How do Arrowhead Teachers Spend Their Summer?


Maraba Roznik, Editor and Reporter

Arrowhead teachers dedicate their time to educating their students throughout the school year. Students get out of school at the beginning of June, and most of them already have summer plans for Summerfest, the beach, hanging out with friends, or traveling. However, summer doesn’t just belong to the students, it belongs to the teachers too. So, what do Arrowhead teachers do during their summer break?

Unlike students, for a lot of AHS teachers and administers, summer doesn’t mean the end of school work. Many Arrowhead teachers continue to give their time while on they are on break.

Associate Principal Becky Gordon says, “Summer School began June 13 and ends July 22, so that takes up much of the summer. And during that time it’s much like the regular school year for me.”

Gordon also updates the student handbook, and participates in a book club with several other AHS staff members to discuss how they can use the book to help further advance Arrowhead.

Science teacher Greg Bisbee spends parts of his summer working to improve his courses for the next year. This includes updating labs and assignments, and taking pictures of wildlife for biology and landscape ecology. Among these jobs, he still finds time to take care of all the animals he keeps in his classrooms.

Some teachers continue to teach even after school is out. Social Studies teacher Tamara Varsos teaches Online Political Science, one of the many courses Arrowhead offers for summer school.

Not only does teaching continue for Arrowhead teachers, but learning does too. Several teachers continue their education by taking classes during the summer.

French and Spanish teacher Kathi Koepke says, “In years past, I have gotten my Masters degree in Spain over two summers.”

Bisbee is taking a five week Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) through Roots & Shoots at the Jane Goodall Institute to incorporate service learning in the classroom. Along with that he is also taking a one-week advanced biotechnology workshop at the BioPharmaceutical Technology Center in Madison.

He says, “I took their basic course two years ago, and they do a really great job. It will be a very intense week in the lab.”

Despite all the paperwork, scheduling, and preparations for the next school year, Arrowhead teachers, staff, and administrators still manage to enjoy themselves during their break. This may include traveling, reading, or simply finding the time to relax.

Koepke spends most of her summer traveling to different countries for class trips. In past years she has taken Arrowhead world language students to France, Argentina, and the Dominican Republic. This year, Koepke took 27 Arrowhead Spanish students on a trip to Peru.

Along with class trips, Koepke likes to travels around the world to experience different cultures, and visit old friends. She’s spent two weeks in the Galapagos Islands, and has been to many European countries including Spain, Morocco, Finland, and Sweden.

She says,  “I have also visited various countries in South America, including staying with a friend’s family in Colombia for five weeks.”

Gordon has vacationed in the Bahamas, Puerto Vallarta, and Miami with her family in the past years. This year she has stayed at her family cottage in Door County.

Bisbee says he goes to the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve in central Kansas for hiking and bird watching during his summer. He’s also been to multiple destinations including Trinidad, Tanzania, and Isle Royale for biology purposes.

When he’s not traveling, Bisbee likes to catch up on his free reading. This summer’s reading list includes “Half-Earth” by E.O. Wilson, “Unstoppable” by Bill Nye, “Serengeti Rules” by Sean Carroll, “Second Nature” by Michael Pollan, and “The Invention of Nature” by Andrea Wulf.

Varsos says, “My family does a long weekend in Door County every summer as soon as school gets out.”

These teachers’ favorite part of summer includes the change in tempo, relaxing, enjoying the weather, going to summer festivals, and spending time with friends and family.

Arrowhead teachers continuously devote their time to improving the education of their students. However, somewhere in their busy schedules, they still find time to appreciate the days they have off.

Bisbee says, “[Summer is] also a time to learn new things, and get excited and organized for the year to come.”