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District Blog

This is the official online blog for the Shorewood School District. All content is created and published by Shorewood School District staff. The purpose of the District blog is to disseminate important information to the public in a timely and accurate way. The blog does not publish public comments, but does invite site visitors to submit comments, which are sent by email to District staff. Comments provide the District and the School Board with important feedback from community members regarding the blog posts, and then District staff respond as necessary to the feedback received. While all submitted comments are reviewed, the District does not reply to every comment that is submitted. Thank you for reading our blog.

SHS Welcomes New Baseball Coach

Shorewood High School (SHS) and the Shorewood Athletic Department are excited to welcome Josh Lemke as the SHS head varsity baseball coach. Lemke is currently serving his second year as an assistant baseball coach for Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). Prior to coaching at MSOE, Lemke was the pitching coach at Wisconsin Lutheran College.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to lead the baseball program in Shorewood,” Lemke said. “I’m excited to start practice and meet all of the student-athletes, while coaching the game I love.”

Before coaching, Lemke played at Manitowoc Lutheran High School, where he was awarded all-conference honors as a shortstop his junior year. In 2009, he graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran College with a Bachelor’s Degree in psychology. He also earned the Presidential Scholarship for Academics, and was a member of Residence Life, Judicial Board and the Concert Choir, in addition to playing on the baseball team and being involved in several intramural sports.

Besides coaching, Lemke also currently plays on the Brookfield Bulldogs, Land-O-Lakes Grand Champions in 2011 and 2012. He also has played on the Milwaukee Braves, where he was the Milwaukee Baseball League ERA Champ in 2011, and now plays for the Mud Hens, a part of the Rock League.

“Josh brings an unique mix of playing and coaching experience to Shorewood.  His past work should transition well to teaching our student-athletes different aspects of the game,” Shorewood Athletic Director LeVar Ridgeway said. 

Posted by on Wednesday April 23, 2014 at 11:00PM
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SHS Again Ranks Among Best in State, Nation

U.S. News and World Report again ranked Shorewood High School among the top ten high schools in Wisconsin in its most recent rankings, which were released yesterday. In 2013, SHS was the top ranked high school in the state; this year, it is number eight in Wisconsin, and among the top 5% of high schools nationwide. 

A large part of the change from 2013 is seen in the high school’s College-Ready Student Performance Index.  AP or IB exam participation rates and the percentage of students passing at least one exam determined the rating for this index, as well as the medal (gold, silver or bronze) awarded to top-performing schools. (This year, Shorewood was named a silver medal school.)   

In the 2013 rankings, Shorewood High School’s college readiness index was 46.6 (223 students took an AP exam during the 10-11 school year, which was used to determine last year’s ranking); this year, it fell to 34.8 (182 students took an AP exam during the 11-12 school year, which was used to determine this year’s rankings).  However, according to state data from the 12-13 school year, the number of students taking AP exams has rebounded, with 282 students taking an AP exam last school year.

The data used to develop this year’s ranking includes bright spots for SHS, however.  According to the data used to generate last year’s list, for example, 66% of typically underperforming student subgroups at the high school scored advanced or proficient on WKCE exams; according to the data used to generate this year’s list, that number increased to 75.5%. Additionally, Shorewood’s test score gap between typically disadvantaged students and other students was in the top half of the schools that made up the state’s top-ten, even though Shorewood has larger minority and economically disadvantaged student populations than some of the higher ranked schools on the list. 

To develop its rankings, U.S. News and World Report examined data from 19,400 high schools in all 50 states and in Washington, D.C. American Institutes for Research worked with U.S. News to create high school rankings in “three phases.” The rankings include participation and performance on Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams, performance of black, Hispanic and economically disadvantaged students, and overall performance on state standardized tests.

Click here for additional information about how the rankings are calculated.

Posted by on Wednesday April 23, 2014 at 07:56PM
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D2D Information

In 2007, the District began a project a called D2D, which was a fundraising initiative to build a new athletic field and bleachers at SHS.  The project cost the District roughly $4.1 million, with approximately $3.3 million funded by private donations. 
 
The District paid the $800,000 difference using money from its fund balance. (The District’s fund balance, which is similar to a savings account, is roughly $4 million, or approximately 15% of its annual budget.)
 
Originally, the District intended to contribute just a small portion, about $200,000, to the project. However, due to unexpected change orders as well a shortfall in the amount of expected donations received (D2D began wrapping up when the 2008 recession began), the District had to contribute the additional funds to complete the project.
 
Although the field was finished a few years ago, the District recently reviewed internal accounting measures to ensure that all of its financials, in relation to the D2D project, are in line with current state statues and regulations; there are no outstanding D2D expenditures (all construction costs have been paid), and our students and staff will not be negatively impacted.
 
Moving forward, some members of the D2D committee, along with current Athletic Director LeVar Ridgeway, would like to regroup and continue fundraising to help fund the previous project and to complete the next phase of the project as well.
 
