Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Some School Bus Facts:

There are about 554,00 Public School Students transported on school buses each day in the State of Wisconsin  Public Schools also transport 41,800 Private School Students each day in this state. There are approximately 10,000 yellow school buses on Wisconsin roads. In the nation, there are 472,661 yellow buses in service to transport children to and from school.

Click here to view School Bus Fleet online (data on page 30)

Friday, December 21, 2012

A neat video that is very appropriate, considering the weather of the last two days

From: Free Technology for teachers (click this line to go to site)

'Pay As You Earn' College Student Loan Repayment Plan

From USDE:

The U.S. Department of Education announced today that many borrowers are now able to take advantage of a new repayment plan that could lower their monthly federal student loan bills. The plan, known as Pay As You Earn, caps monthly payments for many recent graduates at an amount that is affordable based on their income.

PdC Public School is cancelled for today.

The information from the townships is that roads will not be open until late today due to massive drifting.

Mark your calendars; the last day of the school year is now Thursday June 6, 2013. We have now used all three "built in" days.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Employee portion of WRS to increase to 6.65%

WRS Rates are increasing with the start of the new year to 13.30%. This is an increase from 11.80%.

What this means is that, per Wisconsin State Law, the employee half of the percentage of gross wages deducted from paychecks will increase from 5.9% to 6.65% starting 1/1/13.



The Legislative Audit Bureau released a report on WiscNet – used by most schools and libraries for broadband service – that said WiscNet “offers internet service at prices that are generally lower than commercial providers.” According to the report, commercial providers charge almost twice as much as WiscNet. The audit was required by the Legislature after telecommunications industry complaints about unfair competition. Read the report highlights or the full report.

Report: Expanding Evidence Approaches for Learning in a Digital World

Excerpt From USDE:

Change happens big in technology and it happens fast. And when public money is being spent and students’ futures are at stake, it is crucial that changes also happen smart. Our new report, Expanding Evidence Approaches for Learning in a Digital World, calls for smart change by presenting educators, policymakers, and funders with an expanded view of evidence approaches and sources of data that can help them with decision-making about learning resources.

Click here to read full article
Click link in article above or click here to access report

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Prairie du Chien Public Schools will be closed 12/20/2012

The storm front has now hit the area. The forecast is projecting more than a foot of snow and wind gusts of 40 mph during the day. Therefore, there will be no school on Thursday December 20, 2012. 

Mark your calendars; the school year now is extended to Wednesday June 5, 2013.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Award given to 3M for their support of education

The 3M corporation was honored with a Plaque and award for their support to education within the Prairie du Chien Public Schools. A standing ovation was given at the School Board Meeting after the acceptance of the award by the 3M dignitaries. 3M Engineers and other employees have been instrumental in mentoring and assisting with school programs such as Project Lead the Way and other STEM programs. 3M has also given financial support for those programs and others including teacher training programs.

John Asley the Executive Director of the Wisconsin School Boards Association came to Prairie du Chien to present the award.

Pictured from left to right: Tom Harris 3M Plant Manager, Shelly Gruber 3M Human Resources , Jim Rohde 3M Engineer, John Ashley WASB, Jeff Nack 3M Engineer

3 minute video from Wisconsin State Superintendent Tony Evers regarding the ongoing implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and Wisconsin's commitment to a balanced assessment system aligned to the CCSS.

Close-Out of Free Educational Materials from the Wisconsin Clearinghouse for Prevention Resources

From DPI:

Dear Prevention Education Partners,

Please forward the following to your lists, coalitions, and colleagues. We would appreciate if you can spread the word as broadly as possible.

The Wisconsin Clearinghouse for Prevention Resources will no longer be offering free printed materials for health education and prevention.

As we close down the warehouse, we would like to offer you the remaining inventory. We will accept and fulfill orders on a first-come, first-served basis through January 15, 2013.

Attached is a Word order form, listing the publications and materials we still have available. Use this form to order materials. When you have filled out the form, you can save and send it as an attachment to, or send it via fax to 608-262-6346.

If you are unable to open the attached document, you can find the Word form online at

A steady decline in demand for materials over the past few years as well as a refocusing of the Clearinghouse’s mission has contributed to this decision.

