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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.

2015-16 Budget: Update #5

We are finalizing the presentation of the Administration’s proposed preliminary budget for the 2015-2016 school year, which we will present the Board at the June 9th Board Meeting. In order to present a balanced budget, we are proposing a number of reductions that eliminate all flexibility in the budget but preserve all current positions and programs. We will also propose one addition to the budget -- support for the math and science curriculum selection process.

The difficult reality is that our costs go up from year-to-year but the funding we receive for each pupil largely remains the same. In addition, we are moving from budgeting practices that averaged salaries from year to year to budgeting actual, individual employee salaries. This provides a much clearer picture of our actual budget position but this coupled with no per-pupil revenue growth means our proposed budget for the 15-16 school year has very little room to add any new programming or offerings.

We are fortunate that we continue to project enrollment growth. This growth helps us maintain current positions and programs. The growth also means that we may need to add additional staff in accordance with our class size guidelines and this increases costs.

We are carefully monitoring K5 registrations at Atwater for next school year and 5th grade registrations at Lake Bluff to determine if sections will need to added. In our budget planning we projected the need to reduce a K5 section at Atwater based on current K4 enrollment and projected enrollment from other K4 programs in our area. Currently there are 42 K4 students at Atwater with a max K5 class size guideline of 25. We have some room to add students without a new section at this point but again we are monitoring this closely and will add a section if needed to maintain our class sizes within our guidelines.

There are currently 80 students in 4th grade at Lake Bluff with a max 5th grade class size guideline of 27. This provides for section enrollments of 26, 27, 27 in 5th grade. We are right at the maximum at this point, and again are monitoring the growth. Keep in mind that adding sections will also likely add open enrollment seats under current policy.

In the presentation of the proposed preliminary budget we are including impact statements on a number of budget proposals. These proposals came from teachers, administrators, and other staff. We evaluated the proposals based on how well each will support our main priorities of Build Community, Focus on Growth, and Transform Learning. The impact statements will provide additional detail about the budget proposals that best support our priority areas. We are presenting impact statements on a number of budget proposals that we know we do not have the resources to implement at this time, but think it is important to have the discussion about what we would like to implement if we had the resources. This process also provides a template for what the Board might consider adding later should the revenue picture change.

The final budget for the 15-16 school year is approved in the fall when we have a better picture of actual enrollment and an approved State budget.

Posted by kwatson on Monday June 8, 2015
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Update on the SIS Principal Finalists

The four finalists for the Shorewood Intermediate School Principal position are as follows:

Andre T. Bennett
Susan Climer
Aaron William Hilts
Michael D. Joynt

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The schedule for these candidates on June 2 & 4 is below.

Michael Joynt, June 2 & Susan Climer, June 4 (8:30-11:30 a.m.)

8:30 a.m.: Tour school with Interim Principal Kevin Gemignani and meet staff
9:30 a.m.: Visit classrooms
10 a.m.: Meet with District Office administrators
10:30 a.m.: Meet with SIS Student Panel
11:05 a.m.: Meet with teachers

Andre T. Bennett, June 2 & Aaron Hilts, June 4 (12-3 p.m.)

12 p.m.: Tour school with Interim Principal Kevin Gemignani and meet staff
1 p.m.: Meet with assigned teachers
1:30 p.m.: Visit classrooms
2 p.m.: Meet with SIS Student Panel
2:30 p.m.: Meet with District Office administrators

5:45-6:45 p.m. (both nights): Community Input Session– SIS Commons

Finalists will introduce themselves, share their background related to the position, and respond to a set a pre-selected questions. Participants will be able to submit questions in writing--which the facilitator will group based on recurring themes--and ask the question of each finalist.

Posted by kwatson on Monday June 1, 2015
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Update #5 on Superintendent Search

The search for a new Shorewood Superintendent is rapidly coming to a close. We should have a decision on the new school district leader in the next 10 days! The pace of the search process tends to accelerate in the last few weeks, and this year it overlaps with so much else going on in the school community—the SIS Principal search, the many important end-of-year activities and rituals, and more. All of this makes for a busy and exciting close to the school year. We have never had something quite like this, when we welcome a new superintendent and two new principals at about the same time. Everyone is eager to welcome, to work with and to support our new school leaders.

