Wisconsin National Guard
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
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
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.
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
For information about alternative education, at-risk students and HSED requirements,
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
125 S. Webster
Madison, WI 53707-7841
Email: email@example.com http://www.dpi.wi.gov/alternativeed/alted.html
For school finance related questions for the Challenge Academy contact:
School Financial Services Team
Department of Public Instruction
125 S. Webster, Madison, WI 53707-7841
Telephone: (608) 267-3752
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Internet: dpi.wi.gov/sfs/index.html