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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.

Alumni Spotlight: William Rehnquist '42

William H. Rehnquist graduated from Shorewood High School in 1942, later going on to become the 16th Chief Justice of the United States of America and one of Shorewood's most prestigious alumni.

On October 1, 1924, Rehnquist was born to Mary and William B. Rehnquist, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After graduating from Shorewood High School, Rehnquist briefly attended Kenyon College before enlisting in the U.S. Army Air Forces. He was placed on assignments mainly within the U.S. from 1943 until 1946, when he was placed into a pre-meteorology program at Denison University in Granville, Ohio. When that program was shut down in 1944, Rehnquist was dispatched on a variety of short-term assignments in the southern United States before finally being chosen for a long-term training program that taught him the maintenance and repair of weather instruments. This training resulted in Rehnquist being sent to North Africa to act as a weather observer until the conclusion of World War II.

With the help of the G.I. Bill, Rehnquist later attended Stanford University, completing both a B.A. and M.A. in political science, in addition to another M.A. in government from Harvard University in 1950. With a clear interest piqued in law and policy, Rehnquist then graduated from Stanford Law School in 1952. Though Stanford did not rank students at the time, Rehnquist served as class valedictorian and was thought to have been first in his class.

Finished with his formal education, Rehnquist went on to serve as law clerk for Justice Robert H. Jackson until 1953, when he relocated to Phoenix, Arizona to conduct his own private law practice until 1969. An active member of the Republican Party, Rehnquist returned to Washington, DC to serve as Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Legal Counsel from 1969 to 1971, when he was nominated as Associate Justice by President Richard Nixon.

Upon the retirement of Chief Justice Warren Burger in 1986, President Ronald Reagan nominated Rehnquist to fill the position. This was a decision that was met with unanimous enthusiasm among the Court.

In 1991, Rehnquist made an appearance at his Shorewood High School reunion, where he was introduced simply as the "former co-feature editor of Ripples," the SHS student newspaper. While the fact that he was acting Chief Justice was understated during the reunion, Rehnquist was associated with his sense of humor, lack of athleticism, and mastery of petty trivia.

Rehnquist served as Chief Justice of the United States until his death in September of 2005, just short of his 81st birthday. Eulogizing his predecessor in the Harvard Law Review, Chief Justice Roberts described Rehnquist as "direct, straightforward, utterly without pretense – and a patriot who loved and served his country. He was completely unaffected in manner." Rehnquist was preceded in death by Nan Cornell, his wife of 52 years, and is survived by three children, James, Janet, and Nancy.
Posted by kwatson on Monday December 1, 2014 at 11:00PM
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Great Things Happening in the Recreation Department

At the Shorewood Recreation Department, "lifelong learning" is key. From youth sports to adult fitness and summer enrichment courses, the Recreation Department has something to offer for everyone in the greater Shorewood community.

As many residents would agree, the heart of the Shorewood community lies largely within the school district. With its office located on the first floor of the Administration Building within the Shorewood High School campus, the Recreation Department's programs are fully integrated with school facilities, sharing the weight room, pool facilities, and classrooms with physical education classes throughout the day.

"The Shorewood Recreation Department and the Shorewood School District are such wonderful partners. As a new family to Shorewood, this seamless partnership was immediately apparent to our family and such an incredible resource," said new resident Melissa Marschka.

Membership to the Shorewood Community Fitness Center is open to all Shorewood residents and also non-residents, though a greater fee applies for non-residents. With membership comes access to the fitness center facility, as well as open swims at the VHE Pool, which is located on the Shorewood High School campus.

Participants in Shorewood Recreation are able to take courses such as zumba, step aerobics, yoga, self-defense, shallow or deep water aerobics, aqua boot camp, and many more. Last year, Shorewood Recreation counted 5,579 total participants across 1,251 programs. In addition to intergenerational programming, the Shorewood Rec. Department also runs intramural sports for high school students as well as special events throughout the year. These events often correspond to the current season. For example, the Rec. Department organizes a "Shorewood Fowl 5K" run just before Thanksgiving, and a shopping trip to Chicago during the holidays.

