School Board Meeting Notes – 2/08/17

 

The Highlights: 
  • High School shared their good news, including changes to department approaches to learning- such as the History Department changing its model of teaching from one of content to a skills based approach- and changes to the Science and Math departments, which focus on providing incoming freshmen with more inclusive and collaborative approaches.
  • Director of Business Services provided a preliminary overview of the 2017-2018 WFB school budget and is optimistic that some of the proposed increases in funding and his inital read on numbers will result in a well balanced budget.
  • The governor’s first draft of the budget came out just prior to the meeting and the preliminary glance showed indications that funding for public education may be taking some priority this year, though Mr. Yde was cautious in his outlook as it was so early in the process, and reminded that vigilance and advocacy will still be needed.

 

For a full transcript of our board member’s notes, please click here.

Please note that these are unofficial school board meeting notes taken by an AFE board representative.

NCTE’s Stance on DeVos Nomination

From NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) President Susan Houser:

On January 17, the US Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee conducted the nomination hearing for Elisabeth “Betsy” DeVos as the Secretary of Education. Based on DeVos’s performance, hundreds of national and local organizations have organized to support, voice concern, or oppose her nomination. The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) agreed to sign with 52 state and national organizations to express “deep concern” over DeVos’s nomination. 

The letter was sent on Monday, January 30, to members of the HELP Committee and to the press. A vote is tentatively scheduled in the HELP Committee on Tuesday, January 31, where she is expected to be voted on as the nominee along partisan lines. A vote by the full Senate could happen as early as this week.

[NCTE’s] core beliefs, [their] mission, and [their] multitude of position statements regarding what quality education in literacy should contain are in direct opposition to those views presented by the nominee.

The letter urges the HELP committee to review Ms. DeVos’s position on, and to have her affirm her commitment to:

  • Ensuring equitable educational opportunity to all students, regardless of background;
  • Supporting and strengthening the nation’s public schools and ensuring that a high-quality public school is a viable option for every child, in every community;
  • Ensuring that any entity receiving public dollars is held to the same accountability, transparency, and reporting requirements as public schools; and
  • Implementing federal education programs as intended by Congress.

To read the letter, and view the 53 organizations that support it, click here.

Upcoming Primary Election for State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Feb. 21

We strongly encourage our members to take the time to read the voter guide created by the Wisconsin Public Education Network.

The candidates – incumbent Tony Evers, Lowell Holtz, John Humphries and Rick Melcher – were posed questions about their qualifications and experience as well as their positions on key issues facing public education in Wisconsin, including school vouchers, charter schools, changes in school funding, and the teacher shortage.

According to WPEN, the candidate questionnaire “was developed by a representative group of public education advocates from around the state, and by members of the Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools Board of Directors.”  The candidates’ responses are listed in their entirety.  The voter guide may be accessed by clicking here.

The Primary Election will be held on Tuesday, February 21 and the Spring Election on Tuesday, April 4.

 

I Love My Public School Week of Action (Feb. 13-16)

love-my-school

Act Now! Share Your Love for Public Schools

“I love public schools. Both of my sons graduated from public schools in the City of Wauwatosa. I graduated from a public school in the small town of Delavan. And my nieces are attending public schools today. I want strong public schools. In fact, I want great schools for every student in this state.”

-Governor Scott Walker, State of the State address, 2017

In the coming weeks, many of us will be gathering red construction paper, glitter and candy hearts as we create Valentine cards for those we care about. This year we encourage you to add one more Valentine for something we all care about, our public schools.  You can support our schools by participating in the I Love My Public School Week of Action (Feb. 13-16), which is being sponsored by the Wisconsin Public Education Network.   It is their stated goal to “create a blizzard of love for our schools.”

Some simple ideas include:

  • Make a post on social media explaining what you appreciate about public education,  using hashtag #ILoveMyPublicShool.
  • Send a valentine postcard (AFE strongly encourages postcards over letters since these are more efficiently distributed in government offices) with a positive message of support for public schools to our elected officials. Include your name and address.

In his most recent State of the State address, Governor Walker shared the positive experience that his family has had with public education.  As advocates for public education, it is imperative that we share our positive experiences as well.  Our elected officials need to hear that “a strong public education for all students “ should be a priority in their budgetary and legislative decision making.  So get out your glitter pens and postcards and let them know how you feel! #ILoveMyPublicSchool.