There were 51 candidates who expressed interest in our superintendent role. The search firm researched and reviewed all the candidates and selected eight for the School Board to consider for preliminary interviews. The Board then chose six candidates to invite for preliminary interviews; those interviews were held last week. Following these, the Board has chosen three candidates as finalists.

The three finalist candidates will each spend a day in our schools this week. The day will be very busy for the finalists as there are individual and group meetings with the administrative team, tours of each school, a community forum, and a final interview with the School Board. The three finalists, their current roles, and their planned day to visit are:

Dr. Dennis Pauli Superintendent, Edgerton, WI Tuesday, June 2

Dr. Bryan Davis Superintendent, Columbus, WI Wednesday, June 3

Dr. Kurt Schneider Asst. Supt. for Learning, District 181 Hinsdale, IL Thursday, June 4

A community forum is scheduled from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. each day in the SHS Library. The forum is designed for each finalist to introduce himself and respond to a series of questions to help community members get a sense of which candidate is the best fit for Shorewood. The questions have been developed from the Profile of the New Shorewood Superintendent and from information provided by the Community Survey, the eight focus groups, and discussions with administrators and School Board members. Dr. Jack Linehan, the search consultant and retired Shorewood Superintendent, will facilitate a question/answer session; Jack will ask the same questions of each candidate to sustain a fair and equitable setting.

Community members may email topics or questions to be considered, but please note that not all topics can be covered or in the detail that some may prefer. Dr. Linehan’s email address is: jacklinehan@sbcglobal.net He should receive those topics/questions by 3 p.m. on Tuesday, June 2nd if they wish to be included in the first and subsequent forums.

Community members will be able to communicate their observations about each candidate by use of a feedback form that will be available at each forum session, collected and shared with the School Board.

The next Superintendent Update to the community will likely introduce our new superintendent to you!

Posted by kwatson on Monday June 1, 2015
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Shorewood School District Superintendent & SIS Principal Hiring Updates

Dear Shorewood Schools Community Members,

In our efforts to keep you informed regarding important hiring updates, below we have listed the upcoming schedules for both the Superintendent Finalist Visits and the SIS Principal Finalist Visits. Due to the amount of activities and events being held throughout the District during the last week of school, we wanted to avoid hosting any community input sessions during this time. In addition, we also wanted to make sure that we scheduled our community input sessions in advance of Whitefish Bay beginning their search for a new Superintendent.

Therefore, we determined that the visits for the SIS Principal finalists will be scheduled on June 2 and 4 and Superintendent finalists will be scheduled on June 2, 3, and 4. We understand that hosting the community forums on the same day might be inconvenient for some, but we feel this is the best solution under the circumstances. The timing for both forums is such that community members who are interested in attending both will be able to move from the SHS Library to the SIS Commons each evening, with time to spare.

Community Forums for the Superintendent Finalists

June 2-4, 2015
Three Finalists

The Superintendent finalists will spend much of the day in our schools, meeting with our school leaders and getting tours of our buildings prior to the community forums. Each candidate will finish the day with a second interview with the School Board.

4:30-5:30 p.m.: Parent and Community Session – SHS Library

The candidate will introduce himself/herself, and the search firm will facilitate a series of pre-set questions. Community members in attendance will be able to communicate with School Board members in regards to candidates via a feedback form that will be provided.

SIS Principal Finalist Site Visits

June 2 and 4, 2015 (Final times may vary)
Four Finalists

The SIS Principal Interview Panel identified four finalists. Each finalist will visit SIS for a half-day meeting with Mr. Gemignani, teachers, students, and District Office administrators. On the evenings of June 2 and 4, we will have two of the four finalists join us for the parent and community input session using a panel discussion format.

Candidates 1 and 3 (8:30-11:30 a.m.)

8:30 a.m.: Tour school with Interim Principal Kevin Gemignani and meet staff

9:30 a.m.: Visit classrooms

10 a.m.: Meet with District Office administrators

10:30 a.m.: Meet with SIS Student Panel

11:05 a.m.: Meet with teachers

Candidates 2 and 4 (12-3 p.m.)

