Wednesday, October 31, 2012

You are invited to the Whitetails Unlimited Banquet this Saturday

Note from Brent Seamans, PdC Public School Archery Club Advisor :

Pete Adkins wanted me to let everyone know that the Whitetails Unlimited Banquet is Saturday, 11/3/12, 5:00 pm at Huckleberry's Restaurant and Banquet Facility, PdC.

This group is a sponsor of our archery club.

Teaching opportunity in China

Teach in China during Summer 2013: experience Chinese culture, schools, teaching, and travel

The Sino-American Bridge for Education and Health is offering a five-week travel opportunity with Chinese teachers of English while sharing American methods of teaching English based heavily on oral interchange. Many of the costs are covered or shared.

Click here to learn more about this opportunity and to view the application process; deadline: December 31, 2012

Let us know if you are interested, as we can attempt to get more information from the Confucius Institute and the other sources that we work with.

PdC Holiday Parade December 7

The Prairie du Chien Chamber's Annual Holiday Parade will be held on Friday, Dec 7 at 5:30 pm.

Celebrate the Holiday Season, & promote our Chamber businesses and shop in the Prairie du Chien Area!

All local businesses and organizations are invited to participate in the parade. If you were not a part of the event last year, plan to do so this year. We expect all those who participated last year to be on hand for another special evening. Your participation will help to make this a fun event for people in our area. Lighted floats and other entries will begin lining up on St. Feriole Island near the Blackhawk Street entrance at 5:00 pm. Someone will be on hand to position entries in the parade.

Mr. and Mrs. Santa will lead off the parade. Plan to dress in warm clothing whether you are a participant or an observer. This promises to be a great event for the area no matter the weather!

Number of adolescents that smoke drops

Good News: Nationwide data compiled by AASA reports that the percentage of adolescents who smoke regularly has reached its lowest level since data was first collected. 

In 2011, about 2 percent of 8th-graders reported smoking cigarettes daily, a decline from the peak in 1996, when over 10 percent of 8th-graders reported daily cigarette smoking. 

Similarly, declines in daily smoking were reported for 10th-graders—6 percent in 2011, down from a peak of 18 percent in 1996; and for 12th-graders—10 percent, down from a peak of 25 percent in 1997.

The graph on the left shows the trends in smoking since 1995. In the mid 1990's there were high percentages of children smoking and the rates have been dropping since then. 

The graph on the right shows the trend back to the 1980's. Again, it shows the peak in the mid 1990's and the declines since then. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Liz Mullarkey, coach of the first State girls championship team at Prairie du Chien H.S. in 1975 is honored

The 1975 PdC Public High School team is shown at approximately 7:40 of the video. To view the video, click on the link:

This is the full release from Todd C. Clark, Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Director of Communications:

The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the State Cross Country Meet with a program in conjunction with the traditional pasta dinner held the evening before the meet Friday, Oct. 26. The special event featured a 17-minute video narrated by Jay Wilson recounting the highlights and history of the State Meet and its outstanding individuals and teams. 

To view the video, click on the link:

The program included an introduction of dignitaries, a special video message from Suzy Favor-Hamilton, an Olympian and four-time State champion, and a short message of well-wishes from Chris Solinsky, a three-time State champion and former American record holder. It was a great evening for attendees

In addition to Solinsky, a three-time State cross country champion at Stevens Point Area Senior High from 2000-2002, other dignitaries in attendance at the event were:

Cathy Branta-Easker, three-time girls champion at Slinger H.S. from 1978-80
Jim Brice, three-time boys champion at Wrightstown H.S. from 1975-77
Phil Downs, three-time boys champion at Madison Memorial H.S. from 1989-91
Don Gehrmann, oldest living male champion from Milwaukee Pulaski H.S. in 1945
Suzie Houston-Steel, first female State champion at Tomahawk H.S. in 1975
Paul Voss, three-time boys champion at Clinton H.S. from 1977-79

Liz Mullarkey, coach of the first State girls championship team at Prairie du Chien H.S. in 1975
Bill Smiley, oldest living boys coach of a championship boys team at Wausau H.S. in 1956

WIAA Executives
Doug Chickering, former executive director
Karen Kuhn, former associate director administering cross country

Congratulations on the 100th anniversary of the member’s cross country championships!

Health Insurance issues?

Patti, Vicki and I will be meeting with representatives of WPS Insurance Company on November 15. Covered employees on the WPS plan may forward any non-confidential concerns, or general questions, that you may have concerning the health insurance coverage or service to Patti, Vicki or me. For this meeting we only can cover general items.

If you have specific medical questions, please call WPS directly or one of our Brokers. If you need any of those contacts, Patti can help you out. We most likely can not help you with specific items and the conversation most likely should be confidential, especially if it deals with a personal medical issue.

UW Platteville graduate offerings

PdC Public Schools do not endorse these programs. The following note from Julie Moore and offering list is posted as information for staff and as a courtesy to UWP.

Here are our graduate course offerings for Spring 2012. Please pass along to your faculty and staff. We offer courses in Cross Categorical Special Education, Reading, ELL, and just a straight Master's degree.

Julie Moore
Education Office of Special Programs (EOSP) Coordinator
134 Doudna Hall
University of Wisconsin-Platteville
1 University Plaza
Platteville, WI 53818
Phone: 608-342-1294

Click here to view the flyer for these programs

Monday, October 29, 2012

Study in Ireland

We do not endorse this program, but, the following memo is posted as a courtesy.

Dear Mr. Johnson,

I teach 2 professional development/continuing education courses in Dublin, Ireland, through Cardinal Stritch University, Milwaukee,Wisconsin. (North central accreditation).

*LITERARY IRELAND, a themed course in Tolerance & Diversity with anti-bullying strategies
June 28 – July 3, 2013

*CURRICULUM & INSTRUCTION, a course in unwrapping common core standards and incorporating then into existing curriculum via backward design (UbD). This includes creating purposeful and rigorous: objectives, learning activities, and assessments for independent students with 21st Century Skills.
July 2 – 11, 2013

Would you please advise me to whom I should contact in the district for posting of these courses?

Thank you for your time and effort regarding this request.

Kind Regards,
Kerry McNamee Ninneman, Instructor

Brochure information:

Kerry McNamee Ninneman, adjunct faculty with Cardinal Stritch University, is inviting you to join her 12th season of teaching & touring educators in Dublin, Ireland summer 2013.

Courses (3 graduate credits) are held in Dublin, Ireland. See what it’s like to be a student again on a field trip!

*LITERARY IRELAND, a themed course in Tolerance & Diversity with anti-bullying strategies June 28 – July 3

*CURRICULUM & INSTRUCTION, a course in unwrapping common core standards and incorporating then into existing curriculum via backward design (UbD). This includes creating purposeful and rigorous: objectives, learning activities, and assessments for independent students with 21st Century Skills. July 2 - 11.

*Friends and family are welcome to join you

3 Graduate Credits $600.00 or Audit no-credit option $405.00

Each class is designed to enhance and extend curricular endeavors in classrooms across the United States based on standards. These courses are structured to meet the needs of the professional assignment of each participant. Superintendents, nurses, guidance counselors, and teachers from early childhood-AP high school have participated bringing back practical applications for classroom, school, and community use. Class size is limited due to instructor selecting materials for each participant’s needs.

A typical day includes: direct group instruction/interaction, field trip 1, lunch, field trip 2, group meeting – debrief of field trips relating to course objectives. Later in the week, students present article summary pre-assigned, pairs analyze scenarios and activities, and hand in journals. Two days are available for students to select their field trips (options provided by instructor based on individual requests based on interest and professional assignments). Projects (always pertaining to professional assignment for use when they return to the states) are due within 10 days of course completion. *Friends & family may accompany you on all tours.

