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

Good Morning,
Welcome back after a beautiful Labor Day Weekend. I hope you had time to relax with friends and family and enjoy our last warm weather holiday. Fall is in the air with fall sports and co-curricular activities in full swing. Keep up the great work that you do as your work is vital to our youth and future. Best of luck on an outstanding school year.

Welcome to WiRSA:
WiRSA would like to welcome the following member to the organization – Georgia Kraus and the Gilman School District. We are happy to have you as a member and we look forward to working with you.

WiRSA Notice:
The WiRSA Office will be closed Sept. 13-20.

Herb Kohl surprises Wisconsin Teachers by funding all classroom requests for entire state on DONORSCHOOSE.ORG

A Donation from Herb Kohl Philanthropies fulfills classroom requests for nearly 700 projects, reaching 43,000 students. Today, as thousands of Wisconsin classrooms kick off the school year, Herb Kohl Philanthropies announced they are fully funding the classroom requests of every Wisconsin teacher posted on the education crowdfunding site DonorsChoose.org. As a result of Herb Kohl’s generosity, approximately 600 Wisconsin teachers will receive materials for their 43,000 students — ranging from health and hygiene items to paper, pencils and books to laptops, musical instruments and microscopes.

“As the new school year kicks off, we are thrilled to support all of the classroom projects currently posted by teachers right here in Wisconsin. We owe a lot to our teachers and hold enormous hope for our students. They are both a constant source of inspiration,” said Herb Kohl.

On DonorsChoose.org, teachers post projects requesting materials they need for their classrooms, and donors across the country support the projects that inspire them. All Wisconsin projects live on DonorsChoose.org as of 12:01am Tuesday, September 6 were flash funded.

“Wisconsin’s educators are constantly seeking innovative ways to reach students and improve learning outcomes. I would like to personally thank Herb Kohl for his recognition of the importance of that work and for his willingness to help turn the dreams of those educators and students into realities,” said Dr. Tony Evers, State Superintendent of Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction.

“MPS is grateful for this generous gift from Herb Kohl. The funding of these requests allows our teachers to be effective in their approach to instruction and to provide expanded learning opportunities for our young people. Partnering with DonorsChoose.org is yet another example of how Herb Kohl Philanthropies continues to show its strong and tangible support of education,” said Dr. Darienne Driver, Superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools.

Among the projects funded this morning were robotics kits for Ms. Heard’s 3rd – 5th grade students to explore modes of transportation throughout Wisconsin’s history at Milwaukee Environmental Sciences School and materials to take learning outside for Ms. Mortensen’s first grade students at Midvale Elementary School in Madison.

“We are deeply grateful for Herb Kohl’s commitment to Wisconsin classrooms,” said Charles Best, founder of DonorsChoose.org. “His generous surprise will be so helpful as teachers and students kick off the new school year.”

On Tuesday morning, nearly 700 projects were funded in 140 districts. Herb Kohl posted a message on every funded project, letting teachers know they were part of the surprise.

Herb Kohl Philanthropies has long supported Wisconsin’s teachers and their schools along with high school students through a Scholarship and Fellowship award program. He also sponsors the state’s Teacher of the Year program and has added a new category to his award program that recognizes Principals for outstanding school leadership. In addition to recognizing excellence in education for students, teachers, schools and principals, Herb Kohl Philanthropies supports many educational programs and initiatives such as those that support literacy, pathways to college and experiential learning.

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 the website.  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.

Please take a moment to read this article Senator Vinehout wrote regarding our teacher shortage:

Instruments for Measuring the Performance of Professional Learning Communities:
The Institute of Education Sciences has released a new guide that can help researchers and practitioners who are planning, implementing, and evaluating professional learning communities (PLCs). The guide, from Regional Educational Laboratory Mid-Atlantic, compiles 49 valid, reliable, and tested measures of key performance indicators of teacher PLCs.
The guide features an annotated bibliography that identifies and describes the teacher/principal-, PLC team-, and student-level indicators that can be used to assess the different dimensions of teacher PLCs. To help users choose and apply an appropriate measurement instrument, the guide also includes:

• A PLC logic model to determine which indicators may be most valuable to measure;

• A decision aid to help select a relevant instrument; and

• A profile sheet for each instrument that provides information about the instrument and how it may be accessed and used. Click here for information.

What 20 Years of Research Tells Us About Adolescent Literacy Efforts:
A review of over 7,000 research articles has identified a dozen programs and practices that have positive or potentially positive effects on adolescent literacy. The literature review from Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Southeast was released by the Institute of Education Sciences today (Sept. 6) and covers 20 years of research on instructional programs and practices designed to improve the reading comprehension, vocabulary, and general literacy of adolescents. Read the report.

Rural and Urban Representatives and School Leaders Come Together:
Area school administrators continue to work with state legislators on issues facing Wisconsin schools with a focus on the upcoming biennial state budget. The first of several planned meetings took place last week in Stevens Point.

Rural and urban representatives and school district administrators met to discuss common challenges and needs that face Wisconsin’s public schools. See full news release in attached PDF

Director Events from the Past Week:
– 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

Director Events for the Upcoming Week:
– September 7, Meeting with Governor’s staff on State Budget
– September 7, Meeting with Senator Peter Barca
– September 12, Meeting with Representative Mary Czaja
– September 12, Ed Issues Conference Call
– September 14, Legislative Council Meeting on School Data

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.

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

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.