12 p.m.: Tour school with Interim Principal Kevin Gemignani and meet staff

1 p.m.: Meet with assigned teachers

1:30 p.m.: Visit classrooms

2 p.m.: Meet with SIS Student Panel

2:30 p.m.: Meet with District Office administrators

5:45-6:45 p.m. (both nights): Community Input Session– SIS Commons

Finalists will introduce themselves, share their background related to the position, and respond to a set a pre-selected questions. Participants will be able to submit questions in writing--which the facilitator will group based on recurring themes--and ask the question of each finalist.

Thank you in advance for your participation in this process. We are extremely excited about the prospects.

Posted by kwatson on Friday May 29, 2015
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Giving Makes a Difference

Giving can make a big difference in expanding learning opportunities for students in Shorewood Schools. The Shorewood SEED (Supporters of Excellence in Education Development) Foundation has helped raise over $200,000 annually to help fund projects, grants, and other various monetary needs of the Shorewood School District since 2003.

Bullying Prevention Unit

During the 2013-2014 school year, SEED fully funded a $2,449 grant request from elementary school counselors Julia Nash (Atwater) and Meghan Markham (Lake Bluff) to purchase a Bullying Prevention Unit, which was implemented into the curriculum in Kindergarten through 5th grade. Julia and Meghan discuss the importance of informing and empowering students in the face of conflict.

1.) What exactly is the Bullying Prevention unit?

The Bullying Prevention Unit is a 5K-5th grade curriculum designed by The Committee for Children. The bullying units are broken into four different lessons (with the opportunity for booster lessons to continue the discussions). The four lessons are focused on: recognizing bullying, reporting bullying, refusing bullying, and bystander power. Each grade level has its own video series with realistic examples of what bullying can look like, how to refuse bullying, and how to make it stop.

As school counselors, we were also inspired to make positive changes in our students’ lives. We want our students to be able to conquer any social or emotional dilemma that may occur. We want ALL students to feel empowered that their voice and their actions can help their peers. If they don't feel comfortable about how another student is being treated, they can report the bullying or step in and help stop it.

2.) What inspired you to write the SEED grant?

We saw bullying prevention as an area that was still confusing to students. Many students did not understand that conflict and bullying were different things and handled in different ways. The Bullying Prevention curriculum clarifies that in a way that is easy for students to understand, even K5 students! It also empowers the bystanders to do SOMETHING. The curriculum shows that by ignoring the situation, laughing, or joining in makes the situation worse and gives examples of what bystanders can do instead to support the one hurt.

3.) How was this unit incorporated into the regular curriculum?

This curriculum is designed to be taught in addition to our social/emotional lessons that we focus on throughout the school year in guidance classes.

4.) How has Bullying Prevention expanded students' learning experiences?

Students really enjoyed these lessons! They were able to make connections to the videos, it generated great class discussions, and it empowered our students to empathize with others at all times, but especially those times of challenging situations.

5.) Were you optimistic that the grant proposal was going to be chosen for fulfillment?

We certainly hoped that we would receive the funding for it since the number of students impacted by this curriculum would be all students at both elementary schools.

6.) Why do you think philanthropy is important for Shorewood Schools?

Philanthropy is important for any school and student because it provides an experience where you feel a real purpose in helping others. Students learn empathy and compassion by participating, build a greater sense of community, and collaborate to achieve a common goal.
Posted by kwatson on Wednesday May 27, 2015
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Update #4 on Superintendent Search

The search for the new Shorewood Superintendent is reaching the exciting and all important interview stage. This past week, the search consultants selected a small list of highly qualified candidates who best matched the Profile of the New Shorewood Superintendent. The search attracted 50 applicants, and the School Board chose a slate of seven applicants for preliminary interviews in the coming week. The seven educational leaders are a mix of current superintendents, directors of instruction, and a principal, all from an interesting mix of school communities. The task before the School Board is now to determine which one of the candidates is the best fit for Shorewood.

The preliminary interviews next week will provide the School Board an opportunity to learn more about the candidates and their unique qualities that match what we believe district leadership requires in Shorewood at this time. Candidates are also eager to learn more about Shorewood and the unique challenges and opportunities in our school community. Remember, these are two-way interviews; candidates are looking for the just-right fit too and the best qualified among them have multiple job options. An important reminder: the candidates are promised confidentiality during this phase of the process. It would be imprudent, even harmful to the process and to the reputation of the school district, should any of the names of candidates be made public during the early phase.