According to the Rec. Department staff, some favorite programs include Midgets and Minors summer baseball, Drama Junior for grades 4-8, which performs 3 productions throughout the year, youth basketball, and various arts classes. Another unique offering from Shorewood Rec. is the ability to rent garden plots located on the SHS campus, for those who do not have access to their own green space. Though there is a small fee for most recreation activities, the Shorewood Rec. Department offers payment plans for families who are experiencing financial restrictions.

The Rec. Department's summer programs are also popular with families, providing affordable activities for kids throughout the summer.

"Having just moved to Shorewood from Maryland, I was so impressed with the range of activities that the Shorewood Recreation Department offers to the community," said Shorewood staff member and parent Ted Knight. "We had nothing like this in our previous community. My kids really enjoyed all the summer programs and now basketball has been a great activity as the weather has turned colder. The Rec. Staff does a really wonderful job, and their programs help make Shorewood a special community to live in."

With hundreds of programs to choose from throughout the year, Shorewood Recreation is always looking for ways to expand.

"We network with other recreation departments for ideas and trends, and we co-op classes with nearby departments to promote programs," said Rec. Department secretary Barb Xistris. "We value recommendations for new programs."

In addition to participation in programs and classes, you can support the Shorewood Recreation Department through "Donation for Recreation." Simply indicate a donation or "round up" amount when you register for a class, in person, online, or over the phone.

To learn more about the Shorewood Recreation Department, please visit their website.

Posted by kwatson on Monday December 1, 2014 at 03:52PM
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2014 Annual Fall Yard Clean-Up

The 2014 Annual Fall Yard Clean Up event was held on November 8. Despite the cold and windy weather that morning, a record number of 159 volunteers turned out, including 55 Shorewood High School students, staff, and families, as well as Rufus King students, and other Shorewood community members. With rakes in hand, the volunteers helped 39 households with elderly and disabled residents prepare for the fall season by cleaning up their yards.

The annual event is a major reason why Shorewood received a Best Intergenerational Community award last year.

In addition to the volunteers, this event was made possible with the help of the following sponsors and donors:

-Shorewood Foundation Development: provided 200 knit hats for volunteers to wear
-Einstein Brothers: provided 5 dozen bagels and cream cheese for volunteer breakfast
-Home Depot: provided the yard bags
-SRC: provided coffee, donuts, paper plates, and napkins for volunteer breakfast
-Sendik's: provided fruit tray for volunteer breakfast
-Thauer Art Direction: designed the event posters
-Shorewood Recreation Department: printed the Fall Yard Clean Up posters

The Shorewood community expressed thanks to everyone who was involved in the 2014 Fall Yard Clean Up. To see pictures from the event, click here.

The 2015 Shorewood Spring Clean-Up event will be held on May 9.

Posted by kwatson on Tuesday November 25, 2014 at 11:00PM
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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.

Atwater & Lake Bluff Mobile Computer Labs

In 2013, SEED contributed $38,340 towards the purchase of new mobile computer labs at Lake Bluff and Atwater elementary schools. These labs consist of two new mobile MacBook computer carts, enabling teachers to bring laptops directly into the classroom. District Technology Coordinator, Connie Jaeger, was responsible for composing and submitting the proposal.

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

I knew that we had a need to replace/upgrade the mobile carts at the elementary schools and we did not have the money in the district budget to cover the cost. The majority of technology budget for the 2013-14 school year was earmarked to replace infrastructure equipment. I was able to budget money for one cart, but we had a need at both buildings. This was a perfect opportunity to work in partnership with the foundation. Working with the committee, the district funded $30,000 with SEED contributing $38,000.

2.) How did you determine that the clearest needs for these technology resources were at the elementary schools?

We knew that we had a need at all four buildings, but the student-to-technology ratio at the elementary school was very low, plus the existing two carts at the elementary school were nearing end of life functionality. We knew that there would be an increased demand on technology with the increase of online testing. Purchasing the carts allowed us to increase the use of the stationary computer labs for testing, while continuing to support curriculum goals with the mobile labs.

3.) How has the SEED grant impacted the elementary classrooms thus far?

The carts are in constant use, primarily supporting curriculum initiatives at the upper elementary grades. We were also able to keep the older iMac carts functional for lower technology needs such as keyboarding and word processing.

4.) How have additional resources expanded students' learning experiences?