If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact the District directly. 
Posted by on Sunday April 20, 2014 at 11:00PM
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Break of Reality Concert to Benefit Shorewood Orchestra

On Friday, May 16, at 7 p.m. the cello rock quartet Break of Reality will be performing locally, with proceeds benefiting the Shorewood High School orchestra program. The performance, which is open to the public, will be held at Homestead High School in Mequon and will be free, although a $5 donation is suggested. The band will also host a workshop with students at SHS earlier in the day. 

The show is part of Break of Reality's Music Education Tour (funded by donations raised on the website Kickstarter) which aims to provide educational workshops and performances at public schools around the nation. The visits are completely free for all schools, and proceeds raised at the performance will be used to benefit the schools' music programs. 

"We learned to play our instruments through public school programs," Ivan Trevino, a founding member of Break of Reality says. "If it weren't for these music programs, I don't think Break of Reality would exist today." 

According to Time Out New York, Break of Reality puts the classical in classic rock, with its heavy, exotic original compositions and instrumental arrangements of hard-rock standards. Click here to view a clip of Break of Reality performing the theme of the hit HBO series "Game of Thrones." 

For more information, visit the Break of Reality website

Posted by on Thursday April 10, 2014 at 04:04PM
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RED Coalition to Sponsor Play

On April 24 at 7 p.m. the RED coalition made up of local parents, mental health experts, educators, and faith leaders, along with the interfaith sub group, several North Shore Congregations and Younglife, are sponsoring the play "Pieces," at Whitefish Bay High School. There will be tables with local resources set up before the show and a talk back after the production. Please click here for additional information

In addition, Shorewood students in grades 7 -12 will be viewing a 30 minute student version of this performance (with a 30 minute talk back) in the high school auditorium on the morning of Thursday, May 22nd. 

Posted by on Monday April 7, 2014 at 11:00PM
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Robert Shaw Alumni Scholarship Winners Announced

Shorewood High School and the Shaw Scholarship Trustees are proud to announce the winners of this year’s Robert Shaw Alumni Scholarship:  SHS seniors Caitlin Baltus, Santidra Love and Signe Bedi.

Each winner will receive $6,000 per year for four years, paid in increments of $3,000 per semester, to use for his/her post-secondary education. To renew their awards for the next three years of college or university study, winners must maintain a B (3.0) grade point average per semester, remain a full-time student in good standing and complete the equivalent of 24 credits per year.

“We are so lucky to live in a community that supports and values post-secondary education for its students,” SHS Principal Tim Kenney said. “The high school and the entire District are extremely thankful to the Shaw family for their continued support.”

The Shaw Scholarship is awarded to three SHS seniors annually. Winners are chosen by four SHS graduates who do not have any connection to students currently attending the high school. Applicants are evaluated based on scholarship, leadership, service, character and financial need. The scholarship is funded by a donation made to SHS from Robert Shaw, a 1935 graduate of Shorewood High School, and has been awarded to seniors since 1998. 

Posted by on Sunday April 6, 2014 at 11:00PM
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Atwater Principal Update

Ms. Kayla Russick is currently serving as Atwater's interim principal. Ms. Russick was hired in September 2013 on an interim basis to give Tim Kenney, previous Atwater principal, the opportunity to serve as the high school principal, while still providing him with the option to return to Atwater if the high school was not a good fit.

However, as Mr. Kenney announced in late February, he has decided to stay at SHS, and the School Board recently approved a contract for him in that role.

When the District filled the Atwater interim principal position, it committed to opening a search for a permanent principal if needed. The District has now begun that hiring process.

School Board members will consider the approval of the Atwater principal hiring process and timeline during their meeting on April 8.  The hiring process to identify a highly qualified and experienced individual to fill this role will be inclusive and driven by consensus.  The interview panel will be made up of the same individuals that served on the interim principal hiring panel last summer, and will include teachers, parents, administrators, and community members.  (The process and timeline will be posted on the District's BoardBooks website within the coming days.)

Administrators on the panel will screen paper applications before presenting these applicants to the interview panel.  The panel will evaluate these applications using a set of attributes and, from this process, identify applicants for interviews.  Following interviews and ranking of applicants, two finalists will be presented to the members of the Atwater community, who will then be given an opportunity to ask questions and provide input.  The interview panels will use a consensus process to identify top candidates, discuss results of interviews, review community feedback, and make a final recommendation.

The attributes the District is seeking in the new Atwater principal include someone who can build a caring school community, understands elementary-level learners, demonstrates instructional and collaborative leadership, provides effective management of student behavior, communicates effectively, is visible and engaged, and understands Shorewood and the school District.

Given that the District has received nearly 100 applications for the position at this point, the administration is confident that Shorewood will find several highly qualified individuals who match the attributes, anyone of whom could be the next Atwater principal.  The interview panel will have a good problem to solve in finding the individual that is highly qualified, experienced, and the right fit for Shorewood.

