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 Tomahawk area, I encourage you to attend the Blue-Ribbon meeting in Tomahawk on the May 7 from 1:00-5:00 and tell your story.
• Be sure to check out the three grants from the DOJ, DPI and US Department of Education.
• The WiRSA Conference call for proposals is now live.

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 soon. 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 30
No sessions scheduled at the time of this publication.

Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding Dates
The next meeting of the School Funding Commission will be held on May 7 in Tomahawk from 1:00–5:00 (note time change) at the Tomahawk School District Auditorium.

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 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

Grant Opportunities from WI Department of Justice
School Safety Grant Application – Due June 8, 2018
The WI Department of Justice announced that the application is available for the new School Safety Grant program. The DOJ announced that schools interested in applying for a School Safety Grant should create an account on the Egrants online system, and review the DOJ Grants Administrative Guide prior to submitting an application. The School Safety Initiative Grant application is available online, along with instructions. This information can also be found on the Office of School Safety website.
Online Help is available throughout the Egrants application process.

• Once you have started an application, look for the HELP button in the top right corner of the screen, and you will be directed to page-specific instructions.

State of Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Egrants technicians are available non-holiday weekdays from 8 am to 4:30 pm CST.

• Email: Egrants@doj.state.wi.us
• Madison area local calls: (608) 267-9068
• Statewide toll-free: (888) 894-6607

The DOJ Grants Administrative Guide provides assistance with grants management and fiscal management rules, such as allowable costs and procurement.

For any general program, policy, or budget questions related to 2017 Wisconsin Act 143 (Office of School Safety and School Safety Grants) please submit via email to: schoolsafety@doj.state.wi.us

From the DPI
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 US Department of Education
U.S. Department of Education Announces STEM, Computer Science Education Grant Opportunities
The U.S. Department of Education is now accepting applications for two fiscal year 2018 grant competitions that support the Presidential Memorandum on increasing access to high quality Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Computer Science (CS) education.

The $75 million competition for Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) program and the $120 million Education Innovation and Research (EIR) program include priorities for STEM/CS and are designed to further expand access to underserved communities and support educators in these fields.

The application deadline to apply for SEED is May 17, 2018, and the EIR deadline is June 5, 2018. Funding will be awarded in the fall.

For more information about the SEED and EIR grant competitions or other STEM/CS funding opportunities, please email seed@ed.gov or eir@ed.gov.

From the NREA
Register Now to Reserve Your Spot today for the 110th NREA Convention and Research Symposium. October 11–13, 2018 in Denver, CO
If you’re looking to engage with national experts, leading researchers, K–12 and higher education practitioners, policymakers, and philanthropic leaders to advance conversations and ideas around innovative rural leadership, practice, research, and policy, this is THE event for you! If you share our passion for advancing rural education, we hope you will join us and help unite and inspire people to action! Convention and Research

USDA Rural Development Innovation Center Launches Interactive Webpage to Share Best Practices for Rural Economic Development

Amazon Future Engineer Pathway
Are you a high school administrator, teacher, student or parent interested in expanding access to AP computer science at your school?
Students who take AP Computer Science in high school are 8 times more likely to take computer science in college. Website

Per National League of Cities (NLC): Bridging the Urban-Rural Economic Divide

REL Midwest webinars of interest
REL recently posted the following two webinars that may be of interest to rural districts.
“Supporting STEM in Rural Contexts” and “Exploring Educator Movement Between Districts”

Director Events from Last Week
April 25 – Phone conference with DPI on national rural network
April 26 – Administrative meeting at CESA 5 regarding membership registration
April 27 – Conference call with two members regarding upcoming Blue Ribbon meeting

Director Events for the Upcoming Week
April 30 – Weekly Ed Issues Call
April 3 – Connect America Call

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 dwilcenski@wrea.net.
WREA and WiRSA Job Connection Fillable Form

Resources and Grant/Scholarship Reminders
WiRSA Rural Awards
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, RURAL SCHOOLS MATTER, 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