Saturday, June 30, 2012

Promising site: eduClipper

This looks very promising. It claims to be site to hold all web/digital information for you in one spot. I have tried the bookmarking thing and have not been impressed. This holds true promise if it works. We will keep our eye on this one. I have signed up to receive information as it is released. Supposed to be released soon. We will just wait and see!

Read to Lead in Wisconsin State Parks

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is teaming with Wisconsin's statewide Read to Lead initiative to encourage kids and families to read everywhere—including the great outdoors! Each week in 2012 a new pairing of a state park and nature book is featured. These books, geared towards ages 5 to 9, are available for reading at the parks or local libraries.

Kids, read (or have someone read to you) the book of the week and see how it relates to the state park! Read 20 or more books in 2012 and enter to win a Kindle Fire® or other prizes! Enjoy special nature programs at some parks during their "Read to Lead" week!

Click here to go to entry form

Of course Wyalusing State Park is in right here in our neighborhood and their featured book is The Voyageur's Paddle by Kathy-Jo Wargin

Voyageur is the French word for "traveler," but in the Great Lakes region during the seventeenth century it described the men who made their living trading furs and other goods along water routes. Young Jacques's father is a voyageur. He works long hours in bitterly cold weather, gone for weeks at a time. As he awaits his father's return from a season of trading, Jacques dreams of the day he will hold the canoe paddle and join the ranks of voyageurs.

Read to Lead book of the week

Click here to access more information on the Read to Lead in the State Parks initiative

Friday, June 29, 2012

High School Back Entrance Upgrade

With the upgrade to the back parking lot, the High School Back Entrance is now a main entrance to the building. We have a small project being done this summer to add an inside vestibule that will fit the architectural features of the building and provide an entrance that is practical and an effective energy saver.

The upgraded more efficient glass plus the double set of doors will reduce a major portion of the building load attributed to the envelope: exfiltration and infiltration. These are, respectively, the passage of conditioned air out of the building and the movement of unconditioned air into the envelope. This is a busy building entrance that loses much energy, approaching losses from a door open to the exterior all the time. The double set of vestibule doors will greatly reduce the flow of air through an entrance. Also, the volume of air trapped between the portals acts as a buffer to the transfer of heat through the vestibule. When there is no traffic, the trapped volume of air is an effective insulator that increases the thermal resistance of the passageway. The old glass doors were a source of high energy loss through leakage and inefficiency.

Employee Forms

Notice to employees from Patti:

In the June 30th paystub you will find 3 forms. Vision/Dental and Flex-Non Flex. You do not need to do anything with these forms unless you want to change Vision or Dental or Flex. Examples: have Dental/Vision now and don't want it -need to sign waiver on form or never had Dental (can only have dental if eligible for health)/Vision and want it now need to enroll. Any premiums that you pay are already flexed, if you want them to be non-flex (after-tax) you will need to fill out the flex/non-flex form. Please have these back to me by July 15th so I can make changes for the August 1st start.

One more thing: If anyone wants to change their number of payrolls for the 2012-20113 school year (20 or 24) stop in and see me or let me know and I will get a form to you. The September 15th payroll will be the start of this change.


I have the forms on my door at bluff view that have needed your attention. Thanks for all your help in these matters.

Swim Team

Another activity for the PdC kids during the summer is the Swim Team. Although not a sport, this team is associated with the PdC Public School as an activity account. Many of the team members are also in our Summer Advanced Swim PE class although the class is not a requirement for the swim team or vice versa. Below are pictures from the Swim Meet at Mineral Point on 6-27-12. Competing with Prairie du Chien were Mineral Point and Lancaster. I apologize for some of the pictures being flipped - I can't quickly figure out how to download and flip them. If I do figure it out, I will edit this post so you do not have to roll your computer over to see them. Anyway, hope you enjoy seeing the pictures of the kids participating in a great summer activity.

The Medly Relay 200m (back, butterfly, breast and free strokes), they are doing back stroke in the pic, the middle lane is Breann Holler and 1st lane is Allison Krogan (11-12 age group).

The 50m Butterfly (age group 13-14) Jaqueline LaHaie

Kylie Wright getting ready to do 100m Distance Freestyle (age 11-12 group)

 The Breast Stroke (age group 15-18)  Mercie Ghjoberg

The 50 m Butterfly (age 15-18 group) Elizabeth Brom 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Conference Realignment is Possible for PdC

There have been a number of meetings of Activity Directors and Principals on conference issues over the past five or six years. Recently the Superintendents of both the SWAL and SWC conferences have been brought into the discussions as the problems are getting more serious.

At these meetings there has been a lot of talk about what is not working, such as being locked out of playing games/matches within a reasonable distance. The problem is acute in football starting already in 2013 as getting games to fill a nine game schedule is becoming difficult, to borderline impossible, without traveling hundreds of miles. Football is just the start of a problem for SWC schools as some have lost up to 24 non-conference games as neighboring conferences are merging and closing ranks

For us at PdC. The Coulee and MVC have signed an agreement that starting in 2013 they will be crossing over for football games, so going north for games may be out. Traditionally we have played some Iowa schools, but they have closed regional schedules in Iowa for football, so going west is not even an option anymore. The conferences to the east have entered into agreements to close up for football.