If you have a need for printed materials in the future, we suggest you check with:

· NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) -
· NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) -
· SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) -
· CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America) -
· The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy - or
· FACE – The Prevention Resource Group -
· National Inhalant Prevention Coalition -
· Parents. The Anti-Drug -
· The Partnership at -

Good luck with your continuing work in prevention and public health.

Southwest Tech now offers an entire University Transfer Liberal Arts Program

Excerpted from SWTC releases:

This program will enable students to start a baccalaureate degree at Southwest Tech and then seamlessly transfer to a four-year college or university. “It’s very exciting that we are able to offer the entire University Transfer Liberal Arts Program at Southwest Tech,” stated College President Duane Ford. “With this program offered right here at Southwest Tech, students intending to continue their education at a baccalaureate degree granting college or university can now stay local, save money, and earn a high-quality university transfer associate of science or associate of arts degree.”

The University Transfer Liberal Arts program courses transfer to public and private colleges and universities, in and out of Wisconsin. University of Wisconsin schools transfer up to 72 credits. Students can transfer individual courses or their completed University Transfer Liberal Arts Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Crisis Resources for Schools


Resources for Schools to Prepare for and Recover from Crisis

Dear Colleague,

All of us who work in education have broken hearts and are haunted by the tragedy visited on the educators, students, and families of the Newtown Public School District and Sandy Hook Elementary School. Whenever a school experiences violence and the lives of children and adults are lost, we struggle to find words to express our emotions and explain how this could have happened.

Schools are among the safest places for children and adolescents in our country, and, in fact, crime in schools has been trending downward for more than a decade. Nationwide statistics, however, provide little solace when 20 first-graders and six adults are senselessly gunned down in a small town’s elementary school. Accounts from Sandy Hook indicate that the school’s heroic principal and her staff had safety measures in place and had practiced their emergency procedures. As a result, children’s lives were saved and an even greater tragedy was averted.

Not all tragedies can be prevented. But schools and districts need to be ready to handle crises, large and small, to keep our children and staff out of harm’s way and ready to learn and teach, and to recover from such tragedies should they occur. As we reflect on what happened last week in Connecticut, I want to share some resources from the U.S. Department of Education’s Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools Technical Assistance Center that may be helpful to you and your team, now and in the future.

As hard as it is to talk among adults about such a tragedy, it can be even more difficult to talk with students and our own children. Helping Youth and Children Recover from Traumatic Events is a compilation of resources from the Department of Education, other federal agencies, and counseling experts. It is so important to give children the chance to talk, write, or draw to express their emotions. Please create the time and space for them to do that.

The Department also has several resources on Creating and Updating School Emergency Management Plans. If you do not have a crisis plan in place, please take steps to develop one. Engage a variety of school personnel and community partners. Plans should be comprehensive, anticipate a variety of hazards, and focus on the four phases of emergency management: prevention-mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.

If you do have an emergency plan in place, please review it, update it as necessary, and practice that plan regularly. Knowing what to do when faced with a crisis can be the difference between calm and chaos.

The Department of Education’s first priority is to help the Newtown community cope in the aftermath of this horrific event. In the days and weeks ahead, we will work with state and local officials, as well as Congress, to do everything in our power to help Newtown begin the long process of recovery.

As President Obama said, our country has suffered through mass shootings and gun deaths of young people too many times, in too many places. As a nation, we must find the courage and the conviction to take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies – now.

As you take steps to prevent and prepare for possible emergencies in your community, you have my full support and deepest gratitude for taking on this difficult yet necessary work. Thank you for the difference that you make in the lives of our country’s children. If you have questions or need additional assistance, please contact Paul Kesner at or (202) 245-7889.

Arne Duncan

Wisconsin’s Christmas Tree Industry

FROM LEAF: LEAF is a partnership between the Wisconsin DNR-Division of Forestry and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point's Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education - a center of the College of Natural Resources and University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension.

Painting by Viggo Johansen (1891)

The evergreen has been used in winter celebrations for centuries. Long before it represented Christmas, Europeans saw the evergreen as a symbol of hope and renewed life during the winter months when most plants were barren. The Christmas tree, as we think of it today, didn’t appear until the 16th century when Germans began decorating evergreens, known as “Paradise Trees” in celebration of “The Feast of Adam and Eve”. German immigrants introduced the custom to North America in the 1600s, and the tradition became widely adopted after President Franklin Pierce decorated a Christmas tree in the White House in the mid-1850s.

