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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.

Call for Nominations: Shorewood's "Tradition of Excellence Award"


Since opening its doors in 1925, Shorewood High School has been engaged in the serious business of preparing students for life-long learning and for personal and professional achievement. Though it would be impossible to honor all of the achievements and contributions of the 11,000 students who have graduated from Shorewood, the District honors a limited number each year in the "Tradition of Excellence Awards" program. In recognizing these select few, the Shorewood School District celebrates their outstanding individual achievements which symbolically honors the collective contributions of the many Shorewood graduates who make an impact on their community.

Established in the year 2000, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Village of Shorewood, the Tradition of Excellence Awards are bestowed upon those who have distinguished themselves in community and public service; science, engineering, and technology; medicine and public health; the arts and humanities; business; government and political service; education; military service; philanthropy; and other professions committed to serving others. In order to be eligible, candidates must be graduates of Shorewood School High School or former faculty of Shorewood School District.

Award recipients are invited to the Shorewood High School campus for a special ceremony, where they are honored by the Shorewood School community with a special day of activities, opportunities to engage with students, an honorary plaque, and permanent recognition through our Tradition of Excellence Awards display. Awardees are selected by the Tradition of Excellence Awards Planning Committee. Past honorees can be seen here.

The "Tradition of Excellence Awards" were originally envisioned by the Shorewood "Silver Greyhounds" and are supported by the Tradition of Excellence Planning Committee.

Anyone who wishes to nominate a candidate for current or future Tradition of Excellence Award recognition should complete the online form here.

For more information about the program, including opportunities to support the "Tradition of Excellence Awards" program through a tax-deductible donation, contact Ted Knight attknight@shorewood.k12.wi.us.

Posted by kwatson on Thursday April 30, 2015
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2015-16 Budget & Curriculum: Update #3

Budget and Curriculum Update 3

April 27, 2015

Dear Shorewood Schools Community,

This communication is part of a regular effort to keep our school community informed on the development of the 15-16 school budget, transition activities related to leadership changes, and ongoing work to on our curriculum and learning initiatives. We will continue to provide weekly updates as our progress unfolds.

15-16 Budget Progress

As our last budget update indicated, we continue to project a $388,000 budget deficit for the 2015-2016 school year. This is a result of a reduction in state funding. However, there are ongoing efforts in Madison to restore this funding which may change our budget projection.

Because of the unknowns, we continue to plan for a balanced budget while simultaneously carefully evaluating budget proposals for items we would like to add next year. Budget proposals have come from teachers, principals, district staff, and from the “Budget Priority Survey” parents and teachers participated in last year. Examples of some of the budget proposals we are still evaluating include adding world language in third grade, support for Expeditionary Learning, complete staffing of our intervention/enrichment positions, and others. You can review the entire list of proposals here.

The various budget proposals are evaluated on a two-step process by our administrative team that includes principals, directors, managers and the superintendent. First, each proposal is placed in a Tier 1, Tier 2, or Tier 3 based on that proposal's likely impact on student learning. Tier 1 is direct impact on learning such as adding a core teacher to lower class size. Tier 2 includes things that support learning but may not have direct impact. This includes professional development of Expeditionary Learning as an example. Tier 3 includes items that are operational and further from the classroom. Then, each budget proposal is further evaluated using our top priorities of Build Community, Focus on Growth, and Transform Learning. Each budget proposal is evaluated against these priorities getting a score of 1 (best), 5, or 10 (lowest). The scores tell us how well that budget proposal will help us meet the priority. The priority area scores are then weighted using the tiers to give us a prioritized list of budget items we would propose adding as the revenue outlook changes. The list of prioritized budget proposals will be shared with the Board on Tuesday, April 28, and will be available to the public through BoardBooks.

The state funding picture may change and allow us to add some more of our prioritized items. The matching grant for STEM/STEAM and Expeditionary Learning may as well. Please look for additional updates as we learn more.

Finally, we are aware of some community conversations about the size of the district administrative team and concern that it has recently increased dramatically. I want to share the facts about the makeup of our administrative and management team and also share my perspective on this growth. (An “*” below identifies a manager level position; shaded rows identify administrative positions.)


Based on this table, we have approximately 2.0 FTE more in administration today than in 2011, one of which is the very unique position of Chief Advancement Officer. Without that unique position, growth of 1.0 FTE in administration based on student enrollment growth is not unusual.

We have also added 2.0 FTE in manager positions. Our athletic director is now full-time and the accountant in our business office is also now full-time, both important investments in our athletic programming and our business operations.

In sum, the district’s growth in administrative and manager positions is small and reasonable. Further, all administrators and managers now work together as a team which fosters better collaboration, coordination, and teamwork.


Curriculum and Learning Initiatives

We continue to move forward with our STEAM/STEM Initiative. Ted Knight is hard at work to raise the $500,000 to secure the matching grant. Our planning team is also participating in a Skype meeting with professors at NYU who are developing a Science of Smart Cities curriculum. It may become part of our STEAM/STEM education model. You can learn more about this effort here.

