Phoenix students participate in Young Artists Honors Orchestra


From left: James Finley, Isabel Calhoun, Alton Wimer, Eleashah Petersen, Elizabeth Sanchez, Katelynn Gums, Jazmin Melendez.

From left: James Finley, Isabel Calhoun, Alton Wimer, Eleashah Petersen, Elizabeth Sanchez, Katelynn Gums, Jazmin Melendez.

Eight 6th Grade Orchestra students from Phoenix Middle School participated in the Wisconsin Young Artists Honors Orchestra on Saturday, May 21st.

The students were nominated to attend the day long event by their Orchestra teacher Mrs. Jennifer Bayerl because of their high level of skill and dedication to learning.

They included: James Finley, Isabel Calhoun, Alton Wimer, Eleashah Petersen, Elizabeth Sanchez, Katelynn Gums and Jazmin Melendez.

The students received music several weeks in advance to study and prepare. At the festival, the students attended rehearsals lead by UW-Whitewater String Area faculty and attended sectionals lead by UW-W students preparing to become Orchestra teachers.

At the end of the day, the students performed a concert for their friends and families.

Katie Gums said, enthusiastically, “It was fun!”

Mrs. Bayerl noted that the students were exhausted after a day of hard work, but also proud of their accomplishments.

Posted in Darien Elementary School, Delavan-Darien School District, News Releases, Phoenix Middle School, Photo Galleries | Leave a comment

76 DDHS students volunteer on DAYS Day of Service

Click pic to see more photos in our gallery! Photos by Rocky Feeney and Joe Scherer.

It was a Saturday-morning experience like no other in Delavan-Darien, and hopefully it will not be the last.

More than six-dozen Delavan-Darien High School students volunteered at various Delavan-Darien sites this past Saturday, May 21, providing 300-plus cumulative hours of community service to our area.


The service event was part of the Delavan Area Youth Service organization’s first-ever DD-YES! Day of Service, coordinated by Julie Supernaw.

Seventy-six students worked at eight sites, including Congdon Gardens, Luther Memorial Church, St. Andrews School, Harold Johnson Memorial Food Pantry, Delavan Arboretum, Delavan Rec. Department Little Kids Soccer Camp, Turtle Creek Elementary School and Darien’s public parks.

From 8 a.m. until noon, students cleaned, pulled weeds, spread mulch, painted, distributed food, picked up trash and much more.

“High school students are tremendously valuable members of our community, but they don’t always know it,” said Supernaw, the DAYS Foundation founder and executive director. “This day helped give them the opportunity to experience the gratification there is in helping others. I am so proud of these amazing, wonderful and civic-minded DDHS students who volunteered for the event.”

Students were also responsible for leading teams at the work sites and recruiting their schoolmates to help out.

“You have to make it sound fun,” said senior Carly Dodge, who led a team sprucing up the playground and campus at Turtle Creek Elementary. “The volunteers I found were excited to help and immediately said ‘yes’ when I asked.”

The students were treated to a picnic and tree-planting at Veteran’s Park following their work.

With a successful first event now leaving the community looking great, Supernaw has her sights set on making the DD-YES Day of Service an annual event. When it happens again, DDHS student volunteers will be there to help out!

By the Numbers:

  • 304 — 76 volunteers X 4 hours of Saturday-morning service = 304 event community service hours
  • 140 — 14 student leaders X 10 hours each of pre-planning and coordination = 140 pre-event community service hours
  • 444 — 304+140 service = 444 total community service hours for the event
  • $3,219 — 444 X $7.25 (minimum wage) = a minimum of $3,219 donated back to the community.
  • 4 — trees planted at Veterans Park after the event.

