By TRICIA HILL
When the new school year started last Tuesday, the Boscobel School District was in a difficult spot without both a District Administrator and a High School Principal. However, while the school board is still trying to fill those positions, they did welcome four new teachers to the District.
Three of the new teachers found themselves a home at the high school. Emily Blackbourn is the new Vocal Instructor. Blackbourn was born and raised in Fennimore and graduated with the class of 2005. She then went to Saint Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa for Vocal Performance and Public Relations/Marketing.
This will be Blackbourn’s first job as a Vocal Instructor. Prior to working at Boscobel she had worked for the last three years at Wisconsin Badger Camp. She then decided to go back to school to get her Music Education Degree.
“I have always loved music,” Blackbourn said. “I wanted to be a performer and move to Nashville to sing. However, life took a different turn for me and I decided I would rather teach.”
Blackbourn has lots of new things in store for her choir students this year. One thing they are currently working on is called ‘Solfege Tones,’ which means they will be using their hand signs to help them with pitch recognition.
“I really want to help the kids grow and experience new types of music and genres,” Blackbourn said. “The students have also expressed to me that they would like to earn a first in the Class A competition. This makes me happy because I have high expectations for them as well.”
Blackbourn is excited to show some of the progress she will be making with the students prior to their first concert, which will be held on Oct. 28 for 6th-12th grade.
“I encourage the community to come and see what we have been working on,” Blackbourn said.
The vocal room is not the only room that will be facing some changes this year. Thomas Battersby was hired on to take over as the Instrumental Director.
Battersby was born and raised in Kenosha, where he attended Bradford High School. After graduating he stuck close to his roots and attended Carthage College where he earned his degree in Music Education and Music Composition.
“I have always wanted to do some kind of music,” Battersby said.
This year Battersby plans to work with his students on getting a system of organization down in the band room as well as create an excitement for music in general and increase the students knowledge of music literacy as much as possible. Battersby is currently working with the students on getting back into marching band music. He plans to get the band on the football field during this school year.
“It has been done here in the past but has not been focused on very much recently,” Battersby said.
The band is currently working on their marching music and can be heard at any home football game. They will be having their first concert before Christmas on Dec. 1 for seventh and eighth grade students.
Melissa Sina grew up in Westby and graduated from Westby High. She then continued going to school at UW-La Crosse for her undergraduate, where she studied Sociology and Racial/Ethnic Relations with a minor in Anthropology. Sina continued on with her education at Viterbo University, where she studied social studies education.
Sina had been working at another school before coming to Boscobel, but was not in her content area and was only part time. Coming to Boscobel gave her the opportunity to work in her content area as a full time Social Studies teacher.
“Boscobel seems like a really nice small community for me,” Sina said.
Sina as a teacher is a believer in the facilitated learning method, which she has already brought into her classroom. This means that she is encouraging independent discovery with the students.
“Instead of the sit and get method, which I am sure many have heard of, I am letting the kids do independent research projects and come to their own conclusions,” Sina said.
She currently has the students wrapping up a project using that method. Sina has been able to pin point students who may struggle with her method because they need someone to help direct them.
“It is a work in progress, but I plan to keep working on it and giving them the tools they need to become independent learners,” Sina said.
Shawn Stone went to college in Wausau, where he attended North Central Technical College, and earned his two-year Associates degree. His education was focused on being an educational interpreter. He is licensed for a K-12 setting and is currently working online at Siena Heights to fullfill his four years of college to work within the community.
Stone took his first job in Prairie du Chien, where there were two girls from Africa who were deaf. It was challenging because they had no clue because in Africa if you’re deaf then you are kind of kicked to the curb, according to Stone. They were adopted by a family and brought to Prairie. However, the parents decided to move the girls to the Lancaster School District.
So Stone discovered there were postings for an interpreter in six different area schools and he decided to look into them. North Crawford had made a good offer to Stone, but the student he was going to be working with was possibly going to be moving and he sought a more permanent position.
He is currently working as an interpreter with a first grader who he plans to teach sign language to throughout the school year, so he can make the best use of Stone as an interpreter. So far Stone has loved working with the students and faculty in Boscobel and knows that he is going to like it in this community.
“They treat me as part of the staff and not an aide,” Stone said. “I don’t just stand there and work with one kid all day, I jump in as I am needed as well.”
With the new faculty in line, the Boscobel School District is looking forward to some wonderful changes within their classrooms for the 2014-15 school year, and hopefully many more to come.