The Sun Prairie School Board on April 12 stated its support for military families, Arab-American heritage and Hmong history by unanimously adopting proclamations.

With April being the Month of the Military Child, the board approved a proclamation urging the public to recognize military children and their families during the month of April. The proclamation notes Sun Prairie Area School District (SPASD) staff members “understand that military children regularly deal with the uncertainty about the well-being of their parents who participate in deployments in places near and far.”

The proclamation also points out that SPASD staffers “support the positive growth and development of the children of military members, with the knowledge that the success of children directly impacts the resiliency and readiness of the entire military family” and that SPASD supports for children of military families “helps the men and women in uniform successfully fulfill their mission of serving our state and nation.”

April is also Arab-American Heritage Month, as noted in the district proclamation. “Since migrating to the United States, men and women of Arab descent have shared their rich culture and traditions with neighbors and friends, while also leading as model citizens and public servants,” the proclamation reads.

The number of Wisconsinites who claim an Arab ancestry more than doubled since the Census first measured ethnic origins in 1980, and is among the fastest-growing Arab populations in the country, according to the proclamation, adding “the contributions from our Arab American students and families are a vital and vibrant part of our public school system.”

The proclamation states, “The Sun Prairie Area School District Board of Education, teachers, parents, and community members of the Sun Prairie Area School District are committed to a vision that ‘reflects the cultures of our diverse community’ and a mission to ‘inspire and prepare every child, every day, by providing relevant, engaging and innovative learning experiences in and out of the classroom’.”

Adding that the SPASD is committed to “keep safe, honor and love all of our children,” the document proclaims April 2021 to be Arab American Heritage Month.

The proclamation also strongly encourages “staff and community members to observe, recognize and celebrate the culture, heritage, and contributions of Arab Americans to our schools, communities, state, and country.”

Celebrating April as Hmong History Month in Wisconsin, the board proclamation points out Wisconsin is the home of nearly 50,000 Hmong people which is one-fifth of Hmong people living in the United States.

Many Hmong people living in Wisconsin came to the state as refugees seeking asylum after fighting alongside our soldiers during the Vietnam War, the proclamation states, adding “many Hmong people are part of our community here in Sun Prairie as our neighbors, family members, friends, co-workers, business owners, students, and veterans.”

The proclamation also states, “the involvement of our Hmong students and families has contributed to the rich and varied culture of our state and public school system,” and calls on SPASD staff and residents “to observe, recognize and celebrate the culture, heritage, and contributions of the Hmong people to our schools, communities, state, and country” by observing April as Hmong History Month.

New student board member OK’d

The Sun Prairie School Board welcomed Carson Schmoldt as the board’s second student representative, replacing Quinn Williams, who is leaving the board after two years serving as student board representative.

According to a situation report prepared by Board Member Carol Albright, the board approved Policy BDDJ, Student Representatives to the School Board on May 14, 2018, to include a junior and senior student representative on the school board, starting in July 2018 for the 2018-19 school year.

The board revised the procedure Procedure BDDJ-R, Student Representatives to the School Board Procedures on March 11, 2019 to start the student term at the same time in April as newly elected board members.

Sarah Rhoads, current junior student representative will continue to serve on the board for her senior year. An email was sent to all rising juniors inviting interested students to apply for the position via a Google application, including two letters of reference, with at least one from a Sun Prairie High School staff member.

The selection team of board members Albright, Bryn Horton, Dave Hoekstra, Quinn Williams and Rhoads brought in seven students for an interview. Williams and Rhoads joined Albright, Horton and Hoekstra for the interviews and final selection process.

Student representatives receive an honorarium of $600 paid at the end of each semester. Student representatives are not able to make motions, vote, hold office or attend closed sessions of the school board.

The committee recommended rising junior Carson Schmoldt to be the junior student representative to the School Board for 2021-22. Schmoldt is involved in several areas of the high school, including Future Business Leaders of America and as a member of the varsity soccer team.

“I’m very excited to be speaking with all of you,” Schmoldt said on the Zoom meeting when asked to speak.

Schmoldt will be sworn in for a two-year student term with reelected board member Horton and newly elected board member Alwyn Foster (each to be sworn in for three-year terms) during the board’s April 26 meeting.

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