investments, Great Lakes funds programs that foster workforce development and improve economic competitiveness by increasing the number of disadvantaged students who start and complete a postsecondary degree or certificate. For additional information, visit


Phuture Phoenix participate in FAFSA event

Phuture Phoenix was among representatives who visited Green Bay West High School to help students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Here’s an article from the Green Bay Press-Gazette about the event

First Nations Studies is earning well-deserved attention


Tribal Elder Shirley Barber talks with students

 UW-Green Bay is helping current and future educators learn more about the history, culture, sovereignty and contemporary issues of American Indians, helping them learn so they can also teach.

Recently, the First Nations Studies program has earned the UW-System’s top award for diversity education, and some well-deserved attention from local media. Here are links to a recent story and video about First Nations Studies by the Green Bay Press-Gazette. And here’s something more from University Communications.

Some background: A Wisconsin law,  “Act 31” requires that K-12 students learn about federally recognized American Indian tribes and bands in Wisconsin. To help schools meet these requirements, the Center for First Nations Studies, under the direction of the Education program, was created. Additionally, UW-Green Bay offers students the opportunity to major or minor in First Nations Studies.

Its commitment to First Nations Studies was one of the reasons cited in naming UW-Green Bay’s Education program the top undergraduate program in the state by the UW System Board of Regents.

“We’re the only school in the UW System that requires pre-service teachers to complete a three-credit course in First Nations Studies,” said Prof. Lisa Poupart, who chairs the First Nations program, and co-chairs the First Nations Center with Prof. Tim Kaufman, Education program chair.

Poupart said this may be the only program in the nation that has four tribal Elders, from different regional tribes, who are part of the teaching staff. Each Elder is a scholar with considerable experience, and teaches in the tradition of First Nations oral teaching and learning. Students and practicing teachers gain a deeper knowledge of American Indian history and culture, and in turn are better prepared to teach students.

“It’s integral to the way we prepare successful educators,” said Kaufman. “It gives our pre-service teachers an advantage in more fully understanding this culture and the impact it has on teaching and learning.”

The First Nations Studies program is of interest to both American Indian and non-Indian students who wish to learn more about the traditional cultures and knowledge of indigenous people as well as the changes experienced by American Indian nations as a result of Euro-American contact.

The program offers a major and a minor. The minor strengthens numerous degrees including those in business, history, social work, etc.,  The degrees prepare students to live and work in an increasingly diverse community and also equip students with skills to work cooperatively and effectively with tribal governments and businesses.

Through the Center for First Nations Studies, UW-Green Bay Education students and faculty offer consultation and services to teachers and school districts regarding curriculum, materials and instructional methodology in American Indian studies.

For example, a recent day found Poupart in Madison, participating in an in-service program for middle school teachers. A few days’ earlier students from UW-Manitowoc visited UW-Green Bay to learn from Elder Shirley Barber.

The Center for First Nations Studies not only serves as an Act 31 resource center for professional and pre-service educators, it also has the mission of helping UW-Green Bay retain American Indian students, said Poupart.

While tribes and bands have their own history and traditions, there is a core set of values that extend across each —  respect, reciprocity, responsibility and relationships.

“It seems to me that more people are starting to appreciate the unique approach in using Elders and teaching,” Kaufman said. “The bottom line is these Elders are the highest authority and teachers in regards to knowledge about Native American culture. It’s encouraging that we’re seeing a buy-in to the (First Nations) programs from students to staff to faculty.”

Spending an afternoon with an Elder introduces students to forms of teaching different from a typical lecture hall that may hold 200 students. In fact, non-Indian students are sometimes uneasy in their first encounter with a tribal Elder, Poupart said. They worry they may inadvertently say something politically incorrect. But soon the apprehension evaporates and they can engage in honest education about Wisconsin’s First Nations.

Neither Poupart nor Kaufman is satisfied with the number of  University students with American Indian heritage (120), trailing UW-Madison (178) and UW-Milwaukee (141).  “We should have a number that reflects the proximity to the American Indian population. Sixty percent of Wisconsin’s American Indian population lies within 100 miles of Green Bay,” Poupart says. Kaufman sees an opportunity for growth.

“I think the work we’re doing through the center will have an impact on increasing the enrollment of Native American students in the University and Education program,” he said.

For more information call 920-465-2185 or visit

First Nations Studies wins Regents Diversity Award

Congratulations to our colleagues in First Nations Studies for winning the Regents Diversity Award. Click here to read a story about the Regents Award.

Sharing the good news of 2011

When our friends at University Communications began assessing the top 10 “good news” stories of 2011, they took notice of what’s happening in our neighborhood: Phuture Phoenix welcomes its 10,000th visitor, and UW-Green Bay’s Education program was named the best in the UW System. All it all, despite some rough patches, it was a good year. And we’ve got more “good news” on the horizon. Read more here.

Phuture Phoenix watch Phoenix rally for victory

Several hundred Phuture Phoenix students were welcomed at the Resch Center on Sat. Jan. 14. Here’s a slide show that was featured Inside.

Dick Schaal will retire from ILP directorship in May

 Veteran educator Richard Schaal has announced he will resign as director of the Institute for Learning Partnership at UW-Green Bay effective May 31. Schaal first joined the Institute in 2003 as coordinator of the Professional Development Certificate program. He accepted appointment as director in 2007, succeeding John Crubaugh.

