Friday, September 28, 2012

Community meeting on possible changes in athletic/activities conference alignment

High School Cafeteria

7:30 pm on October 3rd, 2012

Discussion items:

1. Where we are now; current affiliation is with the Southwest Wisconsin Conference (SWC)

2. Background of SWC and problems (acute in football, but affects most sports) 

a. Loss of games due to conference shifts and closing of conferences 

b. Football is in region format in Iowa with no options for games there

3. Options being discussed for possible changes that may be taking place that affect PdC

a. MVC option: moving completely to affiliation with the schools in the LaCrosse area
· Aquinas High School
· Central High School
· Holmen High School
· Logan High School
· Sparta High School
· Onalaska High School
· Tomah High School

b. Regional ‘football only’ with PdC to MVC
· Closed football schedule based roughly on size across many conferences in southwestern Wisconsin region
· MVC for all other activities

c. Stay in SWC but play a rotation of some schools twice in football
· Fall 2013; SWC for football
· Fall 2013; play Platteville and Lancaster twice in football
· Fall 2013; week one play Aquinas in football

d. Other discussed options


1. This meeting is open to anyone to attend.

2. School Board Members are invited, but this is only an information and discussion based meeting; it is not a Board meeting and no action can be taken.

3. The information in this posting may be out-dated by the meeting time as this is a fluid situation and decisions are being made. There is a meeting scheduled with area schools and the WIAA on October 3 that may shed new information. All new information will be shared at this meeting.

Wisconsin Retirement System is solid

Excerpt from September 2012 WRS News:

Pew Center Report Rates WRS as “Solid Performer”

When it comes to paying its benefit obligations for current and future retired employees, the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) stands alone as the only fully-funded public pension system in the country.

In its report, The Widening Gap Update, the Pew Center on the States calls the WRS a “solid performer” at a time when other public pension plans are seeking ways to bridge a combined $757 billion gap in the underfunding of their pension promises.
Fortunately for WRS participants, Wisconsin is not one of those struggling states. Wisconsin was one of 11 states Pew rated as “solid performers” in managing its pension obligations in fiscal year 2010 and was one of only four states that were funded at 95% or better (and, in fact, is the only one at 100%). 

STATE with PERCENT FUNDED in the retirement fund 
(note that Wisconsin is 100% funded)
Alabama 70% 
Alaska  60 
Arizona  75 
Arkansas  75 
California  78 
Colorado  66 
Connecticut  53 
Delaware  92 
Florida  82 
Georgia  85 
Hawaii  61 
Idaho  79 
Illinois  45 
Indiana  65 
Iowa  81 
Kansas  62 
Kentucky  54 
Louisiana  56 
Maine  70 
Maryland  64 
Massachusetts  71 
Michigan  72 
Minnesota  80 
Mississippi  64 
Missouri  77 
Montana  70 
Nebraska  84 
New Hampshire 59 
New Jersey  71 
New Mexico  72 
New York  94 
N. Carolina  96 
N. Dakota  72 
Ohio  67 
Oklahoma  56 
Oregon  87 
Pennsylvania  75 
Rhode Island  49 
S. Carolina  66 
S. Dakota  96 
Tennessee  90 
Texas  83 
Utah  82 
Vermont  75 
Virginia  72 
Washington  95 
West Virginia  58 
Wyoming  86 

Source: Pew Center on the States 2012 
Note: Based on Fiscal Year 2010 data

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

BAK School Report Card

As information on the new School Report Card rating scale comes forth, there will be a series of blogs on the subject. As we all know, the staff at BAK have done a tremendous job over the last few years of buying into improving academic achievement and the results have been nothing short of fabulous. We have this documented by accurate MAP and DIBELS growth data.

However, it takes time for those children with those higher academic skills to work up through the grades. Further, since BAK has no tested grades (WKCE testing starts in grade 3) the rating scale being used for BAK is solely based on the scores from last year in grade 3 - see link to letter that contains the information for schools who do not have sufficient data to receive an accountability rating on their report card.

We know this is an inaccurate picture of BAK today and we will view this report card as only a benchmark from where BAK and the elementary grades at Bluff View will grow. I have full confidence that the kids coming forth in future years will blow these ratings out of the water. However, for the time being we stuck with what we have.

Obviously I cannot release the school report card results in this public blog forum, as they are under embargo, but I want everyone at BAK to understand that we understand that there is more to this story. I believe that BAK is methodically working toward being the premier early education center in the state. Keep up the great work and the data will follow to verify that point.

Click here to view DPI letter on BAK rating

Support for increased expectations for schools is bipartisan and widespread

Anyone who thinks that increased expectations and more accountability for schools is just a fad that may go away, or is easily reversed in an election cycle, is most likely mistaken. A recent article by Alyson Klien posted in Education Week highlights this.

These are excerpts from the article:

Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the House Education committee, is worried that the department isn't holding states' feet to the fire when it comes to monitoring graduation rates in states that have received waivers from parts of the No Child Left Behind Act.

In fact, Miller wrote Secretary of Education Arne Duncan a letter last Friday, saying, basically, that he's worried that states are trying to wiggle out of the graduation reporting regulations that former Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings put in place just before she left office in 2008. Those rules required states to use a uniform metric for calculating grad rates.
Some members of Congress, including Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., the chairman of the House education committee, see the entire waiver plan as the administration trampling on congressional authority, since Congress is ultimately supposed to make changes to the NCLB law.
A bunch of groups, ranging from the Alliance for the Excellent Education to the National Council of La Raza to the National PTA to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are also worried. They too sent Duncan a letter, on exactly the same day, echoing many of Miller's concerns. Read it here.

Click here to see full article

Dental for Support Staff

As we have previously noticed, there is a window open for those qualified support staff members to purchase into the dental insurance plan if employees so choose. This is another notice that the window does close this Friday.

If interested, please turn in your dental insurance forms to Patti by Friday, Sept 28.

Monday, September 24, 2012

WRS rates increase to 13.3%

Per state law, PdC Public School Employees pay half and the District pays half.

WI Department Employee Trust Funds (ETF) release:

WRS Contribution Rates for 2013 Set

Total contribution rates for most Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) employees and employers will increase from 11.8% to 13.3% of payroll in 2013. While many complex factors affect WRS contribution rates, the increase is primarily due to two factors: the lingering effects of the global economic meltdown in 2008 and recent law changes.Read more and see the rates for 2013...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Success in School = Longer Life

Excerpted from an article in The Huffington Post By Bonnie Kavoussi:

In a stunning development, life expectancy for some Americans is actually declining.

The life expectancy of white high school dropouts in the U.S. has dropped since 1990, according to a new study published by Health Affairs, which analyzed government data. The researchers found that the life expectancy of white female high school dropouts plunged to about 73 years in 2008 from 78 in 1990. The life expectancy of white male high school dropouts has fallen by 3 years to 67 years in the same time period, according to the New York Times.