The culmination of the interview process will occur in early June when three finalist candidates will be invited to spend much of a day in the Shorewood schools. Each candidate will have a day when she/he will have lunch with the administrative team, tour each school (led by the principal), as well as spend some time with the Recreation Department and the District Finance leaders. There are plans to have each candidate meet an audience of parents, faculty, students, and citizens in a forum-presentation format later in the afternoon. Each candidate will make some introductory remarks followed by a facilitated question session. The forums provide an opportunity for a wider audience to meet the candidate in a group setting, to gain a sense of personal qualities and how each could help lead the Shorewood Schools in the next many years. Those attending the forums will have the opportunity to provide their observations to the School Board through a feedback form that will be shared with Board members.

The search is progressing as planned. The School Board is expected to name a new superintendent in mid-June with an anticipated start in late July/early August.

Posted by kwatson on Friday May 22, 2015
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2015-16 Budget & Leadership Transition: Update #4

May 18, 2015

This communication is a continuation of our updates to keep staff and parents informed about the 2015-16 budget planning process and upcoming leadership transitions. This communication will focus on the process of hiring the next SIS principal given that communication regarding the superintendent search is now being updated separately.

2015-2016 Budget

We continue to monitor developments at the state level regarding education funding for the next two years. We are currently hearing that effort is being made to restore the $150 per student cut that was proposed in the Governor’s budget. If this occurs, it will benefit all children in the state, and it will allow us to consider some additions to our budget that we feel will benefit the children of Shorewood.

We are currently preparing to present our “Proposed Preliminary Budget” to the School Board on June 9, 2015. At this meeting, we will update the Board on developments in state funding and present our recommendations for the 2015-16 budget. Any changes we are recommending--and some we are still considering--for the final budget will be accompanied by what we call a Fiscal Impact Statement. These statements will provide the Board and community with more programmatic and fiscal details about what we are proposing to reduce or add to our budget.

On June 9, the Board will consider the administration’s proposed preliminary budget and discuss any recommend changes. At this meeting, we will also be asking the Board to approve the proposed preliminary budget or approve a continuing resolution if we need to further revise the budget recommendations. Approval of a continuing resolution provides the administration with spending authority in the absence of an approved budget. The District’s fiscal year ends on June 30.

Please keep in mind that action to approve the proposed preliminary budget on June 9 is not the end of the budget planning process. The final version of the budget will change based on actual enrollment in September. The final budget is approved at the annual meeting that will take place on August 25, 2015.

SIS Principal Selection Process

The SIS interview panel reviewed 21 paper applications from individuals with administrative and leadership experience in middle schools, and narrowed the pool down to six individuals. These six candidates were recently asked to respond to written questions, and the interview panel members are currently reviewing these responses.

Our six candidates will visit Shorewood next week to participate in face-to-face interviews. The interview panel will then narrow the pool down to three finalists. The finalists will each spend a day in Shorewood visiting SIS, meeting with teachers, parents, and students, engaging with district leadership, and speaking with parents and community members in the evening. Our finalists will come to Shorewood on either May 26, 27, or 28. Staff, parents, and community members will have an opportunity to provide feedback on each of our finalists to the interview panel during these days.

Posted by kwatson on Monday May 18, 2015
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Update #3 on Superintendent Search

May 15, 2015

The School Board approved the Profile of the New Shorewood Superintendent at its meeting on Tuesday evening, May 12. The Profile is the product generated from the dozens of focus group conversations, the 232 survey responses, and the numerous interviews with members of the school community over the past three weeks. The search consultants will use the Profile to select those candidates invited to meet the School Board for initial interviews, and Board members will use it as a guide throughout the selection process. We acknowledge that the Profile is a description of the “ideal” candidate and sets an impossibly high standard. Still, we aspire to find the very best match for our school community, and the Profile is an honest reflection of what our parents, administrators, faculty, and students have told us that we need. You may view the Profile and the community survey summaries below.

