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

Good Morning,
Welcome back to another school year. For some districts, the new year has already begun, but many of you will be spending this week with inservice for staff and then welcoming students back on September 1. The beginning of the year is an important time to set a positive framework and climate for staff and students. I wish you a great 2016-17 School Year and, please let me know if I can be of any assistance either by myself or through our WiRSA member network.

Welcome to WiRSA:
WiRSA would like to welcome the following new associate members to the organization – Devon Young, Imagine Learning and Laura Dachel, Focus on Energy. We are happy to have you as members and we look forward to working with you.

WiRSA Notice:
The WiRSA Update will go back to Weekly beginning Sept. 6.
The WiRSA Office will be closed Sept. 13-20.

WiRSA Elections:
The Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance (WiRSA) will be conducting an election for Board of Director seats that expire in December. Each region is represented on the Board by one administrator, one board of education member, one teacher and one CESA representative. The four regions listed below each have one seat up for election: More information will be coming out in a separate email.
Region 1 – CESAs 1, 5, 6, 7, Administrator, incumbent is not seeking re-election.
Region 2 –CESAs 2, 3, 4, School Board Member, incumbent is not seeking re-election.
Region 3 –CESAs 10, 11, Teacher seat, incumbent is not seeking re-election.
Region 4 –CESAs 8, 9, 12, CESA representative, incumbent Ken Kasinski will be seeking re-election.

If you are interested in seeking election for the seat in your Region or would like to nominate someone, please email me with the following information: Name, Title, Region and Position

State Budget Stake Holders Meeting with Governor Walker:
Reminder: I will be meeting with Governor Walker and his staff on September 7 to discuss the needs of rural schools for the upcoming state budget. As we all know, funding is again going to be tight this year so I would like your feedback on what you feel are the priority areas that WiRSA should focus on. Some of the areas I plan on discussing are, the need for Mental Health services, improved funding and a funding formula for High Transportation Aid, expanding the Sparsity Aid program, funding for technology infrastructure, overall school funding (truly providing 2/3 funding) and the impact of vouchers, increased funding for student loan reduction for teachers/administrators working in rural communities, and funding for Whole Grade Sharing Incentive. If you have other areas you would like me to bring to the forefront, please email me by September 2 with your suggestions and priorities.

2016 WiRSA Conference Registration Is Now Open:

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 through September 30 for schools wishing to bring a team of 5 for $400. We hope to 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.

Herb Kohl Teacher Nominations:
Teacher nomination forms for the 2017 Herb Kohl Educational Foundation Fellowship award can now be obtained from school district administrators and principals or from the website.  The deadline for submission is September 23, 2016.http://the website

From AWSA – Connecting School Leaders Through Google Forums
Please share the following with your Principals.
As an educational leader in the state of Wisconsin, we want you to feel connected to other exceptional leaders across the state. AWSA has created Google Communities for members to share resources, ask a question, seek advice or simply network in regions you may not be able to engage in on a regular basis. AWSA executive staff, Joe Schroeder, Jim Lynch and Tammy Gibbons will also be available in the Communities to provide input, share resources and also to generate conversations amongst members.

In the next 24 hours, you will be invited to a Google community that best matches your current level of service. You are welcome to join any of the other Google communities, if you are interested in other levels or district leader networking. You can find those communities by searching any one of these on Google+ or by finding the forums on the AWSA website:

• AWSA elementary principals
• AWSA middle & high school principals
• AWSA associate principals
• AWSA district learning leaders
If you are new to Google communities, we have also provided a brief video to highlight Community features.

Director Events from the Past Two Weeks:
– August 15, Ed Issues Conference Call
– August 16, School Safety meeting with Rep. Thiesfeldt
– August 16, Legislative Council Meeting #2 on School Data
– August 17, UW Stakeholders meeting and Reception with Ray Cross
– August 23, WPEN Conference – Presenting on Rural Schools
– August 25, National Rural Schools Webinar by Battelle for Kids
– August 25, DPI Hearing on SAGE and Achievement Gap rules
– August 26, Stakeholders Budget Meeting on State Budget

Director Events for the Upcoming Weeks:
– August 29, Education Issues Conference Call
– August 30, Stakeholders State Budget Meeting at DPI
– September 1, Meeting with UW Researcher to do some work on Whole Grade Sharing.
– September 1, Meeting at DPI with Kurt Kiefer on Technology updates
– September 7, Meeting with Governor’s staff on State Budget

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.