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

Good Morning,
Important mentions in this edition:

• HR 5199 under Legislative Update
• WiRSA Conference call for proposals and Conference Vendor/Sponsor Registration are now live.
• WiRSA Rural Awards information. This is a great way to recognize staff and community members.
• Article on School Improvement from Ed 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 June 22. District proposals will receive top priority, followed by district/vendor proposals and vendor alone proposals.

WiRSA Conference Vendor Booth and Sponsorship Registration is Open
Information for securing one of the 26 vendor booths for the 2018 WiRSA Conference is now available. Please see attached flyer for more details. 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.

Registration Form

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 May 4
No sessions scheduled at the time of this publication.

HR – 5199 – Education Savings Accounts for Military Families Act of 2018
This bill amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to direct the Department of Education to establish a program to provide children with parents on active duty in the uniformed services with funds for specified educational purposes. Children of active duty service members who reside in a local education agency that receives payments under the Impact Aid Program or who reside within the boundaries of a federal military installation are eligible to receive funds.

HR 5199, would impact at least 23 Wisconsin school districts that receive Impact Aid. They include Ashland, Bayfield, Black River Falls, Bowler, Crandon, Cumberland, Florence, Gresham, Hayward, Lac du Flambeau, Lakeland UHS, Laona, Menomonie Indian, Seymour, Shawano, Siren, Sparta, Tomah, Unity, Wabeno, Webster, West De Pere and Winter.
Read more here.

Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding Dates
The next meeting of the School Funding Commission will be held today in Turtle Lake from 1:00–5:00, note time change, at the Turtle Lake School District Auditorium.

Future meetings are scheduled for the following communities from 1:00-5:00. 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, June 4- Madison (Location to be determined.)

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 Education Week
Two Theories of School Improvement—Which Works Better? By Marc Tucker

From the NREA
Register Now to Reserve Your Spot today for the 110th NREA Convention and Research Symposium. October 11–13, 2018 in Denver, Colorado
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

Rural Matters by John White
Rural Matters is a biweekly, 30-minute podcast about rural education, business, and health. The podcast’s mission is to increase awareness, inform discussion, and expand the dialogue on the most important issues facing rural stakeholders every day. Guests on the podcast include rural education decision-makers, rural business owners and entrepreneurs, and rural health care representatives. The National Rural Education Association and the Center for Rural Affairs are marketing partners.

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:
• 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:

From the US Department of Education
U.S. Department of Education Announces Education Innovation and Research Grant
The Education Innovation and Research (EIR) Grant provides funding for recipients to create or scale entrepreneurial, evidence-based, field-initiated innovations to improve achievement and attainment of high-need K-12 students.

If your district has over 350 students in Average Daily Attendance and would like more information about the EIR grant, please see the information sheet, and visit the EIR 2018 Competition Page (/).
Please note: All EIR applications are due by June 5, 2018.

Director Events from Last Week
May 7 – Blue Ribbon Hearing in Tomahawk
May 9 – Meeting with Jennifer Berkshire (Journalist)
May 8 – CESA 5 registration meeting
May 9 – Meeting with Network
May 10 – Conference call with Better Lessons
May 11 – CESA 11

Director Events for the Upcoming Week
May 14 – Weekly Ed Issues Call
May 16 – Present WiRSA Scholarship at Albany HS
May 18 – UW/DPI Mental Health Discussion

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
ESEA Information
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