“We’re used to looking at groups and complaining that their mortality rates haven’t improved fast enough, but to actually go backward is deeply troubling,” John G. Haaga, head of the Population and Social Processes Branch of the National Institute on Aging, who was not involved in the new study, told The New York Times.

The education gap in life expectancy has widened too, according to the research. The lifespans of white females with a college degree grew by more than 3 years from 1990 to 2008. They can expect to live a decade longer than female high-school dropouts.

Researchers are unsure why life expectancy plunged for dropouts. Some believe that lack of health insurance, rising obesity, smoking and prescription drug overdoses among young whites may be partly to blame, according to the New York Times.

Life expectancy for Hispanics and blacks increased over the same time period. Blacks on average do not live as long as whites, while Hispanics live longer than both whites and blacks.

The poor job prospects for Americans without a college education may be partially to blame. Workers without a bachelor's degree earn $2.8 million less over their lifetimes than college graduates, according to a study by Georgetown University. Most recent high school graduates not in college are unemployed, and those with jobs are getting paid barely enough to stay out of poverty, according to a study by Rutgers University.

The U.S. has a lower life expectancy than a number of countries. Life expectancy in the U.S. was roughly 78 years, according to the World Bank. Meanwhile, life expectancy in Japan, Australia, Italy, the United Kingdom, France, Norway, and other developed countries is more than 80 years.

Access to Webinar on Online Learning

The information presented (to be accessed through the links below) by K12 Incorporated is on a "Benchmark Survey on the Best Practices for Implementing Online Learning Programs".

PdC Public continues to study the potential of starting an online charter school. There is a need to do this right, as the increasing amount of data is starting to point out that many (most?) online programs are not very effective, at least not when compared to quality schools.

This webinar information is based on survey results that point out some good information. However, (I am getting on my soapbox and stating a personal opinion) as with all data on online, and charter schools in general, this is quasi data based on perceptions and not hard fact. Anyway, it does give some insights as to potential issues/problems and some, (I guess you could say common sense) factors that are necessary to successful programming.

When prompted, PdC Staff and School Board Members may put in my e-mail address 
[  ] as I am registered.

Access information:

You can view the recorded version of the webinar here: and the presentation slides at the following link:

Saturday, September 22, 2012

New nutrition standards

PdC Public provides both breakfast and lunch programs. For this year, there are new federal standards that must be followed. Our food service employees are working hard to comply with the new laws while continuing to put out a high quality product at a very low cost for families.

Click here to go to a previous blog which included a video on the changes:

Click here to go to DPI which details what nutritional services rules we must follow:

The following link is to a site that has even more detail:
see the "Meal Pattern Table" under "Nutrition Standards in the
National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs Final Rule"

An additional note from WASB on the subject:

School meal programs must meet tough new federal nutrition standards this year, aimed at ensuring that meals are healthy and well-balanced and provide students all the nutrition they need to succeed at school.

As in the past, school meals will continue to offer students milk, fruits and vegetables, proteins and grains, and they must meet strict limits on saturated fat and portion size. However, starting this year, school lunches at all grade levels must meet additional standards requiring:
  • Age-appropriate calorie limits
  • Larger servings of vegetables and fruits (students must take at least one serving of produce before they sit down with their tray)
  • A wider variety of vegetables, including dark green and red/orange vegetables and legumes
  • Fat-free or 1% milk (flavored milk must be fat-free)
  • More whole grains
  • Less sodium


From USDE:

For the first time in history, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) used computers to assess students’ writing, with national samples of eighth- and twelfth-grade students. More than 75% of students at those grade levels performed at or above the Basic achievement level, meaning that they have at least partial mastery of the knowledge and skills needed to communicate clearly in writing. However, only about one-quarter of eighth- and twelfth-grade students performed at or above the Proficient level, meaning that they demonstrate solid academic performance.

The “Nation’s Report Card: Writing 2011” asked students to write for various purposes and communicate to different audiences. Students were presented with a range of interactive tasks that included audio or video segments, newspaper articles, data from real world settings, and other materials on which to base their writing. Each student was given two writing tasks and had 30 minutes to complete each one. For both grades, students’ writing was scored on a six-point scale, ranging from “effective” to “little/no skill.” This scoring acknowledges that students were being evaluated on their first-draft writing in an “on demand” situation and not on their final, polished pieces of writing. The assessment measures how well students develop, organize, and use language to convey ideas. The computer-based testing format allowed NAEP to gather data on the extent to which students used commonly available word processing tools, like spell check and copy, cut, and paste.

Among the additional findings:

· At both grades, African-American and Hispanic students had lower average scores than white and Asian students and students of two or more races, and female students outscored male students.

· At both grades, students who used the Backspace key and thesaurus tool more frequently scored higher than those who engaged in these actions less frequently.

· Twelfth-grade students who write four- to five-pages a week for English/language arts homework scored higher than those who write fewer pages.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO (Note: A recording of the webinar discussing the results will be posted shortly at

AP Computer Science

At PdC Public Schools, we are opening the discussion to climb back into advanced computer science instruction. To do this we need to accomplish a goal of adding AP Computer Science for the fall of 2014.

The AP Computer Science description: emphasizes object-oriented programming methodology with an emphasis on problem solving and algorithm development and is meant to be the equivalent of a first-semester course in computer science. It also includes the study of data structures and abstraction.

Click here to see the full AP course description and outline

At one time, almost all high schools had advanced computer science offerings and many still do. When I went to college a Basic Programming class was required. I am not sure, but I would guess that over the years, with the inventions of click ready programs, these types of requirements have fallen off.

Why are we looking back in this direction? The why, is that there are jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities available in this field for our future graduates. Manipulation of data is only going to become more important as we go forward. One glaring example is to, while driving to Madison, observe the growth of EPIC. Of course, medical data is only one example. Everything from accounting to zoology is using computerized algorithms of some sort to operate or do research. Agriculture is using GIS and advanced program technologies to become more efficient. Machine tool operations are increasingly more technical, even at the entry levels. Etc., etc.

This Computer Science knowledge base should not, nor cannot, be limited to only a select few people. A report, already somewhat dated as it was released in 2005, entitled The New Educational Imperative: Improving High School Computer Science Education; Final Report of the Curriculum Improvement Task Force (CSTA), stated “The body of research from around the world relating to high school computer science education indicates that learning computer science provides direct benefits to students. While there are distinct differences between how various countries implement their high school computer science programs, a growing number of countries already require computer science education of all high school students.”

Click here to see full CSTA report.