Volunteering Students


Site leaders:

  • Clair Gamble, Senior
  • Anya Jeninga, Senior


  • Lars Wilke, Freshman
  • Mackenzie Janisch, Freshman
  • Cate Gamble, Sophomore
  • Richard Karbash, Sophomore
  • Xavier Ortiz, Junior
  • Jesus Garcia, Junior
  • Erik Tildahl, Senior
  • Cole Castel, Senior
  • Brie Mick, Senior
  • Nicole VanDyken, Senior
  • Allison De Jong, Senior
  • Uriel Reyes, Senior
  • Jace Banasik, Senior


Site leaders:

  • Megan Rupnik, Senior
  • Cristina Bahaveolos, Senior
  • Danielle Mohr, Senior


  • Madelyn Gonzalez, Freshman
  • Ian Flores, Freshman
  • William Volmar, Freshman
  • Litzy Nova, Freshman
  • Hailey Wittliff, Sophomore
  • Hana Romero, Sophomore
  • Madeleine Freitag, Sophomore
  • Seth Grabow, Sophomore
  • Zachary Weerts, Sophomore
  • Kristin Hardwick, Junior
  • Ryan Gengler, Junior
  • Robert Zaratzian, Junior
  • Hannah Santeler, Junior
  • Jada Ludens, Junior
  • Leonardo Aranda, Junior
  • Cristian Rodriguez Aranda, Senior


Site leader:

  • Kyle Deschner, Sophomore


  • Madison Brown, Freshman
  • Sydney Anderson, Freshman
  • KoraZoe Quinn, Freshman
  • Jorja Moore, Freshman
  • Caitlynn Kirsch, Freshman
  • Tommy Karbash, Sophomore
  • Madelyn Seuser, Sophomore
  • Ryan Severson, Sophomore
  • Mike Alder, Junior
  • Michael Figueroa, Junior
  • Ethan Cesarz, Junior
  • German Turcios, Junior


Site leader:

  • Mitchell Lewis, Sophomore


  • Eric Gonzalez, Freshman
  • Jack Wright, Freshman
  • Will Cook, Sophomore
  • Zach Torres, Sophomore


Site leader:

  • Michelle Johnson, Senior


  • Pablo Guzman, Freshman
  • Brianna Salerno, Freshman
  • Hope Robinson, Freshman


Site leaders:

  • Natalie Soto, Junior
  • Abigail Gomez, Junior


  • Sarahi Perez, Freshman
  • Sayrha Cruz, Freshman
  • Raquel Aranda, Junior
  • Lisset Huerta, Junior
  • Troy Feeney, Junior
  • SanJuanita Perez, Junior
  • Chandni Patel, Junior
  • Nilda Ruvalcaba, Junior


Site leaders:

  • Jacqueline Damrow, Junior
  • Claudia Nieuwenhuis, Senior


  • William Brown, Senior
  • Shelby Gramly, Senior
  • Cassidy Timmerman, Senior


Site leader:

  • Carly Dodge, Senior


  • Beatriz Garnica, Freshman
  • Tori Rhone, Freshman
  • Cassidy Dodge, Junior
  • Javana Villarreal, Senior
Posted in Community Service, Delavan-Darien High School, Delavan-Darien School District, News Releases, Photo Galleries | Leave a comment

Andy’s Breakfast Club returns for summer 2016

AndysBreakfast2016Andy’s Breakfast Club is back this summer offering free pre-packaged breakfast items to children in the Delavan-Darien community.


Area churches and volunteers are coordinating the breakfast stations, which will be at the following locations:

  • Phoenix Park, Delavan
  • Bruce Park, Darien
  • Town Hall Apartments on Town Hall Road, Delavan Township
  • Woodfield Apartments on Elmhurst Street, Delavan
  • Delavan Court Apartments, Delavan
  • Elkhorn Village Apartments, Elkhorn

The stations will operate Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 10 am. from June 13 through Aug. 26. 

No sign ups are required. Kids and families can simply show up for a free breakfast!

The organization is also providing free healthy snacks to the Delavan-Darien School District bookmobile this summer.

Volunteers interested in helping out this summer can call United Church of Christ Pastor Laura McLeod at 262-728-2212 ext. 11.

Posted in Community Service, Darien Elementary School, Delavan-Darien High School, Delavan-Darien School District, News Releases, Phoenix Middle School, Turtle Creek Elementary School, Wileman Elementary School | Leave a comment

Chromebook Return Dates for 2016

ChromebookDelavan-Darien High School and Phoenix Middle School Chromebook return dates are as follows:

  • DDHS
    Seniors: June 3rd
    Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors: June 8th
  • Phoenix
    6th – 8th grades: June 2nd

All devices should be returned to the libraries of the respective buildings. Students are reminded to remove all items from their bags except for the Chromebook and its charger. Any items left in the bags will be thrown away. No exceptions.