The current school affiliations are as follows:


Cuba City
Mineral Point


Prairie du Chien
Richland Center
River Valley

At these SWC/SWAL meetings, the conversations boil down to basically two options going forward:

  • If the conferences stay somewhat in tact, the consensus is that the following is the best combination. A combined 14 team conference for Girls' Basketball, Boys' Basketball, Softball, and Baseball where the conferences (6 team SWC, 8 team SWAL - see teams above) stay about the same, but there would be mandated crossover games between the two groups to partially alleviate scheduling problems. Along with this a regional 'football only' configuration, across a number of conferences, would need to be developed by the WIAA. This "solution" was viewed by almost all as a short-term, if it even can be accomplished, band aid type fix that may create more problems than it solves. Plus, there is no indication that the 'football only' can, or will, become a reality.
  • Then what happens instead or next? The question is what would/could be a longer term solution that might work for the smaller SWAL schools. This is what I call a complete blow-up of the SWC scenario. We are not really even in this conversation. All of the SWAL schools have verbally agreed, except Riverdale, that they could take Platteville, Dodgeville and Lancaster as those schools are a fit geographically. The discussion is that even though they are bigger schools, that they would accept those three to make the SWAL a complete conference for all sports and a closed 10 team, without Riverdale, football conference. The WIAA would then place Riverdale in one of the smaller conferences in the area. Again, we are not in that mix.At PdC we have been communicating for about a year, that we could see that there was a strong possibility that the SWC Conference could be disbanding and that we, and a couple of other schools, may be without homes for activities. To protect ourselves if this does blow up, so that we do have a potential home for activities; we have reached out to the MVC to test that possibility. The response has been very positive. The initial conversations are that they would love to get another school to join them as they now have seven. 

MVC Schools

Aquinas High School
Central High School
Holmen High School
Logan High School
Sparta High School
Onalaska High School
Tomah High School

This is positive, that we have a backup plan, or an insurance policy so-to-speak in the MVC. However, it is a given that if this happens, not everyone will be happy. But there is absolutely no plan where every sport and everyone can be happy, and on top of that the options are very few.

We compete with many of these MVC schools in many different activities now. However, everyone needs to be aware that, under the category of competitiveness, these are generally much larger schools. On that front, the main issue is usually football as all teams do not make the playoffs. On that competitive level, the MVC schools now play the Coulee schools in crossover and the Coulee schools are holding their own. I really have no clue, but it has been relayed to me that it has been estimated, by some analytic review of crossover games, that if we were in the MVC that we would have had a playoff bound record over the last few years.

We do match up fairly well as far as offered sports. Many of these schools have a wider array of sports such as tennis, hockey, and some have swimming. However, overall we offer a slate of sports that matches up, and from what we have been told, not having some of those other sports would be no problem.

In addition, they have other activities which would fit us well, such as they offer nice music programs which we could slide into. Academically, these are good schools that match up with our programming and would offer increased awards and affiliations for our students. The schools in the MVC would also offer greater sharing and collaborative opportunities for our staff.

This discussion is heating up as something needs to happen prior to the 2013 fall season.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Southwestern Wisconsin Educational Environment Professionals (SWEEP)

SWEEP had their annual conference in the PdC Public High School. Custodial and Maintenance personnel from across Southwestern Wisconsin attended this meeting.

Topics covered in-depth were:
-new rules and regulations on safety issues
-product updates
-bullying training

There were numerous displays, vendor booths, and equipment demonstrations.

SWEEP members give back to their communities as well as they sponsor a Scholarship program for member schools.

These are a few candid shots from the SWEEP convention:

State SIS Update from Mike Thompson

Dear Colleagues:

We want you to know the latest news on the Request for Proposal (RFP) process for the Statewide Student Information System (SSIS).

Vendors have been notified by the Department of Administration that the revised due date for proposals is Tuesday, July 10 at 2:00 p.m. This is exactly three weeks later than the original due date of June 19. No changes have been made to the RFP requirements. However, the State of Wisconsin will now use an independent third-party to observe and report on the evaluation process in order to ensure an additional level of impartiality and transparency. It’s encouraging that vendor interest is high. The RFP committee, comprised mainly of school district staff and guided by the DOA, will review and evaluate the proposals, including demonstrations. We are looking for additional subject matter experts to participate in the demonstrations portion to provide feedback to the review committee. If you feel you have staff with expertise in various components of a Student Information System (SIS), (e.g., gradebooks, scheduling, attendance, enrollment/registration, health, food service, IEPs, etc) and have an interest in assisting us please contact Lisa jo VonAllmen at

Even with this recent delay, we expect the statewide contract to still be negotiated, awarded, and signed with a single vendor by the end of December. This timeline remains the same as before the delay. More information about the SSIS, including the latest news release, is here.

PdC Public School Summer Program Expands Every Year

PdC Public Schools offer a full summer long summer school schedule that is open to all district students. Some random pictures of summer school activities are interspersed through this blog entry.

