Tuesday, December 24, 2013

If you think it was cold last night:

"NASA satellite data from east Antarctica shows Earth has set a new record for coldest temperature ever recorded... It happened in August 2010 when it hit -94.7C (-135.8F)."

Monday, December 23, 2013

Wisconsin Free Fishing Weekend Jan. 18-19, 2014

WI DNR release; Wisconsin’s second annual winter Free Fishing Weekend is set for Jan. 18-19, 2014. No fishing license or Great Lakes salmon stamp is needed to fish any Wisconsin water. This includes all inland waters and Wisconsin's side of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River and other boundary waters. Other fishing rules apply, such as limits on the number and size of fish anglers can keep and any seasons when anglers must release certain fish species.

“Ice fishing is a great way to get outside during the winter and to fish anywhere without a boat,” says Theresa Stabo, Wisconsin’s angler education director. “Free Fishing Weekend is a great time to discover what it’s all about – fun with friends and family and, of course, the fish.”

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Big Yellow School Bus is the safest way to travel:

"FACT: School buses are the safest mode of transportation for getting children back and forth to school". Source: U.S. Department of Transportation.

National studies show that "students are about 50 times more likely to arrive at school alive if they take the bus than if they drive themselves or ride with friends. But did you also know that your child is much safer riding the bus than being driven by you?" Click here to go to the National Highway Traffic Safety site

School Bus Fleet Fact Book statistics show that 554,000 Wisconsin Public School Students are transported by yellow buses. Nationwide the figure is 28,784,331 Students. Big yellow buses are efficient also; on average they last for 14.4 years in salted road states like Wisconsin, and 19.3 years on no-salt roads. Click here for more School Bus Fleet information

Monday, December 16, 2013

Governor Signs Concussion Education Amendment

From WIAA:

Gov. Scott Walker signed bill SB 258 into law Friday that will require parents and student-athletes to review and sign concussion education forms only once each school year. The change to the law eliminates much of the redundancy associated with the passing of the concussion law in 2012. Prior to the amendment, parents and student-athletes were required to sign concussion forms at the beginning of each interscholastic sport season.

The concussion law requires all youth athletic organizations to educate coaches, athletes and parents on the risks of concussions and head injuries and prohibits participation in a youth activity until the athlete and parent or guardian has returned a signed agreement sheet indicating they have reviewed the concussion and head injury informational materials. The law also requires immediate removal of an individual from a youth athletic activity if symptoms indicate a possible concussion has been sustained. A person who has been removed from an athletic activity because of a determined or suspected concussion or head injury may not participate again until he or she is evaluated by an approved health care provider and receives written clearance from the health care provider to return to the activity.

The WIAA has been a leader in concussion education, awareness and student-athlete well-being. The membership’s Executive Staff and Medical Advisory Committee contributed to the development of the concussion law. The WIAA website contains a video and substantial information regarding the signs and symptoms of concussions, as well as efforts to prevent and treat concussions. For more information, access the Concussions information page at: http://www.wiaawi.org/Health/Concussions.aspx.

PdC Public one-to-one Chromebooks are in for state testing!

Wisconsin Department of Instruction has definitively stated that Chromebooks will work on the upcoming state testing changes.

Phil Olsen, DPI Office of Student Assessment, stated "Yes, Chromebooks will be supported by all three of the assessment consortia in which Wisconsin participates: Smarter Balanced, Dynamic Learning Maps (for the alternate assessment), and ASSETS (for the English language learner assessment)."

Stuart Ciske, DPI Educational Consultant, also added this confirmation from Edutopia "Smarter Balanced and PARCC verified that Chromebooks meet hardware and operating system requirements for online student assessments in the 2014-2015 school year."

This is exceptionally great news for PdC Public Schools as we have one-to-one Chromebooks for all students in grades 5 to 12 and it would be difficult to reverse course to have enough other machines available just for testing.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Enough regular sleep at consistent bedtimes is important:

Under the category of studies probably proving what is common sense; children need consistent and stable bedtimes that give them enough rest to refresh their bodies.

"Having regular bedtimes during early childhood is an important influence on children’s behavior. There are clear opportunities for interventions aimed at supporting family routines that could have important impacts on health throughout life."

Work done by Yvonne Kelly, PhD, John Kelly, BEng, and Amanda Sacker, PhD
Click here to see full text of abstract in Pediatrics 

"children who changed from a non-regular to a regular bedtime between ages 5 and 7 experienced a significant decline in behavior problems. They also report that children who changed from a regular bedtime to a non-regular bedtime between 5 and 7 experienced a significant, but smaller, increase in behavior problems. We applaud the authors' test of the reversibility of behavior problems associated with a non-regular bedtime. We have conducted similar tests of the reversibility of aggressive behaviors associated with sleep problems in the US; however, our models also address directionality, whereas Kelly and colleagues modeled only the pathway from sleep to behavior. As Kelly et al. noted, the direction of the causal link between sleep problems and aggression is unclear. While it is plausible that a lack of sleep leads to elevated aggression, it is also plausible that aggressive behavior disturbs sleep. Children who are aggressive may be unusually resistant to bedtime, find it difficult to fall asleep, or be frequently wakened by nightmares."