Sincerely,

Marty Lexmond


Posted by kwatson on Monday April 27, 2015
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Alumni Spotlight: Rory Linnane '08

The below spotlight was written by SHS student Nathalie Bolduc and was previously featured in the recent issue of the Ripples newspaper.


Rory Linnane, ’08 alumna, started her journalism career with Ripples in Shorewood, and continues to write locally for the Wauwatosa Now weekly newspaper.

“Ripples really did give me a strong foundation for what I do now,” Linnane said.

In high school, Linnane was involved all sorts of activities, including mock trial, soccer, Amnesty International and Ripples.

“I just kind of tried out a lot of things to try to see what I liked,” Linnane said.

After graduating from Shorewood in 2008, she attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she majored in international studies and journalism. Although her current job does not allow much use of the international studies degree, it is still helpful.

“[My international studies degree] might give me a more worldly perspective on some issues,” Linnane said.

Her educational background comes into use for her volunteer work, however. Linnane volunteers as a grant writer for Sanivation, an organization that helps provide toilet access to developing countries.

“I really recommend studying what you’re interested in in college and, even if you don’t use it in your career there are tons of other ways to use it,” Linnane said.

Linnane determined that she liked to write longer, more in depth stories after writing a piece about New Horizons for Ripples.

“That [story] kind of helped me realize I like doing that kind of reporting where I get to go more in depth into different topics and I tried to pursue that in college as well,” Linnane said.

Upon leaving Madison, Linnane returned to the Milwaukee area and began working with the Brookfield Now. She then transferred to the Wauwatosa Now, where she continues to work currently.

“There’s a lot that I really like about community journalism. You really get to know the audience that you’re working with, and it can be really rewarding because you get a lot of feedback and … feedback is good because it means that people are reading and that they care. In Wauwatosa specifically, people are really invested in their community, so they really pay attention to their newspaper and are really engaged. I really enjoy working there,” Linnane said.

Linnane is currently working on a “Hidden Tosa” series, or a story in which she goes into new and oftentimes unused places in her community with a photographer and explores the area.

“I really love that kind of exploring and seeing new things and being able to share them with the community,” Linnane said.

Linnane also writes stories that may not be as riveting, but are of equal importance. These include covering school board meetings, government committees and local elections.

“I think it’s good to have a presence [at government meetings] … it makes the officials a little more conscious of what they’re doing, “ Linnane said. “It really facilitates citizen involvement.”

Although as a journalist Linnane could work internationally, she prefers to stay where her roots are: in Milwaukee.

“Right now I really like Milwaukee … I could live anywhere in the world right now, but I enjoy living here. I think there’s a lot of cool stuff going on,” Linnane said.

Posted by kwatson on Monday April 27, 2015
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MAP & RTI Community Forum Q & A

April 8, 2015
6- 8 pm
SIS Commons

MAP Testing

1.Before MAP, the school used running records, class tests, WKCE, etc. Kids set goals for reading and self-assessed. Why do we need MAP? Why is it better than currently used methods? Which ones have been discontinued and why? How much time (in total) do kids spend in being tested? Is it appropriate for kids to be so focused on scores?

Per IDEA law, we are required to have a universal screener. In 2011, the RtI team selected MAP as it is computer adaptive and the results give useful information. The MAP results, in addition to running records, class tests, etc., are still used to make informed decisions about students, which gives us a better read on each student.

Testing times depend on the grade. You can find the breakdown here on the District website: http://www.shorewood.k12.wi.us/page.cfm?p=3759

Students are not focused on scores, but learning and growing. They are focused on learning and how they learn, and the score is one piece of evidence.

2. MAP testing: how is this a better system of testing compared to running records, badger, WKCE? Or, if it is in addition, what more information does it give us? How has the data been used? Do we have a good read of what percentage of students are falling behind vs. students who would benefit from advanced / enrichment programs (a chart you showed us at the School Board meeting in February suggested an exact equal number on both ends of the normal curve)?

MAP is computer adaptive and there is a quick turn around on the results. The reports that are generated are priceless. The MAP results, in addition to running records, class tests, etc., are still used to make informed decisions about students, which gives us a better read on each student.

Yes, we are aware of our students’ learning needs. The chart displayed was the typical student curve, not the actual.

3.How much does MAP cost us vis-a-vis the alternatives - in fact, WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES?

There are a few screeners that are used in other districts. Two of them are AIMS Web and STAR. The elementary teachers did not like STAR, and AIMS web was considered before selecting MAP. If desired, a cost comparison can be arranged.

4.How MAP testing works vis-a-vis other tests - is the information from MAP test additive? Better?

Per IDEA law, we are required to have a universal screener. There are a few screeners that are used in other districts, such as AIMS Web and STAR.