Our unofficial count is that we have 468 students taking part in some or all of the summer school activities. The summer school offerings vary by grade level and are a mix of core learning and enrichment.

There are three 15 day sessions spread across the summer. Session one is June 13 to July 1; Session two is July 11 through July 29; Session three is August 8 to August 26.

There is some variation on schedules, but the main program time is 8:00 am to Noon Monday through Friday. Busing is provided to all who request it for the normal time-frame, and we serve a free Breakfast and Lunch in conjunction with the learning program.

The general programming is age based. A very quick breakdown is listed below:

B.A. Kennedy students spend their morning doing 4 different activities. They have reading and math centers, an enrichment class where they are doing various activities (art projects, science experiments, etc.), and a fitness block where students either do an activity at school or (if signed up through school) go to swimming lessons.

Bluff View (BV) students have a block of reading, math and language arts. They also have a block of physical education where students do an activity at school or (if signed up) go to swimming lessons. BV students also had the opportunity to choose to sign up for an art class, a gateway to technology class, and a healthy living class.

The High School offers various classes for credit for which the students must register.

Bluff View Playground Grass

We have had problems over the years with keeping grass around the playground areas at Bluff View and at BAK. Obviously, we want to have a nice facility for the kids and dirt/mud is not conducive to a nice play area.

In addition to the utilization issues; this has taken a lot of staff time, and dollars, to dig it up, reseed, and pull watering systems. Step one is to hopefully correct this at Bluff View this summer with a small project, about $4000, to sod in around the play area and put in an in-ground sprinkler system.

Over the past few years we have made reductions in the janitorial/maintenance staff, so efficiency improvements of this sort are important. If this works, according to what the professionals are telling us, this project will save us time and money in the future.

Depending on the outcome of this project, we will probably put an equivalent sprinkler system in at BAK to hold that grass also. The PdC Public School District, mainly through grants, has made major improvements over the last couple of years on the playgrounds at both Bluff View and BAK. The improvements at both schools have made the areas fully handicapped accessible. We hope the whole community appreciates the facilities and everyone is encouraged to use these playgrounds. These play areas are not only used during school hours but they are fully open to community use. All we ask is that parents supervise their children and help to keep the area clean and report any abuses so we can maintain the facilities in a top notch condition.

The two pictures below are of the sod being put in at Bluff View by the Williams Landscaping employees.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

BAK Office Makeover

The BAK office remodel project is moving forward. The new configuration will allow our office staff greater visibility and will better meet school safety recommendations as visitors during the school day will now flow directly through the office. This project layout was designed and is being done in-house with Paul Bartels, our maintenance man extraordinaire, in charge. The new entrance is already in place (shown in picture below) and now Paul and Don Martin are working on the interior. Internally the office changes will lend to greater efficiency and better supervisory functionality.

BAK is our Early Elementary Building and is the educational home for over 250 PdC Public School Students in Early Childhood, Four Year Old Kindergarten, Kindergarten, and First grade.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Chinese Teacher Schedules

Our three new Chinese Guest Teachers will be flying into Chicago on August 3, 2012. We are starting to set the August schedule for them. If anyone in the community would like to involve theses teachers in a community or family activity, please let us know and we will attempt to fit it in their schedules.

Obviously they know little about our region, so if you know of opportunities for them to travel or experience new (to them) things, let us know about those possible opportunities also. For example, last year Lisa and Julia were able to attend a Badger Football game and at another time some friends took them to the Mall of America. Anything like that would be appreciated - even simple things such as an invitation to a civic club or neighborhood picnic would be a new experience for them and allow them to meet people in the community.

Click here for Tang Min Bio
Click here for Zhang Yuanyuan Bio
Click here for Liu Jieyu Bio

EBC app

Smart phone app, My Mobile Account Assistant, is available now for participants enrolled in either the BESTflexSM Plan, the EBC HRASM or both who use an iPhone or Android smart phone!

Participants can file claims, attach receipts and view account information for their plans. My Mobile Account Assistant lets your participants access the best features of our My Account Assistant web portal, including viewing account balances, filing claims and viewing recent payments.

Filing claims is easy
My Mobile Account Assistant lets your participants file a claim and is one of the few apps of its kind that lets participants attach a receipt; at the pharmacy, at the provider or from anywhere that has access to a 3G or wireless internet connection. Filing a claim for any eligible health care or dependent care expense doesn't get any easier than this. Complete a few lines on a simple form, attach the receipt using the phone's camera and tap "Submit." My Mobile Account Assistant makes filing claims smart, simple, secure and mobile!

Download our Quickstart Guide and distribute it to your participants.

You can also learn more on our website at 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Elimination of unfunded liabilities

The PdC Public School District is making progress toward the elimination of all unfunded liabilities. The vested future costs of benefits owed to current retirees will be fully covered by a final deposit into a separate Fund 73 account. This account is managed by an outside firm and the money is invested in a very conservative portfolio. In addition, we are making the adjustments to make deposits to cover promised dollars to employees that flow into future years under handbook rules in three categories; Vacation, PTO, and HRA dollars.