Where are we at? At PdC Public we do not offer advanced computer science. We do an excellent job of bringing students to the operational levels of standard programs such as word processing in MS Word or Google Docs, but no programming. Our Business Department has scheduled instructional units for all middle level students starting in grade 5 and continuing through grade 8. For this year we have added high school sections of GameIT which is a computer game programming class. As an experiment, so-to-speak, we are offering GameIT to fifth grade students who are choosing to give it a try. This is not required, students that are involved are on a totally voluntary basis, but we are very interested to see how this progresses. Across our whole set of offerings we are embedding technology and stepping forward such as in Tech. Ed. and Math we have done a great job of modernizing our STEM offerings such as Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Engineering coursework which is highly technical. However, none of that is designed as Computer Science at the core programming levels.
If we look down into how to do this there are few, if any, roadblocks. The student education requirements for the Computer Science class in the description, linked earlier, shows very plainly that we have the preparatory pieces already firmly in place.

So, now that we have the what, when, how, and the why with regard to offering AP Computer Science outlined; the discussion is now open and moving on to the who and where this will be accomplished.
Of course, the biggest question internally usually boils down to the 'who'. We do have one staff member currently with a Computer Science license, but Mr. Antoniewicz is full with PLTW and Math sections. We are already very tight on staff to cover math sections. This is due to the good issue of the increasing number of students taking advanced math. This is a great problem, but we most likely cannot add this new offering into the current staffing in the Math department. We fully understand that we will need to go through a process to professionally develop and certify someone already on staff to teach this, or there may be a need to hire on a teacher with the qualifications to teach AP Computer Science.

This potential addition of AP Computer Science increases rigorous and relevant offerings for PdC Public students, and it is another step that achieves the goal of exceeding consistently increasing expectations of excellence. AP Computer Science will add to the extensive PdC Public High School AP offerings which now  total 14 different AP classes and for 2013-2014 will expand to 18 offerings as the plan is to add 4 more AP classes for next fall.

Child Passenger Safety

There is a new series of four short videos that explain car seat usage and state laws for child passengers in vehicles.

This is the introductory video:

Release from Governor's Office, featuring Donald Driver, on Child Safety:

As we move forward and continue to prioritize funding Wisconsin’s transportation network, which will spur economic growth, it is important to remember safety on our roadways. This week was national Child Passenger Safety Week, so I teamed up with Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver to kick off and promote the proper use of seat belts and child safety seats.

The number one killer of children from birth to age 12 is car accidents. It’s important for parents and caregivers to understand the benefits of wearing a seatbelt and having their children in correctly installed safety seats. Our goal is to make sure everyone traveling on the road has the best chance to avoid injury or death should they be involved in a traffic crash.

To view a web video from the kickoff with Governor Walker and Donald Driver, click here, and to view the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s new instructional video please click here.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Chamber of Commerce has updated education page

The education link on the PdC Chamber of Commerce website has been updated, below is the link.

Click the picture above to go to the main Chamber site

Assistive Technology Lending Center

From DPI:

The Assistive Technology Lending Center (ATLC) is now open.

The ATLC is a lending library of high-end Alternative and Augmentative Communication(AAC) equipment for trial purposes. The ATLC provides high-end AAC devices costing $6000.00 or more for loan to Wisconsin public school staff for trial with children ages 3 to 21 enrolled in the district. The inventory is updated each year so we have many of the current devices available for you to trial with your students.

So if you have a student you are evaluating or considering an AAC device for, take a look at the devices in the ATLC and try one out before you buy!

The link to the ATLC is

Connie Isackson from CESA 2 is the lead at the ATLC and she will be happy to assist you so be sure to check it out!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

PI-34 Assistance

David Allen, the PI-34 Coordinator from the CESA 3 License Renewal Support Center will, on one afternoon a month, be providing PDP Writing Support for teachers, pupil services staff, and administrators who need to complete a PDP for their license renewal. These sessions run from 1:00 PM until 3:30 PM and are held in conference room A at CESA 3. If a staff member needs to learn the PDP process for the first time, or if they simply need someone to look at their PDP, these sessions may be a fit.

The PdC Public Schools subscribes to this PI-34 service for our staff through CESA. Any staff in need to this support, can discuss the needs with your site Principal. If a need exists to attend, CESA 3 asks to please register in advance on the CESA 3 Website.

Thursday October 18th, 2012
Thursday November 15th, 2012
Thursday December 13th, 2012
Thursday January 17th, 2013
Thursday March 14, 2013
Thursday April 18th, 2013
Thursday May 9th, 2013

Contact information is provided below:

David M Allen
License Renewal Support Center
PI-34 Coordinator


Another option is that the Teacher's Union, SWEA, offers a Professional Development Plan (PDP) Goal writing training and explanation of the PDP process to teachers in the area. This training is for all teachers and not just for Initial Educators. Then, each year the teachers can choose to have their Goals approved at the beginning of the process and then Verified at the end of the process.

PDP Goal Writing Training – September 26, 2012
PDP Goal Approval Night – October 24, 2012
PDP Goal Verification Night – April 10, 2013

Click here for further information on this option

Results-Driven Accountability (RDA) for Special Eduation

As I have been reporting to our staff for quite some time, there are possibilities of major accountability changes coming in Special Education that may move from a audit / punitive compliance structure to the use of more student academic achievement data to measure improvement.

At PdC Public Schools we have already begun this process of change toward higher expectations, breaking down of the barriers between regular and special education, the toppling of the silos holding back instructional changes, and a rapid move toward a totally inclusive atmosphere that helps kids get what they need when they need it.

Information from a DPI update:

SEA staff from around the country recently participated in a call with OSEP staff.  Linked below are two PowerPoint presentations staff used. The first, Results-Driven Accountability Update, August 27, 2012, provides educators and other stakeholders a powerful rationale for OSEP’s move to increase the focus on improving results for students with disabilities. Over the term of the APR, you will see that nationally, LEAs have demonstrated a high and consistent level of performance on the compliance indicators. At the same time, graduation and proficiency outcomes for students with disabilities, which we know demonstrate gaps compared to their non-disabled peers, have shown little or no progress nationally. This may be something you will want to show others as we move to a RDA system.

The second, Using Assessment Data as Part of a Results-Driven Accountability System, provides an overview of the work of the National Center on Education Outcomes (NCEO) to develop a system for using assessment data to drive a RDA model. Suggestions and samples are shared. This is provided so special and general educators can start to frame a discussion about how this would work in our school, as we all begin to focus much more tightly on how, working together, we will improve outcomes for students with disabilities.

Every Child a Graduate – Agenda 2017

From DPI: State Superintendent Tony Evers has produced a great five-minute video about his Agenda 2017. He highlights major initiatives to carry out the following five-year goals:
  • Further increase graduation rate from 85.7 percent to 92 percent.
  • Increase career and college readiness from 32 percent to 67 percent.
  • Close graduation and career and college readiness gaps by 50 percent.
  • Increase the percentage of students scoring proficient in third-grade reading and eighth-grade mathematics.
  • Adopt the Fair Funding for Our Future plan to make school finance more equitable and transparent.

Sportsmanship by Soccer Team is hailed

The second PdC sports group in this fall season has been called out for their great sportsmanship. In this case, the Boys' Soccer Team and their Coaching staff were complimented by an official for their positive actions. Job well done!