Profile of the New Shorewood Superintendent

Community Survey Summaries

We have received applications from 40 candidates and anticipate several more before the position closes on May 18. The consultants continue to recruit, inform, review, and interview candidates.

A slate of six candidates will be brought to the School Board for their approval the week of May 18. Interviews of the six candidates will be the week of May 25. The names of these six candidates will be confidential; to violate the expectation of confidentiality would greatly diminish our pool of candidates and likely guarantee that no successful school leader would apply to a school district that would leak her/his applicant status.

The names of the finalists will be made public (expected to be the week of June 1). These three finalists will each spend most of a full day in the school community, meeting faculty, parents, and administrators, and there will be a second interview with the School Board to close the day. We will announce the dates of these visits and interviews when we have narrowed our search to the three finalists.

We are roughly three weeks away from meeting our new Shorewood Superintendent!

Posted by kwatson on Friday May 15, 2015 at 01:21PM
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Update #2 on Superintendent Search

May 8, 2015

The emphasis with the superintendent search this week has been to listen to representatives of the many groups who are closely connected to the Shorewood School District—parents, faculty, administrators, students, support staff and School Board members. Focus groups and interviews were held with 80 people to learn about contemporary school issues and to seek input regarding the priority qualities we need the new superintendent to possess. Conversations were wide-ranging, forthright, and extremely helpful. Participants described the leadership qualities they felt were essential in the new leader, and from these descriptions, themes emerged that will be helpful as the School Board refines the Superintendent Profile in the coming week.

The focus group feedback will be added to data from the District survey to form the basis of a School Board discussion that will lead to development of the Superintendent Profile. All told, we anticipate that several hundred people will have contributed to the development of the Profile. The Profile is a one-page document featuring the priority qualities we are seeking in the new superintendent and it will serve as a benchmark to select the finalist candidates best matched to Shorewood.

We currently have 27 applicants to date and will continue to accept applications as well as assertively recruit high quality candidates for another 10 days. We have applicants from 5 different states who are currently holding a variety of school leadership roles—superintendent, principal or district director of instruction—in an interesting mix of school districts. It is exciting to imagine that our new superintendent is among them.

More information will be shared as new developments are made.

Posted by kwatson on Friday May 8, 2015
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Update #1 on Superintendent Search

The search for a new Shorewood School District Superintendent got off to a fast start. The School Board selected SCHOOL EXEC CONNECT from among four school leadership search firms who had submitted proposals. Within 24 hours of the job being posted, recruiting contacts were being made. The Shorewood Superintendent position is currently posted on websites, which are constantly monitored by superintendents and aspiring superintendents in the region and nationwide. As of April 29, there were already 16 applicants from three states. The job will remain open, and applicant recruitment and screening will continue through May 18th. The search is being led by Dr. Jack Linehan, retired Shorewood Superintendent, and by Dr. Pat Greco, current Superintendent in Menomonee Falls.

The next phase of the process involves collecting recommendations from the Shorewood Schools community on the top qualities the next superintendent should possess, called the Superintendent Profile. This Profile will be developed with three major sources of information: first, by a survey that went out to all Shorewood staff, families and citizens connected through the District website as well as Village officials; second, by several focus groups facilitated by SCHOOL EXEC CONNECT to include representatives from the district faculty from each building, support staff, administrators, parents from each building, and SHS students; and finally, with the School Board itself as the members review the recommendations from the survey and the focus groups and refine the qualities to a small, prioritized list. The new Superintendent Profile will be completed on May 12th and will guide the screening of candidates, the selection of finalists, and the choice of the new district leader.

It is important to note that names of the candidates in the early phases of the search will be held in confidence by the search firm consultants and by School Board members. This is a practical matter, as high quality candidates will not apply to a district where their names will be leaked to the detriment of their current work. The names of the finalists—the last three candidates—will be announced just before the final interview sessions in early June.

We will provide a weekly update on the superintendent search process on this blog We are hopeful that those who received the survey will complete it before the deadline of May 8th and submit their responses and comments. The search firm collects the data for the board to review and fold into their consideration in refining the Profile. The survey data will be summarized in a future column for community members to see how their neighbors responded.

Posted by kwatson on Friday May 1, 2015
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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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