That’s a bit of Christmas tree history, but what do you know about today’s (real) Christmas trees? In 2002 in the United States, more than 22,000 tree farms covered 447,000 acres and cut over 20 million Christmas trees. According to Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom, our state is home to 1,387 Christmas tree farms covering over 36,000 acres of land and producing around 1.8 million Christmas trees.

As a symbol of the holiday season, we often forget about the wide-ranging economic and environmental impacts of the Christmas tree. For instance, Wisconsin’s Christmas tree industry, ranked 5th in production, brings in over $50 million dollars annually, and each acre planted provides the oxygen requirements for 18 people.

So, as you enjoy your Christmas tree this holiday season, remember its long history and all the benefits it provides. To learn more about the Christmas tree, visit Christmas Tree Fast Facts provided by Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom.

Community Meeting at 7:30 pm on December 19, 2012, in the High School Theater; on the subject of school security

To our Prairie du Chien Area Public School District Families,

There are no words to explain or to express the feelings that follow
the horrific tragedy that occurred in Connecticut on Friday. All of
our thoughts and prayers are with the Newtown community.

Today our staff members, across all three buildings, are meeting with
their Building Administrators to review our safety procedures and
policies. Keeping all of our students and staff safe is a top
priority. We also plan to meet with our Law Enforcement Officials to
discuss security measures to keep our schools safe.

We are in the process of planning a Community Meeting at 7:30 pm on
December 19, 2012, in the High School Theater, to allow parents and
other community members a chance to provide input or ask questions on
the subject of school security. We are all in this together, and we
desire as much input as possible. This is a small community that
deeply cares for each other.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Internet broadcasting of legislative proceedings to continue

From: WisconsinEye; a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization

Wisconsin Legislature Extends Agreement with WisconsinEye Public Affairs Network

MADISON – WisconsinEye Public Affairs Network (WisconsinEye) today expressed gratitude to the leadership of the Wisconsin Senate and Assembly for renewing a six-year license agreement that allows gavel-to-gavel cable TV and internet broadcasting of legislative proceedings.

“Our thanks go to the leaders and members of the Senate and Assembly for renewing this incredible level of citizen access to state government,” said Margaret Farrow, chair of the WisconsinEye board of directors. “This bipartisan agreement speaks volumes about Wisconsin’s tradition of openness in government and the Legislature’s desire to engage citizens on important public policy issues.”

WisconsinEye programming is available on cable TV throughout the state. The two primary partners are Charter Communications (channel 995) and Time Warner Cable (channel 363).

During legislative sessions, the network provides live and delayed coverage. When the legislature is not active, WisconsinEye programs the 24/7 channels with civic and public policy events and interviews from throughout the state. For example:

During the 2012 elections, WisconsinEye conducted 262 candidate interviews at locations in Eau Claire, Green Bay, La Crosse, Madison, Milwaukee, Wausau and Wauwatosa. The network also broadcast 18 candidate forums and debates, and covered 57 rallies and news conferences including national candidates of both major political parties.

In the past 12 months, WisconsinEye has produced 42 programs on the current debate over mining in northern Wisconsin.

“Through six years of broadcasting, WisconsinEye has earned a reputation for providing coverage of important issues – without bias, partisanship or vested interest in policy outcomes,” said network president Jon Henkes. “Everyone affiliated with WisconsinEye is deeply committed to this mission and we are grateful for the opportunity to continue serving the citizens of our great state.”

Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare’s Health Note on Holiday Nutrition

While the holidays are a time to celebrate and make memories, it also a time for eating, eating, and even more eating. Here are some strategies to help you maintain your body weight and health during this tempting time without feeling deprived.

• Pass on the store bought cookies, dried-out fudge and so-so stuffing. If your food doesn't taste as good as you had hoped, stop eating and choose something else. Only eat food that tastes incredible!

• Avoid eating just because people put it on your plate, it’s on the table, you paid for it, or it’s free.