Posted in Delavan-Darien High School, Delavan-Darien School District, News Releases, Phoenix Middle School | Leave a comment

Online Registration/Enrollment part of 2016-17 school year sign-ups


Delavan-Darien Enrollment and Registration Days scheduled for 2016-17

Registration will be online this year.

With exciting and engaging new programs, the Delavan-Darien School District is offering more opportunities for success than ever before.

Don’t let your child miss out on the chance to achieve more than they ever thought was possible.

Parents, come to our Delavan-Darien School District’s Enrollment and Registration Days, set for:

  • Enrollment — Tuesday, Aug. 2.
  • Registration — Thursday and Tuesday, Aug. 4 & 9.
  • All times are: 7:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
  • All locations are at Phoenix Middle School, 414 Beloit St., Delavan.

Enrollment Day is for new students or former students who are now returning after a withdrawal from DD schools.

Registration Days are for current students who are returning for the 2016-17 school year or new students who have already completed the enrollment process for the 2016-17 School Year.

Parents must attend these events if they haven’t already registered and paid online. New students enrolling Aug. 2 may complete their registration at that time.

Online enrollment/registration done in advance and from home will also be available this summer. Parents will be notified when the online enrollment/registration window opens. Fees can also be paid by credit card this year through the online parent portal.

Please visit and click the “registration” link for more information.

For additional questions, please contact any school’s main office by dialing (262) 728-2642.

Posted in Darien Elementary School, Delavan-Darien High School, Delavan-Darien School District, News Releases, Phoenix Middle School, Turtle Creek Elementary School, Wileman Elementary School | Leave a comment

WE’VE WON: Packers great coming to Wileman Elementary


Pack'er Up Banner 600x150 bannerDD loves DD and the spirit of giving

DELAVAN — The Delavan-Darien communities have a strong affinity for another double-D, this one being Green Bay Packer’s all-time leading receiver and Super Bowl champion Donald Driver.

For the second time in three years, the four-time Pro Bowler will visit Delavan as part of the Goodwill Industries Pack’er Up Challenge.

On Wednesday, June 1, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., Driver will visit Wileman Elementary School, which dominated this year’s donation-giving event sponsored by Goodwill. Across southeastern Wisconsin, Goodwill employees counted donations over the month of April and kept records when donators said they were giving in the name of a participating school.

Wileman’s final donation count was a staggering 176,673 items. Second place was a distant 50,281 items. The 2016 effort collected more than 1.5 million items for Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin.

The individual school total shattered an event record, which was also set by a Delavan school.

In 2014, Driver came to Our Redeemer Lutheran Church and School after students and families donated a then-record 106,893 pieces toward that school’s challenge.

Wileman received tremendous help and coordination of collecting items from the school’s Parent Advisory Council.

“Parent and staff volunteers helped out at Goodwill, assisting with the unloading of the donations when people came in with goods to give away,” said Principal Becky Schneider.

“We were in it to win it, and through hard work and community involvement, we were able to achieve it,” said WPAC member Leslie Pelnar.

Second and third place winning schools, respectively, were Park Lawn Elementary in Oconomowoc and Ben Franklin Elementary in Menomonee Falls.

Dousman Transport Company, Delavan-Darien’s bus provider, also helped by accepting and storing items that would be going to Goodwill. Dousman collected so many donated items that they filled two full buses and made the huge delivery prior to the April 30 deadline.

The school will spend the few short weeks before Driver’s visit preparing for the private celebration. Driver, who is flying in from Texas for the special occasion, will bring along an autographed Packers helmet and a dozen signed copies of his “Quickie” series children’s books.

“The students and staff cannot wait for the visit,” Schneider said. “All the hard work of the school and community has paid off. We are very lucky to be in such a great community that pulls together to accomplish such amazing tasks in support of our children and neighbors.”


About Wileman Elementary School

Wileman Elementary, located on Delavan’s east side, is a school of about 240 students from preschool through grade 5. The mission of the Delavan-Darien School District, a partnership of students, families, staff and community, is to ensure each student is prepared to succeed and contribute as a 21st century citizen by providing a real-world education that is engaging, thought-provoking, and culturally diverse.


About Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin

Goodwill’s mission is to provide training, employment and supportive services for people with disabilities or disadvantages who seek greater independence. Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin, Inc. is the largest Goodwill organization among 164 agencies in North America. In 2015, Goodwill provided services for nearly 70,000 men and women with disabilities and disadvantages.


  • WHO: Donald Driver and the students and staff of Wileman Elementary School
  • WHAT: Goodwill Pack’er Up Donation Challenge 2016 Grand Prize
  • WHEN: 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, June 1, 2016.
  • WHERE: Wileman Elementary School, 1001 E. Geneva St., Delavan
  • WHY: Wileman Elementary School won this year’s Pack’er Up Donation Challenge by having a record 176,673 items donated to Goodwill in the school’s name.
  • MORE INFO: Visit:
  • FOR CITIZENS: Donald Driver fans are asked to help us show our Green Bay Packers and Delavan-Darien pride by lining the both sides of Highway 50 — between Walgreens and U.S. Bank — at 1:10 p.m. Wednesday, June 1, and welcoming our special visitor.



Posted in Community Service, Darien Elementary School, Delavan-Darien High School, Delavan-Darien School District, News Releases, Phoenix Middle School, Turtle Creek Elementary School, Wileman Elementary School | Leave a comment

At the Lake: DDHS students study lake and shore ecology

Torran Oler and SanJuanita Perez learn about GPS and geocaching at Lake Lawn Resort. Click pic for more images in our gallery.

Thirty Delavan-Darien High School students and three teachers descended on the northern side of Delavan Lake on Monday, May 9, 2016, to learn and work.

The students, studying environmental science with teacher Cassey Boehm, arrived at Lake Lawn Resort’s Marina early in the morning for orientation with Maggie Zoellner, Kettle Moraine Land Trust executive director and Dan Lyng, Lake Lawn Resort’s director of property engineering and development.

Zoellner thanked the students for their interest in conservation and land management, and spoke about the importance of land stewardship and how people of all ages including students, play a role in ensuring our lands and waters remain healthy.

The students and teachers split into groups and rotated through three learning stations coordinated by the Kettle Moraine Land Trust, including:

  • Lake Sampling and Water Quality,
  • Shoreline Restoration, and,
  • Navigating using Global Positioning Systems (GPS).

Lake Lawn Resort provided two pontoon boats and captains to transport the students and teachers to various sampling points on Delavan Lake. Once there, students used scientific testing equipment to analyze water quality and clarity, and study plankton.

Plankton are tiny, sometimes microscopic plants and animals that are an important part of the aquatic food chain. One of the students commented, “I always knew clean water is important for lakes, but it was so interesting to actually be able to see how you could tell if the lake is clean.”

Once the students became experts conducting lake testing, the boat captains whisked them over to Delavan Community Park, where they helped restore the shoreline at the park.

Students learned to identify invasive plants which they then cut, pulled or dug out to make way for native wildflowers and grasses. The students also planted cardinal flowers, wild geraniums, sky-blue asters and other natives which will be a welcomed site for park visitors, and wildlife who rely on native plants as a food source.

Finally, the students were challenged to complete a geo-cache course set up just for them on the grounds of Lake Lawn Resort. Before they could complete the challenge, students learned how satellites transmit information and how GPS technology is used to advance science and make our daily lives easier. They also became proficient and operating hand held GPS devices. Many of the students were successful in finding all 13 hidden geo-treasures on the property.

“It is really special for many of my students to have an opportunity like this,” DDHS science teacher Cassey Boehm said. “Many of them just don’t get the chance to be involved or even see the wonderful natural resources we have around us. Seeing the lake and getting a chance to go out on the lake really helps them understand the importance of protecting it.”

Sincere thanks for supporting the successful Field Day go to Dan Lyng, Lake Lawn Resort; Sue Heffron, Delavan Lake Improvement Association; Gerry Petersen and Ellen Reddy Kettle Moraine Land Trust, Debbie Burkman and Chrissy Wen of UW-Extension; Jim DeLuca and Charlie Handle of Delavan Lake Sanitary District; Rachel Sabre of Wisconsin DNR and Ben Siebers of US Geological Survey.