The Institute brings together educators from area K-12 school districts, universities and colleges, along with business and community leaders, to improve learning for all students in pre-kindergarten through grade 16. Prior to joining UW-Green Bay, Schaal was a staff development trainer for the Green Bay Area Public Schools and a principal at Fort Howard, Red Smith and Baird schools.

We’ll have more to say about Dick and his contributions to education at the Institute and community as his retirement nears.

Prof. Arendt helps student survey schoolmates’ reading habits



Prof. Lucy Arendt (left), assisted teacher Terry Auger (center), and student Kayla Brumm (right), in surveying Red Smith student reading habits.

Collaboration between UW-Green Bay Associate Professor Lucy Arendt and eighth-grader Kayla Brumm just may help improve reading skills at Red Smith Elementary School in Green Bay.

Last spring Brumm was a seventh-grade student in Terry Auger’s Advanced Math/Science class, assigned to create a project for school’s annual Science Fair. She wanted to conduct a research survey that would examine the reading habits of students in grades 3 through 8.

Auger shared Brumm’s survey interest with UW-Green Bay Associate Professor Linda Tabers-Kwak (Education), who suggested they work with Arendt (Business Administration), an expert at crafting a survey.

“Mr. Auger helped me find a project that fit my interest and helped me get in touch with Prof. Arendt,” said Brumm. “Since I’ve never created a survey before, she helped me phrase my questions. She also helped me make it more easily accessible to the teachers and students by making it online.”

Professor Arendt and Brumm agreed to a format and Brumm began assembling her questions. Once the specific wording for each question was chosen, Arendt put the questionnaire online so it was accessible to students in school computer labs.

To encourage honest answers, students were allowed to submit their answers anonymously. Approximately 270 students completed the survey. The results were subsequently examined and Kayla prepared a power point presentation that involved graphs and text. The questions were: 

  1.     How many hours do you read every day?
  2.     Why do you like to read?
  3.     How much do you like to read?
  4.     Why don’t you like to read?
  5.     How many hours do you spend on extracurricular activities? Like show choir, sports, musical, etc.
  6.     What types of books you most enjoy reading?
  7.     When do you read the fastest? When it’s silent, mostly silent, noisy, or very noisy?
  8.     What grade are you in?
  9.     How old are you?
  10.     Are you a boy or a girl?

Arendt and Auger caution that the questions were tailored for current Red Smith students so it would be a mistake to generalize the results or try to extrapolate to another school. But for those associated with Red Smith School – students, family and staff – they do have meaning. And Arendt offered her thoughts on what the survey might show teachers:

“With the current group of students, there appear to be some differences in what interests boys vs. girls. Boys seem to prefer action-oriented books (e.g., sports, mystery), while girls appear to prefer character-oriented books (e.g., fantasy, books that tell people’s stories). That being said, not all boys are into sports, and not all girls are into fantasy!

“Appealing to what interests students, likely contributes to greater time on task. In other words, when kids are reading what they want to read, they are more likely to spend more time on reading. Teachers might focus on trying to identify books that cater to existing interests before asking kids to “stretch” and read outside their preferences. Try to hook new interests to existing interests. Otherwise, the kids might simply skip doing any required reading.

“Kids are very busy outside school. Much of that busy time is scheduled. Teachers need to encourage students’ interests in reading to the point where students and their parents make reading as much of a priority as sports, etc.

“Most of the kids would rather spend time doing sports or outdoor activities rather than read a book,” Brumm said. “Some kids do enjoy reading, whether it’s for facts or just for the fun of reading. For those kids who do like reading most would read a novel rather than a textbook.”

Her advice to parents or teachers who want to encourage student reading:  “I would tell them to find a book on a topic that the child or children are very interested in, that isn’t too easy or too hard to read. Make sure there are some pictures, but it doesn’t have to have so many where it seems like a picture book. Then go from book to book while slowly changing to a different topic and how hard or easy the book is.”

Auger plans to share the results of Brumm’s survey with fellow teachers.

“I thought Kayla’s project reflected her interest in what other students like to read, and why they choose to read as much or as little as they do,” Auger said. “It was a great example of a project initiated from the researcher’s intellectual curiosity.”

A more subtle but nonetheless important lesson is the value of collaboration between schools and the community – in this case, UW-Green Bay and Red Smith Elementary School.

“Sometimes to get the results you want you have to be prepared to reach outside of the building,” Auger said. “It’s a good example to our students that there are people in the community who can be very helpful to us.”

Celebrating the message of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In advance of the 17th annual Martin Luther King Jr. observance at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, the Nia Dancers appeared on WLUK-TV, channel 11. The community celebration will be Saturday, Jan. 14, from 10:30 a.m. to noon in the NWTC Student Center. The event is free and the public is invited to share in the celebration.

Yanke gets Press-Gazette nod for Whitney Radder Award

UW-Green Bay student Mark Yanke, who was presented with the Whitney Radder Phuture Phoenix Phenomenal Role Model Award for the fall semester, was featured in the Dec. 27 Green Bay Press-Gazette. Well done Mark!