The Community’s public school is the greatest discovery, and the cornerstone of our democratic society – Horace Mann
On behalf of the WiRSA Board and WiRSA Staff, I would like to wish you and your staff and family a Happy Holiday Season.
The next Update will be January 7.
Governor Elect Evers and Lt. Governor Barnes Listening Sessions – “Building the People’s Budget”
The Governor Elect and Lt. Governor Elect will be hosting these events across the state. These events are great opportunities for people to have your voices heard and your policy items prioritized. The first budget session is this Tuesday in Green Bay, so please encourage folks to attend.
Information about each session, as well as the link to RSVP to each event, is below:
• December 18, 12:00PM-1:30PM: La Crosse, American Legion Post 52. 711 6th St South, La Crosse, WI 54601. Register for the La Crosse session at this La Crosse link.
• December 19, 4:30PM-6:00PM: Milwaukee, United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County Volunteer Center. 200 West Pleasant Street, Milwaukee, WI 53212. Register for the Milwaukee session at this Milwaukee link.
Girls Who Code
WiRSA is partnering with the Girls Who Code organization. Girls Who Code is a national non-profit organization leading the movement to inspire, educate, and equip girls with computing skills to pursue 21st-century opportunities. Girls Who Code Clubs are FREE programs for 3rd-5th and 6th-12th grade girls to join our sisterhood of supportive peers and role models and use computer science to change the world. Clubs can be hosted in schools, universities, libraries, community centers, faith-based organizations, or other nonprofits.
After reviewing this information please let me know by December 21, if you or someone in your district would be interested in finding out more about this program. We will then set up a Webinar to get more information from Girls Who Code
• Clubs Curriculum Overview: Shows what girls will learn in Clubs
3-5th Grade Curriculum: Feel free to take a look at our brand new 3rd-5th Grade Sample Curriculum!
6th-12th grade Curriculum: Please see below for instructions on how to view sample curriculum for 6th-12th grade Clubs on Girls Who Code HQ.
1. STEP ONE: Visit our online learning platform, Girls Who Code HQ
2. STEP TWO: Create an HQ Account by clicking Sign Up and indicating “I want to start a club or I want to volunteer for a club.” (Please note that this does not require you to submit a Clubs Application to preview the curriculum but instead brings you to our curriculum preview page!)
3. STEP THREE: You can click on different icons to learn more about our 6th-12th grade Clubs, view a sample of our 6th-12th grade curriculum, and find out what’s new for the 2018-19 school year!
In addition to all of the curriculum and resources being absolutely free, Girls Who Code also now provides free t-shirts, a Clubs Fund mini-grant of $300 for Clubs to use on supplies, snacks and more, free books for the 3rd-5th grade students, and all Clubs are assigned a Clubs Success Specialist to provide individualized support throughout the year. The sooner the better for them to take advantage of these opportunities!
WiRSA took part in the Wisconsin Redefining Ready Workshop on Thursday and will be working closely with the CESA’s to get the word out on this data driven local report card that can tell a more in-depth story about your schools and students. More information to follow I the future. Here is a link to the national website.
Legislative Update for the Week of December 17
December 19 at 9:00 am Rm. 412 East – Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding.
This will be an informational hearing with committee members discussing and finalizing the commission’s recommendations for improving the school funding formula based on previous public hearings. No public input will be heard at this time. Copy of the LFB Report to be discussed. See attachment.
National Level Legislative Update From NREA/CEF
ESSA: The major issue for ESSA right now continues to be ESSA fiscal transparency. From the perspective of practitioners, while the data is important, in terms of implementation, we are most concerned with the ability of school and ed service agency administrators to effectively and clearly communicate the meaning of the data and to account for why there may be discrepancies in per pupil funding between schools. AASA hosted a webinar on the topic yesterday. The recording will be available here once it is archived.
Farm Bill: The House and Senate have reached a compromise on a Farm Bill conference report. As a recap, the House Farm Bill included two elements that AASA opposed: stricter work requirements for SNAP that could lead to millions of students losing access to meals at home and changes to categorical eligibility, which automatically enrolls 265,000 students in school meals. The compromise bill was released Monday night, and only includes administrative updates to nutrition – neither of the elements we were concerned about. The bill passed the Senate overwhelmingly and is expected to pass the House. President Trump praised the bill and is now expected to sign it.
