Youth Challenge program

By Norman Roberts,2014-06-18 03:26
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Youth Challenge program

    Wisconsin National Guard

    ChalleNGe Academy

Program Description

    The Wisconsin National Guard Challenge Academy is a residential program committed

    to improving the quality of life for 16 to 18 year old at-risk teens. The program consists

    of two phases:

     Phase I is a 22 week residential stay at Fort McCoy in a quasi-military

    environment. Cadets attend a Phase I semester that either starts in July or January. In the

    residential phase, much of the Cadets’ time is spent in classrooms where preparing for the

    High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED) testing is the priority. In addition to

    classroom instruction by licensed teachers, activities include anger management classes,

    character development curriculum, rappelling, ROPES courses, experiential activities,

    community service projects and leadership experiences.

    Phase II is a 12 month post-residential mentoring period. During Phase II,

    graduates of the residential phase are matched with community volunteers (mentors) to

    assist with the continuation of personal growth and preparation for becoming a

    contributing citizen.


    2001 Act 109 created a change in the funding mechanism for the Challenge Academy.

    As a result of the changes, school districts with Challenge Academy cadets must

    contribute a portion of the costs of students enrolled in the Challenge Academy from their

    district; ?121.095 Wisconsin Statutes. That funding will serve as a 40% match for

    funding from the federal government. Provision is made for the district to count the

    cadets for equalization aid and revenue limit purposes.

Determination of Costs

    The Department of Military Affairs (DMA) will calculate the average per pupil costs, as

    required under ?21.26 (2) for the Challenge Academy based on actual costs (including

    the costs of special education services) and report those costs on a per pupil basis to the

    Department of Public Instruction by May 1. The department will then reduce the June

    equalization aid payment of each participating school district by the number of cadets

    times the per pupil amount, or the district’s revenue limit per member, whichever is less.


    Cadets selected to attend the Challenge Academy are considered enrolled in the school

    district of residence for purposes of district equalization aid eligibility, special education

    responsibility, and revenue limit authority.

Determination of Residency

    In determining residency, the Challenge Academy will first determine when and where

    the student was last enrolled in school. If the school district where the student was last

    enrolled matches with the student’s current address then that will be the school district of

    residence. If the student was not enrolled in a public school district (e.g., expelled, home

    schooled, withdrawn), then the student’s current address will determine the school district

    of residence. If the student was transient prior to enrollment in the Challenge Academy,


then the address of the custodial parent will determine the school district of residency.

    For students age 18 and over, the last known address will serve to determine the district

    of residence.

School District Notification

    As the Department of Military Affairs processes applicants, a school district may expect

    contact from Challenge Academy staff to verify past enrollment, request academic

    records and confirm special education status. The Department of Military Affairs will

    officially notify the school district no later than September 1st or February 10 with the

    names of the students officially enrolled in the current Challenge Academy semester.

Counting the Student for Equalization Aid Purposes

    Wisconsin State Statute ?121.095 allows the Department of Public Instruction to include the district’s cadets in their pupil counts for equalization aid in the school year in which

    the cadets attend the Youth Challenge Academy. Equalization aid based upon these pupil counts is paid in the next school fiscal year.

    Districts will complete PI 1563 YCA, Youth Challenge Academy report, that will be used by the department to give aid membership credit to districts with Youth Challenge

    Academy cadets. The school district will also receive a June equalization aid payment explanation that will identify the number of cadets and the amount per cadet that will be deducted from that June payment.

Counting the Student for Revenue Limit Purposes

    A change in statute now allows the school district of the 1

    st semester Challenge Academy

    cadet to count the student for revenue limit purposes in the school year in which the

    cadets attend the Youth Challenge Academy. This is a change from previous years where

    stthe 1 semester Challenge Academy student was counted in the year following ndparticipation in the Challenge Academy. Note: Some districts will have previous year 2

    semester YCA counts in the revenue limit membership. ?121.91(2m)(e)3. Wis. Stats.

    Districts will complete the PI 1563 YCA, Youth Challenge Academy report, which will

    be used by the department to give proper revenue limit membership credit to districts

    with Youth Challenge Academy cadets. The department, in October, posts to the SFS

    team website an estimated revenue limit calculation. For each district the department also

    posts a detailed revenue limit membership report that will include eligible Youth

    Challenge Academy students. The final revenue limit calculation is given to districts near

    the end of the school term in May, and will include any needed adjustments for YCA

    cadets that may have participated during the second semester.

    Special Education Students

    Students with disabilities who are enrolled in the Challenge Academy will continue to

    have their right to a free appropriate public education (FAPE) met. The local education

    agency responsible to ensure FAPE is the resident school district. The Challenge

    Academy will contract with CESA 4 to provide all special education services on behalf of

    the resident school district. The Challenge Academy will also use the evaluation services

    of CESA 4 for all students suspected to have a disability and those requiring reevaluation.

    The local school district will be expected to participate in the Individualized Education

    Program (IEP) process (usually via conference call). CESA 4 will bill the Challenge 2

    Academy who will incorporate the costs into the actual costs reported to the Department

    of Public Instruction (DPI). CESA 4 will also claim the state special education aid. The

    resident school district will count the child on the December 1 IDEA child count. thth or 10 graders will fall under the Wisconsin Student Assessment

    Testing System and the school district will be responsible for forwarding November testing

    Students enrolled as 8requirements to the Challenge Academy. The Challenge Academy will work with DPI

    assessment staff to facilitate testing.

School Performance Reporting

    The school district of residence will be responsible for meeting the school performance

    reporting requirements under ?115.38. This performance data includes attendance,

    graduation, dropout and other data for students enrolled in their schools. Students who

    obtain HSED (high school equivalency diploma) certificates are not counted as graduates

    for school performance report purposes unless the school district also issues that student a

    diploma. HSED completer counts are reported separately.

Post-residential Services

    1. Most students complete their high school education or high school equivalency

    diploma (HSED) while enrolled in the Challenge Academy. Those students will

    be served through the Phase II Mentoring Services of the Challenge Academy.

    Special education students who receive HSEDs continue to be eligible for special

    education services. During Phase II the student’s LEA will ensure that special

    education services are available to these youth.

    2. For students who fail to successfully complete the Challenge Academy, the school

    district will be notified of their dismissal from the academy and academic records

    will be returned to the local school district. Because Wisconsin’s compulsory

    school attendance law remains in effect, the student will be expected to attend

    school if he or she is under the age of 18.

    3. For students who successfully complete the Challenge Academy, but were unable

    to complete all of the requirements for an HSED, the responsibility for education

    of that student will transfer back to the school district. It is hoped that that student

    will be served, short-term, with a ?118.15 contract between the school district, the

    student and the local technical college to successfully complete the HSED.

    Students will be granted a situational waiver to complete testing early because of

    their involvement in the Challenge Academy.


For additional information about the Challenge Academy contact:

    M. G. MacLaren, Director

    Wisconsin Challenge Academy

    656 South O Street

    Fort McCoy, WI 54656-5144

    Telephone: 608/269-9000



For information about alternative education, at-risk students and HSED requirements,


    Beth Lewis

    School Administration

    Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

    125 S. Webster

    Madison, WI 53707-7841

Phone: 608/267-1062

    Fax: 608/267-9275


For school finance related questions for the Challenge Academy contact:

    Brad Adams

    School Financial Services Team

    Department of Public Instruction

    125 S. Webster, Madison, WI 53707-7841

    Telephone: (608) 267-3752

    E-mail: Internet:


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