Students have used mobile labs for online collaborative writing, practicing typing skills, and collaborating with peers and teachers by sharing drafts on Google Docs. The carts will also be used for upcoming research projects in social studies and science. All in all, they've alleviated a huge bottleneck in access to computers, and it's much easier for lower elementary grades to get access to them.

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

I was optimistic because of the wonderful relationship the SEED committee has with the district and specifically the curriculum director Dr. Tabia Nicholas. The district has been working closely with the SEED committee to continually upgrade the SEED application process and require applicants to coordinate grant requests with specific district curriculum and technology needs.

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

With the increased demands on the technology budget to support enhanced infrastructure, provide support for online testing, as well as the increased demand for technology support for curriculum initiatives, the technology budget is stretched to the limits. Over the past 3 years with the constraints on budgets, the district has maintained a constant allocation to the technology budget. We have only been able to meet the need for growth in technology access through the support of the SEED grants. With the ongoing support from SEED, PTO and other parent organizations, we have been able to maintain a robust infrastructure while steadily meeting the needs for increased access to technology.
Posted by kwatson on Wednesday November 19, 2014 at 11:00PM
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Alumni Spotlight: Dickey Chapelle '35

If there was one word to describe Shorewood alumna Dickey Chapelle, “fearless” would be it. Born in Milwaukee as Georgette Meyer, Dickey attended both Atwater Elementary School and Shorewood High School in the 1920's-30’s, later going on to become a prominent female war photojournalist during World War II and the Vietnam War.

During her time at Shorewood, Dickey—nicknamed after polar explorer Richard Byrd, whom she admired—was involved in both Ripples (the school newspaper) and the SHS Radio Club. Graduating as valedictorian of her class, Dickey had the opportunity to attend MIT on scholarship, where she began taking aeronautical design classes. Because of her fascination with aviation though, Dickey left MIT after one year and began working with barnstorming pilots and writing about their exploits. During this time, she also learned craft of photography and thus her career as a photojournalist began.

After returning to Milwaukee to earn her pilot’s license, she made her way to New York and found work as an airline photographer. Clearly not following a path typical of many women at the time, Dickey went on to work as a war correspondent photojournalist for National Geographic. She was posted with the Marines at both Iwo Jima and Okinawa, among other front line assignments during World War II.

Fiercely determined to capturing moments of battle in their rawest form, Dickey continued to follow the allure of danger and adventure around the world, traveling to Algeria, Cuba, Hungary, Lebanon, Panama, and Vietnam on assignment for various publications. Dickey worked hard to convince her male counterparts to allow her access to the action, often having to prove her worth not just as a dedicated photojournalist, but a professional female as well. She covered almost all of the major events of the mid-century including WW II, the Korean Conflict, Castro’s take over of Cuba, and the Hungarian Revolution. During the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, Dickey was jailed by Russians for more than seven weeks for smuggling medical supplies into the country and helping others escape, consequently producing a piece for Reader’s Digest on spending Christmas in a Hungarian prison.

Her spirited tenacity was balanced by charm, and she became very fondly regarded by the Marines that she held dear to her heart.

Dickey Chapelle was killed on November 4, 1965 after being struck by shrapnel ignited by a boobytrap blast on combat patrol in Vietnam. She was the first American woman reporter to be killed in action. The General of the U.S. Marine Corps, Wallace M. Greene, Jr., said after her death: “All U.S. Marines the world over mourn the death of Dickey Chapelle, who died of wounds received while covering combat operations by Marines in South Vietnam… She was not only a skilled, dedicated newspaper woman, but she was an exemplary patriot whose great love for her country was an inspiration to all who knew her and worked with her… She was one of us, and we will miss her.”

In 2003, Dickey was a recipient of the Shorewood’s Tradition of Excellence award, which recognizes alumni for outstanding achievement in their chosen field. In addition, the Milwaukee Press Club inducted Dickey into their Hall of Fame during a ceremony in October 2014, in honor of the 50th anniversary of her death.