• Enjoy foods that are special to this time of the year and pass on foods you can have anytime.

• Don’t stand by the food table or at the bar; instead focus on making conversation with others. Conversation is calorie-free! Focus on the atmosphere, company and traditions associated with the holidays, not the food.

By:  Carissa Wiersma, Freelance Communication Specialist, Marketing Communications, Mayo Clinic Health System Franciscan Healthcare 700 West Avenue South La Crosse, WI 54601




The latest international assessments of student performance -- the 2011 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) and the 2011 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) -- “provide both encouraging news about American students’ progress and…cautionary notes.” On the one hand, U.S. fourth-grade students have made significant progress in reading and math from 2007 to 2011. Indeed, U.S. fourth-graders now rank among the world’s leaders in reading literacy, and their achievement in math is only surpassed, on average, in three countries. On the other hand, the learning gains in fourth-grade are not being sustained in eighth-grade, where math and science achievement failed to significantly improve in the last five years. There are also large and persistent achievement gaps. Notably, Florida participated as a separate system in PIRLS in 2011, and nine states participated as separate systems in TIMSS in 2011. So, for the first time, parents and policymakers have data to gauge how academic performance in a substantial subset of states compares with the U.S. as a whole and with international competitors. Students in Florida, Massachusetts, and North Carolina excelled internationally in a number of subject areas. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO AND (Note: Secretary Duncan’s statement on the assessment results is available at, while his recent blog entry on the results is available at

Friday, December 14, 2012

Our thoughts go out to the Newtown, Connecticut Community

Grade 8 class trip June 5 and 6

From Mr. Amundson:

The OFFICIAL dates for the 2013 8th grade class trip will be June 5th and 6th

Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium released draft initial achievement level descriptors (ALDs) in English language arts/literacy and mathematics

From DPI:

Dear District Assessment Coordinator and CESA SIS Coordinator:

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium released draft initial achievement level descriptors (ALDs) in English language arts/literacy and mathematics for review. The ALDs define the types of knowledge, skills, and processes expected of or demonstrated bystudents in each level of achievement in the Smarter Balanced Assessment. ALDs are used for score reporting, and to determine performance level expectations for students. The Smarter Balanced Consortium will also use the ALDs for item development to ensure adequate representation of items across the performance spectrum.

Please forward this information to content specialists, curriculum coordinators, research staff, principals, and ELA and mathematics teachers in your district so they may weigh in on the ALDs. Feedback can be submitted through an online Feedback survey, available on the Smarter Balanced Consortium website. You may register for a webinar that will be held on December 17, from 2:30-4:00 p.m., to receive an overview of the ALDs, to aid you in your review.

The Smarter Balanced Initial ALD workshop was held in October 2012. A group of educational experts from all governing states convened for five days to draft this important component of the Smarter Balanced assessment. The product of the workshop is a DRAFT set of ELA and mathematics ALD materials that are now available, for approximately a six- week public review period, at and These documents also include the draft college content-readiness definition and policy framework.

The public review period will remain open until Tuesday, January 15, 2013. During this review period, you will be able to submit your feedback to survey questions that ask for your impression of the ALDs and college content-readiness materials: policy impact, rigor, language, clarity, expectations, and impact on students. You may elect to review the materials solely according to your specialty area or also for their Content, Coherence, Clarity, and Rigor of the ALDs.

We encourage your participation in this important review.

Debbie Gaffney Dilley
Office of Educational Accountability
Department of Public Instruction

Wisconsin high school and middle school smoking rates have hit an all-time low

From DPI:

We have exciting news to report! Wisconsin high school and middle school smoking rates have hit an all-time low, according to the 2012 Youth Tobacco Survey. The high school rate has fallen from 17.7% in 2010 to 13.1% in 2012 (a 26% decrease) and the middle school rate has fallen from 3.9 % in 2010 to 2.5% in 2012 (a 36% decrease).

Our comprehensive approach to prevention programming is working in Wisconsin. We should all take pride in knowing that as a result of our hard work, fewer Wisconsinites will suffer from tobacco-related illness and death.