Posted by on Thursday April 3, 2014 at 04:03PM
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Weekly Wednesday Blog

Each Wednesday, when students are dismissed an hour early, teachers and instructional staff members hold professional development (PD) sessions. (You can read about some of their work in previous blog entries.) However, instructional staff members aren’t the only ones in the District that receive professional development. Recently, on a Wednesday early release day, the District secretaries met for a PD session. 

During their meeting, the secretaries reviewed and discussed new payroll practices and forms, received an overview of electronic collection of student fees (which will be in place when the 2014-2015 school year gets underway in September), and also held round table discussions. During the discussions, the secretaries had a peer-to-peer question and answer session to compare notes on certain issues, while reviewing how each school, building or department handles common problems. Finally, they wrapped up the meeting with a Skyward refresher. (Skyward is the District’s financial management system.)

Below is a photo of the secretaries during their round-table discussion. 

Posted by on Thursday April 3, 2014 at 10:23AM
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Former District Secretary Sentenced

Former Shorewood School District secretary Donna Sternke was sentenced today for embezzling more than $300,000 in federal special education money from the Shorewood School District between 1998 and 2011. Ms. Sternke entered a guilty plea during at her court hearing, and was sentenced to 12 months and 1 day in federal prison followed by two years of supervised probation. (Ms. Sternke will self-report on May 1 to begin serving her sentence.)

The judge ordered financial Restitution for the full amount that was embezzled, to be paid back to the District over an undetermined amount of time.

Prior to Thursday’s sentencing hearing, Shorewood Superintendent Dr. Marty Lexmond presented the court with a letter outlining all of the ways the embezzlement has negatively impacted the District.

The District became aware of the embezzlement during the summer of 2011 when Shorewood’s former Special Education Director Anthony Strancke found gift cards from the Kalahari Resort, which Ms. Sternke, his secretary at the time, had purchased using District money, but was planning to redeem for personal use.

After the District became aware of the situation, Ms. Sternke agreed to give restitution for the gift cards and resigned, denying any further indiscretions. However, the District tracked Ms. Sternke’s purchases and found fraudulent purchases dating back to 1998.

Once the District’s administration became aware of the extent of the situation, the case was turned over to the Shorewood Police Department and federal officials.

The District worked with three independent auditing companies between 1998 and 2011. During this time, each company performed an annual audit of the District’s financial accounts, including the funds Ms. Sternke embezzled from, but did not find anything suspicious, as Ms. Sternke created false invoices and receipts that were very convincing.

Since Shorewood discovered the embezzlement, the District has taken steps to ensure that this type of situation does not occur in the future.

For example, when filling out purchase orders, teachers are now required to fill out additional documentation and a second step was added to the purchasing approval process for the Special Education Director.  Additionally, the Business Office has added a procedure for staff attending professional conferences: all approvals must go through the Administration, who are now instructed to verify that the employee has an approved absence request on file for the dates of the conference, along with verification of the authenticity of the conference.

“The entire Shorewood community can be proud of the work our students, staff and teachers do every day,” Lexmond said. “I am confident in our ability to provide quality programs for our entire community well into the future.”  

 

 

Posted by on Wednesday April 2, 2014 at 11:00PM
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Volunteers Needed for Yard Clean up Day

Saturday, May 3, is the annual Spring “Shorewood Connects” Yard Clean-Up Day, linking neighborhood volunteers with older and disabled adults who need help getting their yards ready for Spring.  Volunteers are needed between 9:00 a.m. and 12 p.m. to clean out garden beds, pick up lawn debris and rake leaves at the homes of older and disabled adults for whom these tasks would prove difficult. 

Shorewood’s participation in this semi-annual inter-generational event is one of the many reasons that the Village of Shorewood has been designated as one of MetLife Foundation/Generations United America’s Best Intergenerational Communities.  This prestigious award went to only four communities throughout the United States. 

The sponsoring organization of the clean-up day is Shorewood Connects, which seeks to improve the ability of older adults to live in and contribute to the community.   Last year Spring this event included over 60 volunteers; organizers are hoping to recruit 85 volunteers this year to meet an increasing demand for services.            

For students, this is a great opportunity to make a difference in the Shorewood Community with other students, SHS athletic teams and SHS clubs.  This volunteer activity also satisfies National Honor Society (NHS) recognition under “Helping Older Adults” and “Working with the Environment.”      

Students, staff and village residents interested in volunteering are asked to pre-register with Michelle Boehm, Shorewood Connects Yard Clean Up Coordinator by April 28 at (414) 698-4369 or michelle.boehm@sbcglobal.net.

Older and disabled adults seeking more information about yard clean-up should contact Elizabeth Price of the Shorewood Senior Resource Center (414) 847-2727 or src@villageofshorewood.org.   

Posted by on Monday March 24, 2014 at 10:18AM
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District Calendar

    • MonDec25 Winter Break
    • TueDec26 Winter Break
    • WedDec27 Winter Break
    • ThuDec28 Winter Break
    • FriDec29 Winter Break
    • MonJan15 Special Education Info Session 6:00 PMSHS Library

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