In 2011, the RtI team selected MAP because (1) it is computer adaptive, and (2) the results provide useful information for teachers and parents.

MAP results are used in addition to running records, class tests, etc. to make informed decisions about students growth and progress.

Students are not focused on scores. They are focused on learning and how they learn.

5.Why is it necessary to MAP test 3x a year? What does the district do with the data?

It is not necessary to take the MAP test three times a year, unless the district is interested in “normed” results.

The data is used as a screener and to ensure that students are making the appropriate years’ worth of growth.

6.What assessments or testing has been eliminated because of MAP testing?

None; we were not using a universal screener prior to adoption of MAP.

7.If there is no differentiation of instruction, particularly in math, what is the point of MAP testing? How can you do a 1:1 teaching with such large class sizes?

MAP testing allows for identification, support, intervention, skill recognition, and teacher and student tools as well as differentiation.

1:1 would occur with an interventionist.

8.If you have 5-6 zone proximal development ranges in a class at one time, how can a teacher reach all ranges adequately?

There is ALWAYS differentiation within a classroom.

MAP testing allows for identification, support, intervention, skill recognition, and teacher and student tools as well as differentiation.

1:1 would occur with an interventionist.

9.Are the MAP test questions different as the year progresses?

Yes, there is a huge bank of questions (over 3,000) that are different for students each time that they are tested.

MAP testing and Goal Setting

10. Why is so much time and effort put into improving scores on standardized tests that do not relate to the child’s grade in any curricular area?

The areas that are assessed are math and reading, and when the goal is met there is usually an improvement in the child’s classroom grade(s) as well.

11. What happens when your student has not achieved their goals? What is the impact on specifically student who struggle academically with meticulous “goal tracking”? How is this not “teaching to the test”? When did we start reducing students to a series of test scores?

Students are conferenced with one-on-one, and are encouraged, supported, and the goals and expectations are adjusted.

The MAP assessment is an evaluation of skills. We are not teaching to that.

12. I am concerned about children setting goals to improve scores on standardized tests. What options do you offer parents to remove this element of your testing platform? When are you doing this goal setting and what was taken out of instructional time to accommodate this exercise?

Yes, if you would like to opt out, please inform your school counselor in writing.

Goal setting occurs during guided study time in certain classes at various schools.

13. Why do children fill out forms for improving their MAP scores, and aren’t given a list of best practices to choose from as to how they can improve their score?

When students conference with their teacher after completing their goal form, the teacher shares best practice strategies with the child if they aren’t already listed.

14. Why should children have to be concerned with their assessment and test scores? Can't they just deal with learning?

Goal setting is learning and developing skills is learning.

15. Can parents opt their children out of SMART goals if this approach violates family values? Many of us believe education is about supporting kids in developing a joy for learning and discovery and we don’t want our kids to be “goal oriented.” So could we opt our kids out of not just MAP tests but MAP goals? Very charter school!

Yes, if you would like to opt out, please inform your school counselor in writing.

RtI and Guided Study

16. How does the RIT score or percentage relate to the intervention tier in which the student is placed?

In addition to other assessments and data, we utilize district and nationally normed scores (cut off scores) from NWEA to determine in which Tier a student should be placed.

17. Do you recommend pushing in or utilizing interventionists or teacher coaches to meet the needs of all ranges?

Both strategies are extremely beneficial to our students.

18. Is RtI all about how to improve your MAP/Badger scores?

No, there is really no correlation. RtI is responding to student learning. MAP and the Badger Exam assess what students know.

19. Are RtI tiers II & III always done by interventionists who presumably are aware of symptoms of autism, processing disorders, dyslexia, and the like? Some students need a different approach because of their LD. How can you be certain that RtI is picking up, say Asperger’s? Also, why Tier III weekly assessments? That sounds excessive. If you’re doing it right, you’re making progress and wasting time over–testing, no?

No, the teacher as well as an interventionist can facilitate Tier II. Also, data teams meet to discuss student needs with the interventionist present so various factors, symptoms etc. are discussed.

At Tier III, the frequent assessment is required as it may be leading to a referral and all intervention strategies and progress must be noted.

20. RtI: How are students on either side of the curve (mentioned above) benefiting from the program so far? How many resources / costs have been identified for each group - if they are equal, are you spending equally? What feedback have you got from the teachers on the success of this program? Are there any changes recommended for the coming year?

The benefit to students is that their learning needs are being met, supported, and challenged.

The recommended enhancements would be adding interventionists (so that there is a 1.0 in each school for math and reading), a RtI coordinator and supports for teachers. Each school will evaluate current delivery and make necessary implementation adjustment based on their school needs.

21. How will you handle students whose RIT scores and growth scores are within standard deviation?

We will continue to support their learning and with each unit pre-assessment, respond appropriately to their needs.

22. If parents opt-out of MAP testing, what will the process be for handling RtI for those students?

MAP testing is just one tool used. The outlined process would still occur without that valued piece of information.

