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

Good Morning,
I hope the summer has gone well for all. Please take time to get caught up on issues that have occurred over the last couple of weeks and take a look at the information regarding the upcoming conference, job fair and awards.

WiRSA Member Request from Wauzeka-Steuben School District
The Wauzeka-Steuben School District is entertaining a referendum, April 2020. One of our first objectives is to develop a communication plan as to what, when, why and who will be carrying out the dialogue to our electorate leading up to the election.

If you have such a communication plan, may I receive a copy? Rather than reinvent the wheel I would like to gain insights of what we need to do in order to obtain success.

I thank you in advance,
Tom Martin

WiRSA “Diversity in Rural Schools” Conference Registration is Open
The 2019 WiRSA Conference will be held again this year at the Glacier Canyon Lodge Conference Center in Wisconsin Dells October 28-29. Please note the program is online. Register here. More details here.

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.

Announcing the First Annual WiRSA Educator Job Fair
In an ongoing effort to provide support and resources for our members, WiRSA will be holding an Educator Job Fair on October 29th as part of our conference activities. The Job Fair will take place on Tuesday afternoon following the closing of the conference. We will be reaching out to the Schools of Education to invite Fall semester student teachers and students in their last semester of student teaching to attend the conference free of charge and to visit the Job Fair. WiRSA members will be able to sign up free of charge for a recruiting table at the Job Fair. Our hope is to show these potential teacher candidates that rural schools are a great place to work. More information to follow.

WiRSA Conference Vendor Booth / Sponsorship Registration is Open (Booths are almost gone)
Information for securing one of the 26 vendor booths for the 2019 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.

Please read all information carefully. Vendor/Sponsor Registration Form.

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

Center on Great Teacher and Leaders (GTL) Webinar
Using Regional Partnerships to Create Grow-Your-Own Programs in Wisconsin (August 14th from 11:00-12:00 CST)
Are you interested in resources to support grow-your-own programs, specifically in rural schools? The Center on Great Teacher and Leaders (GTL) is holding an August webinar series to share successes, challenges, and lessons learned from implementing evidence-based strategies to strengthen the educator workforce. The second webinar of the series, Using Regional Partnerships to Create Grow-Your-Own Programs in Wisconsin, will feature state, district, and educator preparation program partners across Wisconsin. The webinar will also launch a new GTL brief titled 10 Mentoring and Induction Challenges in Rural Schools and How to Address Them. Register here!

Note: If you are interested in this Webinar but the time conflicts with other activities, you should go ahead and register. This will get your email on the list for a follow-up email after the webinar ends with a link to the recording.

Legislative Update for the Week of August 12th
August 13th – Senate Education Committee will meet at 10:00 – Room 411 South
Assembly Bill 53 Relating to: pupil records.
Assembly Bill 54 Relating to: fire, tornado, and school safety drills for public and private schools.
Assembly Bill 67 Relating to: information on the school district and school accountability report.
Assembly Bill 110 Relating to: developing a guidebook related to dyslexia and related conditions.

WiRSA’s position on AB 53, 67 and 110 is Neutral and supports AB54

National Level Legislative Update From NREAC/CEF
• CEF’s advocacy for education investments this year – CEF has consistently included three requests in our advocacy this year: first increase the non-defense discretionary cap, then significantly increase the 302(b) allocation for the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bills, and then within that larger allocation increase investments in education. We are continuing this push as the Senate gets ready to set its 302(b) allocations, and as the House has to reconsider where to trim the higher funding levels in the 10 government funding bills it has already passed (the new budget deal has lower total non-defense discretionary funding than the House had previously set for its bills). These negotiations will take place when the Senate and the House set conferences to work out the differences between their versions of each bill.