From Anne Martin, Senior Research Scientist, Lauren Hale and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn
Columbia University and Stony Brook University
Click here to read more

Monday, November 25, 2013

Tips for healthier holiday meals

Mayo Clinic Health System Health Note:

The holidays have arrived! We all worry about those extra pounds that can result from indulging in all the fabulous holiday treats. If you’re trying to avoid this season’s weight gain, here are some tips to use when planning your holiday meals.

Cookies, candy and treats...oh my! The holidays are here, and so is the holiday food. Have you started your meal planning and prepared your shopping lists for your holiday feasts yet? This year, consider substituting those foods high in calories, fat, carbohydrates and sugar for healthier options. Most, if not all, substitutions are simple, such as substituting butter or margarine for olive oil, sugar for agave or honey, salt for sea salt, etc. Chances are you your family and friends won't even be able to tell the difference. You won't sacrifice the taste or enjoyment! There is nothing better than saving those extra calories and avoiding those excess pounds over the holiday!

Amy Every
Senior Communication Consultant, Marketing Communications
Mayo Clinic Health System Franciscan Healthcare

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Deer hearts for the Raptors

 A hunting season message from Brent Seamans:

5th Annual Give a Heart to REGI - Deer Heart Drive

It is that time of year again! We will be collecting deer hearts to be donated to the Raptor Education Group, Inc. (REGI) located in Antigo, WI. The hearts are used for a great source of food for the birds who are being rehabilitated. You can drop your hearts off to me at Bluff View or to Mrs. Timmerman at the HS (unless you have a specific teacher who is giving you extra credit). A big thank you to all the PdC Science teachers for helping me out as well as to Mr. Antoniewicz for taking the coolers full of hearts up north with him on his annual migration. Here are the totals for the last four years and the website to find out more details about REGI. Help us beat our record! http://www.raptoreducationgroup.org/

Be safe!

2013-2014 ?
2012-2013 BV and HS 159 + 12 from the Desoto School District
2011-2012 BV and HS 128 + 10 from the Desoto School District
2010-2011 BV and HS 113
2009-2010 HS only 50

Contribution rates for Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) will increase in 2014

Excerpts from Department of Employee Trust Funds:

Contribution rates for most Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) employers and employees will increase in 2014.

The total contribution rates for General/Teacher are 14.0%; 7.0% employee; 7.0% school district

 While many complex factors affect WRS contribution rates, the increase is primarily due to the lingering effects of 2008’s global economic meltdown. 2014 is the last year that the investment declines will affect WRS contribution rates. Contribution rate changes, whether increases or decreases, are considered normal for retirement systems that have defined, or pre-funded, benefits.

Core Trust Fund investment results are distributed (“smoothed”) over five years to soften the impact of year-to-year volatility of investments. This also helps to keep WRS contribution rates stable. For example, over the past 25 years the rate for General category employees has deviated by just 2%.

Click here to see the full release on Employer and Employee Contributions to Increase

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Benefit for Wisconsin Lion's Camp

From Dale Hanson;
If anyone gets deer hides this season and wants to donate them to a good cause, I would be happy deliver them to one of the locations in the county that collects them to benefit Wisconsin Lion's Camp. My son Trevor works there and two of our students attended a camp session there last summer. The majority of campers that go there are on scholarships.

Diabetes Fair for All Ages

The PdC Memorial Hospital is collaborating with local clinics to host a Diabetes Fair for All Ages on Wednesday, November 20, 5-7 pm in the large conference room at the hospital.

Click here to see flyer for more information.

Kris Lawrence, Communications Coordinator
PdC Memorial Hospital

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Great American Smoke Out November 21; helpful tips to help to quit smoking

Mayo Clinic Health System Health Note: Will you or someone you know be making quit attempt for the Great American Smoke Out on November 21? Here are some helpful tips to help you or a loved one prepare to quit smoking.
There's no easy way to quit smoking. Those who prepare for quit day are more prepared for the hurdles they're likely to face. Here are some helpful tips on how to prepare for quit day:
  • Mark the day. Quitting is an important day in your life, so treat it like one. 
  • Talk to your health care provider. Your provider has a lot to offer those who are trying to quit smoking, such as stop-smoking counseling and medications.  
  • Tell people. Let your family, friends, and co-workers know that you are going to quit smoking. A support system is there for you when you face a trigger or event that makes you feel like you need tobacco.  
  • Clean house. Dispose of all your tobacco products and deep clean areas that you prefer to smoke, such as your car, office, garage, or home. Also, consider getting your teeth professionally cleaned as motivation to stay quit.
  • Stock up. Have items on hand that will help you get through your cravings like sugar-free gum, hard candy, cinnamon sticks and crunchy vegetables.  
  • Join up. Find local tobacco cessation programs near you. You can contact your local health department, hospital or clinic to see if they offer classes or group sessions. There are also programs that you can join online.  
  • Reflect. Try keeping a journal of why you quit smoking and if you've tried quitting before, the challenges you faced and why you started again. Individuals who are prepared are more likely to commit to tobacco cessation.
Amy Every
Senior Communication Consultant, Marketing Communications
Mayo Clinic Health System Franciscan Healthcare
700 West Avenue South
La Crosse, WI 54601