Posted in Delavan-Darien High School, Delavan-Darien School District, News Releases, Photo Galleries | Leave a comment

Phoenix Middle School outpacing nation in reading, math achievement growth

Phoenix Middle School

DELAVAN — The learning by Phoenix Middle School students has accelerated faster than their peers nationwide in both reading and math, data from 2015-16 national Measure of Academic Progress tests shows.

The school’s 141 eighth graders have made especially good progress with their reading and math improvement, bettering between 97 to 99 percent of the country in growth and reaching national averages on achievement scores, the data shows. This is tremendous news for a school that continues to show improvements.

Principal Hank Schmelz

Principal Hank Schmelz

“It really shows that something special is happening here at Phoenix,” said Principal Hank Schmelz. “We’re really working together to close the gap. That’s something that I don’t know that everyone in Delavan knows. Not only are we doing well, but we’re also accelerating student growth. That’s the upward trajectory that we’re on.”

Schmelz reported the scores to the Delavan-Darien Board of Education Monday, May 9.

“The instructional strategies used in our Phoenix Middle School classrooms are top-notch and they are being delivered by some excellent teachers,” said Superintendent Robert Crist, Ed.D. “I am proud of the work Mr. Schmelz and all the Phoenix staff have done to close the achievement gaps and improve the academic success of our middle school students. It is a tremendous accomplishment that our community should know about and celebrate with us.”

Robert Crist, Ed.D.

Superintendent Robert Crist, Ed.D.

Measure of Academic Progress or MAP tests are taken twice per year, in the fall at the beginning of school and again in spring. It is a test taken by students across the country.

The fall test sets a baseline that shows students’ ability levels in the two core subjects. The spring scores are compared against the fall results to measure progress. The rates of growth in the reading and math by Phoenix sixth, seventh and eighth graders were impressive, Schmelz said.

In comparing growth scores, Phoenix out-paced the nation in all grades and in Caucasian and Hispanic demographic groups, with results in the top 25% in nine out of 12 measured areas (see chart below).

A growth score of zero shows that students have progressed one full year, which is the expectation for test-takers. Anything above a zero shows positive growth beyond one year.

Collectively, Phoenix’s students received positive marks, with some sub-groups totaling has high as 2.6, which shows outstanding growth from fall to spring. Also, eighth grade reading and math achievement scores from the spring tests at least equaled the national averages the last two years.

“It’s two years in a row that we’ve been seeing that kind of growth,” Schmelz said. “That indicates this is more than just a one-time-deal. We’ve now had two years, back-to-back, where we’ve really made some impressive gains. We anticipate we’re going to continue (improving).”

Schmelz attributes the growth to having a dedicated staff that is focused on literacy. Reading and comprehension are essential for success in all subject areas and at all grade levels.

“It really comes down to our tight focus on literacy,” Schmelz said. “At Phoenix, we believe all teachers are reading teachers, regardless of subject. Literacy (instruction) in all content areas has been a strong focus. Across the grades and across the curriculum and in all content areas, we use the same literacy strategies.”

By keeping the instructional strategies consistent across all teachers and grade levels, students are able to better understand them and the concepts being taught because they are familiar with them.

“The more exposure students have to them, the better the kids get at them, and that’s showing up in our results,” Schmelz said.

The staff celebrated the accomplishment with Comet-colored cupcakes at a recent staff meeting, but they desire a bigger prize, and it’s not upgrading to a full-sized cake. Success breeds success, and the staff want more of that, Schmelz said.

“We’re excited about where this might go,” Schmelz said. “We want to continue and not be status quo. Our next goal is, ‘What can we do to exceed the national averages?’”

Reading School Growth Index Growth Percentile Math


School Growth Index Growth Percentile
8th Grade     8th Grade    
Caucasian 2.0 97 (top 3% nationally) Caucasian 2.6 99 (top 1% nationally)
Hispanic 2.6 99 (top 1% nationally) Hispanic 2.3 99 (top 1% nationally)
7th Grade     7th Grade    
Caucasian 1.0 83 (top 17% nationally) Caucasian 0.1 56 (top 44% nationally)
Hispanic 1.8 96 (top 4% nationally) Hispanic 0.5 70 (top 30%) nationally
6th Grade     6th Grade    
Caucasian 0.6 72 (top 28% nationally) Caucasian 1.1 86 (top 14% nationally)
Hispanic 0.7 76 (top 24% nationally) Hispanic 1.5 93 (top 7% nationally)

(*NOTE: in the School Growth Index, a score of 0 shows one-year of academic growth, which is the expectation. Any positive number above a 0 shows above-expected growth.)