Written by: Molly Loucks

Posted by kwatson on Wednesday October 29, 2014
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Memorial Event for Mark Harris

Dear Shorewood Community,

This Thursday evening, Oct. 30, there will be a special memorial event to celebrate the life of Mark Harris. This event will open to the Shorewood Community and to those whose lives were touched by Mark. The event will take place at 7:00 p.m. in the Shorewood High School Theater. The program will include staff and student speakers, musical selections, and photos of Mark, and will conclude with a candlelight vigil on the Shorewood High School front lawn. This will truly be a celebration of an educator’s life and the gifts he shared.

The Harris family will be in attendance, but will not have a participatory role in the program. We ask the community to please be respectful of their privacy during this difficult time.

Doors open at 6:00 p.m. We anticipate that there will be a large turnout for this event, therefore we have arranged for overflow seating and simulcast video broadcast in the SHS Arena. The theater capacity is 1,200 and when these seats are filled, ushers will direct remaining guests to the SHS Arena. With this in mind, please plan your arrival time accordingly.

We strongly encourage guests to walk to the event, as there will be limited parking available at Shorewood High School. We have also coordinated with the Shorewood Police Department to lift parking restrictions--where appropriate--for this special event. Once the main Shorewood High School parking lot has filled, please plan to park near the west side of the football field or street parking nearby.

A special fund has been set up where you can make contributions to support the Harris family. Checks/funds can be mailed to Chase Bank:

Mark Harris Family Fund
111 E. Wisconsin Ave
2nd Floor
Milwaukee, WI 53202

You may also donate through Paypal with a credit card and/or Paypal account here.

To view the memorial website that has been established for Mark Harris, please click here.

For questions about the event, please contact Kim Grady or Katelin Watson.

Thank you,
Dr. Marty Lexmond, SSD Superintendent
Posted by kwatson on Monday October 27, 2014 at 06:43PM
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Latest News on Mark Harris

Dear Shorewood Schools Community,

It with deep sorrow that we share the following statement with you from the family of Mark Harris:

October 23, 2014

It is with great regret that we announce that Mark Harris, principal of Shorewood Intermediate School in Shorewood, has passed away. He has been an administrator in the Shorewood Schools since 2009 and was deeply loved by the students, parents, and staff members in the school district.

Mark Harris experienced a medical emergency on the evening of October 21. He was hospitalized, but did not recover.

Mr. Harris was an experienced educator, most recently serving Shorewood Intermediate School as principal. He was an influential educator who impacted hundreds of children and families. In addition, Harris is a proud member of the Marquette Men's Basketball community having been a walk-on basketball player at Marquette University (1993-1996). Mark is survived by his wife Erin Harris and their three children.

Mark Harris’ family appreciates all of the support that they have received from others during this difficult time and asks that everyone provide them some time to grieve while final arrangements are being made. More information will be shared regarding these arrangements, including the establishment of a family fund in Mark Harris’ name, in the very near future.


As students come to school at SIS and SHS on Friday, we want you to know that we have put a plan into action to provide additional support for students, teachers, and parents. Our plan includes support options along with an effort to maintain a focus on education and on the comfort of the routines of school.

We have contacted neighboring school districts and they are providing additional school counselors and psychologists. We have also contacted therapists in Shorewood who will join us as well. Additionally, SIS will be open on Saturday for anyone who would like to gather. We will have support on hand from 10:00 to 2:00 and an opportunity to leave messages for the family.

If you are interested in ways to help, we are waiting for more information and guidance from the family on their needs.

Please keep Mark and his family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.


Posted by kwatson on Wednesday October 22, 2014 at 11:00PM
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Status on Mark Harris

Dear Shorewood Families,

By now you have probably heard that SIS Principal Mark Harris experienced a health emergency on the evening of October 21. He is currently being treated by doctors and is surrounded by his family and those who love him. We do not have any further information to share as the family has asked us to respect their privacy and has informed us that they will share more information when they are ready to do so.

We appreciate the comments of love and support for Mark and his family during this difficult time. Again, we have no new information to share and are waiting for Mark's family to provide any updates.

Unfounded accounts may be spreading because of everyone's concern, but please refrain from spreading these further and focus on the official communication that will come from the family.

Please keep Mark, his family, and his friends in your thoughts and prayers.Please keep Mark, his family, and his friends in your thoughts and prayers.

Dr. Marty Lexmond

Posted by kwatson on Wednesday October 22, 2014 at 11:00PM
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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.