DPI submits budget request

Highlights of the DPI 2013-15 Budget:
See the link to a 4-page summary of the DPI 2013-15 budget request:

Advocating for early/often foreign language instruction

Two articles on the subject:

1. An article in the Minnesota Daily discusses second languages in general. The following is an excerpt from that article:

The 21st century has focused intensely on the recognition and development of the human mind. Psychologists have studied the different functions of the brain and have identified ways to strengthen acute awareness and cognitive thinking. One way to do this, report linguistic researchers at Cornell University, is to learn another language at a young age. In the face of distraction, those who have learned another language are able to pursue their cognitive goals faster and easier. Children who are schooled in another language are able to focus their attention to a particular subject despite outside provocations better than those who are not proficient in a second language. This is a huge advantage, especially in a world where instant entertainment is dominant among younger generations.

Click here to view the artilce in its entirely

2. An article from the Chicago Tribune discusses how Foreign language skills translate in career. The following is an excerpt from that article:

The American economy relies on people of different nations and cultures interconnected by telephone, satellites and computers, so more corporations are looking to add multilingual employees to their ranks. For job seekers eager to separate themselves from the crowd of candidates in a specific field, picking up a second language can be just the thing to propel you to the front of the pack...

Whooping Cough Information

This will probably become an annual posting as we seem to be having one or two confirmed cases each year.

School Nurse Karen Reilly states "Pertussis is still out there. We have a confirmed case in the community."

Click here to see the latest pertussis fact sheet from the WI Dept. of Health.

Especially note:
How can pertussis be prevented?
Routine immunization of infants and children with acellular Pertussis (aP) vaccine is recommended at 2, 4, 6 and 15-18 months of age with a booster dose at 4-6 years of age. It is given in a combination with Diphtheria and Tetanus vaccines called DTaP. The effectiveness of the vaccine in children who have received at least 3 doses is estimated to be 80%; and protection is even greater against severe disease. Protection will begin to diminish after about 3 years. Persons who experience pertussis after immunization usually have a milder case. DTaP vaccine is currently recommended for children 2 months through 6 years of age. A safe and effective acellular pertussis vaccine for adolescents and adults was licensed in 2005. Called Tdap, the vaccine is routinely recommended as a one time booster for children 11-12 years of age. It is also recommended as one time booster for adults.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Scan to mail...

From Helpdesk:

This is a reminder to staff that the "scan to email" function on the copy machines is not designed to be used to send your document to more than 5 people. If you would like to send your document to more than 5 people, please send it to your e-mail only, and then forward it on to others through the e-mail program.

We have been having some issues with the scan function not working and this is the result of the copy machine hitting a quota of sends for the day. Again, if you would like your scanned document to be received by more than 5 people, please forward it to them through the regular e-mail system.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Child Labor Law Guide

DPI release:

The Department of Workforce Development (DWD), DPI, and Cooperative Educational Service Agency 6 collaborated on a new guide to child labor laws, to help parents, employers, and school officials ensure a safe, rewarding experience for students balancing work and school.

“Working just a few hours a week … helps [students] develop basic soft skills critical to success in the world of work, such as being punctual, dressing appropriately, communicating and working well with others,” DWD Secretary Reggie Newson said. “Plus, they get a paycheck and learn to manage money. When it’s done right, an after-school job for students can be a great learning experience.”

“Work-based learning in Wisconsin is an important component to every child graduating from high school ready for college and career,” State Superintendent Tony Evers said. “Students should have quality opportunities to experience possible careers first-hand.” Evers said the guide would help ensure students’ work experiences are good and safe.

The Guide to Wisconsin’s Child Labor Laws includes key definitions, like the difference between an intern or trainee and an employee entitled to wages; states when a work permit is required and when it isn’t; covers liability and insurance questions; and lists employment and equipment restrictions.

BadgerLink in Classroom: Webinar Series

From DPI-ConnectEd:

On Thursdays from 3:30 to 4:00, a series of webinars designed for teachers and library media specialists explores BadgerLink’s rich collection of information tools.

These “BadgerLattés” cover a different resource, database, or interface each week.

Copyright and BadgerLink Resources:
Sept 13 Encyclopædia Britannica
Sept 20 Soundzabound
Sept 27 ECB VideoLink

Games and Learning:
Oct 11 Encyclopædia Britannica
Oct 18 EBSCO

These, along with other BadgerLink trainings, will be archived and made available online.

Health Assessment Followup and HRA

We are getting a number of questions on the health assessment followup. I will try to be as clear as possible and give out the information that we have available to us. In addition, I will go over the requirements to have the full amount of the HRA released.

Important: at this time, all PdC Public School health insurance covered employees that did the blood draw must go online to finish some simple health related questions. (I am not sure, but I assume this information, plus the blood analysis, will be discussed in the confidential wellness coach meeting coming up).

To qualify as being done with the WPS health assessment process; the WPS requirements are:

1. Screening - blood work (this is done)
2. Online questionnaire: Health Risk Assessment (must be done between the dates of September 17th and September 21st.: please note directions on access code which is under step two click here to see directions
3. One to One; report delivery and session with wellness coach at PdC High School. (If you have not made this appointment already; Call 1-888-553-5370 or 1-920-738-6521 to schedule an appointment on 9/25 or 9/26 - talk to your Principal as substitutes may be available)

Important notes: 

1. Carrot: all insured staff (only the person that carries the policy) will get $50 from WPS for just going through the process. 
2. Another carrot: if almost all of our staff do the complete assessment process, our WPS rates lock in at less than 8% for next year. This is important as most likely whatever the amount goes up, that is what employees will most likely pay for a premium increase.
2. Stick: the full process must be completed to get the full HRA dollars - see below.

Reminder; to get the full amount of HRA dollars released, the following points must be done:

1. Turn in HRA 4 step agreement form (this was the form which was in the 6/15/12 paystub; almost all have turned that in - for those who did not, Patti will call you to see if you want to turn it in, we will still take the form) 
2. Must have completed a physical in 2012 (you have until December 30, 2012 to get the physical done and until then to turn in the form)
3. Must complete the WPS  assessment as outlined above.

When this is all completed, the eligible employees will get their other 1/2 of their HRA  dollars  released  into their accounts. 

PdC Public Schools Homecoming 2012

Homecoming 2012 Theme: Winner Take All!

Monday 9/24/2012
Dress up-Class Color Day
  • Seniors – pink
  • Juniors – purple
  • Sophomores – blue
  • Freshmen - brown
Tuesday 9/25/2012
Dress up – Temporary Tatt Tuesday (break out your temporary tattoos!)
Soccer vs. Platteville/Lancaster
Cross Country @ Dodgeville

Wednesday 9/26/2012
Dress up – Camouflage clothing Day
1:25 high school students work on floats, windows and skits
2:30 special presentation for high school staff and students

Parade leaves from the island at 6:00 pm

If your business, club or organization would like to enter a float or walking unit in the parade, please contact Marge Johnson at 326-3741 by September 26th.