DPI and our auditors have approved the use of Fund 73 for those vested employee dollars also. The link below is to the GASB rules under which this is allowed/recommended. With these year-end deposits, the district should have no OPEB or other unfunded liaibilties. To be fiscally responsible and to protect our current and retired employees, the School Board has made locking these dollars in place a priority item. This is important to retirees, and to current staff, as there is now money set aside to cover future expenditures equal to what has been promised as benefits.

Click here to view copy of GASB rules

Commentaries on State Employee Pension System

WASB Releases:

The Pew Center on the States is out with a new study on the fiscal soundness of state retirement systems and states' efforts to cover the long-term costs of their employees’ pensions and retiree health care. 

The study finds that states, generally, are losing ground. In fiscal year 2010, states were $1.38 trillion short of having saved enough to pay their retirement bills, a nine percent increase from the year before.

The study finds state pension plans represent more than half of the retiree benefit funding shortfall. Experts say that a healthy pension system should be at least 80 percent funded. According to the study, in 2010, only Wisconsin had fully funded its pension plan, while 34 states were below the 80 percent threshold. Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, and Rhode Island were the worst among the states, with pension obligations funded at less than 55 percent in 2010. Only three other states beside Wisconsin—North Carolina, South Dakota and Washington—funded their pensions at 95 percent or better in 2010.

The news was far less cheerful on retiree health care front. According to the study, states have only 5 percent of the funds needed to pay for their retirees’ health care and other non-pension benefits—such as life insurance.

The study found 17 states did not set aside any money to fund their retiree health care liabilities. Only seven states had funded at least 25 percent of health care liabilities—Alaska, Arizona, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Alaska and Arizona are the best among states, with nearly 50 percent of their health care liabilities funded.

Report on Restructuring Wisconsin retirement System Expected Any Day Now

Wisconsin public school employees receive their pensions through the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS). About 25 percent of the WRS pension annuities are funded by employer and employee contributions. The rest, historically, has come from investment income earned on those contributions.

Whether that pattern is sustainable is increasingly under question. Over the 2005-2011 period, the S&P 500 stock market index has averaged just a 2.3 percent return, well below the 7.2 percent return the WRS needs to fund promised public employee pensions. With the stock market lagging badly in recent years, taxpayers have been kicking in more to keep the WRS on track to meet its commitment to participants.

While rated among the most fiscally sound state pension systems in the nation (see Inside Scoop, below), the 2008 global financial meltdown is testing the WRS, which guarantees a minimum benefit based on years worked and salary, with the possibility of increases—called dividends—when fund investment income is good.

Investment losses have triggered a series of unprecedented annual dividend reductions that have left the WRS and lawmakers mulling options. Roughly half of retirees are back at their minimum benefit level after 2012 cuts. If the retirement fund assets continue to underperform, further reductions will be taken from those retirees not yet down to their minimum benefit level.

Wisconsin's 2011-13 biennial budget set a June 30 deadline for state officials to complete a study of the WRS’ structure and benefits, including the possibilities of allowing covered employees to opt for lower benefits by halting their (employee share) contributions or permitting them to switch to a defined contribution plan (i.e., a 401(k)-type retirement account) .

Several representatives of the state Department of Administration and its Office of State Employment Relations appointed by Gov. Walker have been meeting with policy officials from the state Department of Employee Trust Funds, which operates the pension system.

Representatives of the departments have so far declined to describe the talks, identify participants or disclose possible recommendations.

Existing retirees will not lose their benefits below the minimum guaranteed level. State courts have long held that pension funds are contractually the property of workers and retirees, and they can't be taken without compensation. However, benefits could be changed for new hires, and other changes could affect the system's long-term stability, a concern for retirees and long-term covered employees.

Changes could affect many Wisconsinites. Overall, 578,000 people participate in the retirement system, including the more than 170,000 retirees, 261,000 current public workers, and others no longer working for government but not yet drawing pensions. And while investment income typically covers about 75 percent of pension system costs, Wisconsin taxpayers still contribute about $1.5 billion annually, even after the Act 10 changes.

Because Madison is home to so many state and local government employees, the Madison news media is keenly focused on the impact of potential changes, as the articles below demonstrate. Most of the attention is focused on the concerns of retirees and active WRS participants, while the concerns of government employers and taxpayers are given less attention. (Note: Free registration may be required to view the articles linked below.)

Wisconsin State Journal article (Part 1 of 2)
Wisconsin State Journal(Part 2 of 2)
The Capital Times article

State Budget still on track to meet forecast

WASB Update:

Wis. Economic Forecast Says Recovery Has Slowed

The latest (June 2012) economic outlook from the Wisconsin Revenue Department says the economy continues to recover but the pace has slowed in recent months.

The forecast released Wednesday (June 20) says employment in the state is projected to increase 1 percent in 2012 and 1.7 percent in 2013. The state is projected to return to its peak 2008 employment levels of 2.9 million by early 2015. Nationally, all the jobs lost during the recession are projected to be filled by the third quarter of 2014.