AP French Class Enhancements

During the 2012-2013 school year, $4,154 was awarded to Shorewood High School French teacher Christine Jacquart for the purchase of supplementary resources to offer additional support for students transitioning between French IV and AP French. A book titled Allons au-dela!, purchased using SEED funds, provides a thorough discovery of literature in a rich and varied context that includes the integration of listening, speaking, writing and reading activities. This book targets a wide spectrum of students and abilities. A year later, Mme. Jacquart reflects on how the donation has enhanced her upper level French courses.

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

SEED has always been generous with donations to fund various educational projects. I felt as though there was a true need to work on reading skills in another language as well as expand cultural knowledge under the AP thematic units. This book was designed to do just that.

2.) How did you determine that the clearest need for additional resources was with the students transitioning into AP French?

I felt that more work could be done in level 4 to prepare them for the AP class. I see level 4 as the beginning part of the advanced level where students begin to refine concepts learned from the beginning and intermediate level. Once students reach level 5, and after having exposure to more complex texts, they are better prepared to tackle the recommended readings for AP. Continuity is very important when encouraging more students to go on to AP.

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

Both level 4 and AP use the literature to enhance their cultural knowledge of both past and present events in the Francophone world.

4.) How have additional resources expanded students' learning experiences?

Students are able to deepen their cultural knowledge and continue to apply reading strategies to sophisticated texts.

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

I was optimistic that SEED would help out. Our district supports education and the needs of our students. AP is the final level of achievement at SHS and those students deserve to be supported for their continued interest and efforts in embracing what it means to be a global citizen.

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

Philanthropy can be beneficial in meeting the needs of our students and ensuring they have high-quality resources to learn from in order to extend their thinking.

For more information about how you can support new learning experiences for students in Shorewood Schools, visit the SEED website at or contact Ted Knight at or 414-961-3161.

Posted by kwatson on Tuesday October 14, 2014 at 01:53PM
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District Continues to "Exceed Expectations"

The Shorewood School District continues to "Exceeds Expectations" with scores up in all areas, according to the new district report card data released by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) on September 16. The District improved in all four report card categories, including Student Achievement, Student Growth, Closing Gaps, and On-Track and Postsecondary Readiness. As a result, the District went up 2.3 points in the Overall Accountability Score and Rating, from 79.2 to 81.5, ranking as one of the top districts in the state.

While each of the District's schools earned "Exceeds Expectations" marks this year, Shorewood Intermediate made the biggest gain among the schools, jumping almost two points from 74.4 to 76.3. A large contributing factor to this jump is the increase in SIS Student Growth from 59.5 to 69. Another impressive District highlight includes Lake Bluff's large jump this year in Closing Gaps, from 63.8 to 73.

"We are very pleased that the Shorewood School District improved in all categories on the state report card," Shorewood Superintendent Dr. Marty Lexmond said. "We know that this is a direct result of the hard work from our principals, teachers, aides, students, and parents. Using this new DPI data, we look forward to working with our teachers to focus on individual student needs. While we want our students to perform at the highest levels on state tests, our commitment to educating the whole child means we also know our students are more than test scores. This means we will continue to offer robust art, music, drama, physical education, and world languages programs to deliver on the promise of unique learning experiences for students in Shorewood Schools."

Similar to the School Report Cards, which were released for the first time by the state two years ago, the District Report cards are based upon four main categories:

  • Student Achievement: Proficiency in reading and mathematics on state assessments.
  • Student Growth: Measured by year-to-year improvements in achievement.
  • Closing Gaps in performance between specific student groups (comparing English language learners, low-income students, students with disabilities, and members of a racial or an ethnic group with their peers).
  • On-Track and Postsecondary Readiness is a measurement using reliable predictors of high school graduation and potential post high school success.

Schools and districts are also evaluated on measures of student engagement, including their test participation rates, chronic absenteeism rates, and dropout rates.

For more information about the state report cards, please click here.

Please contact SSD Communications and Advancement Coordinator Katelin Watson at with any questions.

Posted by kwatson on Wednesday September 17, 2014 at 09:50AM
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District Calendar

    • TueFeb27 School Board Meeting 7:00 PM
    • TueMar13 School Board Meeting 7:00 PM
    • MonMar19 Advanced Learning Information Session 6:00 PMSHS Library

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