Coronation in gym approx. 7:00 pm (public is encouraged to attend – admission is free)
Skits follow coronation (public is encouraged to attend – admission is free)

Thursday 9/27/2012
Dress up – Halloween Costume Day
Volleyball @ River Valley
Soccer @ River Valley
9th Football @ River Valley

Friday 9/28/2012
Dress up- School Spirit Day
Breakfast 6:30-10:00 am
Powder Puff 1:00 pm
All school pep rally 2:30
Football vs. Richland Center 7:00 pm

Saturday 9/29/2012
Dance in HS cafeteria 8-12 midnight

Supportive Services for Veteran Families

The Veterans Assistance Foundation (VAF) Representative for the
Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Program
Will be in Crawford County
at the following location the
2nd and 4th Mondays of each month
beginning October 8, 2012:
County Veterans Services Office
225 N. Beaumont Rd., Suite 137
Prairie du Chien, WI 53821
Appointments are not necessary - Walk-in meetings are welcome
For more information, please contact VAF Case Manager

312 Superior Avenue •Tomah, WI 54660
Telephone: (608) 372-8387 / Facsimile: (608) 374-2859

Sunday, September 16, 2012

School Report Cards

The latest word through our CESA 3 is that the Wisconsin Public School report cards are still scheduled for secure release during the week of September 24th and public release in October. If there are changes, that information is to be relayed to us.

The following information on the subject is from CESA 6

Accountability Reform in General

1. The entire State is transitioning to this new system. We will be working with it to learn about the new measurements and how to improve.

2. Changes in society – global economy, complex ever-changing technologies – demand new ways of educating and evaluating students and teachers.

3. Until this year, Wisconsin schools were measured by the State-specific proficiency levels. The new metrics are based on higher standards of a National test, called the NAEP test.

4. The new school report card rating will be based on much more data than testing; More data gives fuller picture of school performance to parents, teachers, administrators and public.

Frequently asked questions about the new school report card

1. What is the school report card?
The school report card is a new way of measuring overall performance of individual public schools in Wisconsin. It will be issued each year. It will show which of five accountability ratings the school has achieved based on analysis of student test scores, student growth as measured by year-to-year achievement improvement, and other factors.

2. Why are there so many priority areas?
Accurately measuring a school’s performance is a complex task that takes into account as many of the factors influencing student achievement as possible. In addition to comparing students’ level of knowledge and academic skills against state academic standards, the card measures year to year student achievement improvement, gaps in achievement among students of various ethnic groups and income levels and students with disabilities, and how likely students are to achieve post-secondary success.

3. What is an accountability score?
Each year, a school’s report card will show which of five accountability ratings it has received based on its accountability score. The score is calculated by an analysis of data in the four priority areas and whether or not the school has met three student engagement indicators. The scores range from 0 to 100. The rating areas are: fails to meet expectations (0 to 52.9); meets few expectations (53 to 62.9); meets expectations (63 to 72.9); exceeds expectations (73 to 82.9); and significantly exceeds expectations (83 to 100).

4. What is a student engagement indicator?
These are measures of three key factors that are critical to understanding a school’s true performance. The indicators are test participation, or what percentage of all students take an individual test; absenteeism or how many students are there whose absences exceed a level associated with poor academic performance; and dropouts, or how many students drop out of school before graduating.

5. How will this information make my school better?
Because the report card provides so much data on various accountability measures, it will provide valuable insights into a school’s weaknesses and strengths and give school administrators, teachers and board members information that can be used for school improvement efforts. It also gives parents and other members of the school community a clear picture of a school’s performance.

6. How will this information help my child succeed?
Giving schools this valuable tool for tracking performance and making improvements is part of a comprehensive effort to raise educational standards in Wisconsin and make sure that all students are ready for college and careers in today’s rapidly changing global society and economy.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Online Professional Learning Community

To explore LINCS click icon below: 


U.S. Education Department Release:

U.S. Education Department Launches Improved, Online Professional Learning Community with New Features to Inform and Inspire Adult Educators

Today, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Vocational and Adult Education re-launched its first-ever online, professional learning community for adult educators called the “Literacy Information and Communication System” (LINCS). The site provides adult educators with access to resources; on-demand, Web-based professional development opportunities, including online courses and targeted face-to-face trainings; and a connected network of practitioners, called a “community of practice.” LINCS also offers specialized tools, including the ability for educators across the country to engage in real-time discussions.

The new and improved Web site features enhanced functionality and ease of use, providing a collection of quality, evidence-based online resources for adult educators and other practitioners within the adult education system.

One of the key features of the Web site is the “LINCS Community” that includes 16 topic-area groups. These virtual community groups provide an opportunity for those in the field and related fields to engage in topic-specific networking and information sharing activities. By engaging in a group, educators are able to share and obtain real-time answers to peer-driven questions based on their collective professional experiences.

“We want adult educators to use LINCS to improve their practice and connect with peers and experts. We believe that a professionalized teaching workforce and high-quality professional development are key to improving program effectiveness and raising student outcomes so that more adults can complete college or training,” said Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education Brenda Dann-Messier.

LINCS receives support from the U.S. Department of Education’s Adult Education—National Leadership Activities Program, which funds activities to enhance the quality of adult education and literacy programs nationwide. To join a LINCS community group, visit

CCPH Vaccine Changes

Crawford County Public Health; Important Notice:

Due to changes at the federal level, the Crawford County Public Health

Department will no longer be able to provide immunizations to children and adults with private health insurance that covers vaccine. We have been informed by the State of Wisconsin Immunization Program that these changes will become effective on October 1, 2012. This policy will also apply to those individuals who have a deductible or co pay. Vaccinations will need to be provided through your medical provider, not the local health department.

Where can you get vaccinated?:

• Families who are uninsured or have Medical Assistance or Badgercare may continue to receive vaccinations through the local health departments.

• If you do not have one of the plans listed above, check with your health insurance company to see about vaccine coverage. Look for a toll free number on the back of your insurance card.

• Call your medical provider today to find out if they currently offer the vaccines you need or if they plan to start offering them beginning October 1, 2012.

• During the 2012-13 Influenza Season, the Influenza vaccine will remain free of charge and available to children 6 months through 18 years regardless of insurance coverage.

• If you have further questions, please call your insurance company or the Crawford County Public Health Department at 326-0229. We will do our best to assist you.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Evers to request ACT suite for high school accountability and career planning

At PdC Public Schools we have been doing the ACT, Plan, and Explore sequence so this would be no change for us. We support this effort and compliment State Superintendent Tony Evers for this proposal.

Click here to go to link to full release

DPI release: Proposal part of Agenda 2017

MADISON — All Wisconsin public high school juniors would take the ACT college admissions test under an education budget initiative that would include the four-test ACT suite for career planning and accountability.