Friday, November 1, 2013


This is an excerpt of an article from North Shore Pediatric Therapy; click on the link to see more:

It is common for young children to make certain sound substitutions as their speech and language skills are developing. One example is substituting /t/ for /k/ (e.g. saying “tar” instead of “car”); another is substituting /d/ for /g/ (e.g. saying “do” instead of “go”). By the age of 3, however, most typically-developing children are able to accurately produce the /k/ and /g/ consonant sounds.

If your child is having difficulty with these sounds, first try some tricks to work on the /k/ sound. Once your child has mastered the /k/ sound, she is ready to work on /g/. /k/ and /g/ are considered “cognates,” meaning that they are produced in the same place in the mouth, with the back of the tongue elevating towards the roof of the mouth. However, /k/ is voiceless, meaning it is produced without using your voice, and /g/ is voiced, meaning it is produced with your voice on.

No More FLEX "Use-it-all or Lose-it"

We will study this further and if determined to be beneficial for our employees, (which it looks like it will be) we will most likely allow this increased flexibility during the renewal period that is opening.

From Employee Benefits Corporation:

One of the largest barriers to health care flexible spending account (FSA) adoption, the "use-it or lose-it" rule, has effectively been eliminated. The US Department of the Treasury and Internal Revenue Service, yesterday, changed the 30-year old policy by adding an alternate opportunity for you to offer a carryover option to your employees.

There has always been the option to include a two and a half month grace period to spend down account funds, but now you can choose to allow your employees to carryover up to $500 to the next plan year without affecting their limit of $2,500 (i.e. Bob could choose to contribute $2,500 in 2014, carryover $500 from 2013, giving him $3,000 to use during the 2014 plan year). It's an "either or" type of situation though, so you will need to choose between the two options; you cannot elect both.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Playful Learning Portal

Memo from DPI on Playful Learning Site and Training

A new portal makes it easy for teachers to explore, discover, share, review, and learn games that can help students learn. The Playful Learning platform, playfullearning.com, became available in open beta this month. Designed around the belief that “Play is how we learn best,” the site aims “to introduce truly playful systems and fun worlds that can meet your specific needs and ignite student passion in your classroom.” Playful Learning is a project of the Learning Games Network, a non-profit producer of games for learning grounded in the tradition of game-based learning research at the MIT Education Arcade and the University of Wisconsin’s Games+Learning+Society Center. Learning Games Network is now based in Cambridge, MA and Madison, WI. The group says in the Mission section of its website: “A wise man once said: ‘Play is the highest form of research.’ When you give a learner the space to play and the freedom to fail, awesome things happen.” The network received a grant to conduct events around the country, including one in Wisconsin: at the UW-Whitewater, November 15-16. 2013.

Monday, October 28, 2013

LEAF is offering Winter Ecology and Tree ID

For School Forest Educators, LEAF is offering a new course called Winter Ecology and Tree ID

Strap on some snowshoes and explore a northern hardwood and hemlock forest with Treehaven's Forest Ecologist. Learn how to integrate winter ecology into your class curriculum, practice winter tree and shrub identification, and collaborate with other K-12 teachers. This course also includes reading and online discussion before and after your weekend at Treehaven.

NRES 621- 1 graduate credit
At Treehaven in Tomahawk
Saturday Feb. 1 - Sunday Feb. 2
Space is limited and scholarships are available! 
Total cost with scholarship is $150 (includes graduate credit, meals, and lodging)

Click here to for more information

Nicole Filizetti is LEAF’s new Professional Development Coordinator. Send her an email atnicole.filizetti@uwsp.edu for questions or registration details.

Gretchen Marshall
Wisconsin School Forest Education Specialist
LEAF K-12 Forestry Education Program
UW Stevens Point, College of Natural Resources
E-mail: Gretchen.Marshall@uwsp.edu
Website: www.leafprogram.org

On reviewing your health benefits:

