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,
Wow, how the summer has moved along. As we pass the midway point of summer, I hope everyone has had an opportunity to get away with family and friends to relax and re-charge. As the new school year approaches, we again will need to be vigilant and politically active as we move into the new legislative session and the start of discussions for the next biennial budget. We need to have conversations with our legislators about the impact of revenue limits, fair funding for public schools, technology infrastructure, and support to increase budgets to districts that are impacted by high transportation cost. We will also need to be cognizant of the discussions on consolidation of school districts and support for more resources to improve youth mental health services. Lastly, we need to find ways to have our legislators help us make public education appealing as a profession and help with recruitment and retention of new young teachers.

WiRSA 16-17 Budget has been set by the Board of Directors:
The WiRSA Board of Directors approved the 2016-2017 budget at their July 13 Board Meeting.

Legislative Council Study on School Data:
I was fortunate enough to have been selected to be part of the Legislative Study on School Data. I wanted to be part of this study to make sure the rural voice was heard in this discussion. I attended the first meeting was on Tuesday, July 12. The scope of this committee is as follows:

The Study Committee is directed to review all student data gathered by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and the data security measures that protect student privacy. The committee will study whether the data is required by federal law, state statute, or administrative rule and the purposes for which the data is utilized, and consider developing legislation to limit the types of student data collected by DPI and to improve the security of that data.

The next meeting is scheduled for August 16. To follow the work of this committee or the other study committees, you can go to the Legislative Council Website.

WiRSA Office closed – The WiRSA office will be closed July 27–August 1.

2016 WiRSA Conference Registration:

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. Once again, the Holiday Inn will be host to our conference. On November 8, we will be offering a free Pre-Conference Product Fair for our members and registrants to come listen to our business partners do presentations on the products they can provide. The cost of the Conference is $90 for members and $140 for non-members. We will also be running a discount until September 30 for schools wishing to bring a team of 5 for $400. Registration for the conference will open later this week. An email will be sent to you announcing the opening of registration with directions for registration and hotel information. See you in November!

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.

Webinar Offering:
WiRSA Associate Member, Think Through Math will be offering a Webinar on July 20 titled ‘Increasing Student Engagement through Personalized Learning and Technology Integration.’ If you would like to participate in this webinar, register here.

WPEN Summer Summit:
Registration is now LIVE for our second annual SUMMER SUMMIT, August 23, 2016 in Wauwatosa!

The Summit will take place at Wauwatosa West High School from 8:30am to 5:00pm, and will be followed by a dinner event at the Tosa Pool. Registration for the Summit is $20 (includes lunch), and the dinner is an additional $20. Registration fee waivers are available for those for whom the cost is otherwise prohibitive, and those who wish to donate to this scholarship fund may do so at check-out. Early bird and group discounts are also available. See the registration form for details and email hdb@WisconsinNetwork.org with any questions.

Op-ed: Politician-made perfect storm could damage our kids’ schools: Here is a well stated Op-ed.

Director Events from the Past Two Weeks:
– July 6, Conference Call with Presence Learning
– July 6, Meeting with Andy Garbacz UW School of Education
– July 12, Legislative Council Study Committee meeting on School Data
– July 13, WiRSA Board of Directors Meeting
– July 14, Visit the Morgridge Summer Science Camp in Madison
– July 15, Presentation to Wisconsin Technical College Board in Wausau

Director Events for the Upcoming Two Weeks:
– July 18, Education Issues Conference Call
– July 18, Meeting with CESA 4 regarding Read Evidence, Analyze, Communicate: Critical Thinking (REACCT) Program
– July 19, DPI Biennial Budget Discussion
– July 20, Meeting at UW-Oshkosh regarding the Center for Wisconsin Rural Communities and Education
– July 21, Meeting with Mike Koltes at CESA 5 for end of the year WiRSA financial audit
– July 25, WCER meeting regarding a grant to reduce inequity in education
– July 25, DPI Biennial Budget Discussion
– July 25, Rural Schools Collaborative Meeting at the UW-Madison
– July 26, DPI Biennial Budget Discussion
– July 26 Meeting with WiRSA President Jeremy Biehl
July 27-August 1, WiRSA office closed.

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.  (Product Fair on November 8.)
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 couple of weeks.