State Superintendent Tony Evers announced the proposal, which is part of his 2013-15 education budget request, at a press conference in Pewaukee on Wednesday. “We need to give our students and their families better resources to plan for study and work after high school,” Evers said. “It makes sense to use the ACT to fulfill state and federal testing requirements at the high school level with an exam package that provides so much more than the WKCE: college and career readiness assessments and a college admissions test score.”

Under the plan, all public school ninth-grade students would take the ACT EXPLORE assessment in spring of the 2014-15 school year. The ACT PLAN would be administered in 10th grade and the ACT and WorkKeys assessments in 11th grade. The cost for the state to administer the four tests would be approximately $7 million. The ACT would replace Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examinations (WKCE) for mathematics, reading, and English language arts administered to 10th-graders in the fall. The ACT assessment package will add growth measures and improve college and career readiness measures for Wisconsin’s new accountability system.

ACT has decades of experience measuring academic achievement and career aspirations and is the preferred college admissions test in Wisconsin. Currently, about 61 percent of public high school graduates take the ACT at some time in high school. At least 12 states use the EXPLORE, PLAN, and ACT as part of their state testing program, and five states use WorkKeys in their state testing program for 11th- and 12th-grade students.

The EXPLORE assessment is designed for students to explore both high school and post-high school options, helping to identify strengths and areas where intervention may be needed. The 10th-grade PLAN helps students continue coursework selection and planning for college and career readiness. Both assessments prepare students to take the ACT. The ACT is benchmarked for college readiness; providing a minimum score that yields a likely passing grade in credit-bearing college coursework.

“States that have adopted the ACT have found ‘diamonds in the rough;’ students who had the skills to go on to college or a high-skills trade, but were not considering that as an option,” Evers said. “Additionally, administering the ACT suite will help us intervene early. It is too costly for students, their families, and our colleges and universities to provide remedial coursework to high school graduates who are not ready for postsecondary studies,” Evers said. “Through the ACT suite, we will strengthen the link between high school and our technical college and university systems because we will have better resources to guide students in their high school course selection and postsecondary plans.”

Currently, parents and a few school districts pay the cost for students to take the ACT. Students in many rural districts lack easy access to a certified ACT testing site. The ACT proposal would train school staff and certify every high school as an ACT testing center. Costs for 11th-grade ACT testing would be paid by the state and used for state and federal accountability requirements. Students who take the ACT a second or third time to improve their score for college admissions purposes would bear the cost of each additional assessment.

WorkKeys provides a job skill assessment that helps students prepare for the workforce whether they plan to go directly into employment, train for a trade, or pursue a technical college or university degree before working. “We expect all students will enter the workforce after high school or college. Helping them prepare for that reality makes sense,” Evers said.

Wisconsin is among states that award a National Career Readiness Certificate based on results of three WorkKeys assessments: Applied Mathematics, Locating Information, and Reading for Information. As of May 2012, Wisconsin had issued 5,027 National Career Readiness Certificates. Access to the WorkKeys assessment is available at four workforce development centers, four job and career centers, and five technical colleges. Students who successfully complete the WorkKeys assessment will be eligible for a National Career Readiness Certificate.

“This budget proposal will meet the demand for accountability that matters,” Evers said. “The ACT suite will provide multiple measures of student achievement that give a picture of individual and school growth for high school accountability. Additionally, by providing more career planning resources, we will do our part to meet the demand for more students with technical skills for manufacturing and other high skill careers that industry says is currently unmet.”


NOTE: This news release is available electronically at Additional information about Agenda 2017, a comprehensive plan for education in Wisconsin, is available by visiting the Every Child a Graduate

Create professional portfolio

We are quickly moving away from a system of evaluation that was based on what is done by a teacher in a classroom, to a new model with a big percentage based on what have the students done.

We are not jumping into the bleeding edge of this process. We will take you through this process as best we can so as to create the least amount of disruption to our school operations. I have had a number of people ask about this process and where it will go. I am being honest when I reply that I do not really have the answer to that question. However, just like in the past, if you are doing a good job, there is nothing to be afraid of. The system, whatever it will be, will just confirm that you are doing a good job. This is nothing to worry about.

However, as part of that process, I would strongly recommend that all professional certified staff create individual professional development folders in Google docs.

The reasoning for this is in anticipation of the Educator Effectiveness project. No matter what system we will end up using, we are being told that there will be a requirement of some kind of documentation trail of professional growth and how that lead to student growth. I assume that this will ultimately be entered into a system that will be reported out to someplace, but at this time we have not purchased a program and the state does not have their system up and running yet.

This data collection does not have to be fancy. I do not know exactly what will be needed, but I would recommend something such as the following:
What were the Dates/Times of event?
What was the Professional Growth training or event?
What contribution from this event was made to the classroom, district, and to the profession?
What are the increased student achievement outcome gains from this professional development?

You could just keep a paper file folder, but it will most likely be far more efficient later on if you have it in a cloud based document that you can either refer to easily and/or cut paste over.

All of you have professional training to enter. Just start with recent events; just a few examples are:

  • Restraint
  • New Elementary Math series
  • Google Apps
  • AP seminars
  • PLTW
  • Graduate classes

UWP Continuing Education Survey

The following request for your needs and interests is from Marian at UWP. This is your chance to put in your input.

Dear Lifelong Learner,

Continuing Education at UW-Platteville is growing!

Over the past three years, we have expanded our programs and services, providing a greater variety of learning opportunities for residents of the tri-state region and across Wisconsin. We now offer nearly 500 classes, programs and youth campus—with over 7,000 enrollments and participants annually.

We are asking for your input to help us plan for the next three years. Please take 5-10 minutes to respond to 10 questions to tell us about your future needs and interests for personal enjoyment and professional advancement, and also how you have participated in our programs in the past.

Just click here to go to the link below for the online survey.

We look forward to hearing from you by September 30. Thank you for your time and interest!

Questions? Feedback? Contact:

Marian Maciej-Hiner, Director of Continuing Education
1 University Plaza
University of Wisconsin-Plattville
Platteville, WI 53818
608.342.1302 (toll-free 888-281-9472 )

Red Cross needs your blood!

American Red Cross officials are relaying that they are desperately in need of blood. They have stated that they are down to a two day blood surplus. For probably many reasons, we are told that blood donations have been down this year.

You can save three lives by giving up one hour of your life to donate blood!

Schedule an appointment to donate blood, or just show up on September 24, 2012 12PM-5:30PM @ the PdC National Guard Armory.


Leadership from quarterback

Congratulations to John David for being a leader.

Thank you to John and to the whole football team for being respectful to others. This is what school activities are all about. Long after the scores are printed and seasons are gone, the life lessons learned are what will flow into student's lives. The letter below explains:

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Building and Grounds Survey

Staff; check e-mail for Google Survey Form

Approximately every other year we survey the whole staff to determine what building or grounds improvements are seen as important. We are looking for information on what you think would improve the physical learning environment of the school. We do take this information seriously and we do use it. The items submitted are used to create work plans and buildings and grounds planning. Obviously, not all items are able to be done, but, most items that have been submitted in the past are accomplished or are in the process of planning. As in the past, I encourage dreaming about the "best" learning environments. We often hear suggestions that plant the seed ideas that lead toward future projects.