Please contact instructor to check for availability, travel arrangements, and university policies.
Kerry Ninneman, Instructor or
303-393-8688 MST (Denver, CO)
*Kerry will be in Dublin from 29 Oct – 21 Nov; please only email her during that time.

Friday, October 26, 2012

PdC Public Non-Violent Crisis Intervention Training plan

Training Timeline:
1. August 2012; initially trained 70 people, this training has an expiration/refresher date of August 2014. People that passed the training will be receiving their blue completion cards and certifying memo in the next district mailing.
2. Pre-service August 29 and 30, 2013; eight hour initial training for two sections; up to 80 more people.
3. Pre-service August 2014; eight hour initial training for remaining/new staff; up to 40 more people.
4. Pre-service August 2014; two sections of a four hour refresher training for people trained in 2012/2013; up to 80 people.

We have Jim Nelson from CESA 3 already scheduled for next August 29th and 30. Staff that were not trained this year should plan on being in the training for next year. This program complies with Wis. Act 125 addressing the use of seclusion and physical restraint in public schools that took effect on September 1, 2012.

DPI is EMPHATICALLY stating that they are formally requiring ALL districts to use the PTP for all transition plans

A stern release from Wendi Dawson at DPI

The following has been brought to my attention:

“I have had the request that DPI write a letter to building principals. Apparently there has been some denial that the PTP is required by the state and some principals have said that they will NOT use it in their buildings.”

DPI has sent out formal letters to ALL district administrators and directors of spec ed. A copy of these letters can be found here: and another district correspondence letter can be found here:

You are welcome to forward these letters onto whomever is not in belief that DPI is formally requiring ALL districts to use the PTP for all transition plans created for students age 14 and older or earlier if determined appropriate by the IEP team. We will be monitoring and following up with districts that are not set up and using the PTP by the end of November. The use of the PTP is replacing the Indicator 13 assessment previously required through the annual assessment in 11-12SY and the self-assessment cycle previous to that.

Temporary Street Closings

NOTICE from City of PdC Public Works

On Tuesday, October 30th at approximately 7:00 am Haydn Street from Marquette Road to Michigan Street and Illinois Street from Blackhawk Avenue to Park Street will be closed. The City of Prairie du Chien Public Works Dept. will be repairing a storm sewer at the intersection of Haydn and Illinois St. necessitating the road closure. Notice will be provided as soon as the road re-opens later in the day.

Please contact Terry Meyer at 608-306-0365 with questions concerning this project.

“Virtual students struggle to finish high school in four years, repeat grades five times as frequently and last year trailed their counterparts in every subject but reading on the annual Wisconsin Student Assessment System test.”

As we continue to gather information on whether or not we start a virtual charter school and what format that venture may take, the following is an interesting piece.

Below is a WASB article

DPI to Review Virtual Schools

The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) plans an in-depth review of Wisconsin’s virtual schools following an audit and an examination of virtual students’ proficiency shortcomings by the Gannett Wisconsin Media Investigative Team.

The investigative report concluded, “Virtual students struggle to finish high school in four years, repeat grades five times as frequently and last year trailed their counterparts in every subject but reading on the annual Wisconsin Student Assessment System test.” A February 2010 Legislative Audit Bureau report suggested DPI annually compare virtual and traditional students, an analysis that until now was never done, according to the investigative report. The DPI hopes to have the analysis completed by spring 2013.

According to the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune account, “The Gannett Wisconsin Media investigation also found DPI does not track student attendance or participation at virtual schools. Wisconsin’s online students are exempt from daily attendance laws, but neither statute nor the DPI established a standard in its place. Participation can be a key problem for virtual students, who are far less likely to take the ACT or participate in standardized tests like the WSAS, according to DPI data.”

The DPI study was prompted by the “increasing number of districts creating virtual charter schools and the ever-growing number of questions we are receiving regarding their operation,” according to DPI spokesman Patrick Gasper. “Our staff will be contacting a range of individuals involved with virtual charter schools that may include district administrators, virtual charter school principals, teachers, parents, charter school board members, and others as necessary,” Gasper said.

Wisconsin Rapids Tribune story
DPI Website Virtual Schools page

Wisconsin competing for Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge

Excerpt from a USDE release

Today the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that all five eligible states—Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon, and Wisconsin—have submitted applications for the second round of Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge. The Departments will award up to $133 million to fund investments in state-level, comprehensive early education reform.
Staff from both Departments will review the applications and make awards by no later than Dec. 31.

Wellness Appointments

The WPS wellness health meetings (followup discussion on the blood draw data) will be held during the week of October 29, 2012. Please note your appointment time as the meetings are on a tight schedule to get you in/out efficiently.

10/29 Bluff View
10/30 BAK and part High School
10/31 High School

Click here to check the schedule for exact time and room; note the tabs across the bottom to toggle to the different days.

Other notes:
1. These sessions are for your information. If you desire to ask questions or go over something from the blood draw analysis, print it off and make notes for yourself.
2. When this process is fully completed, WPS will send the qualified people a $50 check.
3. This is also one of the requirements to get the full HRA amount released for your use.
4. If you are absent on day one or day two of the meetings, or if you know you will be gone on day three, call Patti so we can attempt to schedule you on a different day.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Be observant of suspicious vehicles

A parent informed the Wauzeka-Steuben office staff this morning of the following incident. An official from the Wauzeka-Steuben School District called the Sheriff's Department and verified this report:

Yesterday evening, near old highway 60, at the end of the driveway where the child lives; three middle-aged men in a multi-colored car, approached an early elementary child. The vehicle is described as a green car, with yellow race like strips on top, red bottom, and brown doors which may have been spray painted. The men asked the child to help the men to look for some money. The men offered the child candy and money. Fortunately the child said no, ran away from the men and returned home safely.

This information is being shared with staff and parents to be observant of suspicious vehicles and report them immediately to the Sheriff's Department at 608-326-0241 or 911.

"College Career, and Civic Life (C3): Framework for State Standards in Social Studies." draft document to be released November 17

The following paragraph is an excerpt from the 'National Council for the Social Studies' website.

A consortium of 22 states in cooperation with 15 professional organizations as well as teachers, scholars, researchers, policy makers, and state department of education leadership have worked collaboratively over the last three years to produce "College Career, and Civic Life (C3): Framework for State Standards in Social Studies." This draft document will be released at the NCSS Annual Conference for public review on Saturday, November 17 at 2:30PM.

Click here to see full release

This is information was brought to my attention through School Leadership 2.0, click here to see that article

Monday, October 22, 2012

All Day 4K in the News. Congratulations to the whole 4K team!

The following is an online article and feature by Patrick Anderson that was in the Sunday LaCrosse Tribune

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN — Mikey Pettit’s favorite part of school is the fun and games.

The 4-year-old student at B.A. Kennedy Elementary School is already muscling through full days of classes, but his teachers are careful to mix activities — and nap time — with math and reading lessons.

Pettit is one of about 60 students in the school district’s full-day program for 4-year-olds.

“I like to play outside and in here,” Pettit said before washing down a Pop-Tart with chocolate milk.

School officials introduced daylong 4K classes three years ago. They say it helps prepare young students for later grades.

Five instructional staff members rotate through groups of 12 students. Days are split between direct instruction and learning-focused activities. Even “play time” is based on what students are learning in class.

“We’re doing lots of arts projects,” teacher Chelsie White said.

Each student receives more than two hours of lessons each day. It could be punching out numbers in Play-Doh or crafting a smiley face out of paper plates and pipe cleaners.

Four-year-old Olivia Schmidt glued red and yellow pieces of paper to a painting of a brown tree trunk.