This Mayo Clinic Health System Health Note serves as a reminder that it’s that time of year when we need to review health benefits and determine how much we should be planning, saving for next year, and the use of the 125 FLEX plan. 
Understand your health plan benefits:
  • You, not your provider, are responsible for knowing your health plan benefits.
  • The minimum you need to know is your deductible, co-insurance and co-pay amounts along with your out-of-pocket maximum.
  • The time to address any confusion with your benefits is now, not when you are facing a stressful medical situation and need to make decisions quickly.
  • As consumers, we all play a role in keeping health coverage affordable for ourselves and our employer. Inappropriate use of healthcare raises premiums for everyone.
  • High deductible health plans with a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) or Health Savings Account (HSA) are designed to reduce health spending by providing a financial incentive for consumers to choose the best healthcare value. In these types of plans, monthly premiums are generally lower than traditional health plan premiums, leaving consumers with greater control over -- and responsibility for -- their health spending. The high deductibles and out-of-pocket costs give patients an incentive to learn more about the cost and quality of care before spending.
  • Contact your health plan customer service line with questions.
Amy Every
Senior Communication Consultant, Marketing Communications
Mayo Clinic Health System Franciscan Healthcare
700 West Avenue South
La Crosse, WI 54601

Sunday, October 27, 2013

DPI Educator Effectiveness Training Movie

The DPI has released an online video which is the first part of a four-step training plan to prepare educators for statewide implementation of the Wisconsin Educator Effectiveness System.

Step 1: Orientation Movie is available on the Educator Effectiveness website, http://ee.dpi.wi.gov/tools/orientation-video.

The Wisconsin Educator Effectiveness System is a comprehensive, performance-based evaluation system for teachers and principals, designed to promote educator professional growth and development. The system measures educator practice and student outcomes equally and takes multiple forms of evidence into account. It will be implemented statewide starting in 2014-15.

DPI will release the next step of the Educator Effectiveness System Training, Step 2: Overview Module, in February. All evaluators and teachers must complete this self-guided online module, which will provide a broad overview of the Educator Effectiveness System.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Staying motivated is not always easy

Mayo Clinic Health System Health Note that provides inspiration:

Staying motivated is not always easy. Get motivated and back on track by thinking about these words of wisdom from poet Walter Wintle, "If you think you are beaten, you are, If you think you dare not, you don't. If you like to win, but you think you can't, It is almost certain you won't. If you think you'll lose, you're lost, For out in the world we find, Success begins with a fellow's will. It's all in the state of mind. If you think you are outclassed, you are, you've got to think high to rise, you've got to be sure of yourself before you can ever win a prize. Life's battles don't always go to the stronger or faster man. But soon or later the man who wins is the man who thinks he can." Switch your thoughts to positive ones and success will ensue.

Amy Every
Senior Communication Consultant
Marketing Communications
Mayo Clinic Health System Franciscan Healthcare
700 West Avenue South
La Crosse, WI 54601

Monday, October 7, 2013

Important to vary your exercise routine

This Health Note from the Mayo Clinic Health System talks about the importance of variety in your exercise routine. Each type of exercise – aerobic, strength training and stretching – serves a unique and important purpose.

"Don't bunt. Aim out of the ballpark." -David Ogilvy

Being physically active can include lifting weights or running, but there is more to it than that. It's about having a greater range of motion, increased flexibility, improved circulation, and stronger bone structure and muscle. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends 30 minutes of physical activity a day for adults, 60 minutes for children, at least five days a week.

There are different types of physical activity including aerobic activities, muscle-strengthening activities, bone-strengthening activities, and balance and stretching activities. Aerobic activities increase your heart beat and range from moderate to vigorous intensity. An aerobic exercise typically increases your resting heart rate by 60-85%. Muscle - and bone - strengthening activities include weight-bearing activities such as lifting weights or body weight exercises.

Balance and stretching activities such as yoga will help to enhance physical stability and flexibility. Try incorporating different types of activities into your workout every day. For example, if you strength train on Monday, try a yoga class on Tuesday. Changing up your exercises will keep you interested and also puts different types of good strain on your body.

Amy Every
Senior Communication Consultant, Marketing Communications
Mayo Clinic Health System Franciscan Healthcare
700 West Avenue South
La Crosse, WI 54601

Saturday, October 5, 2013


The tidout valuation total in the school district is up 2.76%

City PdC 257,793,350
T Bridgeport 94,136,689
T Eastman 27,690,147
T PdC 60,338,584
T Wauzeka 299,365
V Eastman 15,181,863
Total District 455,439,998

The tidout valuation history is below. The increase for this year still does not bring the valuation total to pre-recession levels.