Posted in Delavan-Darien School District, News Releases, Phoenix Middle School | Leave a comment

Empty Bowls events nets $3,300+ for Twin Oaks


THE TOTALS ARE IN: The Phoenix Middle School Empty Bowls soup-tasting event on March 22 raised $3,374.61 for Twin Oaks Shelter this year! Twin Oaks Manager Renae Mitchell, right, accepted the check from the Phoenix allied arts team, which coordinated the event. The team consisted of, from left, art teacher Terri Timerman, physical education teacher Patti Enger, foreign language teacher Janice Sabin de Medina, physical education teacher Ben Herland, band director Mark Butzow, family and consumer science teacher Terri Brown, physical education teacher Paul Yanko and choral director Julie Ropers-Rosendahl.

Posted in Community Service, Delavan-Darien School District, News Releases, Phoenix Middle School | Leave a comment

Phoenix Middle School inducts 49 new NJHS members

The 2015-16 Phoenix Middle School National Junior Honor Society members.

The 2015-16 Phoenix Middle School National Junior Honor Society members. (Click to enlarge.)

Phoenix Middle School welcomed 15 eighth graders and 34 seventh graders into the school’s National Junior Honor Society Friday, May 13.

They join the eight eighth graders who are currently members of this prestigious academic honors club.

The new members are:

8th Grade: Jasmine Arias, Cody Bliss, Alyssa Cardenas, Oscar Garcia Frederick Krablean, Samuel Markling, Liliana Nunez, Pablo Perez, Johanna Quintero, Heather Ream, Karina Torres, Audriana Valadez, Yasmin Valadez, Stephanie Vaughn Nicholas Zikuda;

7th Grade: Gwendolyn Acheson, Lithzy Aleman, Katie Bradley, Sophia Brandt Reinhart, Emily Cameron, Amir Castillo Cano, Michael Cobb, Christina Crawford, Xandria Dreksler, Davyn Elliott, Sylvia Elliott, Hadyn Emmerich, Alizon Hernandez-Espinoza, Molly Jedlicka, Caitlyn Karbash, Gracie Laue, America Lavdas, Morgan Lock, Myles Lockhart, Brianna Manriquez, Nayeli Mercado, Tanya Mollado Martinez, Naitaly Napodano, Hannia Nevarez Martinez, Maria Oliveros, Kate Pehkonen, Collette Riviere, Enrique Rizo, Allison Rosencrans, Francheska Sandoval, Anna Sorg, Perla Valadez, Rudolfo Villarreal, and Breanna Yartey.

The continuing eighth grade members are:

Ivan Aranda, Joseph Gonzales, Maira Leep Simental, Gabriella Montelongo, Judith Perez, Jacob Prado, Samantha Romine and Jordane Torres Raby. 

Phoenix Middle School seventh and eighth graders eligible for NJHS. They are placed on a ballot and are recommended for NJHS based on the following criteria:

  • Scholarship
    Per national guidelines, at a minimum, students must have a cumulative GPA 3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale or equivalent standard of excellence.
  • Service
    This involves voluntary contributions made by a student to the school or community, done without compensation.
  • Leadership
    Student leaders are those who are resourceful, good problem solvers, and idea contributors. Leadership experiences can be drawn from school or community activities while working with or for others.
  • Character
    The student of good character is cooperative; demonstrates high standards of honesty and reliability; shows courtesy, concern, and respect for others; and generally maintains a clean disciplinary record.
  • Citizenship
    The student who demonstrates citizenship understands the importance of civic engagement; has a high regard for freedom and justice; respects the U.S. form of government (a representative democracy); respects the law for all citizens at the local, state, and federal levels; and demonstrates mature participation and responsibility in activities such as scouting, community organizations, or school clubs.


Posted in Delavan-Darien School District, News Releases, Phoenix Middle School, Photo Galleries