While Schmidt was thrilled to create more artwork for her family, the activity also gave her a chance to think about the seasons.

“Do you know what kind of season I like?” Schmidt asked. “Winter, because I have a winter jacket.”

The pace at B.A. Kennedy’s 4K program is slower than kindergarten, but lessons are buried within each activity.

“We have a tremendous staff here that incorporate play-based learning,” Superintendent Drew Johnson said.

The district introduced the full-day option for younger students because many were starting kindergarten unprepared, Johnson said.

“Lots of kids (were) coming in at low reading levels,” Johnson said. “We felt there was a need in the community.”

Megan Copsey and other teachers in the program have specified learning goals for the students. Over the years, expectations for students in kindergarten and younger have increased, Copsey said.

“Basically, what you know as kindergarten is now 4K,” she said.

Skill levels for each student vary when the children start kindergarten, but the differences are clear for those who lag behind their peers, B.A. Kennedy Principal Laura Stuckey said.

“Some of them come in without a strong phonics background,” Stuckey said.

The 4K program has helped rectify the problem. By the time students reach kindergarten, they are used to the long school days. Students begin to behave better in class because they are already familiar with the school day, White said.

“They’re used to the routine,” she said. “They’re able to follow rules.”

Click here to view the on-line article

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Thank you to Design Homes for the donation of a Gazebo for the High School

The picture below is of the Design Homes team installing the Gazebo at the High School. This was a very generous donation to the school!

Congratulations to all Bluff View Students, Parents, and Staff for your great work to meet higher expectations


Regardless of the Grades They Earn, AP/IB Classes Help Students Persist in College

From U.S. Dept. of Ed.

The Center for Public Education has published a report connecting certain high school conditions with later success in college. The study cites three factors that most contribute to student post-secondary success: receiving strong academic advising, taking high levels of math, and taking AP and/or IB classes. Even when students fail the end-of-course test, taking an AP/IB course had a dramatic effect on students’ chances of completing college. According to the report, "Low achieving and low-income students who took an AP/IB course were 18 percent more likely to persist in four-year colleges and 30 percent more likely to persist in two-year colleges. The more courses a student took, the higher their persistence rates." Read the report.

Report cites need for more workers with college and graduate degrees, especially in STEM areas

Below is a release from the U.S. Dept. of Ed. Office of Vocational and Adult Education

The World at Work: Jobs, Pay and Skills for 3.5 Billion People

McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) recently released The world at work: Jobs, pay and skills for 3.5 billion people, a report analyzing dramatic shifts in global labor markets that have occurred over the last several decades, which have caused increasingly stark skill and wage gaps across the world. Last week’s issue of OVAE Connection described the changes in the global supply and demand for different types of workers, and the diverging fortunes of high-skill and low-skill workers in today’s advanced economies.

MGI estimates there will be 1.5 million too few workers with college or graduate degrees in the U.S. by 2020. Increasing the supply of high-skill workers that employers demand will require sustained efforts in two particular areas: sharply raising college completion rates (both among young people and adults who need additional training to be competitive for medium- and high-skill jobs) and increasing the participation of high-skill workers in the labor force. Increasing employment opportunities for the remaining low- and medium-skill workers who are not able to complete a college degree or postsecondary training program will also help relieve the workforce deficit.

MGI argues that the traditional models of education and workforce development will need to be transformed around the world in order to address the increasing skill gaps. Innovation in the delivery of education and training services is needed to raise the productivity of the education sector and maximize scarce resources. MGI’s global agenda to upgrade the skill level of the labor force over the next two decades involves three key strategies:
  1. Align education with employment demand, focusing on key STEM fields that face growing worker shortages;
  2. Focus on creating a comprehensive system of job-relevant career and technical education with smooth school-to-work pathways; and
  3. Utilize online learning and interactive technologies to reach millions of students at low cost, transforming the traditional role of the classroom as well as the educational experience of students. 

MGI also calls for those in the private sector to be involved in this effort to ensure they have access to the talent they will need to compete and succeed globally. Strategies for business involvement include: taking an active role in public education and training systems, such as creating STEM initiatives to provide internships and learning opportunities for students; participating directly in the provision of educational services, particularly in segments not well covered by the public education system; investing continually in improving the knowledge and skills of the private-sector workforce; offering flexible work and compensation structures for older workers to retain their skills and institutional knowledge; and shaping corporate social responsibility initiatives around employment priorities, such as reducing youth unemployment and reintegrating long-term unemployed adults into the labor force.

As the economy continues to evolve and the demand for particular kinds of labor shifts, a comprehensive and coordinated effort will be needed to mitigate the impact of rising skill gaps that will likely create large imbalances and have huge social and economic costs. To keep such possibilities from becoming realities, policymakers, educators, business leaders, and workers themselves must find ways to bring education, training, and job creation into the 21st century.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

WASB reports that about 2/3 of schools lost state aid this year

PdC Public Schools are down considerably in state aid as are many school districts across the state. Click here to see the actual PdC figures

WASB release:

DPI Certifies State Equalization Aid for Public School Districts;
Nearly 2 in 3 Districts to Experience Drop in Aid

Aid figures certified by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) on October 15 indicate that 272 of the state’s 424 public school districts (64 percent) will receive less school aid in 2012-13 than they did in the previous year.

According to the DPI, although general school aid increased by $31.7 million from last school year, the actual amount of general aid that public school districts will receive is less than the amount appropriated due to statutory reductions for private voucher schools and independent charter schools supported by state tax dollars.

Specifically, notes the DPI, there are aid reductions from all 424 school districts to fund the 20 independent charter schools in Milwaukee and one independent charter school in Racine ($59.8 million from all 424 school districts). In addition, there are aid reductions for the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program ($59.4 million from Milwaukee Public Schools only) and the Racine Parental Private School Choice Program ($1.236 million from the Racine Unified School District only). Total estimated taxpayer costs for the private school choice programs in Milwaukee and Racine are $157.8 million.View DPI press release 

State has a positive fund balance of more than $342 million

A release from the Governor's office, see the text below, outlines that the State of Wisconsin continues to have a positive fund balance. That is important to us as that could lead to a better chance of getting an increase in state aid, versus the drops that we have been enduring over the last few years.


Building Our Rainy Day Fund

Recently, the Department of Administration released the 2012 Annual Fiscal Report, which shows we finished the fiscal year 2012 with a positive fund balance of more than $342 million. Because of this, we contributed $108.7 million to the state rainy day fund, the largest deposit in state history. It’s also the first time the state has added to the fund in two back-to-back years. This is critical, because as we’ve seen, the economy can change rapidly.

As we continue our work on the next budget, we remain committed to making the tough decisions necessary to avoid tax increases while maintaining services. Moving forward, our priorities are creating jobs, developing our workforce, investing in infrastructure, reforming government, and transforming education.

Because of our actions to control spending and hold the line on taxes while keeping government services intact, the next generation will not be buried under a mountain of economically crippling debt.

When I took office, we were facing a $3.6 billion deficit. Now, we’re making a record contribution to the rainy day fund. Anyone who writes a budget at home knows that you have to make tough decisions to stop overspending and start saving.

We’ve done that, because our decisions help foster sustained private sector economic growth and job creation, instead of double-digit tax increases, massive private sector job losses, and huge budget deficits we’ve seen in the past, so we can continue to have balanced budgets for many years to come.

The decisions we make will always be made with you, the people of Wisconsin, in mind. We are committed to running an effective and efficient government.

Friday, October 19, 2012

PdC Public High School Cheer Squad Places

Below is a picture of the cheerleaders following their competition last weekend. They earned two 2nd place ranking ribbons and one 3rd. The comment from Coach Kelli Saxe was that "We all had a blast! It was a lot of fun, and is an event I definitely plan to take the girls to again in the future!"