City PdC 273,588,350
T Bridgeport 87,070,072
T Eastman 26,953,789
T PdC 63,817,492
T Wauzeka 227,178
V Eastman 14,421,381
Total District 466,078,262
  2008 2008 % Change
City PdC 273,796,650 0.08%
T Bridgeport 88,037,848 1.11%
T Eastman 27,332,765 1.41%
T PdC 57,034,886 -10.63%
T Wauzeka 230,829 1.61%
V Eastman 14,551,358 0.90%
Total District 460,984,336 -1.09%
  2009 2009 % Change
City PdC 282,867,150 3.31%
T Bridgeport 91,482,203 3.91%
T Eastman 26,429,330 -3.31%
T PdC 61,129,305 7.18%
T Wauzeka 431,271 86.84%
V Eastman 14,007,731 -3.74%
Total District 476,346,990 3.33%
  2010 2010 % Change
City PdC 273,698,050 -3.24%
T Bridgeport 89,384,363 -2.29%
T Eastman 27,179,237 2.84%
T PdC 59,473,014 -2.71%
T Wauzeka 376,796 -12.63%
V Eastman 14,576,824 4.06%
Total District 464,688,284 -2.45%
  2011 2011 % Change
City PdC 265,697,950 -2.92%
T Bridgeport 91,758,267 2.66%
T Eastman 29,209,037 7.47%
T PdC 60,838,441 2.30%
T Wauzeka 301,421 -20.00%
V Eastman 15,329,026 5.16%
Total District 463,134,142 -0.33%
  2012 2012 % Change
City PdC 250,379,050 -5.77%
T Bridgeport 89,257,351 -2.73%
T Eastman 28,005,442 -4.12%
T PdC 59,830,809 -1.66%
T Wauzeka 295,360 -2.01%
V Eastman 15,436,774 0.70%
Total District 443,204,786 -4.30%
  2013 2013% Change
City PdC
T Bridgeport
T Eastman
T Wauzeka
V Eastman
Total District 455,439,998 2.76%

Tips to smokers who are trying to quit

One of the most widely accepted ways to improve health is to not use tobacco. Future health insurance premium costs will almost assuredly be higher for tobacco users. The following Mayo Clinic Health Note offers tips to smokers who are trying to quit on their own. 
Mayo Clinic Health System Health Note:
  •  Are you having trouble kicking the habit?
  • Would you prefer to quit on your own rather than seeking help from a health professional, community program or clinic?
Mayo Clinic offers 10 helpful ways to resist tobacco cravings.
  1. Delay. If you feel like you have a tobacco craving, try distracting yourself for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Don't just 'have one.' It is not realistic to say that you will only have one cigarette.
  3. Avoid triggers. It is important to identify your triggers so the next time you are in a situation you can either avoid them entirely or have a place you can go without tobacco present.
  4. Get physical. Just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, such as walking or jogging, can subside your craving.
  5. Practice relaxation techniques. Stress has been found to trigger tobacco use; therefore, it is important to identify relaxation techniques to take the edge off stress.
  6. Call reinforcements. Contact a family member, friend, or support group member for moral support. They can help by distracting you so you have less of a struggle trying to resist a tobacco craving.
  7. Remember the benefits of quitting. Identify why you chose to quit in the first place. It also helps to make a list of the reasons of why you wanted to stop smoking and useful tips on how to resist tobacco cravings.
  8. Go online. There are many tobacco cessation programs available online as well as blogs and posts that are encouraging or insightful. This allows you to learn how others have quit using tobacco or how they resist their cravings.
  9. Try nicotine replacements. Contact your primary care physician if you are looking for a nicotine replacement therapy. Some types are available over the counter and others require a prescription.
  10. Chew on it. Try eating something with a crunch or chewing on a piece of gum to help fight your tobacco craving.
Recognize that there are tobacco cessation programs available for all employees as well as useful tips located on www.MayoClinic.com.
Amy Every
Senior Communication Consultant, Marketing Communications
Mayo Clinic Health System Franciscan Healthcare
700 West Avenue South
La Crosse, WI 54601

Monday, September 9, 2013

On 9/9/13 Prairie du Chien Public Schools will release at 1:30 pm due to excessive heat.

The Prairie du Chien Public School policy is that school is to be called off when air temperatures exceed 97 degrees or that the heat index exceeds 105. The latest update on NOAA predicts that air temperatures may exceed 97 sometime around 2:30 pm today.

The Central Courtyard / cafeteria area in the High School will remain open into the evening as a cool safe area for students, and their families, if needed.

All after school activities are cancelled for today.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

$301,970 to raise a child!

From USDA; annual report, Expenditures on Children by Families, also known as the Cost of Raising a Child.

The report shows that a middle-income family with a child born in 2012 can expect to spend about $241,080 ($301,970 adjusted for projected inflation*) for food, shelter, and other necessities associated with child-rearing expenses over the next 17 years. This represents a 2.6 percent increase from 2011. Expenses for child care, education, health care, and clothing saw the largest percentage increases related to child rearing from 2011. However, there were smaller increases in housing, food, transportation, and miscellaneous expenses during the same period. The 2.6 percent increase from 2011 to 2012 is also lower than the average annual increase of 4.4 percent since 1960.

