Welcome to the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance

The Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance (WiRSA) was formed to help rural school districts address the unique issues that affect rural schools as they strive to achieve the highest quality education for every student. Our members include a cross section of educators, school board members, rural community members, business leaders and other concerned individuals who want a strong voice for rural schools. WiRSA is supported by the Wisconsin Cooperative Education Services Agency (CESA) districts, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, the UW System and rural school districts.

 

Wisconsin Redefining Ready is now live

As many of you know WiRSA along with WASDA and the CESAs have been working together on Redefining Ready, a more inclusive report card that gives you a more accurate review of your schools and students. To find out more go to the new Wisconsin Redefining Ready website and the National Redefining Ready website.

 

2020 WiRSA Conference has been cancelled.

SAVE THE DATE for 2021

Oct 24-26, 2021 at the Wilderness Conference Center in Wisconsin Dells

Call for Proposal Information will be coming in April 2021.

A conference for administrators, board members, teachers, CESA employees, higher education professionals, public library administrators, elected officials and citizens interested in rural school and community issues.

Contact Information

Kim Kaukl
Executive Director
Phone: (608) 553-0689
Email: kimkaukl@wirsa.org

Become a Member

Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance Founders

This group saw that rural schools were being underserved and underrepresented. In 2008 some of them got together to look at the situation and develop a plan. It started with meetings that grew into the first Rural Schools and Communities Conference in Wausau in the Spring of 2009. This was then followed up with more brainstorming and conferences in 2010 and 2011. The interim Board found the conference to be successful, but growing the membership was challenging. In the Spring of 2011, the initial formulation of the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance began with the Interim Board creating a job description for a part-time Executive Director. In 2012 Joan Wade became the President of WiRSA and Jerry Fiene was hired as the Executive Director and WiRSA became an official organization and the first Board was elected.

The 13 Founders were Bob Beaver, Jerry Fiene, Nancy Hendrickson, Ken Kasinski, Art Keenan, Bob Kellogg, Guy Leavitt, Chuck Pursell, Dave Polashek, Fred Schlichting, Don Stevens, Joan Wade and Fred Yeo.

Thanks to the vision of these founders, WiRSA continues to grow with a present membership of 220, which includes 155 rural school districts. Today we want to say thank you to the 13 founders and recognize them for their vision and passion for Rural Education.

Pictured from L to R are WiRSA Board President, Ben Niehaus,
Fred Yeo, Don Stevens, Bob Beaver, Chuck Pursell, Nancy Hendrickson,
Senator Luther Olsen (accepting on behalf of Joan Wade),
Jerry Fiene and WiRSA Executive Director, Kim Kaukl
(Not pictured are Dave Polashek, Bob Kellogg, Guy Leavitt,
Fred Schlichting, Art Keenan and Ken Kasinski)

2019-2020 WiRSA Scholarship Winners

Kyra Saylor

Region 1: Kyra Saylor | Necedah High School    read more

Jenna Springer

Region 4: Jenna Springer | Florence High School  read more

Cody Pierce

Region 2: Cody Pierce | Mineral Point High School   read more

Elizabeth Forehand

At Large Region 2: Elizabeth Forehand | Richland Center High School  read more

Kathleen Zimmer

Region 3: Kathleen Zimmer| Flambeau High School  read more

Maggie Conlan

At Large Region 3: Maggie Conlan | Unity High School  read more

2019-2020 WiRSA Scholarship

About the WiRSA Scholarship

In recognition of the tremendous efforts put forth by Wisconsin’s rural schools to provide their students with quality education in an ever-changing environment, it is with pleasure that the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance (WiRSA) offers an annual scholarship program.

To qualify, participating schools must be current paid members of WiRSA.

The scholarship will be awarded annually to five graduated high school seniors. Each recipient will receive a one-time cash scholarship of $750 to be used by the student to help defray the costs of post-secondary education and related expenses. A written essay is required for the application that expands on the following information:

  • the benefits of attending a rural school
  • your college and career goals
  • the value of growing up in a rural community and what personal values you have gained from your experience

Kyli Blume

Region 4: Kyli Blume | Marathon High School   read more

Gracey Mlsna

Region 2: Gracey Mlsna | Cashton High School  read more

Sophia Sander

At Large Region 2: Sophia Sander | Cuba City High School  read more

Kaitlyn Webster

Region 3: Kaitlyn Webster | Gilman High School   read more

Evelyn Sanda

At Large Region 4: Evelyn Sanda | Drummond High School  read more

2019-2020 WiRSA Teacher Scholarship

Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance Teacher Education Scholarship

The scholarship will be awarded annually to one graduating high school senior from each of the four membership regions of Wisconsin as specified in the organization’s bylaws. An additional at-Large scholarship will be given to the next highest scoring applicant. Each recipient will receive a one-time cash scholarship of $750 to be used by the student to help defray the costs of post-secondary education and related expenses. A written essay is required for the application that expands on the following information:

  • The benefits of attending a rural school.
  • Why you are choosing the field of Teacher Education.
  • The value of growing up in a rural community and what personal values you have gained from your experience.

Kaylie Schelinske

Region 1: Kaylie Schelinske | UW-Stevens Point.     read more

Jenna Hamilton

Region 2: Jenna Hamilton| UW-Platteville   read more

Alison Berreth

Region 3: Alison Berreth | UW-Eau Claire   read more

Kiersten Rogowski

Region 4: Kiersten Rogowski | UW-River Falls   read more

Fall 2020 Student Teacher Scholarship

Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance Student Teacher Scholarship Guidelines

In response to the tremendous need for educators in rural areas, it is with pleasure that the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance (WiRSA) offers an annual scholarship program specifically for Student Teachers. To qualify, the applicant must be student teaching (interns are not eligible for this scholarship) at a participating member schools that is in good standing.

The scholarship will be awarded annually to one student teachers from each of the four membership regions of Wisconsin as specified in the organization’s bylaws. Each recipient will receive a one-time cash scholarship of $750 to be used by the student to help defray the costs while student teaching and related expenses. A written essay is required for the application that expands on the following information:

    • Why do you want to teach in a rural school?
    • What impact can you have on rural students?