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

Good Morning,
In this addition check out information on WiRSA Rural Awards, DOJ training in Stratford, Bucky’s Tuition Promise update and the new School DataTool put out by the Wisconsin Policy Forum. Also, be sure see the NREAC Update, DOJ Training Updates and some good articles under the NREA section.

WiRSA Rural Awards – New Category added for Principals
WiRSA is now taking applications for the 2019 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 13.
Click here for more information.

Stratford offering DOJ Threat Assessment Training
The Stratford School District is hosting a DOJ approved Threat Assessment Training on Monday, August 19th. This training will satisfy the requirements for the Departments second safety grant. If anyone is interested, please contact Superintendent Scott Winch at 715-687-3130 or

UW-Madison Office for Financial Aid Update Regarding Bucky’s Tuition Promise
This academic year was the first for Bucky’s Tuition Promise, a program that promises students up front that — if they are admitted to UW-Madison and if their family income is in the bottom half of the Wisconsin income distribution (below $58,000) — we will put together a funding package that guarantees coverage of tuition and fees for four years. We already have nearly 800 students from 65 Wisconsin counties in the program – or about 17% of the freshman class. Please note the income level increase to $58k and below up from $56k.

New from the Wisconsin Policy Forum – New Research: School DataTool
The new online School DataTool provides data on key education metrics for school districts throughout Wisconsin. The DataTool also has a feature that allows users to easily compare peer districts on these metrics, which range from enrollment and school spending to graduation rates and student performance. Check out the School DataTool here.

Legislative Update for the Week of February 18
LFB Revenue Estimates Released
Feb 18 – Assembly Education Committee – 10:00 417 North – The Education Committee will receive an update on education from the state’s Department of Public Instruction. Testimony will be from invited speakers only.

National Level Legislative Update From NREA/CEF
CEF (Committee for Educational Funding) released the 2019 Federal Budget Book

NREAC Update
ESSA: The biggest thing to watch in ESSA remains the ESSA fiscal transparency requirements that are in effect for this school year, and which will likely be included in the next round of state and local report cards. Outside of that, we expect the new Congress to invite Sec DeVos to the hill to testify about a variety of topics, including ESSA implementation/oversight. We do not have a read on what topic the House Committee may lead with, but ESSA oversight is a top contender.

Forest Counties: We find ourselves in a familiar position, without an authorization and without funding. You’ll recall that SRS went without funding for all of 2016 and was able to secure a two-year funding deal for FY17 and 18, which set us up to where we are now: an FY19 appropriations process that once again does not include money for the SRS program. Late in 2018, Sens Wyden and Crapo introduced a bill that we support that will hopefully be introduced this Congress and refresh the conversation about the need of the permanence of this program and its related funding, IN a nutshell, the Wyden/Crapo bill creates a permanent fund (a one-time, major investment). As lands are forested, the 25% receipts would go into this pot, as well, and the proceeds of the process would be the payout to the SRS/Forest Counties beneficiaries. This is an uphill ask, if only because of the size of the upfront investment.

That said, it becomes self-sustaining and moves from needing to be annually appropriated (it would be sustained by revenues/proceeds from the pot, as well as the 25% receipts). We are working with the forest counties coalition for a fly in in late February to hit the hill about the program in general, funding for FY20, and a path forward for authorization.

Title IX: The DeVos Administration has proposed some significant changes to how school districts respond to and investigate allegations of student sexual misconduct under Title IX. These changes include:

• Allowing districts to ignore sexual harassment/abuse reported by a student unless the student reports it to a teacher, Title IX coordinator or administrator;
• Not requiring district to investigate or implement corrective action if a child reports harassment or abuse by a teacher if the child reports it to another teacher, instead of an employee with authority to institute corrective measures, such as a Title IX coordinator or school principal;
• Requiring districts to dismiss a formal Title IX complaint by a student if the alleged conduct occurred off-campus or online;
• Opening districts up to requests by parents and students that they employ “live hearings” where students would be cross-examined by the other’s “advisor of choice” on alleged misconduct;
• Requiring a separate and higher standard to be used for claims of student harassment and misconduct when compared to employee harassment and misconduct.

The proposed Title IX regulations would greatly alter the policies and practices from the 2001 Title IX guidance that district personnel have implemented for almost two decades. Further, these regulations have the potential to increase the likelihood of litigation in districts because they so severely restrict when and how districts can investigate and under what circumstances students can report. As a result, we are deeply worried that students may be less likely to view the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) as the main avenue for addressing and resolving their Title IX complaints against schools and instead pursue formal litigation against districts. Also, the new regulations will require significant new training of districts and cause confusion to school personnel regarding their responsibilities to report sexual harassment, including sexual assault. We have created a template for you to use to submit your own. We are hoping to create a ground swell of pressure and we strongly urge you to take the time to file you own comments. We have additional information and a short template you can copy/paste, all available on the blog.

