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Fraser Teachers of the Year
Fraser Teachers of the Year
Carol Lambert and Beth Reed were the 2018-19 recipients of the Fraser Teacher of the Year award.
  • Washburn students head to the School Forest to make Maple Syrup
    Washburn students head to the School Forest to make Maple Syrup
    By Hope McLeod
    WASHBURN – Most northerners know perfectly well what all those blue bags were dangling from the trunks of our local maple trees last month. But
    not everyone knows what to do with the contents – the hundreds of gallons of watery sap typically collected between the last two weeks of March and
    the first week of April. One savvy group of students, however, knows exactly what to do: the 4th
    Grade at Washburn Elementary School. For a third year in a row these students trundled up to the School Forest where they toggled between the
    school’s indoor log classroom to learn their ABC’s of maple syrup making and outdoors to the sugar bush to make their own.
    “Students learned every step of the process. They took part in the drilling, tapping and collecting of sap,” said Greta Kochevar, the district’s Green and
    Healthy School Instructor and WHS Family and Consumer Science teacher.
    Kochevar oversees this cross-curricular unit of study each year blending food science with Wisconsin history particularly syrup making traditions
    started by the region’s first tappers, the Annishinaabe, and later adopted by
    immigrant families moving to the area.This year Kochevar had an assistant, Jamie Zak, the school’s new Farm to School AmeriCorp Nutrition Educator.
    “My role was to prepare some lessons surrounding maple-tapping,” said Zak who led the charge on a three-day sojourn through the forest with 48 fourth
    On day one (April 2), students learned how to operate a drill and install taps in the chests of 13 maple trees. “I demonstrated the whole thing on a log in the outdoor classroom before we went out to the sugar bush,” explained Zak. On day two she shared the Ojibwe origin story, “Nanaboozhoo,” co-creator of the world sent to Earth to instruct the Ojibwe on all matters of cultural significance. His first task was to name the plants and animals, including maple trees: ziinzibaakwadwaatig.
    “We also talked about getting to know the makeup of the tree,” said Zak, for which they trekked down to the sugar bush to observe, take measurements
    and obtain bark rubbings.
    From this activity students deduced that the larger the tree (and the larger the canopy) the more sap they’ll get in their buckets. On day two they collected
    the first batch of sap, which they poured into a larger container that was delivered to Bob Gowdy, a volunteer in the community who later boiled it
    down to its amber essence. On day three they collected more sap and conducted sap and syrup tasting in the log classroom where they were introduced to the hydrometer. “We recorded the hydrometer, which measures the sap for sugar content,” Zak said. “This gives us an approximate ratio of how much sap it will take to get one gallon of sap.” On average 40 gallons of sap will yield one gallon of syrup (40:1), a reasonable amount to split between 48 students and their families should they tap that much – a pretty ambitious goal for just three days of tapping, however.
    On day four they got some help. Kochevar brought in the 2nd Grade and their teachers to collect sap. But even with their contribution, over the four days
    they only collected 14 gallons of sap, which boiled down to roughly 5.6 cups of syrup. Not a problem, Kochevar said, because it’s about process than
    volume. To complete “the process,” on April 10 Kochevar set up a portable burner and stainless steel pot in Lily Augustyn’s 4 th Grade classroom, where students gathered around to help with the final boil-down, which included dipping the hydrometer into the brew to record the final sugar content. “After it gets hot we’ll filter it and bottle it,” Kochevar explained. While waiting for the pot to boil, she showed a 10-minute film, “Ziigwan: Spring” on Ojibwe traditions (past and present), which includes maple syrup making and fishing.
    Though some of the students may already make syrup at home with their families, this project was different. Not only did students learn about the
    nutritional, economic and social value of this local resource they can tap for free they also learned how to make it themselves with their friends. They even developed some unique teamwork strategies. “I saw them carry sap buckets on a long 2 x 4 to our sap collection area,” recounted Kochevar who’s hoping her students will carry these Green and Healthy buckets of knowledge into the future making wise and healthy decisions on their own.

    In photo: Katharine Saari, Caitlyn Clapero and Ashli Burns- Fletcher, 4th Grade students from Washburn Elementary School collecting with maple syrup sap in the School Forest. (Photo by Hope McLeod)

2019 Washburn School District Retirees
2019 Washburn School District Retirees
Pictured from left to right: Board Treasurer Taylor Pearson, Board President Colleen Trumper, Nancy Washnieski, Ellen Avol-Law, Gayle Moore, Theresa Bailen, Board Vice President Angela Vasser and Board Clerk Max Lindsey. Nancy, Ellen, Gayle and Theresa retired from the school district at the end of this school year. We thank all of them for their years of dedication to our students.
District Goals
Developed when: District leadership retreat (August 16th, 2013)
Developed by: District Leadership Team

All students will achieve at or above grade level in Math and Reading or meet all of their annual goals in their Individual Education Plan.

We will increase student achievement and close the achievement gap in all areas.

We will graduate 100% of our students.

We will embrace the green and healthy school model and incorporate it into our school, curriculum, and culture.

We will review and update our curriculum to meet and exceed expectations mandated by the state while embracing our unique culture and history of Washburn.

We will design interventions during and after school for students who have not demonstrated learning as shown by the data.

We will design and provide additional learning opportunities for students who have demonstrated learning as shown by the data to deepen their understanding.