Thursday, October 18, 2012

National Farm to School Month

Release from Wisconsin Dept. of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection:

MADISON – Seven AmeriCorps Farm to School sites across Wisconsin work throughout the year to increase local foods in school and educate students about healthy choices. In October, this work is in the spotlight during National Farm to School Month.

“October brings a bountiful harvest in Wisconsin, and it is the perfect time to celebrate the contributions of farmers and educators through National Farm to School Month,” said Camilla Vargas, the AmeriCorps Farm to School Program Manager at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). “AmeriCorps Farm to School bridges the gap and connects students to where their food comes from.”

AmeriCorps Farm to School in Wisconsin has 15 members working with over 10,000 students to decrease childhood obesity by promoting healthy eating habits in students and increasing access to local foods in schools. The AmeriCorps members focus on community outreach, identifying and addressing hurdles for local food procurement, and nutrition education, developing and implementing curriculum and wellness plans to teach students. One of the new AmeriCorps Farm to School sites this year is Live54218 in Brown County. Live54218 is working for a healthy community through the promotion of eating 5 fruits and vegetables, drinking 4 bottles of water, having less than 2 hours of screen time, participating in at least 1 hour of physical activity and sleeping 8 hours a night.

"As a community obesity prevention group, we are excited to be partnering with three local school districts to pursue the development of a comprehensive Farm to School Program,” said Jennifer Van Den Elzen, the Live54218 Director. “Although we are just at the beginning of our efforts already we have formed a Farm to School task force and begun mapping out existing efforts as well as reaching out to local farmers.”

Other sites in Wisconsin include: Growing Power, REAP Food Group, University of Wisconsin-Extension Crawford County, Viroqua School District, Spooner School District and a partnership between the Ashland, Washburn and Bayfield School Districts. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack toured the Catholic Multicultural Center on October 1, which does work with the REAP Food Group AmeriCorps Farm to School site.

Last year, participating students were given pre and post assessments. Of those surveyed, 79% of students increased their knowledge of local foods and 56% of students had a shift in attitude toward healthy eating. The Wisconsin AmeriCorps Farm to School sites continue to work to develop their programs to increase their impact.

“Future plans include piloting a school gardening component as well as nutrition education efforts during and after the school day to support consumption of the new fruits and vegetables students will be seeing on their lunch trays,” added Van Den Elzen of Live54218.

The Wisconsin AmeriCorps Farm to School Program began in 2008.October was officially designated as National Farm to School Month in 2010 when Congress approved House Resolution 1655. Learn

For information about Wisconsin’s AmeriCorps Farm to School, contact Camilla Vargas at 608-224-2017 or

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Community meeting on School Report Cards


WHEN: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
TIME: 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: High School Theater

In late October, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) will issue a School Report Card for every public school in Wisconsin.

Please attend this session to learn more about the School Report Cards.

The following topics will be covered in a presentation with time at the end to answer any questions or discuss items on this topic.


a) The School Report Cards are just one part of a new, statewide accountability system for schools.

b) This system, and the report cards, will continue to evolve in future years.

c) Each school will earn a “score,” called an accountability index score, from 0 to 100 to be displayed on the report card.

d) The accountability index score that the school receives is based on the school’s performance in four priority areas:

1. Student Achievement in reading and mathematics on state tests

2. Student Growth measured by year-to-year improvements in achievement

3. Closing Gaps in performance between specific student groups comparing English language learners, low-income students, students with disabilities, and members of racial or ethnic group with their peers

4. On-track/Postsecondary Readiness, including graduation or attendance rates, reading and math achievement, and ACT participation and performance.

e) The School Report Card displays the school’s performance on three areas of student engagement:

1. Test Participation Rate in reading and mathematics state tests

2. Absenteeism Rate measuring chronic absenteeism

3. Dropout rate measuring the number of students dropping out of school

f) School Report Card is designed to:

i) Help parents understand how their child’s school is doing and where it can improve.

ii) Help all Wisconsin public schools get a better picture of how well they help children learn, advance to the next grade, and graduate ready for college and career.

iii) Inform decision making to help every student in a Wisconsin school succeed, graduate and be ready to pursue further education and a career.

School Report Cards overview of data and explanation

a) BA Kennedy Elementary

b) Bluff View Elementary

c) Bluff View Middle

d) Bluff View Junior High

e) PdC High School

There is a lot of debate on rating schools, what data to use, and how it will be used.

a) How PdC Public Schools plan to use this data and scoring system

b) School Academic Achievement Goals

(1) Short Term

(2) Long Term

Discussion and question/answer time


1. This meeting is open to anyone to attend.

2. School Board Members are invited, but this is only 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 outdated by the meeting time as the SRC information has not been publicly posted; the state’s schedule has been pushed back to 10/22/2012. All new information will be shared at this meeting.

School Board members may attend but no action will be taken.

9 tips for a Healthy partnership with your doctor from Mayo Clinic Health System

From: Carissa Wiersma | Freelance Communication Specialist | Marketing Communications | Mayo Clinic Health System- Franciscan Healthcare | 

Why is it important to have an ongoing relationship with your doctor? You and your healthcare provider should work together to not only treat illnesses when they occur, but to keep you well in the first place. Here are 9 tips for establishing an ongoing relationship with your primary care provider:

1. Consult your provider promptly when problems arise and continue follow-up until problems are resolved.

2. Give your complete health history. Be honest and specific about your symptoms.

3. Give your provider a complete list of all the medications you are taking, including over-the-counter and herbal remedies.

4. Take all medications as prescribed, even if you feel better before the medication is gone.

5. Take a written list of questions to your appointment.

6. Ask questions when you don’t understand. Your provider won’t know to clarify information if you don’t ask.

7. Follow your provider’s advice on changes in your daily routine, such as nutrition and exercise.

8. Commit to a regular schedule of check-ups and tests as appropriate for someone your age, sex and medical history (exams, mammograms, cholesterol tests, etc.)

9. Keep your communication open with your healthcare provider.

If a medication or treatment isn’t working, share your concerns with your provider. Your provider won’t know your problems unless you stay in contact.

State Aid to PdC Public Schools down again

The State Aid figures for the 2012-2013 school year have arrived. For the third year in a row the PdC Public School system is enduring significant reductions in state aid. To put this in an overall perspective, we are down $1,642,967 from what we received in 2009-2010. 

Year        State Aid        Change

2009-10  $8,946,331

2010-11  $8,475,858    down 470,473

2011-12  $7,629,888    down 845,970

2012-13  $7,303,364    down 326,524 

Even with these figures, we are stable.  

We have done all we can to anticipate and get ready for this. A big item is that we have paid off our OPEB so that is not a future drain on operations. Our cash and balance sheet have been built up to strong positions. 

We need to remain positive and have hope that our economy starts to grow. There are strong indications that the revenue to the state is starting to grow, so we can hope that 12-13 is the bottom and we can start to build from there.

Congressman Kind on new School Lunch Standards

Below is the note from the Congressman:

Congressman Ron Kind Wisconsin's Third Congressional District

Dear Friend,

I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to send you a quick update on the school lunch requirements that were included in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.

Studies show nutrition directly relates to academic achievement. That is why I supported the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 which was signed into law on December 13, 2010. The 2012-2013 school year is the first year that the new school lunch standards have been implemented. The standards seek to ensure students are offered both fruits and vegetables every day of the week, as well as low-fat milk options, and more whole grain foods. There is also a greater focus on reducing the amounts of saturated fat, trans fats and sodium to help our kids get the fuel they need to feed a healthy mind and body.

