New staff, new beginnings

Welcome to Franklin High School

Ella Prince, Staff Writer

Franklin CUSD 1 has dedicated staff members that help all of the students achieve their goals in the best way possible. We have added some new members to our district that will continue this tradition.

One of the new staff members, JH English teacher Ms. Billick, is entering her first year teaching. She explained how she really wants to build relationships with all of the students, parents, and staff. “I think that building these relationships will help us all have a more outgoing and transparent relationship.” Billick went on to say that she was thrilled about getting to start off her career here. “I want students to get to know me, too! That’s just as important as me getting to know them. I want them to feel comfortable with me so we both understand the little things about each other!” All teachers are facing a particularly unique challenge this year with the onset of COVID-19.“With things like this, you just have to go with the punches and do what you can! Staying positive is the best way to overcome obstacles like this–especially for me.”

Ms. Burt is one of the JH/HS PE teachers as well as the JH keyboarding teacher. She graduated from Waverly High School. Burt has had a love for being active ever since she was young, so the PE position fits well for her. One aspect of Franklin that Burt loves is the smaller class. “When I was younger, I had small classes like Franklin, too. I think it just makes it easier for people to get to know each other better and I love that about teaching here at Franklin.” Ms. Burt mentioned some personal goals that she wants to accomplish this year. “I really want to get to know all of the students and make sure they’re coping with online learning as much as possible… I want to make sure they know they can come to me if they have any questions about anything and always communicate if they feel that I could be doing something better.” Burt student taught between three different towns: Franklin, Waverly, and New Berlin. “I loved New Berlin a lot. I coach high school softball over there with the PE teacher, Coach Roberts. It was a blast, but I also enjoyed seeing different styles  of teaching from PE teachers from all three schools I student taught at!” She also stated that COVID-19 has had an impact on everyone’s normal day-to-day activities, but getting into a routine has definitely helped Ms. Burt transition into teaching easier. “I am so excited to work here at Franklin and it’s going to be a very fun year!”

As our former school counselor Mr. Tabeek retired last year, our previous High School English teacher, Elise Black, is taking over his position while she finishes her masters in school counseling. Our high school English teacher position was filled by Ms. Whalen. Ms. Whalen explained that she is  excited about teaching here at Franklin. “I went to a bigger high school where there were like 300 kids in a graduating class. Here at Franklin it is more fun because I can get to know my students personally and help them in any way I can.” Whalen also explained how her student teaching helped her realize that she wanted to be in a smaller school district when she started her career. “I student taught at a place called Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. It helped me know where I wanted to teach. The students didn’t have very good relationships with teachers and weren’t as well-behaved as the ones here. I feel like they didn’t get as good of an education because their relationships weren’t very good. That’s why I really like teaching in a smaller district.” 

Nurse Gina Hamilton has been a registered nurse for many years. “Throughout my nursing career, I have had many opportunities to work and grow in many areas of nursing. In regards to school nursing, I have had 17 years of school nursing experiences.” She mentioned how she wants to do the best she can for the district. “I have several personal goals. Most importantly is identifying the specific needs of the district. In regards to disease prevention and health promotion, it will be important for me to assess where the district is so I can best identify the needs.” Hamilton mentioned how she feels it is important to follow all of the guidelines to the pandemic so we can help prevent the spread throughout our school. “Transition will be most effective for all if they have an understanding of the guidelines…I also feel that transition has been made easier because our administration planned very well for the return of the students and staff back to school. I am thankful to work in a district that prepared very well for the return back to school.”

Ms. Purdue, the new Pre-K teacher at East Grade, also mentioned that she loves working here. “I absolutely love the small town life and atmosphere.”  COVID-19 makes it difficult for everyone, however, Purdue explained, “I have tried to make this an easy transition by keeping our routine as normal as possible, keeping a positive attitude, and paying close attention to the social/emotional needs of my students. Obviously, ‘normal’ is a very loose term these days, but children are so resilient and adaptable, that it does feel like we’ve made a pretty smooth transition in Pre-K.”

This year will definitely be one to remember. Adding to our ‘Franklin Family’ is always exciting and we are beyond grateful for each and every one of our staff members. It is comforting to know the students and their families have good support systems throughout our school.