Back to School Message from Superintendent Bryan Davis

Dear Families,
We are excited to welcome everyone back for the 2019-2020 school year! I hope you had a great summer and are feeling recharged and ready for the year ahead.
As we prepare for the year, I wanted to take a moment to share some of our recent achievements and celebrations:
I am pleased to report that the Shorewood School District was ranked among the top five Best School Districts in Wisconsin and received an overall grade of A+ in the recently released 2020 Niche Rankings. All four Shorewood Schools also received a grade of A or A+. Most notably, Shorewood High School was selected as #3 among the Best Public High Schools in Wisconsin, receiving an A+ overall Niche grade, and was ranked #1 for Best Public High School Teachers in Wisconsin. The District was also ranked #4 in the state for Best Places to Teach and #4 among Districts with the Best Teachers in Wisconsin. These rankings reinforce the top notch education our staff delivers throughout our district on a daily basis. I am proud of the achievement and thank all of our employees for their hard work and dedication to our students and families.
The Atwater Kindergarten team presented a master class session entitled “High Quality Work in the Early Childhood Classroom” at the Expeditionary Learning (EL) Education National Conference. The team spoke about protocols in their early childhood classrooms, learning targets, core practices, guiding questions, and what high quality work looks like. The facilitators then hosted a gallery walk, where team members split into themed breakout sessions for more specialized conversations.
Atwater students and staff developed a strong sense of community by building relationships with one another with the implementation of Crew. From whole-school Crew meetings, to class-sized Crew every morning, to regular multi-age Crew (Cross-Age Crew) where students from a variety of classes and grade levels meet, students developed relationships with a wide variety of peers.
Lake Bluff staff and students intentionally integrated subject areas into authentic learning experiences. These took the form of expeditions and case studies at every grade level. Staff and students also fostered student goal setting with both academic and character skills. All ages practiced setting goals, monitoring their progress, and reflecting on their results.
The "Crew Committee" integrated student voice to meet the needs identified by staff and students across Lake Bluff. The staff focused on a guiding question this year: "How can WE make Lake Bluff a better place?" This was highlighted through multiple layers of Crew: Classroom Crew, Cross-Age Crew, Lake Bluff Crew, and Flex Crew. Lake Bluff built in a designated time each Wednesday for the school-wide Crew activities. Staff found this model to be extremely effective, and students reported that they enjoyed the focus that the school had this year. This work was also reflected in the classrooms through behavior goal setting.
SIS 7th grade students began work on a two-year Capstone Project that will allow each student to study a problem-based passion they find engaging and meaningful. Students picked a topic of interest to research, thought about how best to address the problem, and created action steps that would benefit their community. Students will report out on their Capstone experiences, challenges, and growth during their 8th grade Passage Presentations.
SIS is committed to increasing student engagement by providing students opportunities to use their voice to contribute to a positive school environment. The SIS Student Advisory Board is comprised of a group of 8th grade students who were able to provide feedback and develop activities to positively impact school culture. Students designed activities like shadowing a teacher for a day and then reporting out on what they learned to their classmates and staff.
Guided Study is a 35-minute block of time that provides students at SIS with opportunities to extend their learning and participate in student clubs that are of interest to them. During the 2018-19 school year, SIS offered over 20 clubs and enrichment activities for students to participate in. Participating in clubs allows students to meet new peers and build connections with adults and classmates throughout the building. Many clubs also offer students the opportunity to participate in service-related activities that benefit the community.
Shorewood High School had significant accomplishments in 2018-2019. SHS achieved a 100% graduation rate for the Class of 2019, the second time in the last 5 years. SHS juniors (Class of 2020) also achieved the highest composite ACT score since 2015, when all students began taking the ACT.
School counselors implemented the GAIN survey for all 9th grade students. GAIN is a “pre-screening” on wellness and mental health. The survey helps identify freshman students who may need wellness intervention early on in their high school careers.
Two new authentic learning oriented classes at SHS were also implemented: Environmental Literature and Social Justice through Image and Word. Both classes are scheduled as “block” classes during the day and are co-taught by two teachers who participated in the Design Thinking Fellowships program, a partnership with SEED and UWM.
In addition to these achievements, we are excited about the talented team members we brought aboard for this school year. You can learn more about them here.
We wish all students and staff the best as they navigate through their first week of what is sure to be a great year!
Dr. Bryan Davis
Shorewood Schools Superintendent