Thank you to our Local Police

Principal Stuckey wrote the following:

I want to recognize the timely efforts of our local police department following an accidental 911 call from a personal cell phone at B.A. Kennedy today. As we all know, 911 calls have stiff penalties when made intentionally, but this was a pure accident. I received a phone call from Tara in dispatch, alerting me to the situation. She also informed me that law enforcement was on their way to B.A. Kennedy. I left immediately (from Bluff View), calling the BAK secretary in route. When I arrived at BAK, two officers were already addressing the area from which the phone call came.

The prompt response of our local law enforcement has left the students and staff at B.A. Kennedy feeling very safe. We experienced first hand the quick attention that is given by our local department in a potentially dangerous situation, and that is something we should all take pride in!

PdC police department - thanks for your efforts today and always. We appreciate everything you do.

Laura Stuckey
Elementary Principal
B.A. Kennedy Elementary School
Prairie du Chien School District

Monday, September 10, 2012

PdC Public Schools Narrative

The Chamber of Commerce is updating their website. The following is a rough draft of a potential narrative that will be under the PdC Public Schools link. The main target audience is people from out of the area who may be looking at PdC as a potential home. The secondary audience is our local citizens.

Please review and let me know what I missed or is not factual. I plan to get this to the Chamber toward the end of this week.


Prairie du Chien (PdC) Area Public Schools are recognized statewide, and increasingly nationwide, as being leaders in educational innovation, technology, and student academic achievement gains. The professional instructional staff, and support para-professionals, serve the children of the community as caring role models and create a vigorous and challenging year-round learning environment within a culture of very high expectations.

The PdC Public schools offer a comprehensive educational program that is both rigorous and relevant. The overall educational goals are to develop and enhance our young people's creativity and entrepreneurship within a college or career ready preparatory program. The school district is constantly exploring ways to improve or offer better service to the community such as a full day four year old kindergarten is offered to parents who desire that mode, while continuing to also offer the half day format.

Across the PdC Public School curriculum, the core academic skills are covered in a basal format that has high expectations for all children, interventions are present to help children that need more help, and challenging coursework is in place for those students who have already mastered grade level information. In addition PdC Public Schools present students with encore opportunities for wellness, recreation, performing and visual arts, additional literacy, and other academic enrichments. Specific after school programming is available at all levels of the school. On top of that, PdC Public has a full summer school schedule that features 45 days of rigorous academic programming in a more relaxed and enriching setting – this even includes a breakfast, lunch, and swimming instruction!

PdC Public has instruction that is literally world class. For example, PdC Public has international education from Kindergarten to graduation. PdC Public offers dual Global Language series in both Spanish Language and Cultures and Chinese Language and Cultures featuring three Guest Teachers from China. At the PdC Public High School there are currently 14 different Advanced Placement (AP) classes offered across various disciplines. For the 2013-2014 school year, 4 additional AP offerings are planned to be added to the already vast array of college level offerings.

The PdC Public Schools are recognized as nationwide leaders in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). To start, STEM is embedded in elementary lessons. In the middle grades, of 5 to 8, PdC Public Schools offers GameIT Computer Programming and Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Gateway to Technology programs in addition to challenging Math and Science curriculums. As a capstone, about two thirds of the Bluff View grade 8 students take the accelerated high school level Integrated Math 1. PdC Public High School students have access to an unmatched program of STEM offerings including PLTW programs in both Engineering and Biomedical. An example of the high level that PdC Public students achieve is that a full array of mathematics is offered including AP Statistics and both AP Calculus AB and AP Calculus BC.

To highlight the PdC Public Schools commitment to excellence; the PdC Public High School is a silver rated school by U.S. News, all three Bluff View Intermediate Public School sub groups are awarded as Schools of Recognition by the State of Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, and the district was awarded with the What Parent's Want Award.

On top of the entire umbrella of academic offerings, PdC Public Schools offer a full array of co-curricular sports and activities across the grades; from sports/recreation activities for the little kids all the way up to competitive WIAA sports in the high school. PdC Public Schools are small enough to allow full participation, such as a no-cut policy on all activities, but large enough to offer a wide variety of choices including sports of Girls’ Cross-country, Football, Girls’ Golf, Boys’ Soccer, Cheer Squads, Volleyball, Boys’ Cross-country, Dance, Girls’ Basketball, Boys’ Basketball, Wrestling, Boys’ Track and Field, Baseball, Boys’ Golf, Softball, Girls’ Track and Field, and Girls’ Soccer. Two recently added popular activities are Archery, and Summer Swim team.

In the performing arts, PdC Public has full music programs across all grades with extra programming available throughout. Both the Bands and the Choirs are high quality. The PdC music students regularly perform with guest artists and concerts feature these guests; two of the latest being the Monroe Crossing who are "The Midwest's Premier Bluegrass and Gospel Quintet" and Xianghua Han from Beijing China. PdC Public choir groups have performed at the Carnegie Hall. The Drama Department produces high quality musicals and plays that are great learning platforms for the students and superb entertainment for the whole community.

Lastly, PdC Public Schools have tremendous community support. Beyond the supportive structure of state and local funding, the giving to the school by individuals and businesses is very generous and greatly appreciated. Visit for more information on the Prairie du Chien Area Public Schools.

Dental open enrollment period

Delta Dental will allow the following open enrollment:

"Our Director of Underwriting is allowing an open enrollment for the month for September with an October 1st effective date ... contract allows part-time employees and employees who work a minimum of 20 hours per week."

Delta Dental is a voluntary program for PdC Public School employees who qualify and desire to have dental insurance. This is totally paid by the employee.

Patti has written the new rates on the first document. If interested in signing up, please see Patti.

Positive signs on Wisconsin economy

Through SAA; From …

The Department of Revenue reported today the state took in $126.6 million more in general purpose revenue in the 2011-12 fiscal year than what the agency had projected in May.

It was the second time in four months the state got good news on the revenue front, and half of the additional collections will go toward the budget stabilization fund under state law. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau said the rest of the money will go toward the state’s bottom line at the end of the current biennium in 2013.

The DOR report, which covers the fiscal year that ended June 30, does not account for any changes in state expenses compared to what was budgeted. But LFB said if the state meets projected costs, it will now end the two-year budget with a surplus of $274.1 million.

See the DOR release.

Report on Property taxes

SAA release By John Forester | September 10, 2012

Statewide property tax levies increased by just 0.2 percent in 2012, the smallest increase since 1997, according to a report by the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance.

The analysis said state taxpayers paid $9.36 billion in net property taxes this year.

Municipal property tax levies increased 1.6 percent to $2.46 billion, topped in the state’s largest municipalities by double-digit increases in Middleton and Manitowoc.