23. How is RtI “culturally sensitive” to highly creative children who are “on track” to become artists, entrepreneurs, or spiritual leaders? How is RtI culturally sensitive to children with ADHD? Autism and nonverbal learning disorder?

Before making a decision about a student, all factors are considered about their individual background and talents, vs. treating all students like the teacher’s normal is the normal.

Gifted and Talented

24. Who will be working with the Tier II & Tier III high achievement groups? According to the RtI guidebook, students should have 1:3 or 1:1 help.

At this time, we have an interventionist at Atwater and a teacher at Lake Bluff instructing our high achievement math students in 7th grade acceleration.

25. What specifically is the district doing to support (monetarily, and with staffing) the gifted and talented children during RtI? Are G&T kids in Tier II? Is MAP used to identify them?

MAP is one tool used to identify our students in grades 1-10. There are students on both ends of the spectrum in Tier II; all are supported.

26. How should our district address our gifted and talented students using MAP scores? Let’s say a child is a 6th grader at the 99% with a math score comparable to a 10th grade 99% score. How do you use MAP to address his needs?

We would address that child’s needs by providing a differentiated curriculum for the units he or she has mastered.

27. If, as in the presentations today, all examples given were of “differentiating” and identifying kids who need advanced learning, do we have NO plan to provide this?

Teachers do differentiate. Our goal is to have it happen consistently across the District.

28. The person from CESA #1 stated that tier groups or intervention are evaluated every 4-9 weeks, but placement and evaluation of tier groups are based on MAP scores and goals.

Initial placement is based on MAP and other assessment and factors. Interventionist do evaluate every 4-9 weeks.

PBIS

29. PBIS: What feedback have you received from teachers? How does this program compare to the character ed programs and restorative justice initiatives? How much does this program cost in comparison to restorative justice (which was singled out as one of the programs that may be cut due to budgetary concerns)?

Teachers asked for and appreciate the PBIS/SPBS philosophy. Character Ed and Restorative Practices are a wonderful blend to the philosophy and are used quite frequently in tandem.

What was singled out was additional training. All three practices will still occur in lieu of budget cuts.

30. When can we discuss PBIS?

You are welcome to contact any school or district administrator at your earliest convenience.

Other

31. Mr. Stanco did not once mention EDM. What curriculum is he using?

EDM

32. How is this information used? I believed that it was to tailor instruction to the children (this belief was reinforced by Jason's (forgot his last name) presentation). Yet, Mr. Stanco's presentation was all about how the scores were used by the students to set their goals and build a plan to work towards them. From what I saw, this impacts ONLY the student and not the way we think of curriculum or instruction - i.e. we will continue to use the same curriculum and teach the same way - it's up to you, the student, to recognize the areas in which you are weak and set your goals to improve your scores from 211 to 240 - and use Khan Academy to do it.

To tailor student response to instruction.

33. Why were these initiatives chosen for Shorewood and what benefit have you seen from them? How much have they cost our district / expect to cost in the coming year? What feedback have you received from teachers regarding these initiatives - as they are the ones who implement these measures in practice and have to live them on a day-to-day basis.

The teaching philosophies used are best practice and aren’t new practices to Shorewood. There are many success stories and although we do not have a perfect model, as feedback is communicated updates are executed.

Our business manager is executing a costing for MAP and RtI.

Based on feedback, our teachers are fond of the practices.

34. Your presentation assumes that both LB and AT are doing the same things the same way. They are not. Kirk Juffer is the only LB presenter and you cut him short. Your audience is almost entirely LB parents and all we are learning is what is happening at Atwater. Why?

The RtI Committee is comprised of teachers/administrators from all 4 schools, and decisions made within that committee are for the District as a whole. Because RtI is driven by students and teachers, it will look different at each school, but the basic principles are the same.

Each principal was asked to present 10-15 minutes of the RtI area (behavioral or academic) of their choice with a team and share because it looks a bit different at each school. Dr. Juffer and Mr. Gemignani choose to present alone. Atwater sent a team and they shared what they do during the academic RtI time.

At the beginning of the forum, it was stated that questions would be taken at the end. Dr. Juffer was simply asked to follow protocol when questions were posed after his presentation.

If you have specific questions as to how RtI is being implemented at Lake Bluff, please talk to your student’s teacher or Dr. Juffer.

Posted by kwatson on Thursday April 23, 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.


Netbook Computer for Exploring Computer Science Courses

Last year, SEED fully funded a $17,819 grant request from Shorewood High School math teacher Jim Krolikowski. The proceeds from this grant resulted in the purchase of 30 Netbook computers and a mobile cart used for instruction in the newly implemented Exploring Computer Science courses at SHS. Krolikowski discusses how the SEED grant made those courses possible and how they are helping to push the STEM/STEAM movement forward at Shorewood.