I understand there are concerns with the new standards and what they mean for individual school districts and students. I have heard from students, parents, and food service professionals about the difficulties of providing enough food for active and growing children. I know we can work together to make sure that our children are being fed adequately while also ensuring they are healthy and active.

Please do not hesitate to be in touch with comments or questions. I also encourage you to visit my website, where you can find updated information, sign up to receive my electronic newsletter, and send me e-mail.


SWTC Open House

The following note (bold and underline added by me) is from Duane M. Ford, Ph.D.; President, Southwest Wisconsin Technical College

Read more on his blog at: 

Dear Southwest Wisconsin Superintendents:

This information has been out all over the place and I am sure your counselors and students are well aware of the opportunity, but I just wanted to let you all know that Southwest Tech's Open House is this Wednesday night, October 17. We waive our $30 application free for anyone who applies for admission during Open House. There will be information about all our programs and various prizes given out. It should be fun and informative.

Note Southwest Tech's new mascot in the attached announcement. We only have one athletic team, golf, but we have been the "Southwest Tech Chargers" forever. We have just not always used the Charger imagery, but for the fun of it and as a unique identifier of the College, we have brought it back!!

I hope your year is off and running well.
Best regards,

Monday, October 15, 2012

Two DPI releases concerning Nutritional Services:

School Lunch Developments Highlighted This Week

National School Lunch Week (October 15-19) offers a chance to take stock of many new lunch developments.

“Between new meal patterns, chef-inspired recipes, and freshly prepared meals, there have been lots of great developments in school lunch [this year],” the School Nutrition Association observes. All these innovations apply to Wisconsin, and then some.

New school meal patterns from the federal government are adding more fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods to menus around the state and country. The DPI has received much positive feedback on this change. While the new calorie, meat, and grain limits will require more adjustment for some students, they will also go a long way toward helping them learn to eat healthfully and to avoid obesity throughout their youth and adult lives.

In Wisconsin, this year’s innovations also include school garden grants (applications coming soon); a student chef competition (this spring) to create tasty, healthy recipes; and the first print edition (available soon) of the Nutritious, Delicious, Wisconsin curriculum.

Additionally, a DPI School Wellness Summit on November 7 will focus on “Transforming the Food and Fitness Environment.”

State Superintendent Tony Evers has recognized, in his School Lunch Week proclamation, the “resourceful and creative local food service administrators, managers, and staff working in cooperation with parents, teachers, community groups, government personnel, and students.”

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

From apples to zucchini with plenty of variety in between, approximately 60,000 students in 178 Wisconsin schools will offer more fresh fruits and vegetables during the school day thanks to a federal grant program.

The USDA’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program is designed to help children from low-income families eat more fruits and vegetables. The free and reduced-price meal eligibility is more than 56 percent in participating schools.

The grant provides $50 per student for schools to offer three or more snacks per week outside of federal breakfast and lunch programs. Last school year, participating schools in Wisconsin averaged 100 snack days during the school year. Special activities included a farmer’s market, build your own salad day, Wisconsin apple taste test, and health and wellness fairs. In previous years, participating schools have also incorporated nutrition education into the school day.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pre High School Activities

Over the past years there have been various plans for sports/activities for PK through grade 8 youth. The School District and the City have worked together to offer programs through shared services.

For this year the plan is that PdC Public School District will concentrate resources on Grades 5 to 8 under the District Fund 80 umbrella.

The PdC City Recreation Department will concentrate on younger kids programming and "will try to incorporate all of the funding all these programs within the city’s budget so Fund 80 will not be needed".

Both the School and the City Recreation Department remain committed to working together to have the highest possible quality of programming available for kids.

Governor has released budget priorities

The following two notes are fully re-posted from the E-update From the Desk of Governor Scott Walker

2013-15 State Budget Update

The State of Wisconsin operates on biennial state budgets with each fiscal year running from July 1st to June 30th. We are currently operating under “Fiscal Year 2013” (FY2013) and will be until June 30, 2013.

I recently received budget requests from each state agency, which outline the money each agency would like to spend in the future. Over the next few months, I will be carefully reviewing each of these agency budget requests. These requests are just the first step in the budget process—I will eventually propose a complete budget early next year for consideration by the Legislature.

The 2011-13 budget I signed into law last year made long-term reforms balancing a $3.6 billion budget deficit without raising taxes, without massive public employee layoffs, and without government service reductions. Wisconsin has a projected budget surplus in FY2013. If the FY2013 projections are correct, we will deposit money into the state’s rainy day fund in two consecutive years for the first time in our state’s history. Unlike other states, instead of burying the next generation under a mountain of economically crippling debt, we are making responsible decisions—leaving our children and grandchildren with funding reserves for future hard economic times.

The next state budget I plan to introduce early next year will focus on five main priorities:

1. Creating Jobs
2. Transforming Education
3. Developing Our Workforce
4. Investing in Infrastructure
5. Reforming Government

As I work on the next state budget, I am excited about Wisconsin’s future and the opportunities we have to grow private sector jobs in our great state.

Lowering the Flag

Private First Class Arthur W. Hopfensperger was killed in action on November 28, 1950, at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War. U.S. forces were involved in heavy combat and were unable to retrieve Private First Class Hopfensperger’s remains. Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command was finally able to recover his remains during a 2002-2005 excavation.

Second Lieutenant James A. Des Jardins was killed in action on November 25, 1944, after his plane was shot down in World War II during a bombing and strafing run of a railroad station in southwestern Germany. Second Lieutenant Des Jardins’ plane was not recovered until June 2011, when it was discovered by German officials dredging a field. Both of these soldiers were identified using DNA samples provided by their families, and in September 2012, were officially accounted for by the United States military.

One way we honor military members who have given the ultimate sacrifice is by lowering the United States and Wisconsin State flags to half-staff. Federal and state laws require the flags to be lowered on specific occasions. Beyond these specific occasions, the United States Flag Code gives the President and governors the authority to lower the flag in certain situations, like when a Wisconsin soldier gives his or her life fighting for democracy and freedom abroad. Traditionally, the flag is lowered on the day of a fallen soldier’s funeral. This past week, I ordered the flag at half-staff as a mark of respect for Private First Class Arthur W. Hopfensperger and Second Lieutenant James A. Des Jardins.

Study suggests that learning a second language makes the brain grow and keeps the brain sharp longer!

This is an excerpt from Language Learning Makes the Brain Grow, Swedish Study Suggests in Science Daily (Oct. 8, 2012)

As a control group, the researchers used medicine and cognitive science students at Umeå University -- students who also study hard, but not languages. Both groups were given MRI scans before and after a three-month period of intensive study. While the brain structure of the control group remained unchanged, specific parts of the brain of the language students grew. The parts that developed in size were the hippocampus, a deep-lying brain structure that is involved in learning new material and spatial navigation, and three areas in the cerebral cortex.

"We were surprised that different parts of the brain developed to different degrees depending on how well the students performed and how much effort they had had to put in to keep up with the course," says Johan Mårtensson, a researcher in psychology at Lund University, Sweden.

Students with greater growth in the hippocampus and areas of the cerebral cortex related to language learning (superior temporal gyrus) had better language skills than the other students. In students who had to put more effort into their learning, greater growth was seen in an area of the motor region of the cerebral cortex (middle frontal gyrus). The areas of the brain in which the changes take place are thus linked to how easy one finds it to learn a language and development varies according to performance.

Previous research from other groups has indicated that Alzheimer's disease has a later onset in bilingual or multilingual groups.

"Even if we cannot compare three months of intensive language study with a lifetime of being bilingual, there is a lot to suggest that learning languages is a good way to keep the brain in shape," says Johan Mårtensson.

