March 11th Edition

Self-Care as Community Care: Growing the Resilience and Wholeness We Hope to Nurture in Others

by Joe Schroeder, Ph.D., Associate Executive Director, AWSA

The responsibilities of a school leader are daunting, as a variety of folks seek out our limited time, energy, and resources to meet their virtually unlimited needs and desires.  Day after day, week after week, they keep coming and coming and coming.  No wonder that 89% of school administrators report feeling very stressed at least once a week and that high leadership churn prevails. (The School Leaders Network, 2014).  In such a context, self-care has become a personal and professional priority but, paradoxically, can be one of the first things squeezed out of a busy administrator's life.  This article will share a variety of approaches you can take to intentionally grow the resilient and compassionate personal disciplines and school culture that value human wholeness alongside academic achievement. 

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Wisconsin Associate Principal of the Year Named National Finalist

AWSA is pleased to announce that Wisconsin’s 2019-20 Associate Principal of the Year, Debra Paradowski of Arrowhead UHS, is now one of three finalists for the national 2020 Assistant Principal of the Year Award. Debra has served as assistant principal of Arrowhead UHS for the past 15 years. Her many efforts include creating a student-centered group called Students Leaving a Mark (SLAM) to improve school culture by giving students a voice in school routines and empowering them to become engaged and confident learners.
In addition, she helped co-plan "Lake Arts Projects" which involves the Milwaukee Dance and Theatre Arts Community with Arrowhead’s Music and Art Departments. The experience immerses students creatively and collaboratively with other disciplines to develop performance-based projects providing a sense of pride, self-confidence and a deeper understanding of the meaning of community. She also helped developed the WINGS program which helps acclimate incoming freshmen with their transition to high school life in a fun, nonjudgmental, and inclusive way.
As a finalist, Debra will be representing AWSA and Wisconsin at the 2020 National Principal Conference held this year in National Harbor, Maryland. The national winner will be announced during National Assistant Principals Week this April 6–10.

NASSP Digital Principal of the Year

The application for the NASSP Digital Principal of the Year is now open. The Digital Principals of the Year program honors principals who exhibit bold, creative leadership in their drive to harness the potential of new technologies to further learning goals. AWSA would like to encourage outstanding school leaders to apply.

Applicants must:

  • Be an NASSP and affiliate association member principal in a virtual, public, or private school containing some range of grades 6–12
  • Have served as a middle level or high school principal for three or more consecutive years
  • Be a principal, headmaster, or leader of a middle level or high school from one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, or the U.S. Department of State Office of Overseas Schools 

Award recipients receive:

  • An expenses-paid trip to the 2020 National Principals Conference, July 7–9, in National Harbor, MD
  • Opportunities to present at conferences and educational events on behalf of NASSP
  • A cover story feature in NASSP’s flagship publication, Principal Leadership magazine

Applications are due to NASSP by April 30, 2020. 

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Five Tools for School Leaders to Combat Cyber Threats

by Annette Smith, Director of Instructional Technology Services, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

It takes everyone in the organization working toward the same goal to prevent a cyber incident.  No matter how good the systems, if a user clicks on one wrong link or leaves one door open, all the best practices go right out the door. Below are four tools to help you prevent and prepare for a cyber attack, and one that helps if you are the victim of an attack. 

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March 25th Edition

School Leadership in Challenging Times

"Let perseverance be your engine and hope your fuel",  H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

School leadership is challenging under "normal circumstances" let alone during a national health emergency.  In your best efforts to serve your students, families, and communities you are stretching your personal and organizational capacity as far as possible. 

Please remember to give yourself the same grace as you give to others and to make a conscious effort to take care of yourself.  Make practical goals for your diet (e.g. banana for breakfast), your sleep (e.g. not less than x hours) and your stress (e.g. what books or movies, will allow you to get your mind off of the Coronavirus for a while).  

Coronavirus Information and Resources

AWSA’s Coronavirus webpage includes announcements, resources, and directions for finding the answers or resources that you need.

Early Childhood Inclusion AND Least Restrictive Environment: It’s Hard to Have One Without the Other

by Jenny Bibler, Early Childhood Consultant, Department of Public Instruction

Sonja is a 3-year-old child who is transitioning from her county Birth to 3 program to the local school district who will be providing early childhood special education services. Sonja will also be attending Head Start beginning in the fall. It is the day of Sonja’s initial Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting. The IEP team has determined her present level of performance, identified her disability-related needs, developed goals, and determined services. They now begin to talk about the least restrictive environment (LRE) for Sonja’s education. What does this mean for Sonja and her family? The word “environment” makes LRE sound like a place. This article will explore an important reminder for IEP teams to consider when discussing LRE. Specifically, “where” Sonja learns, is only one piece of her early education.

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Accelerating Student Growth Through Aligned and Focused Improvement Plans

by Jessica A. Moe, PhD, Division of Learning Support, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, and Wendy Savaske, Education Consultant, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

How are Joint Federal Notifications connected to continuous improvement? 

Each year, annual cycles of identification are required under two major federal laws: the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  Every district in Wisconsin receives a Joint Federal Notification packet annually - regardless of their identification status. This data is meant to inform continuous improvement practices at the local level and provides districts the opportunity to engage in continuous improvement by collaborating with statewide partners. 

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AWSA 2020 Election

The AWSA Board of Directors election will be held electronically from April 15-April 30, 2020. This year, Directors will be elected from Regions 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 10, 11 and 12. Members of each of these regions will be emailed a notification on April 15th with a link to an online ballot listing the candidate(s) for that region. As part of its succession planning, the Board has recruited candidates in each region. 

  • Region 1 (co-director): Mike Roemer, Principal, Reagan High School, Milwaukee
  • Region 2 (co-director): Jennifer Fanning, Principal, Kennedy Elementary School, Janesville
  • Region 2 (co-director): Rainey Briggs, Director of Elementary Education, Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District
  • Region 3: Carmen Burkum, Principal, Fennimore Elementary School
  • Region 7: Cindy Olson, Principal, Washington Middle School, Green Bay
  • Region 8: Adam Dewitt, Principal, Oconto Middle, and High School
  • Region 10: Sue Kern, Executive Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, Chippewa Falls Area Unified School District
  • Region 11: Sara Eichten, Principal, Somerset Middle School
  • Region 12: Dave Scholz, Principal, Phillips Elementary School

In addition, write-in candidates can stand for election by submitting a petition to the AWSA office by April 8. If you have any questions, contact Robin Herring at [email protected] or (608) 241-0300.

Wisconsin Absentee Voting: It's Easy For You To Vote Safely!

With the Coronavirus situation underway, Wisconsin election officials and state leaders are urging residents to vote by absentee ballot in next month's election. To request a ballot online, the easiest way is to sign up at MyVote Wisconsin, Just look for the “Vote Absentee” button near the top of the page. The deadline for registered voters to request an absentee ballot be mailed to you is the Thursday before the election, April 2. However, due to possible delays in mail delivery, we urge you not to wait and to return ballots as soon as possible. If you receive an absentee ballot mailed to you, you can still decide to vote at the polls on Election Day if you haven’t returned it. Your absentee ballot must be received in your clerk’s office or at your polling place by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Rooted in Love

This video by Mike Smith focuses on what can be gained during the country's healthcare emergency.  Thank you to Jostens for sharing this message for students, staff and our communities.