Monday, August 26, 2013

NO more use of modified academic achievement standards (AA-MAAS)

Dear Colleague:

Last Friday, the U.S. Department of Education proposed regulations to transition away from the so-called "2 percent rule," thus emphasizing the Department’s commitment to holding all students to high standards that better prepare them for college and career. Under the existing regulations, States have been allowed to develop alternate assessments aligned to modified academic achievement standards (AA-MAAS) for some students with disabilities and use the results of those assessments for accountability purposes under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Under the proposed regulations, a State already administering alternate assessments based on modified academic achievement standards could no longer administer such assessments after the 2013–14 school year. The Department stands ready to provide technical assistance to States as they transition away from the 2 percent standards and assessments.
Please check out the full Press Release here.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Prairie du Chien Public School announces more OT services for children attending B.A.Kennedy Early Elementary School

Starting with the upcoming school year, there will be a substantially increased presence of on-site Occupational Therapists within the B.A. Kennedy Early Elementary School. The OT's will continue to work with children one-to-one, but will also be available to provide teacher support and class interventions. This enhancement of services for children is consistent with RtI and the goal of early and often intervention. There is an agreement being worked on to provide services during the PdC Public School 45 day summer school schedule also - more on that later.

The desire is to do as much as possible early in the education of a child to remove barriers and to place them on a solid starting path to high educational achievement throughout the school years. This is made possible through a partnership with the Prairie Du Chien Memorial Hospital and the PdC Public School District Special Education Department. This addition, plus the new full-time Reading Recovery teacher at BAK, outlines the district's commitment to increased academic achievement and higher expectations across all areas of the school.

The following you-tube is a fun way to look at all OT does:

Today’s busy families are finding that batch cooking and freezing meals to cook and eat later saves them lots of time

Mayo Clinic Health System Health Note
Freezer cooking, batch cooking, doubling recipes, etc. are all great ways to make more food now when time allows, and freeze for later when a quick, healthy meal is needed—helping you avoid last minute trips to the grocery store or a fast food restaurant. When freezing food for later use, it is important to follow these food safety tips:
  1. Let foods cool to room temperature, or slightly above room temperature before refrigeration. This helps so the temperature in the refrigerator does not increase. Also, make sure that the air is able to circulate around your food for about 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. Cool foods to refrigerator temperature before putting into your freezer. Make sure to loosely cover your food in the refrigerator to allow the heat to escape.
  3. Pack foods into freezer containers or freezer bags. Freezer bags are thicker than storage bags and will help to keep your food fresh longer. Remove as much of the air from the bag as possible. Also, freeze foods in a thin, flattened shape in the freezer bags. This helps for storage as well as thawing.
  4. Label your food. Label foods using freezer tape, gummed freezer labels or permanent markers. Make sure to include the name of the food, packaging date, serving size or amount, and special ingredients. Do not stack freezer bags until frozen so they freeze faster.
  5. When you are ready to thaw and cook frozen foods, DO NOT thaw foods at room temperature. If foods are left out too long at room temperature, bacteria can grow and produce heat-resistant toxins that can cause food-borne illness. Plan ahead for slow, safe thawing. Up to 5 pounds of food takes about 24 hours to thaw in the refrigerator; otherwise, you can thaw your food in the microwave.
Amy Every
Senior Communication Consultant, Marketing Communications
Mayo Clinic Health System Franciscan Healthcare

Saturday, July 20, 2013

You and Your Primary Care Provider

Mayo Clinic Health System Health Note:

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, supplements 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.
Amy Every
Senior Communication Consultant, Marketing Communications
Mayo Clinic Health System Franciscan Healthcare
700 West Avenue South
La Crosse, WI 54601

A results driven accountability system for future IDEA determinations

From DPI: The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) has determined Wisconsin meets the requirements of IDEA... Although the 2013 determination was based on the compliance indicators, OSEP is developing a results driven accountability system that will use results indicators when making IDEA determinations in 2014. In August, DPI will determine which LEAs met the requirements of IDEA. For more information about the state’s determination and OSEP’s criteria, visit http://sped.dpi.wi.gov/sped_spp-determinations.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Celebrate in PdC!

From the Prairie du Chien Area Chamber of Commerce:
The annual fireworks celebration is scheduled for Saturday, July 13th, which coincides with the War of 1812 at the Villa Louis.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Open database for sharing digital learning resources

From the USDE: The Federal Registry for Educational Excellence (http://free.ed.gov/) makes it easier to find digital teaching and learning resources created and maintained by the federal government and public and private organizations.

Click here to go to FREE!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The CompassLearning Odyssey system will be updated

From CompassLearning Support & Services Team: An automatic update to CompassLearning Odyssey, version 2013, will be performed on June 28, 2013, starting at 6:00 pm Central Time. With no downtime for this update, you will see the changes made by the update immediately. We expect to complete the update on Friday evening. This release includes:
  • A new user help system for teachers and administrators
  • Enhanced Common Core coverage and fidelity through additional activities and quizzes
  • Numerous content and maintenance updates throughout the product
  • Stability and performance improvements

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Framework for Social Studies State Standards is expected to be final this summer

Catherine Gewertz reports on Education week that "The Council of Chief State School Officers has bowed out of its role as the convenor of a group of states and organizations writing a shared social studies framework. The move means that the National Council for the Social Studies, which had been leading the work, will continue to do so but without the organizational support of the CCSSO. The latest draft of "The College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards" is currently being circulated among reviewers from the 15 groups and 20 states that have been working on it."