Nutrition Regulations: The USDA recently released a final rule for its proposed changes to school meal standards. The final rule ushers in broader flexibilities in the whole wheat, sodium, and milk standards than previously suggested. Under the final rule, the whole grain requirement will be lowered from 100 percent whole wheat to 50 percent whole wheat. Many districts have been eligible for an annual waiver from the 100 percent requirement, but under this rule, all districts will only be held to the 50 percent requirement. The rule also holds steady the sodium limit, postponing the planned decreased allowance for four years and cancelling the final planned decrease. Phase II of the sodium restrictions will now take effect in the 2024-25 school year and will be the final stage. The rule also allows schools to sell and to serve one percent flavored milk in addition to the nonfat milk currently allowed. This change will make it easier to buy, sell, and serve milk that is familiar to students.
ERate: The FY19 application window for ERate will open in January. We want to make sure school districts are accessing the full amount of ERate funding available to them in light of the 2014 funding increase. In current years, hundreds of millions of ERate dollars have been left on the table. IN an effort to expand enrollment and help schools’ better access this funding for FY19, we will be doing a coordinated set of outreach with USAC administrator Radha Sekar. In the meantime, here is the link where you can sign up for USAC and ERate webinars, including monthly ERate webinars and one on Dec 12 in preparation for the FY19 application window:
IRS and Tax Loophole Regulations: Last month the IRS heard arguments from school superintendents and voucher proponents about the possibility of the IRS closing down a tax shelter in 12 states that allows voucher supporters to profit from their donations to voucher tax credit programs. Superintendents from across the country submitted comments to the IRS in October urging them to not carve-out voucher programs from this larger tax regulation impacting state tax credits. While we were outnumbered at the IRS hearing we had the stronger tax arguments. The IRS ruling is expected in January or February.
Public Charge: There is an opportunity for educators to weigh in ASAP on a proposed immigration regulation that could jeopardize the ability of your immigrant students to access to healthcare, food and housing. Specifically, the public charge regulation would amend a policy that has been on the books for decades and is intended to ensure that immigrants who have entered the U.S. legally are not granted green cards or lawful permanent resident cards if they are “likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence.” The Trump Administration is changing the definition of a “public charge” to anyone who receives any assistance with health care, nutrition or housing. Because of the complexity of the new regulation, it is predicted that families (not just a family member who would be considered a public charge) will refuse to participate in Medicaid/CHIP, SNAP (food stamps) and public housing programs like Section 8. Specifically, this means that families with children who qualify for healthcare, nutrition and housing benefits will forego accessing these benefits for fear it could jeopardize a family member’s ability to stay in the U.S. Read more about how this could impact district finances. You have until December 10 to submit comments on the proposed changes to the Public Charge rule changes. Find more information and our template for comments here.
From the US Department of Education
No update at the time of this writing.
From the DOJ
School Threat Assessment Conference
the Office of School Safety is announcing a School Threat Assessment Conference to be held March 18-19, 2019, at the Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva Wisconsin. There will be no charge for this event. There is a block of hotel rooms available at the state rate of $82.00 per night for Sunday, March 17, and Monday March 18. There are a limited number of seats for this event, so please encourage your partners to register early!
This conference will count toward the Threat Assessment Team Training requirement. All educators, law enforcement and school based behavioral health/social services professionals are encouraged to attend. Please see the attached tentative agenda for more information.
From the NREA
BetterLesson Webinar on PD for Rural Teachers. There is still time to sign up for The Support that Keeps Rural Teachers in the Classroom, a free 30-minute webinar Tuesday. The webinar will provide steps and suggestions for implementing classroom-embedded support for teachers that helps them acquire and refine core competencies, build a growth mindset in themselves and their students, and expand their capacity to deliver student-centered instruction.
Revenues and Expenditures for Public K-12 Education Increase for Third Consecutive Year – To view the full report when it is released, please visit.
New Report Presents Updated Data on High School Dropout and Completion Rates
To browse this report’s findings online, please visit.
To download the full report as a PDF file, please visit.
Director Events from Last Week
December 10 – Stakeholders Conference Call
December 11 – Meeting with WPEN
December 11 – Meeting on 2019-20 budget
December 12 – Conference Call with Lifemap
December 13 – Meeting with UW System on Opioid Grant possibility
December 14 – Follow-up Meeting on DPI Quality Matters
Director Events for the Upcoming Week
December 17 – Stakeholder Meeting on BRC on School Funding report
December 19 – CESA 3 PAC
December 19 – BRC on School Funding Hearing
December 20 – Meeting with Mike Koltes at CESA 5
December 20 – RCN Monthly Conference Call
Resources and Grant/Scholarship Reminders
• 2019 WiRSA Conference, Save the Date, October 28-29, Glacier Canyon in Wisconsin Dells.
• 2019 WiRSA Scholarship Information