The Honorable Scott Walker (Inside Salutation: Governor Walker)

Governor of Wisconsin, 115 East Capitol, Madison WI 53702

The Honorable Alberta Darling (Inside Salutation: Senator Darling)

Wisconsin State Senate, Room 317 East, State Capitol, Madison WI 53707-7882

The Honorable Jim Ott (Inside Salutation: Mr. Ott)

Wisconsin State Legislature, P.O. Box 8953, Madison WI 53708

The Honorable Gwen Moore (Inside Salutation: Ms. Moore)

United States House of Representatives

316 N. Milwaukee St. Suite 406, Milwaukee WI 53202

2252 Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Ron Johnson  (Inside Salutation: Senator Johnson)

United States Senate

517 E. Wisconsin Ave Suite 408, Milwaukee WI 53202

328 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510

The Honorable Tammy Baldwin  (Inside Salutation: Senator Baldwin)

United States Senate

633 W. Wisconsin Ave. Suite 1920, Milwaukee WI 53203

717 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510

 

Send a message of support to our school board members:

1200 E. Fairmount Ave., Whitefish Bay, WI 53217

Recap of Screenagers

On Thursday January 26, 2017, approximately 175 parents, students, educators and other concerned community members attended the screening of the 2016 documentary Screenagers by Delaney Ruston, M.D. a family care physician and filmmaker.  AFE would like to thank fellow sponsors: WFBHS Parent Association and Cumberland PTO.

After the screening, there was a brief talkback session with audience participation.  Both adults and students spoke candidly about their personal experiences and reactions to the documentary.   Students and parents in the audience offered many insightful comments, including:

  • Agreement that students used devices to avoid social situations;
  • Appreciation of need for boundaries, especially when parents explain their concerns instead of just setting rules;
  • Recognition that peers sometimes don’t talk to each other but talk about what’s on their phones;
  • Striking a balance between creating restrictions and providing opportunities for independence;
  • Concern about digital device habits when kids go away to college; and
  • Instead of concern about over-scheduled students, acknowledging positive impact of extracurricular activities

After viewing the film and listening to the talkback, AFE’s takeaway was this: make rules for usage of devices/screen time but involve your child in the rule-making; start a dialogue with your child about their digital life and keep that dialogue going so they can develop healthy habits; and look at your own use of devices and see what sort of example you are setting for your family.

The website www.screenagersmovie.com offers many fantastic resources.   One is the Tech Talk Tuesdays program, by which parents can pledge to have conversations with the youths in their lives  and the program sends parents ideas for the talk.

Screenagers is a great place to start the conversation and it’s a conversation that needs to continue in our community, our schools, and our homes.

Screenagers showing at WFBHS Auditorium

screenagers-fb_post

AFE, along with the WFBHS Parent Association, will be presenting Screenagers on Thursday, January 26 at 7pm in the WFB High School Auditorium.

As devices turn into necessities and in the hands of increasingly younger users, many of us struggle with controlling our children’s screen time and monitoring their social media.

At what age should my child get a phone?  How do I set reasonable limits with my tween?  What are the negative effects of our digital habits?  These are some of the questions explored by  Stanford-trained physician and social change filmmaker, Dr. Delaney Ruston, in this documentary.

From www.screenagersmovie.com :

In SCREENAGERS, as with her award-winning documentaries on mental health, Delaney takes a deeply personal approach as she probes into the vulnerable corners of family life, including her own, to explore struggles over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction. Through poignant, and unexpectedly funny stories, along with surprising insights from authors, psychologists, and brain scientists, SCREENAGERS reveals how tech time impacts kids’ development and offers solutions on how adults can
empower kids to best navigate the digital world and find balance.

If you would like to view the Screenagers‘ Parent Guide, click here.  More informative tips may also be found in their educator discussion guide – click here.

68 minutes.  Admission is free and open to the public.

School Board Meeting Notes – 12/14/16

Highlights:

  • Concealed Carry Resolution [Scroll down to read our post from December 15.]
  • Cumberland Areas of Focus
    1. Academic & Whole Child
    2. Seven Thriving Dispositions
    3. PCL Implementation (Inclusivity)
    4. All Students, All the Time (Equity)
  • State Accountability Report Card
    1. Cannot compare this data to previous years since state methods inconsistent
    2. 5/5 stars – highest rating for a district
    3. Scored 89 (Comparisons to other districts in area found in transcript)
  • District Calendar Draft for 2017-18
    1. School year beginning September 5
    2. Looking for solutions to prevent late summer release
    3. Desire to increase educator collaboration time
    4. Questioning value of spring parent-teacher conferences
    5. Spring break – 4th week in March

For a full transcript of our board member’s notes, please click school-board-notes-121416.

Please note that these are unofficial school board meeting notes taken by an AFE board representative.