A new resource to help school staff use data is now available on the DPI website called: Using Student Survey Data to Engage Student Learning: Using the 2011 Wisconsin Youth Risk Behavior Survey at Feel free to use this new resource and pass it along to other interested parties. More tobacco prevention information, resources, and webinars are available on our website at:

Brenda M. Jennings, MSE
Tobacco and Suicide Prevention Consultant
Safe & Supportive Schools Project Officer
Department of Public Instruction

Thursday, December 13, 2012

USDE and Treasury Dept report on the value of education

Excerpted from US Department of Education:

The Treasury Department has released a report that shows that investing in education expands job opportunities, boosts America’s competitiveness, and supports the kind of income mobility that is fundamental to a growing economy.

American companies and businesses require a highly skilled workforce to meet the demands of today’s increasingly competitive global economy.

People with more education typically earn more and have a lower likelihood of being unemployed.

employment education chart

Click here to go the article 'The Economic Case for Higher Education' complete with links to the full report.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Flex window is closing

Reminder from Patti:




Monday, December 10, 2012

Wisconsin Business Plan Contest

From Wisconsin Technology Council:

Wisconsin Governor's Business Plan Contest; open for 2013 entries through Jan. 31, 2013

The 10th annual Wisconsin Governor's Business Plan Contest is accepting entries online for the 2013 competition until 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013.

The contest is designed to help entrepreneurs turn their ideas into business plans, to prepare them to launch a company, to get feedback from mentors and to interact with investors and other professionals. Finalists will share in more than $100,000 in cash and in-kind prizes.

For their initial entries, contestants will submit 250-word idea abstracts online at That's where contestants will also find business plan templates and other information, such as the Entrepreneurs' Toolkit. The toolkit provides business startup information and assistance, networking contacts and technical resources.

Contestants who advance to subsequent contest rounds will expand their plan in stages. More than 60 judges drawn from the finance, sales, marketing, research and technology sectors across Wisconsin will score the entries and provide feedback on submissions.

Since its inception in 2004, more than 2,300 entries have been received and about $1.5 million in cash and services (such as legal, accounting, office space and marketing) have been awarded. Contest categories are Advanced Manufacturing, Business Services, Information Technology and Life Sciences.

Wisconsin residents 18 years old and older are eligible, as are teams from Wisconsin-based businesses and organizations. Businesses or teams from outside the state are also eligible to compete if they demonstrate intent to base their business in Wisconsin. Entrepreneurs may also enter multiple ideas, though each idea must be separate and distinct.

Companies or individuals that have raised less than $25,000 in private equity for their plans in a current form are eligible to enter. Generally speaking, private equity refers to angel and venture capital.

As with past contests, the 2013 competition will take place in stages:

*In the "Business Concepts" phase, which is open until 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013, the contest will accept Idea Abstracts on the web site. Idea Abstracts are 250-word business concepts that will be graded on a scale of 1-10 (10 highest) by our judges. The top 50 ideas, plus ties, will advance to the Executive Summary stage.

*In the "Executive Summary" phase, which runs from Feb. 22 to 5 p.m. March 18, 2013, the top 50 Idea Abstract presenters, plus ties, post their 1,000-word summaries online for comments by the judges. Contestants may be encouraged to revise their plans based on judges' comments. The top 20 plan summaries are selected for the final round.

*In the "Final Business Plan" phase, which runs from April 8 to 5 p.m. April 29, 2013, the top 20 Executive Summary presenters, plus ties, prepare plans of 15-20 pages for judging. Limited comments and mentoring continues. Judges will review the plans and pick three place winners in each category to advance as the "Diligent Dozen."

*The "Diligent Dozen" will present orally and compete in front of live judging for the contest's grand prize at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs' Conference, to be held June 4-5 in Middleton.

Past finalists have launched companies that have attracted tens of millions of dollars in grants loans and private equity financing - all while creating jobs and economic value for Wisconsin. The contest's major sponsors include the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

The Governor's Business Plan Contest will also provide opportunities for selected top entries from other collegiate and regional contests and "pitch" events to join in the competition at the Executive Summary or Final Business Plan phase.

The 2012 grand prize winner was Rowheels, which won the Advanced Manufacturing category with its geared wheeling system that allows a wheelchair to be pulled forward by its user rather than the traditional pushing motion. The technology requires less effort by users while reducing strain on shoulders, joints and muscles. Category winners in 2012 were Style Shuffler (Business Services), Strategic Fishing Systems (Information Technology) and Reza-Band (Life Sciences).