Click here to read the full article

Click here to go to draft of The College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Opportunity for educator involvement for the Formative Digital Library

From: Jennifer Teasdale, DPI Education Program Specialist Office of Student Assessment

Smarter is looking for Additional K-12 and Higher Education educator involvement for the Formative Digital Library. At this juncture, we are looking to fill a database of educators interested in participating in the Formative Digital Library. For any number of reasons, individuals may need to withdraw from the group and need to be replaced. We will be pulling replacement educators from this database to partake in the event that someone must vacate their position.

This is an opportunity to lead the future grade and content formative assessment efforts within Wisconsin and the Smarter Consortium. Network members will connect with colleagues in common grade levels, content areas, and experts throughout the Smarter Balanced states, and with educators across our own state, to continue state efforts to help educators transition to CCSS and implement effective classroom instruction with formative assessment practices.

Each state in the consortium will identify a network of educators. Approximately 92 Wisconsin K-12 and higher education educators will have the opportunity to be part of a Wisconsin State Formative Network of educators that will identify and recommend resources for the Digital Library and disseminate web-based educator training to Wisconsin educators.

The information that follows is based on information currently available and may change as the project progresses.

• This project is expected to last two years.
• Each member will be involved in feedback cycles with a 5-10 day turnaround between the request and the feedback between January and August 2013
• There will be five web-based trainings between August 2013 and June 2014
• After each training session, each member is expected to identify and recommend an upload of at least one additional resource for the Digital Library
• All work is expected to be outside of the regular work schedule
• The Contractor for the project will contract with the educators and pay a stipend
• The stipend for full participation is estimated to be approximately $1300- $1500

Please forward this information to those interested in and qualified to participate in any of these activities. More information about the opportunities and the Educator Involvement Application are available at http://oea.dpi.wi.gov/oea_smarterops. Interested educators should complete the Educator Involvement Application and submit it to the Office of Student Assessment by the middle of July.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Using tasks in Google Mail and Calendar to be more efficient

6/12/2013 Staff training

Lesson 1: Using Google Calendar (tasks):

Rule 1. Appointments are for times where you need to be physically present.
Rule 2. Tasks are for things that need to be done.

Watch this short tutorial and dive in. Ask for help at any time.

Need to be somewhere - appointment
Need to do something - task

Congratulations: You are now able to use Tasks on Google Calendar

Lesson 2: Using filters to automatically sort mail in Google Mail:

Watch this short tutorial and dive in. Ask for help at any time.

Congratulations: You can now use filters

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

Excerpts From Education Week article by Christina Samuels: Click here to read the full Education Week article which goes into much more depth on the changes

The fifth revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association, is the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental-health professionals in the United States and contains a listing of diagnostic criteria for every psychiatric disorder recognized by the U.S. health-care system. The most recent edition includes several definitional changes to disorders that are often seen in school contexts.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Definition: A pattern of behavior in multiple settings characterized by symptoms such as failure to pay close attention to details, difficulty organizing tasks and activities, fidgeting, excessive talking, and inability to stay seated.

What's Changed? “Several” symptoms must be present in more than one setting; symptoms must be present before age 12 instead of before age 7; examples have been included to illustrate the types of behaviors children, adolescents, and adults might experience.

Autism Spectrum Disorder
Definition: characterized by communication deficits, such as responding inappropriately in conversation; dependence on routines; high sensitivity to changes in environment; and intense focus on inappropriate items.

What's Changed? Four separate disorders, including Asperger’s syndrome and “pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified,” have been folded into a single umbrella disorder.

Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder
Definition: Children up to age 18 who exhibit persistent irritability and frequent episodes of extreme temper tantrums.

What's Changed? This disorder is new with the DSM-5 and is meant to address concerns about overdiagnosis and overtreatment of bipolar disorder in children.

Intellectual Disability
Definition: Impairment of general mental ability that affects adaptive functioning in three domains: conceptual (reading, writing, math, reasoning); social (empathy, judgment, interpersonal communications); and practical (money management, job responsibilities, personal care).

What's Changed? The term “mental retardation” has been removed; severity of impairment should be based on adaptive functioning and not IQ score alone.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder
Definition: An ongoing pattern of anger-guided disobedience, hostility, and defiant behavior toward authority.

What's Changed? The criteria explain how frequently the behaviors must occur to differentiate them from normal development in children; symptoms have been grouped into angry/irritable mood, argumentative/defiant behavior, and vindictiveness.

Social Communication Disorder
Definition: A persistent difficulty in social uses of verbal and nonverbal communication, such as greeting or exchanging information; following rules for conversation or storytelling, such as taking turns in conversation; and understanding what is not explicitly stated and nonliteral or ambiguous meanings of language.

What's Changed? The disorder is new to the DSM-5. It is meant to identify people who have some of the communication deficits associated with autism, but who do not have repetitive or restricted behavior patterns.