Levies on the county level rose 1.1 percent to $1.97 billion, topped by Crawford County’s 6.3 percent increase.

Statewide school property taxes dropped 1 percent, the first decline since 2006, while technical college levies increased 1.8 percent to $771.3 million.

See the press release.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Danza book: I'd Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had

I'd Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had: My Year as a Rookie Teacher at Northeast High

The following is wholly quoted from an article by Michael Keany on School Leadership 2.0
Click here to visit the site

Tony Danza: What I learned teaching your kids
The popular actor devoted a year to teaching in high school. His new book has timely advice.

Advice for kids

• Get off to a good start. Build yourself a cushion with good grades at the beginning. It will make the year so much easier. Like a baseball player who starts the season in a slump, a student who begins slowly finds it very hard to catch up.

• Budget your time. It’s possible to be a good student and also have a great time in school.

• See your high school education as your job. Your job is to pay attention in class, study and learn.

• Get involved in extra-curricular activities at your school: clubs, sports, plays, music. This will add to your experience and make you want to be in school.

• Hang out with kids who are doing well and who take school seriously.

• Take an active part in your own education.

There are at least two harder jobs than acting — one is teaching and the other is writing a book about teaching. I’ve now done both, having gone toe-to-toe with a class of Philadelphia 10th-graders for an entire year and then written about it. And, let me tell you, when it comes to teaching, perfection is elusive.

The question I still wrestle with is, “In the midst of a tough economy and continuous budget cutting, how do we send a message to students that being in school and making the most of their time there is important?”

Everyone knows we have a problem. By every education metric, we’re no longer No. 1 in the world. Dropout rates in many districts approach 50%, and some estimates put the number of dropouts at more than 1 million a year. How do we sustain a great country with those numbers? Education has become a national security issue. If we don’t get our schools right, we won’t have the labor force or the soldiers we’ll need in the future.

A parent doesn’t always think that way, though. A parent asks, justifiably, how do I help my kid?

There’s one important thing I learned in the trenches at Northeast High in Philadelphia: Teachers have no problem being held accountable by parents. In fact, they crave parent involvement.

If parents do nothing else, they should persuade their sons and daughters to take part in their own education. Kids should hear the message loud and clear: “You have one life, and this small part of it will make all the difference.”

And parents, you should walk the talk by showing up for the play, the debate, the science fair. There were evenings when, as an English teacher hosting an open house for parents, I stood mostly alone.

Parents have to be involved because we live in a culture that bombards us every day with messages that are antithetical to education. For example, and not to pick on one TV show, but I would tell my students that good behavior and hard work pays off — then these kids would go home and watch Jersey Shore and come back and tell me I had it wrong. Often, the role model a kid looks to isn’t the father who goes to work every day, but the reality star or rapper who sells Chryslers or the banker who makes a fortune in a system that seems rigged.

We have to convince kids that, despite the formidable obstacles they often face, it’s imperative that they do well in school. As a society, we have to make it cool to be smart. And kids have to understand that it’s their responsibility to do well — no matter who their teacher is or the quality of their school.

The bottom line: Kids need to want it. We can’t want them to get an education more than they want it for themselves.

All I can do individually is tell my children — and any kid who’ll listen — that the world they face will require their best. They’ll needskills to survive and thrive in this new world. I can make it my business to know what my children are watching on TV and on the Internet and be relentless in hammering home the importance of this bit of their lives.

We all have a role to play in this, but when I was in teacher orientation, I constantly heard that teachers must “engage” the students. After a year of teaching, it strikes me that what we really need are students to engage in their own education.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Potential change in charging practices

Potential internal practice/policy change - this is open for a week long period of comment. Please pass along any comments on this to the business office. Specifically desired, are ways to improve this practice within the improvement parameters as set by the school board.

Potential change in practice:

As part of the annual audit cycle, the School Board reviews the financial information and district practices. One concern that is listed is segregation of duties and efficiency in payment practices. Noted is that a number of staff, or activity advisors, do not turn in documentation in a timely fashion so this slows the requisition and payment process down to a point that vendors are sometimes not paid within their expectations, and secondly that an excess amount of office staff time is utilized tracking down the missing documents. What complicates this even further, and demands more attention, are IRS and State rules that need to be abided by concerning tax free status and other obfuscating factors surrounding compliance.

Therefore, the Prairie du Chien Board of Education has determined that it is necessary that charging privileges be removed for individual employees who do not follow procedures within reasonable timeframes. Reasonable is to be defined as less than one week from purchase, unless there are extreme mitigating circumstances. Additionally, any purchases made prior to submission and full PO approval process not completed are subject to non-payment and/or responsible individual may be charged.

This involves any use of school credit cards for any local, vehicle fuel, or internet purchases. It further involves PO purchases or other vendor transactions using school accounts or school tax-free status.

Employees, or activity advisors, that are removed from the above mentioned uses, will have to make alternate arrangements for purchases including the probability of using their own credit cards or other means. Please note that those that do not use school accounts cannot be reimbursed for any taxes charged or use the school tax free status for purchases. For example, under this scenario, a teacher purchases materials for a school activity and submits the slip of $105 for reimbursement; only the $100 would be reimbursed as the $5 sales tax would not.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Bluff View; Wisconsin Schools of Recognition

Wisconsin  Department of Public Instruction awards 
Schools of Recognition 
to Prairie du Chien Public Schools:
Bluff View Elementary (grades 2,3,4) 
Bluff View Middle School (grades 5,6) 
Bluff View Junior High (grades 7,8) 

Congratulations, and thank you, to all 
Prairie du Chien Public School 
Students, Parents, Community Members, and Staff for your 

Pride, Dedication, and Commitment 

to high standards and academic excellence.

The following is excerpted from State Superintendent Tony Evers announcement of 132 Wisconsin School of Recognition awards for the 2012-13 academic year, an honor that recognizes success in educating students from low-income families.

“Congratulations on a strong start to the 2012-13 school year,” Evers said. “These schools are being recognized for their work to break the link between poverty and low academic achievement through rigorous programming and attention to student needs. Their efforts align with our Agenda 2017 goals: to improve graduation rates, reduce dropout rates, and close college and career readiness gaps.”

The schools receiving awards have some of the highest poverty rates in the state based on free and reduced price school lunch data. Student achievement in reading and mathematics was above average for schools from similarly sized districts, schools, grade configurations, and poverty levels. All award-winning schools receive federal Title I funding to provide services to high numbers or high percentages of economically disadvantaged children.

This year’s 132 Wisconsin School of Recognition Award recipients include 99 elementary schools, 25 middle or junior high schools, and eight high schools. “The staff and administration of these schools are committed to forging partnerships among teachers, parents, administrators, other school staff members, and the community to create an educational environment that supports children’s learning,” Evers said. “They understand the importance of working together to ensure that every child graduates ready for college and careers.”

Click here to see full release on Schools of Recognition