The report says Wisconsin's unemployment rate should be 6.5 percent this year and drop to 6.1 percent in 2013. It's projected to drop to 4.7 percent by 2015.

Wisconsin personal income grew 5.2 percent in 2011, slightly outpacing the 5.1 percent growth rate nationwide. It is projected to grow 2.9 percent in 2012 and 4.1 percent in 2013. Individual income tax collections are up 5.7 percent from their year-ago levels, outpacing sales tax revenues, which are up 4.8 percent above last year’s level.

Total state general purpose revenues (GPR) through May of 2012 are 5.0 percent above their year-ago levels, reflecting an increase of $530.6 million. This puts the state on a pace to meet or exceed the forecasted fiscal year 2012 (FY12) total collections of just under $13.2 billion, projected by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau in February of 2012.

Wisconsin Common Core Essential Elements for English Language Arts and Mathematics Now Available

DPI release:

Wisconsin educators collaborated with educators from 12 other states to create alternate achievement standards aligned to the Common Core State Standards. These alternate achievement standards are called the Common Core Essential Elements (CCEEs) in English Language Arts and Mathematics. The CCEEs were developed to satisfy the requirement of the U.S. Department of Education that Wisconsin have alternate achievement standards for its students with significant cognitive disabilities that are clearly linked to grade-level academic content standards, promote access to the general curriculum and reflect professional judgment of the highest expectation possible. These new standards will replace the current Extended Grade Band Standards and will be used as the basis for a new alternate assessment, which will replace the current Wisconsin Alternate Assessment for Students with Disabilities (WAA-SwD) in 2014-15.

The standards can be found at:

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


At PdC Public School we offer Full-Day-Every-Day-Four-Year-Old-Kindergarten as it has such a positive educational benefit to those children and additionally it is a nice service to our families.

For next year, we have 60 full-day slots available and 57 of those are already filled. We do continue to run a half-day 4K program for those parents who choose that program and we also cooperate with HeadStart to offer those students the half day 4K opposite the HeadStart time.

To highlight the educational positives; in Michigan a long-term study was done on early education programming. The Great Start Readiness Program Evaluation ran from 1995-2011. The results are very positive toward the early education with results showing that students were more imaginative, creative, and demonstrated more initiative. School outcomes were also improved as items such as completing assignments, good attendance, interest in school, and learning were all measured to be enhanced in the student grouping with the early educational background.

The positive results followed these students through the school years as there were significantly lower retention rates in this group, state assessment results show better scores, more of these students took higher level classes, and they graduated on time at a higher rate.

Click here to go to an article on study

Click here to go to study

PdC Project Lead the Way Students see application of engineering

PdC Public Schools offer Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Engineering and also the PLTW Biomedical Programs. The embedded video below is just one example of our PLTW students getting an opportunity to see and experience the concepts that they are learning in the classroom being put to use in a real life situation. Dave Antoniewicz, who is featured in the video, teaches the PLTW Principles of Engineering and is also a member of the PdC Math Department.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

UW Flexible Degree proposal

The UW Flexible Degree proposal is designed to make the higher education system more accessible at a lower cost. This may fit with high school programming as Tony Evers states "This proposal complements many of the initiatives we have in place for our PK-12 students, and we look forward to exploring ways that the UW Flexible Degree can work with our dual enrollment partnership with UW Colleges. Keeping students engaged in their own learning through access to college courses and credits will help them get a jump start to completing a degree and entering the workforce."

Click to go to UW Flexible Degree information

Click here to see positive DPI reaction

SIS update; state still committed to project, but put on hold to "avoid even the appearance of impropriety"

From Thompson, Michael DPI 
Dear Colleagues: Below is a press release from the Department of Administration (DOA) regarding their recent decision to put the Statewide Student Information System (SSIS) on hold until later this Summer. The Governor is still committed to this project moving forward and we will work closely with DOA to determine how the schedule may have changed and ensure the SSIS is implemented as quickly as possible. We are committed to keeping this project on track and will continue to keep you informed as new information becomes available.

PRESS RELEASE FROM the Department of Administration (DOA)  on Wisconsin Statewide Student Information System (SSIS) Request for Proposal (RFP) Update 

Over the last several months, the Department of Administration (DOA) has been working with the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) on a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Statewide Student Information System (SSIS), which was included in the 2011-2013 Budget. The RFP was issued on May 2, 2012 with vendor responses due by June 19, 2012. DOA routinely assists smaller cabinet and non-cabinet agencies in conducting procurements to meet the State’s requirements for a fair, open, competitive and transparent process. 

Separately, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) makes certain tax credits available to businesses on a standardized basis. In order to maintain appropriate separation between WEDC and any procurements being conducted by the State, WEDC does not routinely discuss specific economic development packages being offered or considered with DOA personnel involved in the procurements. Recently, WEDC made a soft offer of economic development assistance to a Wisconsin-based company, Skyward, Inc., which would have provided certain tax credits to the company contingent on their successful award in the competitive RFP process for the SSIS. No DOA or DPI personnel involved in the RFP were aware of this potential tax credit soft offer. Directly linking a tax credit to the successful award of a state contract violates the spirit of a competitive RFP. 