To enter, become a judge or a sponsor, visit

Friday, December 7, 2012

UW Flexible Option

From Governor's Office:

Earlier this year, I joined University of Wisconsin System President Kevin P. Reilly and UW Colleges and UW-Extension Chancellor Ray Cross to announce a competency-based degree model that will transform higher education in Wisconsin. Last week, the first UW Flexible Degree option programs were rolled out.

Using a competency-based degree model, coupled with online testing, could potentially revolutionize higher education. Today’s announcement is the next step in that direction. There is a need for skilled workers in a number of high demand areas such as manufacturing, information technologies, and healthcare. We can help bridge the skills gap by allowing individuals who have learned skills from their employment, from military service, or from other areas to work toward a degree at their own pace.

Beginning next fall, UW-Milwaukee will begin offering flexible degrees in Nursing, Health Sciences, Information Science & Technology, and more. UW also expects to open a few slots this year in select pilot courses to ensure the new degrees will run smoothly and be of high quality. Additionally, students can use the Flexible Option to complete the general education requirements toward any four-year degree. This new development will allow busy adults to complete a portion of their degree from home by earning top-quality credits that will transfer to any four-year UW campus.

I would like to especially thank President Kevin Reilly and Chancellor Ray Cross for the work they have done, and will continue to do, to support new methods of learning through programs like this.

For more information on UW’s Flexible Option, please visit

WIAA Board of Control alters penalty interpretation for two rule violations; Amateur Status and Non-school Competition Penalties to be Impacted

From Todd Clark at WIAA:

STEVENS POINT, Wis. – The Board of Control voted to change the interpretation of the penalty administration on violations of the membership’s amateur status and non-school competition rules at its December meeting today.

Beginning immediately, violations of amateur status and non-school competition rules will result in enforcement of prescribed sanctions upon determination a violation occurred; whereas, the former interpretation of the rule required enforcement retroactive from the time the violation actually occurred, which has often required forfeits of competitions and elimination from the Tournament Series.

The new interpretation of removes the retroactive aspect of the penalty and will now be assessed similar to code of conduct violations, unless the member school was aware of the violation and did not respond in a timely and appropriate manner. The scope of the penalty for amateur status and non-school competition remains unchanged, resulting in a student-athlete’s ineligibility for the period prescribed in the membership’s Rules of Eligibility.

The Board also approved an Executive Staff recommendation to discontinue reimbursements for travel and meals to member schools participating at Levels 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the football playoffs, effective in 2013. The decision provides equity and uniformity in reimbursements across all sports during the Tournament Series.

Another approved action item was an alternate admission ticket plan for the State Boys and Girls Hockey Tournaments. A $5 per session youth ticket will be offered in 2013 to middle school-aged students wearing their youth hockey program apparel when purchasing a ticket.

Other agenda topics requiring action included approval of the 2011-12 independent audit and an appointment to the Middle Level Council, as well as an eight-player representative to the Football Coaches Advisory Committee.

The Board heard staff reports on the efforts to declare sport officials independent contractors, the introduction of the proposed 2013-14 calendar and the progress of a planned upgrade to the State Tournament ticketing process to include electronic purchasing. The Board also engaged in significant discussion on tournament seeding and its impact on tournament planning and travel. In addition, it received updates from the liaisons from the Department of Public Instruction, Wisconsin Association of School Boards and the Wisconsin Athletic Directors Association.

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.

Wisconsin Assembly and Senate name Education Committee Leadership (from SAA)

Assembly Names Education-Related Committee Chairs, Co-Chairs

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Burlington) this week announced who will lead all the Assembly Committees that will convene in the 2013-14 legislative session, including two committees that will focus on K-12 education issues.

State Rep. Steve Kestell (R-Elkhart Lake) will return as Chair of the Assembly Education Committee, a position he held in the 2011-12 legislative session. A former school board member and president, Rep. Kestell was first elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly in 1998, and has been re-elected since 2000. Rep. Kestell is currently a member of the Education Commission of the States, and the Wisconsin Educational Communications Board, and released this statement upon his selection.

