Thank you to our Sponsors: UW-Oshkosh, National Insurance Services, Culver’s VIP Foundation, Farmers Union, CESA Foundation, Forecast5, PMA, Meemic, Ehlers, Jostens and WEA Members Benefits.

Good Morning,
The school year ended last week for many Wisconsin schools; however, this week will mark the end for all. I personally want to thank all of you for making my first year a great one. It has been an honor getting to know you and working to promote and keep rural schools at the forefront of state discussions. This is a great time to reflect on 2015-16 and to focus on 2016-17 with a new budget cycle and numerous seats that will be contested in the upcoming election. Please be sure to work to keep your community members up-to-date on the issues facing rural districts and continue to talk with your legislators regarding the tough questions at hand. It is also important to find time to recharge and spend time with family and friends. Have a great Summer!

Weekly Update Notice:
With the summer months being a slower time of the year, the Update will transition to Bi-Weekly from June 6 through the middle of August, when the school year begins to ramp up. If anything urgent comes up on the off weeks, I will be sure to alert you via email.

Congratulations and Good Luck:
Congratulations to the great performances turned in by member schools track and field athletes this past weekend in La Crosse.

Good Luck to the following member schools that will be playing in State competitions:
State Softball Tournament this week in Madison:
Northwestern/South Shore, Grantsburg, Thorp and Oakfield.
State Golf Tournament in Madison:
Lodi, Eleva-Strum, Iola Scandinavia, Mondovi and the numerous individual qualifiers.

Also, good luck to all member schools who are still playing in the Baseball Sectionals and Girls Soccer Sectionals.

2016 WiRSA Conference Call for Presentation Proposals:

The theme for this year’s conference is Rural Schools – Creative Best Practice. Please join us and the many great rural educators and educational leaders from across Wisconsin in Stevens Point on November 9-10. We’re looking for dynamic presenters to share their Rural best practice with our membership. If you have a great program, course or school district story you would like to share, please submit your proposal by completing the Google form and submitting to Kim Kaukl by July 8th.

Call for WiRSA Rural Award Nominations:

Each year at our Annual Conference, WiRSA recognizes rural leaders through our awards program. Nominations can be made for Administrator of the Year, School Board Member of the Year, Teacher of the Year, Support Staff Person of the Year, Rural Advocacy and Rural Community Partner of the Year. To make a nomination please complete the appropriate form found on the WiRSA website and return to Kim Kaukl by October 7.

Director Events from the Past Week:
– May 31, Conference Call with the Non-Partisan Redistricting Work Group

Director Events for the Upcoming Two Weeks:
– June 6, Ed Issue Conference Call
– June 8, NREAC – Battelle for Kids Conference Call
– June 13, CESA 3 to discuss Alternative Educator Effectiveness Model
– June 15, FFA State Convention
– June 16, Meeting with CESA 3 Superintendents –Referendum Impacts

How Midwest States Implement Quality Rating Improvement Systems for Early Education: A new report finds that Midwest states used a variety of strategies to develop and implement quality rating systems for early childhood education programs. Currently, 49 states across the nation have a quality rating improvement system (QRIS) in some form, but each differs in its approach to defining, rating, supporting, and communicating the quality of early education programs.

This report, conducted by Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest, studied QRISs in its region to describe the different approaches that states have used in development and implementation. The study also examined the ways that the Race to the Top–Early Learning Challenge grants program has shifted the landscape and how states have been influenced by the grant process in developing and using their QRISs.

Findings include:
• The process of applying for a Race to the Top–Early Learning Challenge grant helped advance development of a QRIS, even in states that were not awarded a grant. However, capacity and funding to operate and sustain the systems remain challenges;
• REL Midwest Region states use a variety of direct observations in classrooms to evaluate quality in their QRISs despite the logistical and financial burdens associated with observational assessment;
• Five REL Midwest Region states use alternative pathways to rate certain early childhood education providers in their QRIS, most commonly accredited or state prekindergarten program providers. Alternative pathways allow providers that already meet some form of quality standards (typically accreditation) to receive a QRIS rating without completing all the self-assessment or observation requirements; and
• Five states have gained essential provider buy-in and motivate providers to participate by linking subsidy receipt to QRIS ratings and rewarding high-quality programs with higher subsidies.
This report can help QRIS administrators in the region and across the nation learn from each other and inform their decisions as they expand and refine their systems.

Read the report.

Resources and Grant/Scholarship Reminders:
School Funding Reform for Wisconsin
WiRSA 2016 Conference Save the Date: “Rural Schools – Creative Best Practice,” November 9-10 in Stevens Point
ESEA Information and more here.
ESSA Overview Video – Narrated PowerPoint – This information is also available off the ESEA web page on the DPI site.
Into the Outdoors – Free Classroom Resources
Meemic Teacher Back to School Grants
Meemic Foundation Grants for Teachers

Have a great week.