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

I was inspired by the students to write the SEED Grant. In conversations with both current and former students, it is clear that more engineering-type experiences are in demand. Rather than waiting for someone to take action, I decided to create my own experiences through my Computer Science courses.


2.) The STEM/STEAM movement is really taking off in Shorewood. Was the grant instrumental in launching the Exploring Computer Science class?

Yes, the grant was CRUCIAL for making the Exploring Computer Science class work. By second quarter, we were using the computers on a nearly daily basis.


3.) How has the SEED grant impacted your curriculum thus far?

The SEED grant has helped make the curriculum meaningful. I can teach programming languages and theorize how things would work on a computer, but it has little to no impact on learning unless students can see the work in action.


4.) How has this class expanded students' learning experiences?

Students are finally exposed to the world of computing. With technology developing at a rapid pace, our lives are immersed with technology. This course allows students not just to be technology consumers, but technology producers.


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

Yes, I was optimistic that my grant proposal was going to be chosen because I realize that the Shorewood Community has been clamoring for STEM/STEAM type experiences, and this course is the first of its kind at Shorewood. Also, I am confident that the work I am doing can impact many students in the Shorewood School District.


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

Philanthropy is important for Shorewood Schools because we have many wonderful teachers who work hard to improve the educational experiences throughout the District. Through donations, teachers have access to significant resources to aid them in their craft. In addition, donors can have the peace of mind knowing that because we have such an amazing teaching staff and administration, their donations are not wasted on projects that do not impact student learning. In fact, they are changing the lives of hundreds of students. I would invite any donors to come to my Exploring Computer Science class to see firsthand the impact their donations have on the educational experience of our students.


Posted by kwatson on Monday April 20, 2015 at 12:02PM
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Grant Funding To Support Shorewood Athletics, Educational Programs

The Shorewood School District is excited to announce a major grant to support athletics and a matching grant to support educational initiatives.

A grant of more than $1 million to complete improvements to Shorewood High School’s Athletics Field Facilities and an additional matching grant of $500,000 to support STEM/STEAM and Expeditionary Learning at Shorewood Schools have been provided by an anonymous community foundation.

Pending approval from the Shorewood School Board, a grant worth $1,183,000 from the anonymous community foundation will support the completion of facility improvements at the Shorewood High School Athletics Field. These funds will be directed toward the following improvements:

  • Construction of New Concessions, Bathrooms & Team Rooms Under Current Bleachers
  • Construction of a Permanent, Small Masonry Booth on the Path to the Athletics Field
  • Track and Field Improvements, including Repainting Track Lines, High Jump Pit Installation, Pole Vault Pit Installation, Improvements to Long Jump Boards and Lines
  • Repaved Path to the Athletics Field and the Area Behind the Field
  • Landscaping and Physical Improvements

In addition to the grant to support the Shorewood High School Athletics Field Facilities, the anonymous community foundation has also offered a matching grant of $500,000 to support STEM/STEAM and Expeditionary Learning at Shorewood Schools. Receipt of this matching grant is dependent upon the Shorewood School District raising matching funds equal to $500,000 by December 31, 2015. The matching funds will support:

  • Expeditionary Learning Curriculum Implementation & Teacher Professional Development for Elementary Schools
  • Expeditionary Learning Experiences for Students: Trips, Travel, Exploration
  • STEM/STEAM Program and Curriculum Development & Teacher Professional Development for SIS & SHS
  • Support for Extracurricular STEM Activities, Student Team Registrations, Resources, and Travel for FIRST Robotics, Tech Challenge, Lego League, and Other Activities
  • New Maker Space for Innovation

The anonymous community foundation is an established, respected, and nonpolitical organization with a long history in philanthropy.

The Shorewood School District has been nationally recognized for its tradition of excellence in education. Shorewood High School was ranked the #1 public high school in Wisconsin in 2013 by U.S. News and World Report and has been named a Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. The Shorewood School District was ranked #4 among all 427 school districts in Wisconsin by the 2015 Niche School Rankings. For more information, visit shorewoodschools.org.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

Q: Regarding the $500,000 matching grant, what counts as matching funds?
The matching funds will need to come from external, philanthropic sources. Therefore, to meet the match, the district must raise an additional $500,000 through fundraising efforts by December 31, 2015 in order to receive the matching grant. If the district is able to raise $500,000 to successfully meet the matching grant amount, this would make the total combined amount raised $1,000,000.

Q: What happens if the district does not raise $500,000 in external, philanthropic funds by December 31, 2015?
If the district does not raise $500,000 in external, philanthropic funds by December 31, 2015, then the district will not receive the matching grant from the foundation.

Q: In the event that the district is unable to raise the full $500,000 in external, philanthropic funds by December 31, 2015, will the district be obligated or required to make up the difference through any expenditure of its own funding?
No. The district will not be obligated to invest any of its own funding to meet the match. In fact, the matching funds raised must be external and philanthropic to qualify as matching funds.