Specific Learning Disorder
Definition: Deficits that affect academic achievement in areas such as reading, writing or mathematical reasoning.

What's Changed? Specific diagnoses such as dyslexia or dyscalculia have been folded into this disorder. As part of the diagnosis, clinicians can provide greater detail as to the type of deficits present.

Source: American Psychiatric Association

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Nearly One-Third of Children With Autism Also Have ADHD

From Science Daily:

"In a study of the co-occurrence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in early school-age children (four to eight years old), researchers at the Kennedy Krieger Institute found that nearly one-third of children with ASD also have clinically significant ADHD symptoms."

"Published in Autism: The International Journal and Practice (Epub ahead of print), the study also found that children with both ASD and ADHD are significantly more impaired on measures of cognitive, social and adaptive functioning compared to children with ASD only."

Click here to go to article for more information on the study

Whether or not to study another language:

From USDE:
Maureen McLaughlin, senior advisor to Secretary Duncan and director of international affairs, asked me what advice I would give to U.S. students contemplating whether or not to study another language.
My suggestion? You absolutely should! For one, it’s fun, and beyond that, there are countless benefits. Here are my top five reasons for learning another language:
  1. Learn about new cultures and ideas. Language and culture are intertwined. Whatever language you choose to learn, it will always tell you something about the society in which it is spoken. Whether it’s through words whose meanings have evolved over time, popular sayings, or knowing cultural faux pas to avoid, you will learn more than just grammar and vocabulary.
  2. Better understand your own language. When you learn a new language, your natural reaction will probably be to compare it to your own. You’ll start to notice similarities and differences in mechanics and structure that will make you think more about your first language.
  3. Establish meaningful connections. Making an effort to speak to someone in his or her native language, even if you’re not the best at it, shows how interested you are in getting to know them. I’ve also learned that there is no better way to improve than to have a native speaker help you. They may not know that you’re familiar with their language at first glance, but when you make the effort, you might just get a really good tutor and a new friend. I did!
  4. Gain a professional advantage. Having foreign language skills can set you apart and give you an edge over the competition. Many sectors hire bilingual or multilingual candidates to avoid costly mistranslations, deliver services to non-English speakers more efficiently, and to gain access to documents unavailable in English. While researching the French Revolution for a class, I found so many intriguing sources–journals and letters–that weren’t in English. Familiarity with French allowed me to incorporate them in my work.
  5. Build resilience, confidence, and independence. Like all new things, learning languages can be daunting, but the challenges you face are part of the process that make it even more of an achievement! Knowing that you have the skills to navigate on your own and communicate effectively provides a sense of security and comfort even in an unfamiliar environment.
Be it personal or professional, learning another language is a truly meaningful experience with benefits that can last a lifetime.
Please click on this link to watch the full May 23 panel discussion.
Marianne Zape, an intern with ED’s International Affairs Office and a student at UC San Diego, speaks Tagalog, English and French.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

School Safety News From TRICOR

Click here to view this issue that covers the following topics:
· Heat Stress
· Bee, Wasp, Hornet, and Yellow Jacket Stings
· West Nile Virus
· Lyme Disease
· EMC Insurance Offers Free Online Training for Schools
· June is National Safety Month
Mary Schoettel, ARM
TRICOR Safety Consulting

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Educator Effectiveness News

From the DPI Educator Effectiveness Team:

You can access the newsletter at http://ee.dpi.wi.gov/files/ee/pdf/EE-NewsletterMay2013v1.pdf. Future issues will be archived and made available on our website. 

Inside this Issue:
     Update on Full Pilot training
     Free Demo of Teachscape
     Understanding Student/School Learning Objectives (SLOs)

Top 5 Ways to Prevent Rusty Summer Readers


With summer vacation started or on its way, as parents or guardians, it’s important to ensure that reading remains on your child’s schedule even while school is out. Reading over the summer is important not only because it improves literacy and language skills, but also because it prevents what has become known as the “summer slide”—a regression in reading ability.

Studies show that children who don’t read or who read rarely over the summer encounter a stagnation or decline in their reading skills.

With that in mind, here are five of the best ways to keep your child reading this summer:

Let your child choose what they want to read – or be read to – for 30 minutes each day. Children are much more likely to engage in material that interests them rather than materials that are forced on them.

Use language and reading opportunities throughout the day. Talk often with your child and point out reading materials wherever possible: on menus, magazines and newspapers, signs, brochures, maps, guidebooks, smartphones, ipads, etc.

Make daily reading a social event. Get the whole family to join in with their own books or take turns reading the same book aloud. Include telling stories as well.

Connect reading to other summer events. If you take your child to the zoo, think about reading a book about animals before and afterward. This will place your child’s reading within a larger context.

Make reading a lifestyle choice. Keep books all around the house to cultivate an atmosphere of reading, and set an example by reading yourself. Children need good models of reading books, magazines, or newspapers.
Posted by: Madison Killen is a student at the University of California Berkeley and an intern in ED’s Office of Communications and Outreach