Newly-elected freshman Rep. John Jagler (R-Watertown) will serve as the Vice-Chair. Rep.-elect Jagler is a former reporter and newscaster for Newsradio 620 WTMJ in Milwaukee who served as the Communications Director for Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald during the past two years.

The Assembly Urban Education Committee will be chaired by Rep. Don Pridemore (R-Erin). (This committee is expected to focus on legislation related to expanding vouchers and independent charters.) During the 2011-12 legislative session, Rep. Pridemore was a member of the Assembly Education Committee and chaired the Assembly Committee on Children and Families. Previously, Rep. Pridemore was a member of the Assembly Education Reform Committee, from 2005 through 2010, serving as its chair during the 2007-08 legislative session. Rep. Pridemore also served on the 2010 Legislative Council Special Study Committee on School Safety.

Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac) will serve as Vice-Chair of Assembly Urban Education Committee. A former private school teacher, Rep. Thiesfeldt served on the Assembly Education Committee last session. He is currently serving on the 2012 Legislative Council Special Committee on Reporting Child Abuse and Child Neglect.


Senate GOP Makes Committee Assignments

Last Friday, Senate Majority Leader-elect Scott Fitzgerald appointed the GOP members of Senate standing committees. Appointed to the Senate Education Committee are: Sen. Luther Olsen of Ripon, Chair; Sen.-elect Paul Farrow of Pewaukee; Sen. Alberta Darling of River Hills; Sen. Leah Vukmir of Wauwatosa; and Sen.-elect Rick Gudex of Fond du Lac.

Sen. Olsen returns as Chair after serving in that position during the 2011-12 session. He served on the Berlin Area School Board from 1976-97, and as its president from 1986-95. Sen. Olsen was elected to the Senate in 2004, after serving in the state Assembly for 10 years. An officer in the Education Commission of the States, Olsen is also currently serving as the Chair of the Legislative Council Special Committee on Improving Educational Opportunities in High School.

Sen.-elect Farrow is a former member of the Richmond School Board. Farrow was elected to the state Assembly in 2010 and was just elected to the state Senate in a Dec. 4 special election. (See item in Inside Scoop, below.) Farrow currently serves as the Vice Chair of Legislative Council Special Committee on Improving Educational Opportunities in High School.

As of this writing, Senate Democrats had yet to make their committee appointments.

Common Core Essential Elements Brochure for Parents and Others

From DPI:

The brochure is intended to help parents and community members understand the purpose of the Common Core Essential Elements and how the standards relate to instruction for students with significant cognitive disabilities.

For more information, visit

PDP and New Teacher Support

From Dave Allen at CESA 3:

Hello Everyone,

I hope you have had a great week. I want to remind you of a couple of events coming up next week for your new teachers and for any teachers who are working on their PDP's.

PDP Writing Session - Thursday December 13th from 1:00 PM until 3:30 PM at CESA 3
This work session is designed for any educator who is working on their PDP. The session provides both instruction and coaching on the PDP Writing Process. Please register on the MyQuickReg System at the CESA 3 Web Site.

New Teacher Support Seminar - Thursday December 13th from 4:30 till 7:00 PM at CESA 3
This is session 4 in the New Teacher Support Seminar Series for this year. The session is intended for new teachers and their mentors. The topic for this session is teacher evaluation. We will be looking at the new Wisconsin Educator Effectiveness Model which is being developed in the state. A lie supper is provided. Please register on the MyQuickReg program located on the CESA 3 Web Site.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Final Wisconsin 2011-12 School Report Card Release

Excerpted from a letter from:  Michael Thompson, Deputy State Superintendent, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Final public versions of the 2011-12 School Report Card will be posted to the DPI website, as the review period for the preliminary release has now come to a close. Final public versions with redacted data are available here: The final versions replace the preliminary versions and represent final accountability for the 2011-12 school year.

The state-level download file, which displays the School Report Card data for all schools in the state( has also been updated.

Over the coming months we turn our attention to the preparation of next year’s School Report Card, alternative accountability reporting for schools without a School Report Card rating, and district-level reporting.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Wisconsin Public Employee Pension System is strong!

