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

Good Morning,
In this edition, be sure to check the WiRSA Scholarship winners, referendum information, the Blue-Ribbon Commission updates and the NREA and IES resources.

2018 Scholarship Winners Announced- Congratulations to the following students
Regular Scholarships
Region 1: Sydney Herman, Mishicot
Region 2: Hailey Stefanik, Albany
Region 3: Athena Hiemstra, Turtle Lake
Region 4: Stephanie Peitersen, Oconto Falls
At Large: Emma Lawrence, Benton

Teacher Education Scholarships
Region 1: Emily Omernik, Tomorrow River
Region 2: Marissa Gerstner, Fort Atkinson
Region 3: Alycia Zickert, Neillsville
Region 4: Casie McAllister, Merrill
At Large: Weston Morley, Cuba City

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.

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

Legislative Update for the Week of April 9
Both Houses are out of session.

83% of the Referendum Questions Passed Last Tuesday
Last Tuesday 55 of the 66 referendum questions past, marking another positive sign that Wisconsin voters believe in and support their public schools. In this group, 13 school districts that were at risk of not being able to utilize the new low-revenue dollars under the new state law, because of an unsuccessful revenue limit referendum in the three most recent school years, successfully passed operating referenda to avoid being frozen out under that new law.

Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding Dates Announced
The next meeting of the School Funding Commission will be held today in Fennimore at the Fred Lenz Center at Southwest Technical College, 1800 Bronson Blvd, from 2:00 – 6:00.

Future meetings are scheduled for the following communities from 2:00-6:00; locations still 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, April 23- Oshkosh
• 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 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!

Call for Proposals for the NREA Convention and Research Symposium:
The convention will be held OCTOBER 11–13, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. If you have a great rural program to share with others I encourage you to submit a proposal.
ONLINE PROPOSAL SUBMISSION Due by April 13, 2018. Submit your proposal here.

From IES
New Report Examines Student Access to Digital Learning Resources Outside of the Classroom

REL Webinar: Language, Discussion, and Questions in Early Math
You are invited to participate in a Regional Educational Laboratory Central webinar that will present research- based strategies that support early childhood language development and mathematical thinking through posing rich mathematical questions.

This webinar is intended for early childhood educators, elementary teachers, and administrators.
Language, Discussion, and Questions in Early Math
April 18, 2018
1:30–3:00 p.m. MT
Register here

Director Events from Last Week
April 3 – CESA 3
April 4 – WiRSA Board Meeting
April 4 – Green Bay Press Gazette Interview
April 5 – Connecting America

Director Events for the Upcoming 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

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.

Resources and Grant/Scholarship Reminders
• WiRSA Rural AwardsClick 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