Q: Is the funding for STEM/STEAM and Expeditionary Learning intended to be used all at once, or will it be used over a period of time?
The funding is intended to help launch and support these programs over the next three years.

Q: How will the STEM/STEAM and Expeditionary Learning funding be used?
If the matching funds are successfully raised, the total $1,000,000 in funding will support: Expeditionary Learning Curriculum Implementation & Teacher Professional Development ($390K); Expeditionary Learning Experiences for Students: Trips, Travel, Exploration ($60K); STEM/STEAM Programming and Curriculum Development & Teacher Professional Development ($350K); New Maker Space for Innovation ($100K); New STEM Extracurricular Activities, including FIRST Lego League, Tech Challenge, Robotics, and Other Activities ($100K).

Q: What is a Maker Space?
A Maker Space is a space where students can design, build, create, invent, and learn. A Maker Space contains technology and equipment, such as 3D printers, milling machines, software, electronics, and other tools, which students can use to build prototypes and projects, and learn STEM-related skills and engineering design in the process of building and creating. This can be a space for both curricular and extracurricular STEM-themed activities and learning experiences.

Q: The announcement refers to STEM/STEAM – what does this mean?
Shorewood has used both terms — both refer to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics learning experiences, but the STEAM term adds “Art” – this demonstrates the role that Design and Art can play in engineering projects, technology development, and other work we associate with STEM, for example, the product design involved with the Apple iPhone.

Q: What is Expeditionary Learning?
Expeditionary Learning is exemplified by project-based learning expeditions, where students engage in interdisciplinary, in-depth study of compelling topics, in groups and in their community, with assessment coming through cumulative products, public presentations, and portfolios. The model emphasizes high levels of student engagement, achievement, and character development. Expeditionary Learning is based on the educational ideas of German educator Kurt Hahn, the founder of Outward Bound. In the U.S., there are currently more than 150 Expeditionary Learning Schools in 30 states and the District of Columbia. The organization Expeditionary Learning (EL) works with schools to design and implement the Expeditionary Learning programs. EL provides schools with curricular and instructional frameworks, along with strategies to change the culture of school communities. Lake Bluff and Atwater Elementary School teachers have been exploring Expeditionary Learning over the course of this school year.

Additional Questions?
Please contact Katelin Watson at kwatson@shorewood.k12.wi.us or Ted Knight at tknight@shorewood.k12.wi.us with any additional questions.

Posted by kwatson on Monday April 20, 2015
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2015-16 BUDGET PLANNING AND LEADERSHIP TRANSITION: UPDATE #2

Dear Shorewood Schools Community,

We hope your Spring Break was restful and restoring; the slowed-down change of pace can be helpful in recharging you for the last third of the school year. We are sending along this communication to update you on school events and changes this spring.

15-16 Budget Progress

This past week, the administration hosted the first budget information session. The session was well attended with a good representation of teachers, parents, and other employees. We reviewed the budget revenue and expense projections for the upcoming year and also shared and discussed a number of budget proposals, including possible additions to the budget. Even though we are currently projecting a $388,000 deficit, it is important to discuss needs and priorities related to things we would like to support through the budget. Most, if not all of the budget proposals, will not be included in the 15-16 budget due to revenue limits, but having open conversation about these ideas allows us to clarify what we need and what we most value as this process continues.

On Friday afternoon, the Administration evaluated each of the budget proposals using our priorities of Build Community, Focus on Growth, and Transform Learning. The prioritized list will be used to determine what items we would consider for funding if the revenue picture changes. The next budget information session is scheduled for Monday, April 13 at 4 p.m. in the SIS Commons.

Leadership Transition Planning

We will have a new Principal at Lake Bluff School. Eric Norland was the strong choice of the selection committee and others who have met with him and reviewed his work in Virginia. Mr. Norland will be around in May and June to work with Dr. Juffer to ensure a very good transition both with the Lake Bluff community and with the Shorewood leadership team.

We will formally ask the Board to hire Eric Norland as the next principal of Lake Bluff this week Tuesday. Please join us in welcoming Eric and in thanking the entire interview panel that worked together to find the next principal for the Lake Bluff school community.

The school board has requested proposals from several superintendent search firms to assist with finding us a new school district leader. We anticipate a search firm selection in the next two weeks and to then quickly begin to follow through with those many search activities. We are optimistic that we will have a new superintendent in place over the summer.

As you know, we have asked Dr. Jack Linehan to help with the transition to the new superintendent. Jack will be meeting with administrators starting this week, doing interviews and getting to know our leadership team and to listen for opportunities and for issues. His role is still being defined with the potential to work with teacher-leaders, community members and the school board through the end of the school year and possibly into the fall. He is working in partnership with Dr. Lexmond and will be in the District approximately 10 hours each week.

Finally, we have a new School Board member to replace David Cobb who chose not to run for a second term. Rodney Cain will be sworn-in at the School Board meeting on April 28th. We thank David for his years of service and look forward to working with Rodney.

