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

Good Morning,
Welcome back to a new school year. I know your time is valuable, please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can be of service to help you find resources or needed information. Have a great year!

WiRSA membership invoices that were mailed in July are due this week. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions.

In this edition:
• WiRSA Conference Registration is now open.
• Nominate someone for the WiRSA Rural Awards – Deadline is Friday Sept. 14th.
• UW Professional Development opportunity.
• Early College Credit Program Update
• National Education Legislation update
• Good reads from the NREA.

WiRSA ‘Rural Schools Matter’ Conference Registration is now Open
The 2018 WiRSA Conference will be held at the Glacier Canyon Lodge Conference Center in Wisconsin Dells, October 29-30. View the program outline and registration information on our website.
Conference Registration

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. Visit our site for more information.

From UW Education Outreach and Partnerships
September 22– Professional Development Opportunity. The Teaching About the 2018 Elections conference is an exciting opportunity for K-12 teachers and administrators to learn about important election related issues, to receive training in effective discussion strategies, and to be introduced to national civic education programs and their curricula.

Early College Credit Program Update (ECCP)
UW Colleges Online is approved to provide online classes for academic year 2018-2019 through the Early College Credit Program. There has been much confusion about online classes and ECCP, but official approval was issued for UW Colleges Online August 23. Please note there is a late starting accelerated 10-week session beginning October 8. The spring classes in 2019 will be available in the 16-week and 10-week sessions. For more information, please contact Joyce Atkins at or Katie Seibel at Both will be at the WiRSA State Conference if you have more questions.

Legislative Update for the Week of September 10
There is nothing on the schedule this week.

National Level Legislative Update From NREA/CEF
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION KICKS OFF NEXT ROUND OF HIGHER ED RULEMAKING: The Education Department today will formally begin its second round of rewriting federal regulations governing higher education. Department officials will hold a daylong hearing to accept public feedback on their plans to conduct rulemaking on revisions to federal rules on topics that include college accreditation, nontraditional education providers and religious schools.

  • This batch of rulemaking is largely aimed at promoting “greater access for students to high-quality, innovative programs,” the Trump administration has said.
  • On the department’s lengthy rulemaking agenda so far: accreditation; “state authorization” rules; the federal definition of a “credit hour”; the requirement that online courses provide “regular and substantive interaction” between students and the instructor; the rules governing direct assessment programs and competency-based education programs; changes to the TEACH Grant program; and the easing of restrictions on funding for religious colleges.
  • Speakers at the hearing have been asked to weigh in on those regulatory issues the Education Department already raised — or they “may suggest additional topics that should be considered for action by the negotiating committee.”

A hearing is scheduled to be held on Sept. 13 in Sturtevant, Wisconsin.

HOUSE PASSES EXPANSION OF STUDENT LOAN COUNSELING (AGAIN): The House on Wednesday passed bipartisan legislation that would expand financial counseling for recipients of federal student loans and grants. Lawmakers voted 406-4 to pass the legislation, H.R. 1635 (115).

  • It’s the third time the House has passed the measure in recent years, having approved similar bills in 2014 and 2016 with bipartisan support. The legislation had been included as part of the sweeping GOP House bill to rewrite the Higher Education Act, H.R. 4508 (115). That overhaul was approved in committee on a party-line vote in December, but it’s struggled to attract enough GOP support to bring it to the House floor.

CORTEZ MASTO INTRODUCES BILL TO CURB ELL TEACHER SHORTAGE: Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) this week introduced a bill that would create incentives for colleges and universities to operate teacher prep programs tailored to serve English-language learners. The Reaching English Language Learners Act would create grants for higher education institutions under Title II of the Higher Education Act. Those grants would be used to produce teachers qualified to identify ELLs, help these students achieve English proficiency and boost their academic outcomes.

  • The bill is co-sponsored by eight Democrats in the Senate. Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) introduced its companion, H.R.4838 (115), in the House earlier this year, with bipartisan support.

From the Department of Justice
Adolescent Mental Health Training and Threat Assessment Team Course
The Adolescent Mental Health Training and Threat Assessment Team Course required as a prerequisite for the second round of funding will be provided by the DOJ for no cost to the school. However, the school will need to cover the cost associated with travel to the training such as mileage, lodging and meals. It is permitted to use grant funding to cover these costs if it is identified within the budget spreadsheet submitted in Egrants.

Schools can send as many teachers and counselors as they see necessary to the training. However, DOJ will only cover cost of tuition for 10% of the school’s staff. Additional staff costs would need to be requested in the budget.

DOJ suggests that your budget narrative and budget excel spreadsheet includes two separate line items. One for the 10% of staff where tuition is covered by DOJ, along with requested travel, meals and lodging paid with grant funds. A second line item should include any additional staff training above the 10% to include tuition, meals, travel and lodging. This will make clear to grant specialist when approving school budgets. The tuition for additional staff above the 10% is $180 per person.

Frequently asked Questions

Articles from NREA
A Rural Town Banded Together to Open a Hospital. Its Foe? A Larger Hospital.
Even when a town wants to open a new hospital to make up for a lack of health care, the challenges can be enormous.

Daily Yonder:

Director Events from Last Week
Sept. 5 – Legislative Council Meeting on Common School Fund
Sept. 6 – Midwest Council Meeting
Sept. 6 – Connect America Meeting

Director Events for the Upcoming Week
Sept. 10 – Ed Issues Conference Call
Sept. 11 – 7×7 Rural Partners Forum
Sept. 14 – Meeting with Katie McCabe on Rural Networking
Sept. 14 – UW Network Research group meeting

Resources and Grant/Scholarship Reminders
• WiRSA Rural Awards – Click here for more information
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!

Alliant Energy, CESA Foundation, Ehlers, Jostens, McKinstry,
Mid-State Technical College, National Insurance Services, Nexus Solutions,
The Insurance Center, TRICORE Insurance, UW Colleges Online,
WEA Member Benefits and Wisconsin Farmers Union