  • Rumors about Senate Labor-HHS-Education allocation for fiscal year (FY) 2020 – We’re hearing that Senate Appropriations Committee chair Richard Shelby (R-AL) has already divided the discretionary total approved for FY 2020 among the 12 government funding bills – the “302(b) allocations” – and that staff are working to draft bills. On Wednesday afternoon, CQ reported that “According to several people familiar with the process, Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby wrote an allocation for the fiscal 2020 Labor-HHS-Education bill that is about $5 billion lower than it would have been to provide funding for the wall.” There is no detail on what that vague statement means in terms of funding, so let’s break down what we can guess.
  • NDD cap is about $10 billion below the House level – The budget agreement signed into law provides a $25 billion increase for non-defense discretionary (NDD) funding above the FY 2019 level, which is about $10 billion (1/3) below the level the House approved when it passed its appropriations bills earlier this year. That would translate into a 1/3 cut to the increase the House provided for the Labor-HHS-Education bill if the money were spread proportionately (which there’s no reason to think it will be). So instead of the House bill’s $11.8 billion increase over FY 2019, the Senate Labor-HHS-Education bill would provide an increase of about $7.5 billion. But I think the Senate increase will be much smaller for several reasons, including the following ones.
  • Need to fund more of the census under the cap – The House had provided up to $7.5 billion for the decennial census with money outside the cap, but the budget deal allows only $2.5 billion of uncapped census funding. That creates a need to use more money under the cap for the census, which will cut the NDD funding available for other programs and bills, including education.
  • Different Senate Republican priorities – The Republican-led Senate will have different priorities than the Democratic-led House, so one would expect different bills might get bigger boosts than what the House provided. For example, I’d expect a larger increase for the Homeland Security bill, which is where you’d see funding for a border wall. I’d also expect more law enforcement and NASA funding in the Commerce, Justice, Science bill, and possibly more funding for the Energy and Water bill, among others. That will reduce the funding available for the Labor-HHS-Education bill, as well.
  • The items above make it likely that the House’s $11.8 billion increase for the Labor-HHS-Education bill might be closer to a $3 billion increase in the Senate. Within the bill, I’d expect the Senate to increase funding for the National Institutes of Health but about $2 billion – what they have been doing each year – and to designate additional funding to fight the opioid crisis. That would leave very little to increase funding for the education and other programs in the Labor-HHS-Education bill.
  • What to expect in September – Above are speculations about what we might see in the Senate Labor-HHS-Education allocation, but keep in mind that I tend to set my expectations low! If the allocation is indeed very low, I do not think the bill will have a fast and smooth bipartisan markup the week of September 9, which is what Chairman Shelby wants. If that’s the case, we might see more amendments that contain Democratic policy riders that would make the bill more contentious. Ultimately, it will have to be conferenced with the House-passed version to produce a compromise that a majority will support. In summary, we are not expecting anything near an $11.8 billion increase for the Senate Labor-HHS-Education bill, but there is still plenty of time for more advocacy on behalf of education investments.

From US Department of Education
The Department recently posted to its Video web page a number of new education-related recordings.
“Early Learning: STEM — Math” offers tips on introducing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts to the youngest learners.

From the DOJ
No update this week.

From the NREA
The 111th Rural Research and Conference Symposium hosted by NREA & BFK.
The #RuralEdForum brings together rural #edleaders from across the country to advance #21stcenturylearning. Join our community of bold, courageous educators on Oct. 24–26 in Louisville, KY! Register today to save.

Four Day School Week

Central Michigan Rural Principal Workload Study – Survey Invite
This study was designed to explore the level of challenge of the rural school principal by asking you to disclose the sources of your workplace stress. Additionally, we are asking what roles teachers currently perform in your building and what roles you think teachers could perform in order to reduce the level of stress that you experience. Responding to this survey should require no more than 15 minutes. We expect to distribute these results widely and your prompt response would be greatly appreciated. Here is a link to the survey.

The summer issue of The Rural Educator is out!
The Ed Elements Grant for Personalized Learning SchoolsA grant for school leaders to improve their schools and transform them into student-centered environments. Applications due September 30. Ed Elements Principal Grant


How to make college accessible to students from rural communities


It Starts with Us: Including Refugees in Rural Schools and Communities
Refugees from around the globe may settle in rural communities. Drawn by agricultural and other employment opportunities, refugees and immigrants bolster rural populations and enroll students in local schools but face many challenges to success. Schools can play an important role in supporting children and families that resettle in rural communities. In the current issue of The Rural Educator Alice Wille and her co-authors summarize interviews with educators and provide recommendations for promoting the inclusion of newcomer youth in rural schools. Article

Deploying Teachers Wisely
Top-performing systems realize the importance of deploying their teachers wisely. That’s why Japan, South Korea and Singapore rotate teachers’ school assignments periodically. This allows teachers to work with and learn from a broad range of their peers, experience different school contexts including those in rural and urban schools, and teach students with a diversity of cultural, linguistic and socioeconomic backgrounds. This also means that strong teachers can be assigned where they are needed most, giving the most challenged schools the staff they most need. In Singapore, teachers even rotate in and out of the Ministry of Education, where they can impact high-level policy decisions. Learn more about teacher and principal quality in these and other top-performing education systems by visiting CIEB’s country profiles.

Director Events from the Last Few Weeks
August 31 – United Against Hate meeting
August 5 – WPEN Summit
August 6 – Weekly Stakeholder Meeting
August 7 – Yearly Audit
August 8 – State Stakeholders meeting

Director Events for the Upcoming Week
August 12 – Meeting with UWP School of Ed and Northeast WI Educators
August 12 – Weekly Stakeholder Meeting
August 13 – Meeting with REL Midwest
August 13 – Senate Education Committee
August 13 – NREAC Conference Call
August 15 – NREA Executive Committee Call
August 16 – CESA 12 PAC

Resources and Grant/Scholarship Reminders
• Save the Date: 2019 WiRSA Conference, 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