Best wishes for another great week working together for the benefit of Shorewood Students and thank you for all that you do for our schools and community.

We have posted the SIS principal position, and have already received nearly 50 applications. The interview panel is forming and the timeline of events is being developed. The number of applicants with experience in school administration is encouraging, and we look forward to working with the team to hire the next principal for SIS.

Curriculum and Learning Initiatives

This past week we held a community forum on RtI and the MAP assessment. The participants shared a great deal of information, and the forum went longer than anticipated. We welcome the dialogue and will continue the conversation about these important efforts at the upcoming Curriculum Committee meeting which is scheduled for Wednesday, April 15th at 5:00 pm in the SHS Conference Room.

We also continue to support the exploration of Expeditionary Learning for our elementary schools. Staff recently visited schools in the Denver area and returned inspired by what they learned. We are exploring ways to continue this work even within the budget challenges noted above.

Badger exam testing will begin this week at most of our schools. For specific questions about when your child will be tested, please speak to your teacher. And for parents interested in opting out, please send an email to your school counselor, who can give you more information about what your student will be doing during the exam time.

Finally we are preparing to launch some of our STEM/STEAM initiatives through Recreation and Community Services. We will be surveying families to determine interest in First Robotics and other programs that will involve students in learning about and applying engineering principles and collaborative problem solving through "sport" type competitions. This is an exciting opportunity to grow our engineering education model.

Sincerely,

Marty Lexmond, Superintendent
Rob Reinhoffer, School Board President


Posted by kwatson on Monday April 13, 2015
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Alumni Spotlight: Les Aspin '56

Les Aspin, a 1956 Shorewood High School graduate, served as a United States Representative from 1971 to 1993 and the United States Secretary of Defense under President Bill Clinton from 1993 until 1994. Though he was a member of the Democratic party as a representative, Aspin was known for taking a middling stance on most issues and was widely regarded by his peers as an intellectual.

After his time in Shorewood, Aspin continued to build a very impressive educational resume. Upon graduation from SHS, Aspin continued on to Yale University, where he completed a degree in history with summa cum laude honors. Following his family's English roots, Aspin studied as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, obtaining a master's degree in economics in 1962. His formal education concluded in 1965 after receiving a Ph.D in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Even before his graduation from MIT, Aspin secured a position as an aide to Wisconsin senator William Proxmire, serving as Proxmire's 1964 campaign manager. In the midst of the Vietnam War, Aspin joined the Army and completed two years of active duty as an economist at the Pentagon. Once his service obligation was complete, Aspin returned home to Wisconsin to manage Lyndon B. Johnson's re-election campaign, eventually putting his political interests on pause to teach economics at Marquette University.

In 1970, Aspin vied for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives, winning by a very narrow margin confirmed only after a recount. Known for his anti-war, pro-employment stance, Aspin was a quick political favorite. However, his tenure in office wasn't without controversy. During the Reagan administration, Aspin lost favor with Democrats by failing to eliminate the MX missile program and supporting the extension of military aid to rebels in Nicaragua.

President Bill Clinton elected Aspin to serve as Secretary of Defense in 1993. During his short time in that position, Aspin dealt with issues such as homosexuals in the military, U.S. involvement in Somalia and Bosnia, and budgetary management. Due to ongoing health issues, Aspin resigned from the cabinet after less than a year.

Apart from a brief marriage in the 1970's, Aspin eschewed family life in favor of his work. His closest companion was a sheepdog named Junket who often accompanied him to the office and even appears in his official congressional portrait. Aspin suffered a stroke in May 1995 and passed away shortly thereafter due to ensuing cardiovascular complications. He is buried in Brookfield's Wisconsin Memorial Park Cemetery.


Posted by kwatson on Monday April 6, 2015 at 10:08AM
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2015-16 Budget Planning and Leadership Transition: Update #1

Dear Shorewood Schools Community Members,

This week, during Spring Break, District staff members have been focused on both the planning steps for the 2015-16 budget and the development of a leadership transition plan for the District moving forward. This communication is intended to be the first of a series of communications that will keep you informed about some of the work we need to accomplish this spring.

2015-16 Budget Planning Update

The Governor's proposed biennial budget cuts $150 in revenue per student for the 2015-16 school year. This will reduce our revenue by $388,000. Three years ago, during the implementation of Act 10, we cut $2.48 million from our General Fund budget. However, with enrollment growth and with some small deficit spending, we maintained our fund balance within board policy, and we have been able to keep--even grow--programs we love, while also beginning high value initiatives.

As we work to develop a balanced budget for the 2015-16 school year, some difficult decisions will need to be made. We feel that we can develop a balanced budget that maintains our great programs but leaves little room to support progressive initiatives as well. Thus, we are proposing reductions in funding for all new initiatives to help balance our projected budget. This means that funds we currently use to support Expeditionary Learning, Mindfulness, and Restorative Practices are being recommended for reductions. This protects our great academic, art and music programs without the need for any reductions in those areas. We are also looking at possible ways to save in our health insurance costs and at other smaller reductions as well. Should the proposed state budget change, we will reconsider the reductions as well as other opportunities that need funding as revenue permits.