Click here to go directly to article

State Support for Public K-12 Education Detailed

The following is a total re-posting of a WASB release including the WASB Editor's note:

The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau has released its annual memo detailing estimated state support for public K-12 education in 2011-12. The state share in the 2011-12 is estimated to be 61.73 percent of partial school revenues.

The memo shows that state funding for K-12 education (including funding for vouchers and independent charters) dropped by $432.1 million from 2010-11 to 2011-12. It also shows that 80 percent of all districts received state support of between 30.02 percent and 74.57 percent, calculated using the partial school revenues measure, with the median (half above, half below) being 59.89 percent and the average at 59.22 percent. The Beloit School District received the next highest percentage of state support at 86.30 percent, while the Geneva J4 School District receives the lowest percentage of state support at 18.19 percent.

State funding totaled $5,802.1 million, while partial school revenues totaled $9,398,7 million. State funding breaks down as follows:
General School Aids: $4,285 million
Categorical Aids: $608.5 million
School Levy/First Dollar Credits: $897.4 million
State Residential Schools: $11.2 million

Editor’s Note: Partial school revenues was first used to measure of state support when the state statutorily committed to fund two-thirds (66.7 percent) of certain K-12 costs, a commitment that ended with the 2002-03 school year. The measure includes state dollars provided as state property tax credits, which reduce individual property taxpayers’ bills but are not available to be budgeted by school districts.

The statutory commitment to fund two-thirds of certain K-12 costs lasted from 1996-97 to 2002-03. State support under this commitment was defined by statute. The statutes defined both the numerator (both general and categorical state aids and state property tax credits) and denominator (general and categorical state aids and gross property tax levies) of the two-thirds state funding calculation. The state’s funding commitment was calculated on a statewide basis. Thus, an individual district’s level of state support could be higher or lower than two-thirds depending on the district's per member shared costs and equalized value, as well as the amount of funding the district received through categorical aids and the levy credit.

New Report Says U.S. Doesn't Match Rhetoric On Education With Action

A complete re-posting of a WASB article:

According to a new joint report by the organizations Save the Children and First Focus, the United States seriously lags in keeping our youngest citizens healthy and ensuring they are ready to learn despite a prioritization of children in the national agenda.

In "America's Report Card 2012: Children in the U.S.," the nation earned an average C- overall with lackluster grades in five separate categories: Economic security, early childhood, K-12 education, permanence and stability, and health and safety. Those factors all play heavily into outcomes in student learning, dropout prevention, and discipline.

The report card largely tracks with similar recent studies by the Brookings Institution, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Children's Defense Fund, and the Foundation for Child Development, though those evaluations don't use grading systems.

Read Education Week blog coverage
View Huffington Post coverage

State Information Dashboard launch

The following is excerpted from a release from Michael J. Thompson, PhD; Deputy State Superintendent Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

DPI, in partnership with the CESA Statewide Network (CSN), is excited to begin the statewide rollout of the Wisconsin Information System for Education Dashboard (WISEdash)!

The roll out is proceeding incrementally with the goal of maximizing the chances of a successful implementation. We are rolling out one or two CESA regions each week for the next two months.

Week of:
September 10 – CESA 1
September 17 – CESA 2
September 24 – CESAs 3 and 4
October 1 – CESA 5
October 8 – CESA 6
October 15 – CESAs 7 and 8
October 22 – CESA 9
October 29 – CESA 11
November 5 – CESAs 10 and 12

To facilitate a success statewide launch, CESAs are identifying districts with a history of and demonstrated capacity for leveraging data in their decision making processes. Focusing on an initial cohort of districts allows us to create a user community that can help each other as new districts come on line over the course of the school year.

Two attachments are included for your reference, one which is an overview of WISEdash and the other about how to gain access to WISEdash. In addition, here are some frequently asked questions and links to more resources. Please share this information with appropriate staff in your district.

Where do I go for basic information about WISEdash? WISEdash Homepage:

Wisconsin Intensive Interventions Selection Tool

The Wisconsin RtI Center and the DPI have put together a filterable tool to help schools find the right interventions. Find it and a guidance document on selecting the right interventions on our website.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

SRTNC Video Field Trips and Enrichment Programs

Here is an updated list of Video Field Trips and Enrichment Programs available to your students on SRTNC.

Most of these programs are free of charge on a first come, first serve basis, unless otherwise noted. If you have any questions, please contact Clark Jillson at

Smarter Balanced Sample Items and Performance Tasks

The following is excerted from

Smarter Balanced sample items illustrate the rigor and complexity of the English language arts/literacy and mathematics items and performance tasks students will encounter on the Consortium’s next-generation assessments. ... While the items and tasks are not intended to be used as sample tests, educators can use them to begin planning the shifts in instruction that will be required to help students meet the demands of the new assessments.... The sample items and tasks can be viewed by grade band (grades 3-5, 6-8, and high school) or content focus. They showcase the variety of item types—including technology-enhanced items and performance tasks—that will be included in the Smarter Balanced assessment system. In addition, items illustrating the connections across grades within the CCSS—as well as the range of student achievement within a computer adaptive test—are also available. Most constructed-response and technology-enhanced items can be scored automatically, and many items include downloadable scoring rubrics.

Click here to access ELA sample questions

Click here to access Math sample questions

Crawford County School Districts to Host Candidate Forum on K-12 Issues

Special Alert
October 11, 2012

The WASB has been asked by members of the Prairie du Chien and Seneca school boards to make you aware of this important event. We encourage school leaders to attend.

SEPTEMBER 19, 2012

The Crawford County school districts of Prairie du Chien and Seneca will host a state candidate forum on Monday, October 15, 2012, in the Little Theater of Prairie du Chien High School, 800 E. Crawford Street, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Local state legislative candidates for 32nd State Senate District (Jennifer Shilling/ D (incumbent) and challenger Bill Feehan/R) and 96th State Assembly District (Lee Nerison/R (incumbent) and challenger Tom Johnson/D) have been invited and agreed to attend. The candidates will respond to a series of six questions on topics involving public education in timed intervals. They will also be allowed an opening and closing statement. The public is asked to observe only during the presentation.

There will be the opportunity to meet the candidates for one hour, from 8:00-9:00 p.m., following the presentation. The candidates and public are welcome to join the Prairie du Chien High School Political Science Club in the commons for a Meet and Greet which will include complimentary refreshments.

Norb Aschom, WQPC, will be the forum’s moderator. All school districts in Crawford County and their residents are welcome to attend. Southwest Technical College has also participated in constructing questions. The election is Tuesday, November 6, 2012.

Christine Panka, Prairie du Chien School Board, 608.326.1070
Christine Reynolds, Seneca School Board, 608.734.3126

Enrollment in Postsecondary Institutions, Fall 2011; Financial Statistics, Fiscal Year 2011; and Graduation Rates, Selected Cohorts, 2003-2008 : First Look (Preliminary Data)

At the Board meeting there was a question/discussion on post-secondary tracking of students. I mentioned that there was a data base in the making on this subject. Well I just received the information that the preliminary data by college has been released. I do not believe this is disaggregated to high school, but we have been told that is coming in the future.

Click here to go to report

Board meeting presentation

The presentation below is from the School Board meeting on Monday night.

Highlights are:
1. PdC Public School finances are solid.
 2. Congratulations to Bluff View staff, students, and parents on achievement award


Monday, October 8, 2012

Grants available for charitable projects and programs that will have a positive impact on economic development efforts in Crawford County

An E-Blast from Robert Moses, Executive Director of the Prairie du Chien Area Chamber of Commerce: 

The Crawford County Community Fund is accepting grant applications for charitable projects and programs that will have a positive impact on economic development efforts in Crawford County. Individuals and for-profit businesses are NOT eligible to receive funding directly, but may be involved in a community based initiative. 