Upon learning of the existence of the tax credit incentive and its potential impact on the SSIS RFP, DOA Secretary Mike Huebsch suspended the RFP on Friday, June 15. In addition, today, WEDC Secretary Paul Jadin rescinded the tax credit soft offer to Skyward, Inc. Any contract awards the State makes must result from an open, fair, competitive and transparent procurement process. While the appropriate separation between agencies was maintained in this case, these actions were taken to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. 

DOA and DPI will be communicating with all potential respondents to the SSIS RFP regarding a revised schedule for all related activities. The State is committed to taking appropriate action to maintain the highest level of integrity in the procurement process, while moving forward as quickly as possible in implementing the SSIS.

Monday, June 18, 2012

If everyone is special...

This is a graduation speech that seems to have touched a cord across the country.

Has the State-wide Student Information System been suspended??

Missy Nelson from Oasys,  has e-mailed the following "The State-wide Student Information System has been suspended. The Wisconsin Department of Administration announced Friday that steps toward implementing a state-wide Student Information System (SIS) have been suspended until the end of the summer. We are awaiting further details on whether the SIS project has been cancelled altogether."

I have not seen confirmation on this from either the the Department of Administration or DPI. The RFP due date was Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at 2:00pm??

Health Insurance Info

The new WPS Member ID Cards for Health Insurance were mailed Friday. Please watch for them in your home mail; remember that they are not in a flashy envelope. 

Patti also reminds you that she has added some forms in the June 15th run and please check all future checks/stubs for possible information. 

Important note: to get the full HRA amount released, the form needs to be signed and returned. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Intervention Center (IC)

We will be adding a new program in the PdC Public Schools starting this fall. It is an Intervention Center. The document below outlines the program plans and goals.

This the link to the draft document outlining the IC Center.

On-line Charter Option

Over the last couple of years we have been talking about diving in deeper with an on-line alternate, or blended, delivery system under the umbrella of starting an on-line charter school. The following link is to a DPI letter outlining all options and legal issues.

If we do decide to start an on-line program, it is very important that we start small and do this right. To be frank, many of the on-line charters do not do well in student achievement and other parameters. If we are going into this type of venture, we must have high standards and expectations that are equal to our existing programming.

EE Project on High School Back Doors

The small remodel project to improve the energy efficiency at the PdC Public High School will start on Monday, June 18, 2012 at 6:00 AM. Please cooperate with the contractors during the construction phase. No one will be able to use the back doors at the high school.

The Door G (South East Wing) will be propped open during summer school hours only. This door doesn't have a fob machine on it. To access the school during other times, you will need to use the front doors.

The projected completion date to reopen the back doors is July 1, 2012. Thank you for your cooperation and patience while we are completing this small project.

Blast in Quarry

PdC may feel some shaking on Monday June 18, 2012. From 11:00 am until noon there will be some blasting at the rock quarry.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Special Education Indicator 13 – Postsecondary Transition Plan (PTP)

DPI Special Education Department release:

DPI is developing an online Individualized Education Program (IEP): Postsecondary Transition Plan (PTP) that will assist LEAs to document the postsecondary transition requirements with 100% compliance and allow for individualization to meet student needs. Stakeholders have been involved during the development and testing of the PTP.

Beginning in September 2012, we will begin to roll out the application over several weeks, first to the alpha group, then the beta testers, and finally to the entire state. Districts will use the PTP to create students’ postsecondary transition plans and by so doing, report the district’s Indicator 13 results. After an IEP team has developed a student’s postsecondary transition plan, they may print and download a PDF of the I-8 for documentation of the requirements. Future plans are to release a web service to allow Student Information Systems, including the Statewide Student Information System, to allow for data integration. Questions about the PTP may be directed or

Tasks to do in preparation for the PTP:
  1. If your LEA currently uses an online IEP system, we encourage you to begin thinking about disabling your local I-8 form and providing a link to the department’s PTP. This will enable IEP teams to complete the local IEP within the district’s system, access the PTP using a WAMS (WI Web Access Management System) User ID and password to complete the I-8, and attach the I-8 as a PDF to the local IEP. 
  2. Identify district staff that will need access to the PTP for purposes of developing or reviewing a postsecondary transition plan. If staff do not already have a WAMS User ID and password ask them to establish an account at
  3. Plan to participate in PTP training. PTP Modules will be posted this summer on the DPI website at Watch for live webinars coming in August. 
  4. Determine if you need to make any purchases. Costs necessary to ready IEP teams to access the DPI’s online IEP-PTP, such as laptops, iPads, projectors or wireless internet, are eligible for IDEA grant reimbursement.

UW credit in High School with Dual-Enrollment Program

High School students will have an expedited process to earn both high school and University of Wisconsin credit. The dual enrollment program is to start in the fall of 2013. College dual enrollment courses will be taught by high school teachers. 

