The Community’s public school is the greatest discovery, and the cornerstone of our democratic society – Horace Mann

Good Morning,
For those of you in the Oshkosh area, I encourage you to attend the Blue-Ribbon meeting on the 23 and tell your story. Finally, please check out the two grants from the DPI and the articles from the NREA and IES.

WiRSA Office Closed
The WiRSA office will be closed Tuesday April 17-24, there will be no Update next week.

WiRSA Conference Call for Proposals
The WiRSA Conference Planning Committee is looking for proposals sharing the great programs/solutions that are occurring in our rural school districts. The conference theme is “Rural Schools Matter.” To submit a proposal please go to the following link.
Proposals are due by June 22. District proposals will receive top priority, followed by district/vendor proposals and vendor alone proposals.

WiRSA Conference Vendor Booth Registration
Information regarding securing one of the 26 vendor booths for the 2018 WiRSA Conference will be coming out at the end of April. Priority will be given to our Business Partners (formerly known as Associate Members), then vendors from last year followed by new requests. We will be using a new registration process this year, so please read all information carefully.

WiRSA Rural Awards
WiRSA is now taking applications for the 2018 WiRSA Rural Awards. The WiRSA Rural Awards are a way to recognize the great people you have in your district and community for the outstanding things that they do for your school and rural education. The deadline for nominations is September 14.
Click here for more information.

Legislative Update for the Week of April 16
Both Houses are out of session.

Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding Dates
The next meeting of the School Funding Commission will be held on April 23 in Oshkosh from 2:00 – 6:00. Location TBD.

Future meetings are scheduled for the following communities from 2:00-6:00; locations to be determined. I encourage all of you to attend the Blue-Ribbon Commission meeting nearest you and share your thoughts on funding with the Commission. If they don’t hear from us, they assume everything is okay.
• Monday, May 7- Tomahawk
• Monday, May 21- Turtle Lake
• Monday, June 4- Madison

Testimony Tips for future hearings:

1) We strongly encourage Business Mangers, Bookkeepers and/or other key financial personnel to present as they work with this daily.
2) Key areas to build testimony around
a) School districts lack a predictable, sustainable funding mechanism which impacts programming for students and the ability to attract and retain quality educators in our districts.
b) Removal of enrollment from the Sparsity Aid Formula (some legislators have expressed interest in doing this)
c) School choice funding is impacting our property taxpayers and there is a lack of transparency of where their tax dollars are being allocated.
d) Funding for school mental health.
e) Increase to Special Education categorical appropriation.
f) The ever-changing role of the traditional community public school and the responsibilities and expenses associated with the mandates imposed upon our districts.
g) Unfunded Mandates: Although well meaning, new programs are often mandated by the state.

Informative links
Blue Ribbon Commission website
Blue Ribbon Commission members
Blue Ribbon Commission mission and directive
Legislative Fiscal Bureau school finance documents

From the DPI
School-Based Mental Health Services Grant Program
The most recent governor’s budget provides funding, beginning in fiscal year 2019, to create a new mental health grant program (Wis. Stat. sec. 115.367). The Department of Public Instruction will award grants to school districts, and operators of independent charter schools, to be used for the purpose of providing mental health services to pupils, in collaboration with community health agencies. Strategies may include co-locating community mental health clinics in schools and providing screening and intervention services. School boards and independent charter schools may apply for a grant individually or as a consortium of school boards, charter schools, or both; also, Cooperative Educational Service Agencies (CESAs) can be considered a consortium of school boards.
Grant application
Grant application guidance

Grant Writing Workshops
Grant writing workshops are optional. If you choose to participate, register for one session only.
April 18, 1:00-2:00 p.m.
April 25 2:00-3:00 p.m.
April 30 9:00-10:00 p.m.

DPI Mental Health/ School-Based Grant Program

Transition Readiness Grant Program
Beginning in the 2018-19 school year, $1,500,000 will be provided to establish a new grant program to assist districts and independent charter schools in expanding capacity to provide transition services for pupils with disabilities. The Transition Readiness Grant program was established to help identify and create competitive work opportunities for pupils with disabilities who are currently not served adequately by existing programs. Grant awards must be not less than $25,000, and not more than $100,000, and will fund special education workforce transition support services, including integrated work experiences for students, pupil transportation, and professional development that leads to a transition credential for school personnel. Funding beyond FY19 has not yet been established.