Application Deadline: October 19th. APPLICATIONS MUST BE RECEIVED IN THE OFFICE BY 4:00 P.M. ON THE DATE DUE. emails and faxes will not be accepted. To download the CCCF Grant Application visit refer to Quick Links & Open Grant Applications.

Band doing the Cupid Shuffle!

Mr. Matt Lenz forwarded a video of how 21 of his members of the High School Band spent their day on Saturday, joining in on some tunes. He said that they had a blast. Enjoy.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Webinar available on BYOD, Digital textbooks, Streaming classrooms, Information governance, Digital content

Another Education Week webinar is available for a few weeks: 

Technology enables students to learn anywhere and at anytime. With such changes and benefits come additional risks and challenges. To effectively secure and manage the un-tethered classroom and enable e-learning, districts must address several key areas:
  • BYOD
  • Digital textbooks
  • Streaming classrooms
  • Information governance
  • Digital content
In this webinar Richard Culatta will share his unique thoughts and ideas around today’s learning process along with the Department of Education’s insight into various educational areas. D. Patches Hill will speak to the many challenges his school district is facing and best practices in solutions they have been successful in deploying. And Mike Maxwell will show how schools can cost effectively and efficiently secure and manage the un-tethered classroom—protecting and managing all of a school’s information regardless of device, location, or user.


Richard Culatta, deputy director, Office of Educational Technology, U.S. Department of Education

D. Patches Hill, technology systems manager, Indian River school district, Del.

Mike Maxwell, national director, U.S. State and Local Government & Education, Symantec Corporation


Sean Herdman, associate publisher, Education Week

To browse all the Education Week webinars which are archived and accessible (click here to go to site) for up to six months after the original live-streaming date.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Thanks to PdC Police for Homecoming week work

People in the community may not realize how much extra time and effort is put in by law enforcement during Homecoming week. This is extends from the parade route supervision to late night rounds to cut down on shenanigans across the area.

In the City of PdC, we are very thankful and pleased with what Chief Abram and the other police officers do everyday to keep the town as safe as possible and we are especially thankful for the extra Homecoming week patrolling and enforcement.

Friday, October 5, 2012

U.S. Department of State Youth Exchange Scholarships for U.S. High School Students

From: Gerhard Fischer, Ph.D. International and World Languages Education Consultant Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Subject: Dept of State Scholarships for High School Study Abroad - applications now being accepted!

The U.S. Department of State announces scholarships for American high school students to study abroad:

The National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) offers merit-based scholarships to U. S. high-school aged students for overseas study of seven critical foreign languages: Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Hindi, Korean, Persian (Tajik), Russian and Turkish. The NSLI-Y program is designed to immerse participants in the cultural life of the host country, giving them invaluable formal and informal language practice and sparking a lifetime interest in foreign languages and cultures. Applications for summer 2013 and academic year 2013-2014 programs are due November 1, 2012. Visit for more information.

The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Abroad Program offers scholarships to American high school students to spend the 2013-14 academic year in countries that may include Bosnia & Herzegovina, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mali (semester), Morocco, Oman, South Africa, Thailand, Tunisia, and Turkey. This post 9/11 program focuses on increasing understanding between people in the U.S. and countries with significant Muslim populations. The application deadline is January 16, 2013. Visit the YES Program’s website for more information.

The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program (CBYX) was established in 1983 to celebrate German-American friendship based on common values of democracy. Secondary school students live with host families, attend local schools, and participate in community life in Germany. Young professionals (undergraduates) and high school graduates of vocational studies ages 18-24 study and participate in practical training. Scholarships are now available for academic year 2013-14; application deadlines vary by U.S. region and range from September 2012 to January 2013. For more information and application deadlines, visit the organization in charge of recruitment for your state at

The American Youth Leadership Program offers opportunities for American high students and educators to travel abroad on a three- to four-week-long exchange program to gain first-hand knowledge of foreign cultures and to collaborate on solving global issues. Several different organizations implement this program, and each has organized an academic and experiential educational exchange focused on dialogue and debate, leadership development, and community service. Recruitment areas and application deadlines vary, so please check the American Youth Leadership Program website for more information.

Mayo Clinic Health System’s 4 Daily Tips for Managing Stress

1. Play. Engage in one activity that brings you joy daily. Know that when you go to bed at night, no matter how your day was, you will have done at least one thing for yourself that you truly enjoyed.

2. Relate. Spend time with positive people. Seek out those who energize you while you spend less time with those who drain your energy. Make sure that you energize others!

3. Declutter. Take 10 minutes a day to declutter. Whether it is your desk, your car, your kitchen counter or a closet or drawer, just take a few minutes each day to declutter.

4. Feel. Express your feelings. Anger can be very destructive to your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. Speak from your heart and not your head. Speak your truth and if you are unable to, stack three pillows on your bed and beat them with your fists (you may want to include screaming). You will feel better and perhaps then understand what the real problem is.

from: Carissa Wiersma | Freelance Communication Specialist | Marketing Communications |Mayo Clinic Health System- Franciscan Healthcare |

AP Physics and U.S. History updates

excerpted from Revised AP Physics, U.S. History Coming Soon
By Erik Robelen on October 4, 2012 12:13 PM

The College Board today announced the release of redesigned AP programs for U.S. history and physics, with a focus on reducing the amount of content coverage required to allow more time for studying key concepts in greater depth. Schools will offer the revised courses starting in fall 2014.

As one signal of the shift, new exams for both subjects will feature fewer multiple-choice questions and increase opportunities for students to apply their skills and knowledge. In U.S. history, for instance, the number of multiple-choice questions will be chopped down from 80 to 36, the College Board said in a press release.

For physics, the changes also involve replacing the "Physics B" course with two separate, yearlong courses titled AP Physics 1 and 2.

... the curriculum framework for the revised U.S. History program is now available (all 102 pages), as well as a similar framework for physics.

..."The redesigned AP history and science courses eliminate the pressure on teachers and students to rush through course topics," said Trevor Packer, who leads the College Board's Advanced Placement Program, in the press release. "The great achievement of this redesign is a strong agreement among colleges and universities regarding the knowledge and skills students need to cultivate in order to qualify for credit and placement."

... the extra time in teaching U.S. history will enable teachers and students to focus on the close reading and analysis of primary and secondary source material, and the development of skills practices by historians, such as argumentation. In the physics course, the College Board suggests more time will be dedicated to the hands-on practice of the scientific method, with students designing and conducting experiments and collecting data to test hypotheses.

Both AP Physics 1 and 2 are equivalent to one-semester college courses in "algebra-based physics," the College Board explains, but are designed to be taught over a full academic year.

Topics covered in Physics 1 include Newtonian mechanics; work, energy, and power; and mechanical waves and sounds. Physics 2 covers fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism, optics, and atomic and nuclear physics.

The revised physics program was guided by recommendations from the National Research Council and the National Science Foundation, as well as collaboration with "master AP teachers and eminent educators from colleges and universities."

The College Board has been rolling out a series of revised science programs, with a new AP biology program taking effect this fall and new AP chemistry coming next year.

As for U.S. history, the key objectives of the changes include:

• Alignment with evolving U.S. history curriculum at the nation's top colleges and universities;

• Providing teachers and students flexibility to focus on specific historical topics, events, and issues in greater depth; and

• Increasing student practice of historical thinking skills as central to understanding history.

Alignment votes by conferences are in ...

This is an e-mail, below, that outlines the difficulty of realigning conference affiliations. As we reported Wednesday night at the community meeting, this process would not be easy; read the conference responses below.

As I stated at the meeting, WIAA (namely Deb H.) is working hard to accomplish something - but, the following note denotes how hard this job is. You will not hear me bashing WIAA as this is not simple; it is very difficult.

