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

Good Morning,
I hope the new school year is going well for all of you. Last week I had the opportunity to meet with both the Governor’s office and the House Minority Leadership regarding overall education challenges and, specifically, rural challenges as we enter the next budget cycle. During both meetings, I highlighted the following areas of importance:

1. $200 per student revenue cap increase and general aid to cover it.
2. Increase in Special Aid dollars
3. Funding for increased mental health services for schools
4. Increase funding for high transportation aid along with looking at adding a second tier of schools in the 125%-149% range; a second tier of funding for districts up to 1500 enrollment as a secondary discussion.
5. Increase Summer School FTE to full FTE and Transportation Funding
6. Funding for Whole-Grade Sharing initiative
7. Funding for technology infrastructure and student home access
8. Improve student access and funding for post-secondary enrollment options
9. Discussion on the impact of vouchers and school funding
10. Increase rural loan forgiveness program.
11. Limit Open Enrollment Dates to help schools with budgeting

I have scheduled numerous individual meetings with legislators from both parties over the next month to further these discussions. I want to thank you for your input on these issues and encourage you to carry on similar discussions with your representatives.

WiRSA Notice:
The WiRSA Office will be closed Sept. 13-20. There will be no Update the week of Sept. 19.

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

Forms to nominate principals or school administrators for the 2017 Herb Kohl Educational Foundation Leadership Award can now be obtained from the Association of Wisconsin School Administrators and the Wisconsin Council of Religious and Independent Schools. The deadline for submission is September 23, 2016.

WPEN Advocacy Training Opportunity:

• Do you want to grow your local education advocacy team? • Would you like to see a coalition-minded group get started in your community? • Are you part of a referendum effort that needs to come up with an action plan asap?

• Do you want to be part of the statewide effort to ensure the next biennial budget provides fair funding for public schools?

• Do you want to make public education a focus of the fall elections?

If you answered YES to any of these questions – or know someone who would – please check out our upcoming 2-day workshop in Green Lake on Sept. 23-24:

Who:  All who support strong public schools (parents, current/retired/emerging educators, administrators, community members, education professionals, teams working on education issues, all friends of public schools).

What:  2-day Wisconsin Leadership Development Training workshop

Where:  Green Lake Conference Center

When: Sept. 23-24, 2016 (Start: 9am Friday. End: 7:00pm Saturday)

Cost:  $100 + $45/night for lodging (training materials and all meals are included!) Note: Cost should not be a barrier to participation. Thanks to a generous grant, funding is available to cover costs for those who couldn’t otherwise attend!

Registration Deadline is Sept. 15! RSVP TODAY!

We still have space (and scholarships!) available, and invite all who are ready to get organized for strong public schools to consider attending.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to develop relationships and organizing skills, work on strategy that works for kids and build community on your team and across our Network!

Local level action with state level impact!

Please email me or (608) 572-1696 with any questions or to learn more about if this workshop is right for you and your team.

New Survey Helps Schools Identify Best Practices for Improving School Performance:
A new guide from Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest will help education leaders use a survey tool to assess to what degree schools are engaging in practices associated with high performance. The guide was released by the Institute of Education Sciences today (Sept. 8) and was developed in partnership with REL Midwest’s School Turnaround Research Alliance.

The School Survey of Practices Associated with High Performance measures five domains that the research literature suggests are associated with high-performing schools: effective leadership, strong curriculum, professional development, school culture, and ongoing data use for school improvement.

State education departments and school districts can use survey results to identify and describe school practices associated with high performance, compare practices across school subgroups, target schools for specific interventions, and design interventions. Results from the survey can also help schools identify areas in which they could improve. The guide includes the survey and describes its development and validation.

Read the guide.

Director Events from the Past Week:
– September 7, Meeting with Governor’s staff on State Budget
– September 7, Meeting with House Minority Leadership
– September 9, Meeting with Representative Sondy Pope

Director Events for the Upcoming Two Weeks:
– September 12, Ed Issues Conference Call
– September 14, Legislative Council Meeting on School Data
– September 13 – 20, WiRSA Office Closed

– September 21, Meeting with Representative Mary Czaja
– September 22, Battelle for Kids National Rural Collaboratives Webinar
– September 26, Ed Issues Conference Call
– September 27, Meeting with Senator Howard Marklein


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!

Here is the conference brochure.

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 Oct. 7

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 8,9,10, Teacher seat – presently vacant 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 by September 30th.

TEACH Grants:

The TEACH Teacher Training Grants for Education Technology grants provide $1.5 million in support for educators in eligible districts to attend, arrange, and provide training activities to build their information technology knowledge and capacity. A list of eligible districts and funding amounts can be found on the TEACH Teacher Training Grants website. Districts who received a grant last year may also be eligible for a grant this year. There are changes to the 2016-17 grant application from last year, and updated FAQs are posted on the website. Please review the posted PowerPoint describing these new changes to ensure your submitted applications meet the criteria of eligible activities and consortium requirements.

The TEACH Information Technology Infrastructure grants provide $7.5 million in funding for technology infrastructure to improve the capacity of school districts to utilize technology for instruction. A list of eligible districts, ranked by percent of students eligible for free or reduced lunch, and funding amounts, can be found on the TEACH Information Technology Infrastructure website.

If you have any questions about either of these grants, please contact the Department of Administration – Division of Enterprise Technology Grant Specialist at

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 Foundation Grants for Teachers

Have a great week.