• Funding will be determined based on a competitive process. The application is now available with a due date of May 15, 2018. Please see the full application for further details.

Transition Readiness Grant Webinar
Transition Readiness Grant Webinar PowerPoint

From the NREA

Rural Webinar from ARCC: Place Matters in Rural Upstate New York
DATE: Thursday, May 17 TIME: 2:00 – 3:00 PM (Eastern) CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
Innovation in education can hide in plain sight. Throughout the Appalachian states, teachers, schools, and local education agencies are finding new ways to address both persistent and emerging education challenges. This webinar series from the Appalachia Regional Comprehensive Center shines a spotlight on local innovation so that teachers and education leaders across the region can share promising practices.

You are invited to the second episode in our Local Know-How: Appalachian Education Innovations webinar series. On Thursday, May 17 at 2:00 pm (ET), Casey Jakubowski will introduce you to an innovative place-based project in a rural New York school in the Appalachian region. This unique effort was designed to help at-risk special education students learn more about their community, history, and research, while engaging local education priorities and state and national standards. We hope you join us!

From IES
Creating Caring and Culturally Responsive Classrooms for Students in Prekindergarten to Grade 3
Join Regional Educational Laboratory Northwest for a free webinar exploring strategies to create culturally responsive and emotionally supportive pre-K–3 classrooms for children from diverse racial and cultural backgrounds.

April 24, 2018
11:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m. PT
Register here

New report examines future trends in enrollments, teachers, high school graduates and expenditures.
Enrollment in elementary and secondary schools is projected to increase by 2 percent between 2014 and 2026, following a 3 percent increase between 2001 and 2014, according to a newly released report. Read full report, please visit.

Director Events from Last Week
April 9 – Ed Issues Weekly Call
April 9 – Blue Ribbon Commission on Funding – Fennimore
April 10 – DPI Rural Advisory Meeting – Clinton
April 11 – UW Mental Health discussion
April 13 – CESA 9 PAC

Director Events for the Upcoming Week
April 17-23 Office Closed

AWSA Webinar on Licensing Changes
AWSA invites you to join our second webinar this year on significant changes to educator licensure in Wisconsin. The webinar will take place at 1:00 pm on Thursday, April 26.

With lifetime licensing coming into effect, there continue to be many questions from members and their staff about the status of the license they currently hold, as well as the lifetime status of other licenses they might hold (e.g., a principal who let his/her teaching license lapse but would like to receive a lifetime
teaching license). The webinar will address frequently asked questions on lifetime licensing and provide an update on the licensure changes currently being proposed by the DPI. DPI TEPDL Director, David DeGuire, will be our guest, so you can trust that you are hearing answers to your questions from the person in charge of leading these changes for our state.

You will be able to access the webinar by registering at this link.

WiRSA – WREA Job Connection Reminder
WREA and WiRSA have joined forces to connect school districts with hard to fill partial positions and long-term substitute positions with retired educators looking to get back into the workforce part time to share their knowledge and love of education with the students of rural Wisconsin. website

District Administrators and or HR personnel can complete the form below to post a partial position or long-term substitute position for posting on the WREA website. There is no cost for the posting, this is a service of WREA and WiRSA.

Please send or email completed form to Diane Wilcenski, WREA Executive Director, 6405 Century Avenue, Middleton, WI 53562 or email Diane at
WREA and WiRSA Job Connection Fillable Form

Resources and Grant/Scholarship Reminders
• WiRSA Rural Awards – Click here for more information
WiRSA Scholarships
Clif Bar Family Foundation Grants
ESEA Information
DPI Budget Summary
Licensure Webinar
NREA Conference in Denver, Colorado– October 11-13
2018 WiRSA Conference, October 29-30, Glacier Canyon in Wisconsin Dells

Thank you to our Sponsors!

CESA 10 Facilities Management Services, CESA Foundation, Ehlers, Forecast5, Jostens, M3 Insurance, National Insurance Services, Nexus Solutions, PMA, Siemens, UW Colleges Online, UW-Oshkosh, WEA Members Benefits, Wisconsin Digital Learning Collaborative and Wisconsin Farmers Union