Again, as I also strongly noted at the meeting, what we within the PdC community may want is not necessarily in alignment with what all other schools may want. See the Coulee response!


Good Afternoon:

Below are the responses I received to the realignment plans that I presented to the group earlier this week.

I would suggest that the next step be a meeting of athletic directors at the upcoming WADA Convention in Wisconsin Dells. There appears to be some “open time” after the Opening Session on Sunday. Let’s shoot to meet right after the opening session ... in that same room if we are able. I will keep it brief and ask for schools to share their concerns/ideas on what plan might be the best --- as you can see there is no agreement yet.

Please feel free to share this email with your administrators.

Deb Hauser

The MVC would prefer option #1. (8 team MVC and 2 groups of 6)

We have decided as a conference that our top choice is option 3 (option 5 in presentation). We feel this gives the most flexibility to the 6 team conferences to the north and would offer us the scheduling assistance we are seeking. (SWC = 8; Others in Group of 12)

Our conference had a joint meeting Wednesday of all schools where the conference realignment discussions held earlier in the day were presented. After presentation of all 5 proposals and long discussions, here are the priorities of the Coulee Conference.

1. Motion by Luther, seconded by Westby to recommend option # 4 (PDC joining MVC and no change to Coulee). Motion passed unanimously.

2. Motion by Westby, seconded by West Salem to have the 3 conference commissioners meet to create a football only solution to be implemented no earlier than 2014. Motion passed unanimously.

Consensus of the group was that the other options were not in the best interest of the members of the conference schools.


Release from Todd C. Clark, Director of Communications of Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association

STEVENS POINT, Wis. – The Board of Control reviewed and ratified the 2012-13 budget and a number of coaches’ recommendations that impact spring sports at its October meeting today.

Two changes were made to the track and field season regulations. Beginning in 2013, the meet Jury of Appeals will have the authority to review appeals concerning the decision to re-run a race and determine who is eligible and when the re-run will occur. The other track and field recommendation receiving approval addresses ties in individual races 800 meters or longer and in the 3,200-meter relay. Any ties in the final qualifying positions for sectionals and State in these events will remain a tie in accordance with NFHS rules. Each of the runners tied will qualify without having to run a tie-breaking race.

The Board approved a pair of recommendations in softball. The first addresses the location of the next player to bat. The on-deck hitter will occupy the on-deck circle located behind the batter, which has been the protocol the last three seasons on an experimental basis. This action removes the experimental status and makes it a regulation. The Board also approved a 26-game season maximum for a team and individual, replacing the rule that permits 18-contests with two multi-game dates, which had created some confusion in its application.

Among the baseball recommendations approved by the Board included action to revert back to the rule addressing suspended games during the WIAA Tournament Series. Beginning in 2013, if a WIAA tournament game is called prior to the completion of any full inning following the fifth inning, the game becomes suspended if the visiting team has scored one or more runs to tie or take the lead and the home team has not regained the lead. Also passed was a measure to seed Divisions 2, 3 and 4 in the half brackets unless 60 percent of the schools in the bracket vote to revert back to seeding in the quarter bracket. This same process is used in basketball. In 2014, the spring baseball regional contest will be scheduled five days later to Tuesday of Week 48 of the NFHS calendar and finishing Wednesday and Friday of the same week.

The Board gave its approval to the 2012-13 zero-based, operations budget of approximately $7.7 million, which is similar to last year’s budget. The budget reflects a relatively small increase in expected expenses, as well as a decrease in revenue from a loss of a sponsorship agency partner. It also reflects the unknown impact of relocating the Girls State Basketball Tournament and the celebration of the 100th State Cross Country meet.

Among the other topics discussed in detail were potential Constitutional amendments, recent Area Meeting topics, progress of efforts to redefine worker’s compensation for officials in relation to member schools and an update on conference realignment efforts.

The membership of the WIAA oversees interscholastic athletic programs for 507 senior high schools and 65 junior high/middle level schools in its membership. It will sponsor 25 championship tournament series in 2012-13.

Most state ATV fatalities occur on private land

release from the DNR William Cosh

Hunters using all-terrain vehicles to get to remote game areas or to carry out their harvests are reminded to think safety when using these motorized workhorses and to make sure they only drive these machines where authorized. Conservation Warden Gary Eddy, who also serves as the Department of Natural Resources ATV safety administrator, says some of the main complaints received involve these machines being operated in unauthorized areas on public lands.“Hunters need to know if they are on county, state or national forest lands, and they need to contact the appropriate office ahead of time to find out the local rules and laws regarding their machine's use.”Eddy's advice not only pertains to hunters but also to farmers and other citizens who use the ATV and utility terrain vehicles for farm work or simple travel on their land. And the majority of the 2012 fatalities involving ATV use have occurred on private lands.

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Printed Textbooks going away?

The following is an excerpt from an article written by Josh Lederman, a reporter for The Associated Press in Washington:

Education Secretary Arne Duncan called Tuesday for the nation to move as fast as possible away from printed textbooks and toward digital ones. "Over the next few years, textbooks should be obsolete," he declared.

It's not just a matter of keeping up with the times, Duncan said in remarks to the National Press Club. It's about keeping up with other countries whose students are leaving their American counterparts in the dust.

South Korea, which consistently outperforms the U.S. when it comes to educational outcomes, is moving far faster than the U.S. in adopting digital learning environments. One of the most wired countries in the world, South Korea has set a goal to go fully digital with its textbooks by 2015.

"The world is changing," Duncan said. "This has to be where we go as a country."

The transition to digital involves much more than scanning books and uploading them to computers, tablet devices or e-readers. Proponents describe a comprehensive shift to immersive, online learning experiences that engage students in a way a textbook never could.

A student studying algebra might click to watch a video clip explaining a new concept or property. If they get stuck, interactive help features could figure out the problem. Personalized quizzes ensure they're not missing anything — and if they are, bring them up to speed before they move on to the next lesson. Social networking allows students to interact with teachers and each other even when school isn't in session.

Using digital textbooks, schools can save money on hard copies and get updated material to students more quickly. School districts may also be able to pick and choose their curriculum buffet-style. A district might choose one publisher's top-notch chapter on Shakespeare, but follow it with another publisher's section on Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter."

But adopting digital textbooks isn't as easy as a directive from Washington. States set their own processes for selecting and purchasing textbooks that match their needs.

Over the last two years, at least 22 states have taken major strides toward digital textbooks, said Douglas Levin, executive director of the State Educational Technology Directors Association. Until recently, Levin said, states struggled to collaborate because each had its own curricular standards, a particular burden for smaller states. That burden has been eased now that 48 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Common Core standards, a set of uniform benchmarks for math and reading.

"There are opportunities for the federal government to encourage states and districts not to reinvent the wheel," Levin said.

A school district in Huntsville, Ala., launched an effort over the summer to become the first district to transition fully to digital textbooks. To do that, the district must first ensure every student has either a laptop or a tablet computer. In California, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a pair of bills in September aiming to make his state a national leader in electronic college textbooks.

Still, many districts, already buckling from diminished budgets, don't have the bandwidth or the equipment to make digital materials available to every student. That's created a new challenge for the educational publishing industry as it works to market products to district across the technological spectrum.

"We haven't produced anything that's print-only in over three years. One hundred percent of what we have is available to school districts electronically," said Vineet Madan, senior vice president of new ventures for McGraw-Hill Education.

A central tension in the movement toward digital materials is what it means for textbook publishers whose profits rely on replacing old, worn-out textbooks with new ones. Yet to be seen is whether textbooks, like music, will become easy to steal or copy without payment, or whether the industry will find new ways to make money off of teaching materials.