Please register all your children for the new school year!
Here is the link to Skyward’s Family Access.
Here is a link to videos and resources for getting the most out of your Family Access portal.
Online registration directions to print
At Black River Falls High School, we offer a wide variety of educational opportunities for all students. For our college-bound students, we are able to offer Advanced Placement (AP) coursework which allows students in high school to learn college-level material and then have an opportunity to take a national test to earn college credit for mastery of their subject matter.
For a smaller rural school, we offer 6 different AP courses, including:
- AP Psychology,
- AP US History,
- AP Biology,
- AP English Literature and Composition,
- AP Calculus, and
- AP Spanish.
This year, we are also adding a new course,
- AP Environmental Science.
Our students have benefited greatly from these courses as they are introduced to challenging college-level reading and writing expectations as well as the possibility to earn credit at a reduced cost before entering their freshmen year. It is both a time and a cost savings for our students.
In May of 2016, we had 53 students take 76 AP Exams. Of those 53 students, 24 earned college credit by scoring a 3, 4, or 5 (on a 5 point scale) on the national exams. College Board exams are extremely difficult and although not all students will earn credit, our school equally values the experience as well as the credit earning option.
We also had numerous students earn special recognition through the AP program by achieving above average excellence.
AP Scholar with Distinction: This award is granted to students who score a 3 or higher on FIVE or more AP Exams. This means these students will earn a minimum of 15 college credits before walking on their college campus.
AP Scholar with Honor: This award is granted to students who score a 3 or higher on FOUR or more AP Exams. This means these students will earn a minimum of 12 college credits before walking on their college campus.
- Matt Bronsdon
- Kacey Koenigs
AP Scholar: This award is granted to students who score a 3 or higher on THREE or more AP Exams. This means these students will earn a minimum of 9 college credits before walking on their college campus.
- Keoinia Dobson
- Daniel Forman
- Mariah Gaier
- Tyler Leadholm
- Noah Matousek
We are very proud of our students and also appreciative of the extra time and hard work our AP teachers give to offer these challenging courses. Many AP teachers provide extra study sessions, tutoring, and additional course activities to prepare these students for the exams. Obviously, our teachers and students are working hard and we honor all of them!
Social studies teacher Paul Rykken was selected to participate in the College Board’s Annual AP Reading in AP US History. Each June, AP teachers and college faculty members from around the world gather in the United States to evaluate and score the free-response sections of the AP Exams.
AP Readers are high school and college educators who represent many of the world’s leading academic institutions. The AP Reading is a unique forum in which an academic dialogue between educators is both fostered and encouraged. “The Reading draws upon the talents of some of the finest teachers and professors that the world has to offer,” said Trevor Packer, Senior Vice President, AP and Instruction at the College Board. “It fosters professionalism, allows for the exchange of ideas, and strengthens the commitment to students and to teaching. We are very grateful for the contributions of talented educators like Paul Rykken.”
“Are students allowed to wear hats in your school?” This is a question that came up during my visit to a 9th grade class in Gelnhausen yesterday. I explained that this has been a hot topic at BRFHS this past year and students and adults in our community have different opinions about it. The German teacher whose class I was visiting was quite adamant that it is a matter of respect that hats are removed when you are in an official building like a school. He made the comparison to him coming to school in short shorts – he would never do that out of respect for the students.
I explained that traditionally, we have not allowed hats, but lately there has been more discussion about hats as fashion and the fact that clothing trends have changed. The students were quick to chime in that they also believe it is simply another part of fashion or freedom of choice about what they would like to wear and that it doesn’t interfere with learning.
Later on yesterday during an administrative meeting, the topic of cellphones in class came up. The same teacher, who is also the assistant principal (all administrators in Germany must continue to teacher some classes) was adamant that in his class, he allows cell phones so that students can do research, use the calculator function, and be connected when necessary. Other teacher/administrators were on the other side of the fence arguing that it might be nice to have cell phones for these functions, but kids get distracted by them and it is better to restrict or ban them outright. No final decision was reached. It’s interesting, yet understandable that these topics are being discussed and debated not just in BRF or in Wisconsin, but all the way over here in a different country and very different school system.
One enormous difference here in the schools is that religion is an elective that is offered at all levels. Students can choose between Catholic or Protestant/Lutheran religion classes or they can take ethics. There are several theologians at school who teach the classes, but who also run a gathering place for kids to hang out and talk, get advice, and for the adults to essentially provide social work functions like working with children who are struggling in the areas of family problems, addictions and mental health. They have turned a classroom into this gathering place where students assist those adults in talking, advising and supporting their peers.
Another difference is that each level of the school (5th, 6th, 7th, etc. through 13th grade) are divided up into class cohorts of 20-30 students who go through their whole time here together in that cohort. They take most all of their classes together as their group of 20 – 30.
This makes for another difference. Here the attendance is entered into the “Klassenbuch”, the class book, that is stored in a rack outside the office, then carried to each class by one student in that class. They do not have attendance on the computer and no positive attendance!
On my way to a newspaper interview about this Hessen-Wisconsin School Administrator Exchange and my visit here. Then we’ll enjoy the spring band concert later this evening. More to come…
Attendance is taken by hand in the orange books and placed outside the office after each hour.
After two full days at the Grimmelshausen Gymnasium in Gelnhausen, Germany, it is clear that schools around the world – or at least in Hessen and in Wisconsin – are addressing many similar issues. Here in Germany, the standards and expectations are being raised and comprehensive statewide assessments are used to measure and rate schools based on their test scores. They also have long lists of standards and benchmarks that they are required to address and attempt to raise the learning for all students to reach these goals. This is not too different to our schools in Wisconsin.
What also is similar is that students are curious, teachers are busy, yet friendly and the school administrators are working to assure quality education for their future generations.
Many procedures; like attendance and student/teacher schedules are very different. Another large difference is the fact that the teachers’ unions are very strong here unlike in Wisconsin and I was able to sit in on a meeting between the principal and the union leaders. It was very enlightening to see how collegial and collaborative things were despite some definite differences in interests and opinions.
I was also able to observe a French class, a Spanish class, a foods class, as well as visit several math and English classes. Good instruction here is very similar to the good instruction that we see on our school and the teachers and students were eager to ask me lots of questions about classes, athletics and American life just as I soaked up impressions about different ideas and organizations from them.
My partner, Frau Hartmann, and I are also promoting the BRF Tigers overseas with a version of the Tiger Tuesday Trivia. Here are our first prize winners:
Tiger Tuesday in Germany! The winners…
Tomorrow I’ll be visiting more classes, an administrative meeting, and shadowing the assistant principal to learn more about their technology systems. More to come…