Vouchers: School Choice Week, a week intended to celebrate how school vouchers are doing great things and Betsy DeVos will be making a public appearance to discuss her thoughts on federal school voucher policy and specifically the reauthorization of the D.C. voucher program. We expect another push by the Heritage Foundation to try and fund a voucher program for military-connected students. Given our sounding defeat of their proposal last year to use Impact Aid funding to pay for a voucher program they are pivoting to asking that money from the 21st Century Community Learning Centers be used as the pay-for for their voucher program. The 21st Century program was just reauthorized again in ESSA and has received funding increases over the past few years as there is bipartisan support for funding grants to local school districts and community learning centers for afterschool programs serving students in low-performing schools. Programs are run by schools and/or community organizations in partnership and can also serve children before school and in the summer months. Given that Democrats control of the House the bill will not go anywhere and it will be interesting to see what traction they get on the Senate side.

In addition the D.C. voucher program is again up for reauthorization. We hope to see Democrats conduct some strong oversight hearings of the program and the lack of quality and results in the program.

National Federal Register Update
Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act State Plan

o The Department of Education is using this information collection to gather State plans for eligible agencies under the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V). Section 122(a) of Perkins V requires each eligible agency desiring assistance for any fiscal year under the Act to prepare and submit to the Secretary a State plan for a 4-year period, together with such annual revisions as the Act specifies or the eligible agency deems necessary.
o Comments by March 11, 2019.

From the DOJ
Upcoming Training in Western Wisconsin Below are upcoming “all corners of Wisconsin” training events:
Threat Assessment Conference, April 1-2, UW-River Falls

Adolescent Mental Health Training
– Salem, March 4-5
– Superior, June 12-13
– Rhinelander, June 13-14
– Merrill, July 15-16

Threat Assessment Training Courses
– Eau Claire, March 4
– Warrens, March 21
– Wisconsin Rapids, April 24
– Turtle Lake, May 1

Register for any of our statewide training events here.

From the NREA
USDA launches toolkit to help rural communities get broadband service
The e-Connectivity toolkit includes a list of 27 USDA programs that support broadband deployment, allowing customers to see which ones are the best fit. The programs are organized by the type of customer (e.g., farmers, for-profit businesses, non-profits and government entities) and by what each program offers (such as technical assistance, training and workforce development, agriculture technology research, and permit reimbursement).

The toolkit also includes a user guide and examples of how some rural communities are using e-Connectivity resources to increase broadband services.

The College Board Rural Teacher of the Year
The National Rural Education Association is very proud to present the Annual College Board Rural Teacher of the Year Award to a deserving rural teacher. The generous support provided by the College Board lets the College Board Rural Teacher of the Year receive a $2000 honorarium, and the College Board Rural Teacher of the Year’s school district receives $1000 to purchase instructional materials and school supplies.

2018-2019 Rural Teacher of the Year Winner and Finalists
• 2018-2019 Rural Teacher of the Year: Wade Owlett from Pennsylvania
College Board Rural Teacher of the Year Information and Application

Behind Trump’s School Choice Sentence, A Longer Story by Ira Stoll

Reversing the rural brain drain with remote working
With a new network of rural tech hubs, the Rural Innovation Initiative wants to kickstart small

Reading Research from our new Business Partner Energy Performance Lighting
Reading Speed and Accuracy are Affected by Light Level and Lamp Spectrum. See attached report.

Wisconsin Green Schools Network-Supported Teacher Professional Learning Opportunity
Saturday, March 2, 2019–“Connect, Explore, and Engage in Authentic Learning” a WISELearn OER Professional Learning Opportunity

Through this project, you will design a series of 3 learning experiences that utilize OERs (like Siftr). During our second workshop, you will upload your three OER lessons to share with educators across the state through DPI’s WISELearn Portal.

Northern Waters Environmental School, Hayward (hosts)

o Two required in-person sessions this late winter/ early spring supported by 3 virtual meetings
o March 2, 2019, 9:30 AM-2:00 PM-1st in-person session- Lunch is provided.
o 2nd in-person session-TBD by participants of the 1st Meeting.
o 3 scheduled virtual meetings-TBD by participants

In addition, we are offering a $400 stipend (upon completion of project requirements) to offset your travel and time expenditures while involved in this this collaborative learning opportunity!

Wondering what Siftr is? Check out these short videos created by Joe for an overview:
1. Intro to Siftr
2. Sifting in Siftr
3. Creating a Project with Siftr

For further information, reply to Sandy Benton,

Director Events from Last Week
February 11 – Ed Issues Conference Call
February 11 – WPEN Meeting
February 13 – Legislative hearings
February 13 – Conference call to discuss MOE
February 14 – Conference call with healthTide and Wisconsin Green Schools Network

Director Events for the Upcoming Week
February 18 – Meeting with Katie McCabe
February 18 – Ed Issues Conference Call
February 18 – Meeting with Education Academy Planning Committee
February 19 – WiRSA Conference Planning Committee meeting
February 20 – FAST Institute
February 20 – Assembly Education Hearing
February 20 – NREAC Meeting

Resources and Grant/Scholarship Reminders
• 2019 WiRSA Conference, Save the Date, October 28-29, Glacier Canyon in Wisconsin Dells.


Thank you 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