Additional Resources:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

School Report Card backed off until fall

Underlining added to show date changes 

Dear District Administrators:

Wisconsin Accountability Reports

  • Revised Release Date - In order to ensure we provide districts with time necessary to fully understand the elements of the report card in the new accountability system, and to ensure we have full waiver approval from the federal government before proceeding with public reports, we will now release the Preliminary school report cards via secure access to districts in September of 2012, with a public release of those reports in October. There will not be a release of school report card data at the end of next week.
  • WKCE proficiency levels based on NAEP - We will release statewide WKCE data revised proficiency levels based on NAEP in July. School and district data will not be ready and available until the fall and will be released in conjunction report card. Work needs to be done before release on school and district level data to ensure individual student privacy requirements are followed. 
  • Summer Opportunities and Resources - Talking points, Q and As, and other resources will be available this summer regarding accessing and interpreting the school report cards. In addition, training opportunities will be available over the summer to understand the components of the new multiple-measures system through report card mockups representing a range of scenarios that districts may see reflect their individual schools. CESAs are being trained this week to conduct trainings on the report card index, and DPI will be making additional training components available in the coming weeks.

We are confident we will have final approval on our federal waiver this summer, and will continue to keep you posted as additional information becomes available.


Michael J. Thompson, PhD
Deputy State Superintendent

Amped Admin

During this past year the PdC Administrative Team was part of a cohort of administrators from across the state that participated in an Amplified Administrators (Amped Admin) series and I will briefly reflect on that course and what we can use locally. Administrators need to model and implement changes that are expected of staff. This series stretched our theoretical knowledge base on technology along with providing us with practical and technical hands-on experience and practice.

There is a rapid convergence happening in the use of technology in schools due to lower costs, more speed, and an almost unlimited access to information that is being coupled with a nascent realization of how those available resources can be channeled and used in education. We are at the beginnings of a trail toward how to more deeply embed technology to increase student learning and move beyond it being just a classroom instructional delivery tool or aid. Over the last three years, in the PdC Public School system, we have offered Smart Boards to all teachers. To this point we have all classrooms, except two, that are using Smart Boards. This is an excellent example of the use of technological resources as an instructional delivery system. However, now the questions need to reach further and are related as to how we go beyond that to raise expectations toward student lead learning using more open digital resources. 

The ideas of blended classrooms, flipped instructional techniques, and byod or byot embedded in classrooms as much as a book or a pencil are only the tip of iceberg as to the next era of technology use. The richness of available digital resources has to be tapped. The National Technology Plan (NTP) calls for a need to “… build the capacity of educators by enabling a shift to a model of connected teaching. In such a teaching model, teams of connected educators replace solo practitioners, classrooms are fully connected to provide educators with 24/7 access to data and analytic tools, and educators have access to resources that help them act on the insights the data provide.” The Department of Public Instruction has realized that there has to be a statewide system of digital resources for professionals to access and they have jumped into creating the backbone for such a system. This open source model of sharing and collaboration is only the start of what can be a great vision. 

A challenge that we occasionally hear is that we are attempting to substitute technology for human capital. The response is that it should not matter what we are using if we keep student learning as the number one goal. Plus, good teaching cannot be replaced. For next year we are experimenting with a Chinese and Spanish foreign language total blended program in grades five through eight. In an every-other-day format the students will alternate from using Middlebury Language CBL in a supervised N-computing lab, and on the opposite days they will be with the teacher in a normal classroom setting. We plan to monitor this closely as our goals are quite lofty. We hope to get these students, after four years of this blended program, to enter High School at level 3 or 4 of the language. 

There are issues that need to be discussed and advocated for, such as all need for all students to have broadband access to the Internet out of school. We will be totally wireless in our High School and grades 5 to 8 to start the school year. The NTP states that students and educators need “the ability to use the Internet in school, on the surrounding campus, throughout the community, and at home”. Further the goal is to “ensure that every student and educator has at least one Internet access device and appropriate software and resources for research, communication, multimedia content creation, and collaboration for use in and out of school.” While laudable, this will require a major change in infrastructure in our rural areas and an associated huge expenditure. The value of BYOD, “devices … owned by the student or family, owned by the school, or some combination of the two” has to be explored. 

At PdC Public Schools we have great staff that is not afraid to be innovative. We must encourage that process and create opportunities to expand knowledge and share what is working. The move toward more cloud based applications such as adoption of Google Docs is a great start. As I started in this short reflection piece, administrators must lead by being in the forefront and doing what they can to model and use the available tools. Amped Admin was a great way to encourage that process.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Definition of 21st Century Literacies as Adopted by the National Council of Teachers of English

Literacy has always been a collection of cultural and communicative practices shared among members of particular groups. As society and technology change, so does literacy. Because technology has increased the intensity and complexity of literate environments, the twenty-first century demands that a literate person possess a wide range of abilities and competencies, many literacies. These literacies—from reading online newspapers to participating in virtual classrooms—are multiple, dynamic, and malleable. As in the past, they are inextricably linked with particular histories, life possibilities and social trajectories of individuals and groups. Twenty-first century readers and writers need to 
  1. Develop proficiency with the tools of technology
  2. Build relationships with others to pose and solve problems collaboratively and cross-culturally
  3. Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes 
  4. Manage, analyze and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information
  5. Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multi-media texts 
  6. Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments
Click here to go to the complete NCTE Framework for 21st Century Curriculum and Assessment

Seclusion and Restraint Presentation

DPI staff has developed a PowerPoint presentation with speaker notes on 2011 Wisconsin Act 125, which addresses the use of seclusion and physical restraint in public schools, including charter schools, and which applies to both regular and special education students. The PowerPoint provides information to districts, parents, and other stakeholders on the Act’s requirements and may be used for presentations. Act 125 goes into effect on September 1, 2012. The PowerPoint is embedded below. You can also click here to download from the DPI Special Education department’s website.