You can learn more about the 2015-16 budget planning by attending one of the following information sessions:

Shorewood School Budget Information Sessions

Group Date Time Location

ATW/LB School Staff & PTO: April 9, 4-5 p.m., SIS Commons

SIS/SHS School Staff & PTO: April 13, 4-5 p.m., SIS Commons

Shorewood Men's Club: TBA

Shorewood Residents: TBA

2015-16 Enrollment Update

We are also carefully monitoring enrollment and reducing or adding sections consistent with our enrollment projections. We are adding a new section of third grade at Lake Bluff following the trend in previous years of expanding to four sections in grades 1 and 2. We are reducing a K5 section at Atwater because we currently have 54 students in K5 and 38 students in K4, so we anticipate a decreased number of students in K5 at Atwater for next school year. Our class size guideline with one teacher is a 22 student maximum. So the current K4 students going into two sections of K5 next year gives us a class size of 19 students for each section, with room to add three additional students in each section. If either section exceeds the additional three students, we will add a teacher's aide. We will also closely monitor registration during the summer months, and if the projection changes significantly, we will add a third section before the beginning of the new school year.

When a section is reduced, the teacher assigned to that section is typically assigned a new position at the school if there is an appropriate opening, or the teacher can apply for other openings in the District that match the teacher's certification. In the case of the Atwater section reduction above, the latter is currently in progress.

Leadership Transition Update

We have selected a new principal for Lake Bluff Elementary, Eric Norland, and we are currently finalizing a contract with him which will be brought to the Board for consideration in April. Eric will begin his duties onJuly 1, 2015 and we look forward to welcoming him to the Shorewood Schools team.

As we wrap up the search for the principal of Lake Bluff, we are ready to begin the search for a permanent principal at SIS. The staff and students at SIS will benefit from the stability that a permanent principal will bring. Staff, students, and parents will be very involved in the process. The position is currently being advertised and we are contacting teachers, parents, administrators and other staff members to serve on the interview panel. I am confident that we will find the next great leader for SIS, and I look forward to working with the SIS team to make this happen.

Lastly, I would also like to address my transition. The Board has contacted Jack Linehan to work with me and the Board during the transition to a new superintendent. I look forward to working with Jack and know that he will be an effective guide as we move through these next few months. Jack and I are developing a transition plan that we will share with the Board in April. This plan will identify what Jack's focus will be in supporting the District and the Board and what my focus will be to ensure a smooth transition. The Board will also review proposals from search firms as they move forward with hiring a new superintendent. The Board has put together a thoughtful approach to managing these changes—one that will serve Shorewood well.

I hope these updates are helpful in explaining where we stand currently, our next steps related to the 2015-16 budget, and what the various leadership transitions will look like in the coming months. We will share updates as we make progress.

Sincerely,

Marty Lexmond, Superintendent

Posted by kwatson on Thursday April 2, 2015
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Message from School Board President Rob Reinhoffer

Dear Shorewood Community Members,

Marty Lexmond accepted the position of Superintendent for West Allis-West Milwaukee School District. We knew he applied, and we've been working to ensure continuity and a smooth transition in the event he received and accepted it. Marty will continue as our Superintendent through the end of the school year, and will continue to guide our district and maintain progress for all our initiatives.

We have two important tasks ahead of us: first, we want to ensure there is continuity through our transition to a new Superintendent; and second, we want to immediately begin our search for the next Superintendent for Shorewood.

The selection of the right Superintendent for Shorewood may take time, so we have already requested proposals from several search firms and have created a timeline to accomplish all that needs to be done. We will share more information about the search process at our next Board meeting.

In order to maintain continuity, we will engage, on a part-time basis, a talented and experienced professional, Jack Linehan, to provide support and ensure a smooth transition.

Jack served as Shorewood's Superintendent from 1992 – 2003 and had been SHS Principal from 1985-92. He knows our culture, is familiar with the qualities that make Shorewood unique, and can provide immediate assistance.

Jack will work several hours per week alongside Marty through the end of June, providing support to the administrative team and staff, and offering input to aid in the search process. We anticipate Jack will begin immediately after Spring Break. He will likely continue after Marty's departure to help orient our new Superintendent.

We are confident this transition will be smooth and seamless for our staff, students, and community. Current work and initiatives of the district will continue according to established timelines.

We thank Marty for his commitment to Shorewood the past three years and wish him well in his new role. As we gather information and formulate timelines, we will continue to keep you informed.

Thank you for your continued support of our schools,

Rob Reinhoffer
Shorewood School Board President

Posted by kwatson on Wednesday March 25, 2015 at 11:00PM
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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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