Good Afternoon,

It was a great week at the WASB Convention.  I had the opportunity to meet many of you and it also gave me a chance to meet many of our fine school board members.  In talking with the many people that stopped by my booth, there is a lot of interest in WiRSA and the work we are doing.  Through these conversations, I believe there is strong potential for new members and potential vendors for next year’s conference.

Scholarship Deadline Reminder:  Please be sure to remind your Guidance Counselors that the Feb. 15th deadline is fast approaching for WiRSA Scholarship applications.

Congratulations: Retired WiRSA Director Jerry Fiene will be recognized next weekend at the Farmers Union Convention in Appleton as a Friend of the Family Farmer for his work in supporting rural schools.  I will also be receiving the same award for my work and support of rural schools.

Reminder:  Thank you to all who have submitted your PALS Survey, if you haven’t done so, please complete by this Friday, January, 29th.

Proposed Wisconsin Rural School Initiative: A group of 20 Republican legislators hailing from rural areas across the state came together to announce the Rural Wisconsin Initiative, an initial package of seven pieces of legislation that they hope will jumpstart a conversation on opportunities in outstate Wisconsin.

The plan includes bills that will boost funding for broadband expansion grants, increase available resources for youth apprenticeship grants and tuition reimbursement grants for apprenticeships, create rural opportunity zones, expand a student loan repayment program for rural teachers, encourage STEM education in rural school districts, and bolster funding for the Wisconsin Rural Physician Residency Assistance Program (WRPRAP) click here

New WiRSA Website is Live: Check out the new WiRSA Website

WiRSA Board of Directors Meeting: (Agenda Attached)

WiRSA Board of Directors will meet January 26th in Stevens Point at 10:00 am at the Amber Grill.

Events from this Past Week:

  • January 19: Weekly Ed Issues call.
  • January 19: Meeting with CESA Directors @ CESA 1 in Pewaukee.
  • January 19-22: WASB Booth and I will be presenting on voucher impact on Thursday afternoon.
  • January 22: Meeting to discuss changing the language in the present law that limits retired teachers on the number of hours they can sub and the 75-day waiting period.

 Events for the Upcoming Week:

  • January 25: Weekly Ed Issues call.
  • January 26: WiRSA Board of Directors in Stevens Point
  • January 27: WPEN Meeting and I will be meeting with Todd Price of National Louis Univ. who is doing a paper on Rural Schools.
  • January 28: Assembly Education Hearing –

AB 722 School Accountability

AB 734 Workforce Educ. Pilot

Senate Committee on Universities and Technical Colleges-

SB 228  Academic Excellence Scholarship – (Amended)

SB 416 Rural Student Loan Forgiveness

Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities-

AB 314 Acad. Excellence Scholarship

I urge you to contact your legislators and ask them to oppose both SB 228 (Amended) and AB 314 as both will negatively impact rural schools.

 January 30: Farmers Union Convention in Appleton

Farmers Grow Rural Education, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, helps farmers positively impact their communities by supporting local school districts. The program gives farmers the opportunity to nominate a rural public school district in their community to compete for merit-based grants of either $10,000 or $25,000 to enhance math and/or science education. Farmer nominations for the 2016 program will be accepted from January 1 to April 1, 2016. Please visit www.growruraleducation.com.

Rural Trust’s Global Teacher Fellowship: Up to 25 fellowships will be awarded in 2016 to support the professional and personal development of rural teachers. The awards, up to $5,000 for individual teachers and $10,000 for a team of two or more teachers, support teachers’ participation in self-designed summer learning experiences and a two-day place-based learning institute in the fall. Teachers are encouraged to center their learning in an international travel and study experience, out of which they develop interdisciplinary, place-based learning curricula aligned with their specific state and local content standards. Eligibility: Any K–12 educator working full-time and teaching at least 60% time in a rural community can apply for the fellowship. Each applicant must have 4 years teaching experience by the fellowship start date. click here

Morgridge Discovery Summer Science Camps: The Morgridge Institute for Research is excited to announce the ninth annual Summer Science Camp for students and teachers from rural Wisconsin high schools.

There will be two offerings for the Summer Science Camp in the Discovery Building, located on UW Madison’s campus, on July 11-14 and July 25-28, 2016. One teacher will select and accompany five students for the camp, and each camp will host five schools. There is no cost to participants. Teachers are responsible for facilitating transport to and from Madison as well as accompanying the students in the dorms and through the activities during the four-day camp.

Teachers who would like to participate in the camp and bring students are invited to complete the following sign upThe deadline for sign-up is Monday, March 2, 2016.

Resources and Grant/Scholarship Reminders:

Have a great week.