We have a trainer coming on-site during our August pre-service to train 80 staff on CPI Non-Violent Crisis Prevention. This is an intensive 8 hour long training. We will be doing two groups and splitting the training over two days, 4 hours each session.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

BAK Little Hawk News...: Many Years of Dedicated Service...

BAK Little Hawk News...: Many Years of Dedicated Service...: On Wednesday, May 30th, staff in the Prairie du Chien School District gathered to honor Bluff View retirees.  Three ladies have given many ...

DPI release on Reading Screener Information at Read Wisconsin

A new webinar and discussion forum for Wisconsin educators provide opportunities to learn more about usingPALS, the reading screener now required at the kindergarten level in Wisconsin.

Requiring a screener statewide was a recommendation of the Read to Lead Task Force. It became law in April, and the state has chosen PALS (Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening) as the tool.

A webinar recently added to the Read Wisconsin website addresses PALS topics. Leading it are Sharon Toellner, DPI reading consultant, and Duane Dorn, with the DPI Office of Educational Accountability.

Educators can also pose questions to their peers around Wisconsin in a new PALS discussion forum at Read Wisconsin.

Read Wisconsin is an interactive portal and community of practice meant to help parents, families, educators, and early childhood professionals to ensure high quality reading practices for Wisconsin students. Resources and materials are continuously added.

The DPI is also interested to know what topics Wisconsin educators would like to see covered in the Read Wisconsinforums. New discussions can be added in response to interest from schools in the state.

BYOD or BYOT : tomato / tomato

At the technology committee meeting held earlier today it was announced that we have all infrastructure in place to definitely complete the move to being totally wireless across the whole High School building by school start. Testing will start in late July into early August. This will allow us the capability to use the BYOD approach. NBC News has run a program on BYOD; or is it BYOT? You say tomato / I say tomato - same thing. The piece is embedded below. Click here to go to accompanying web page

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Common Core era is here

As the change to the statewide school rating system looms over us, we need to keep reminding people that our scores will drop considerably. Under the old WKCE system we were at, or were moving toward, 90% of students at proficiency at our capstone levels. We know those levels will fall, probably by 40 to 50 points as our scores are put to the NAEP calibration.

Click here to go to an Education Week article that explains what is happening nationwide on this issue:

In the article it is interesting to note that the "The Michigan Merit Exam for high school students (in addition to incorporating the ACT, like Kentucky) has been redesigned this year to show that students who score at or above the "proficient" level on a subject should be able to get at least a B on the freshman-level college exam in that subject at a public university in Michigan."

The old levels of college prep, such as AP level work, which was in the past limited to a segment of students, is now being changed to a proficiency expectation of all students being career and college ready. This is being defined as being able to do, or be prepared for, college level work in high school. As has been stated by many, AP level rigor is now being looked at as a floor, or general expectation level for all students, in high school rather than only for top students. The Common Core era is here.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Statewide Portal for Educational Content

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction is developing, and will host, a statewide search portal for educational content. DPI is strongly supporting this move to the use of more digital resources. The implementation of this statewide Moodle learning management system is due to be rolled out prior to the coming school year. There is a process in place to hire a Moodle system administrator at DPI to coordinate and move this project forward.

The overall goal is to create a sharing of materials within a somewhat credentialed framework that is easily searchable. They are working toward a system that will facilitate a process to ID “good content” and offer it in a live/dynamic format. The plan is to encourage collaborative sharing of common teaching materials and will be linked to external approved content such as from MIT, Yale, UC Berkeley, etc. The system will be developed by, and used by, educators. The materials all will be open source and available to all. After roll-out, there is a vision to build coordinated teams to add content under an umbrella of collaborative digital curriculum development. Cooperation and coordination has already started with higher education partners. The DPI is supporting and encouraging the use of this system for educational content. Kurt Keifer, an Assistant State Superintendent at DPI, relayed that “I would have reservations on putting any resources toward purchasing paper content.”

Further, DPI endeavors to create statewide shared calendars of trainings and events, plus professional learning networks of educators using the virtual tools within the system. DPI is moving forward quickly with this project as digital learning and blended learning opportunities continue to grow. 

NAEP test site in 2013

Bluff View Grade 8 and High School Grade 12 have been selected to participate in 2013 NAEP test in both Reading and Math. The testing window for the testing is 01/28/13 to 03/08/13.

This data will be part of the national measure of student achievement; State and Nationwide results will part of the Nation's Report Card.