Program connects community with high schoolSusan Kadlec and Jerry Sullivan worked together to revamp the Somerset High School WatchD.O.G.S. program and the result is the new CAPE program.
By: Gretta Stark, New Richmond News
After a conference this past summer with the Somerset School District administrative team, Susie Kadlec became interested in creating a program at Somerset High School that would bring greater community involvement into the high school.
Somerset High School already had the WatchD.O.G.S. program in place, headed by Jerry Sullivan. So, when Kadlec asked high school principal Shawn Madden about programs to promote community involvement, Madden put Kadlec in touch with Sullivan. Kadlec and Sullivan worked together to revamp the WatchD.O.G.S. program and the result is the new CAPE program.
CAPE stands for Community in Action Partnering in Education, Kadlec said.
“We were looking for an acronym that would really embody what we were trying to do,” Kadlec said. “We want all community members to be an active part of creating a healthy community within a school.”
Kadlec said increasing community involvement is important because it might help keeps kids in school.
CAPE volunteers might do things like supervising kids in the lunch room, hall monitoring or assisting teachers in classrooms as needed.
The WatchD.O.G.S. program began as a program to get fathers more involved in their children’s educations and Somerset quickly expanded it to involve all parents. Through the program parents would volunteer at their children’s schools doing things like watching over a small group of students working on a project in the hall.
CAPE participants volunteer in similar ways, but the CAPE program will expand community involvement even further.
Sullivan said anyone is welcome to join. The CAPE program is not just for parents of Somerset students.
“It’s open to any community member,” Sullivan said. “An uncle, an aunt, a neighbor, a retired person, maybe a former alumni who’s between jobs, who is on sabbatical, who’s retired, who has the time.”
Sullivan said bringing community and students together is what the program is all about.
“This is the key to the whole program,” Sullivan said. “The more people get involved, the more they know. The more they know, the more they will understand what’s going on around the school district and in the school district. The more they understand what’s going on in the school district, the more they are able to feel connected and be connected to something.”
“I think this is a great way to really collaborate on what’s best for our kids as a school community and as a village or town community,” Kadlec said. “We want all kids present in schools at all times. We care about their education, care about their wellbeing.”
The CAPE program is an expansion of the WatchD.O.G.S. program and will be replacing the older program at Somerset High School, Madden said. He said 50 parents signed up for the CAPE program at the parent night event before school began.
“That’s more signing up than we ever had with the WatchD.O.G.S. program.”
However, Madden said three parents showed up to informational meetings on Sept. 24 and 25.
Anyone interested in learning more can contact Kadlec at 715-247-3355 ex. 154 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Sullivan at 651-343-6948 or email@example.com; or Madden at 715-2473355 ex. 210 or firstname.lastname@example.org.