From SAA:

Morningstar: Wisconsin Has Nation’s Strongest Pension System

Last week, investment research firm Morningstar Inc, published a study which concluded that 21 state pension systems are not fiscally sound. The study also lauded Wisconsin — with a 99.8 percent funded ratio for its system — as the nation’s strongest. See News Coverage

Sunday, December 2, 2012

For next year, should we schedule Parent/Teacher Conferences through the SIS?

Excerpted from the Skyward product enhancement update:
Parent/Teacher Conference Scheduler has emerged from beta testing and is widely available. This new feature allows teachers to set up specific time periods through Educator Access Plus that students and parents may come to conferences. Then, via Student Access or Family Access, the parents and students can sign up for available time slots.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Mileage rate to increase to 56.5 cents per mile

On January 1, 2013, the PdC Public School standard mileage rate for employees will be 56.5 cents per mile as applied to handbook section 7.01 on expense reimbursement.

Click here to see IRS page on the subject

The full employee handbook is on the district website under staff tab or click here to access it directly.

Governor Walker education transformation plan may move toward more accountability

From WASB news:

Walker Hints About Education Reform in California Speech

In a recent speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in California, Gov. Scott Walker said he plans to tie education funding to student performance. While details were lacking, the speech is in line with Walker’s identification of “transforming education” as one of his five major budget initiatives he has discussed recently.

According to news accounts, the governor said he plans to tie education funding to performance, ranging from kindergarten-through-12th grade schools, which now are evaluated by state-required report cards. He said the proposal will also include the technical college and University of Wisconsin systems.

"What we’re going to do is not just put money in ... we’re going to make investments that are driven off of performance," Walker said. Both Florida and Pennsylvania have similar educational funding structures.

"We’re going to tie our funding in our technical colleges and our University of Wisconsin System into performance and say if you want money, we need you to perform, and particularly in higher education, we need you to perform not just in how many people you have in the classroom,” Walker said in the speech. Walker again noted he will push to expand the state's voucher program for private schools and further streamline the state's rules and regulations.

In a speech to the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce this week, Walker said putting money in general school aids doesn’t help focus on correcting specific problems. Instead, Walker said putting money in categorical aids, awarding schools for good performance, and helping manage the schools that are failing will result in better results statewide.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Burlington) said, “I think it’s pretty much consistent with what we have been saying. I’m excited about it. I think that Gov. Walker joins a cohesive group of Legislative Republicans who are all heading in the same direction. I hope the Democrats will take our hands and work with us to try to find some common ground."

"He’s laying out a good first step," Vos said, "which is to put the agenda out there and involve the public early, and now we’ll have an opportunity for the Legislature to get involved."

If history is any guide, the administration will begin revealing select budget proposals over the next two months. It is anticipated the Governor will introduce the 2013-15 biennial budget sometime in February. Republicans will control the budget process, holding a 60-39 advantage in the Assembly and an 18-15 margin in the Senate, and a 12-4 majority on the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee.

"Fiscal Cliff" sequestration impact locally

As everyone knows, there is a discussion at the federal level that is being dubbed as possibly going over a "fiscal cliff" by allowing an automatic implementation of sequestration to kick in. I certainly am no expert on the subject being discussed and I have no interest in adding to the extensive political debate surrounding this issue. However, I have been asked how this could affect us at PdC Public Schools. I will give the best possible factual answer to that question, with the qualifier that there are many variables that can affect these figures.

There are three main pots of dollars that flow into our accounts from federal sources. I will break them down as best possible as to the amounts we received in 2011-2012, what would be considered normal, and what is expected under the reduced "fiscal cliff" amount.

                    2011-2012            2012-2013 normal            2012-2013 sequestration
Title One          260,825                             271,721                                    248,353
Title Two           58,231                               57,956                                       52,696
IDEA*             295,419                              289,385                                     265,942
(*special education)
                    2011-2012            2012-2013 normal            2012-2013 sequestration
TOTAL          614,475                              619,062                                     566,991

Under the parameters of these estimates, PdC Public Schools will lose about $47,484 of federal funding, as compared to last year, if sequestration does kick in. If the formulas stay the same, and sequestration is avoided, we are estimated to increase slightly in funding.