Past Issues | November 10, 2014 |
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1. Budget Released
“Across the state in school districts large and small, urban and rural, we’ve heard that Wisconsin’s school funding system is broken. It’s not serving our state well,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers as he introduced his 2015-17 state education budget.
The budget centerpiece, “Fair Funding for Our Future,” contains a number of provisions to fix the funding formula — by investing in all students, protecting rural and declining enrollment districts, making adjustments in the aid formula to account for poverty, providing property tax relief, and increasing general school aid.
The Fair Funding plan is woven into the state superintendent’s larger budget, which also makes important investments in vital programs, including:
The budget also includes responsible revenue limit growth, tied to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The revenue limit adjustment would be $200 per pupil in the first year of the budget and $204 per pupil in 2016-17.
Evers says his budget supports Wisconsin’s “long and proud tradition of strong public schools and libraries” as well as Agenda 2017, “our goal to ensure all students graduate college and career ready.”
2. Rural Schools
“It’s an exciting week for rural schools,” State Superintendent Tony Evers noted in a new video, in which he asked rural educators to advocate for his newly released 2015-17 education budget, and also highlighted his Standing Up for Rural Wisconsin Awards, which he will present on Wednesday to:
Evers will present the awards during the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance conference at the Holiday Inn and Convention Center in Stevens Point.
Evers’ 2015-17 education budget, released this week, includes his Fair Funding for Our Future school finance reform proposal, along with other measures to aid rural schools.
3. American Education Week Video for Sharing
State Superintendent Tony Evers released a video designed to be shared during American Education Week (November 17-21).
The video will help community members get a grasp on the important initiatives being rolled out this year, while being reminded of Wisconsin’s already high performance in education.
Evers also puts a focus on the Promoting Excellence for All: State Superintendent’s Task Force on Wisconsin’s Achievement Gap which he convened this year, and the web resource they created to help close gaps statewide.
Finally, the video concludes with an exhortation to thank teachers for the work they do every day.
The video is peppered with a few photographs from recent school visits, featuring real Wisconsin students and teachers.
Educators are encouraged to consider sharing the video, both within and outside the education community.
4. Literacy/Early Childhood Grants
The Read to Lead program is offering grants to schools, school districts, and anyone working with an organization in order to implement literacy improvement programs or early childhood development programs.
The 2015-2016 Read to Lead grant applications are available online and are due by 5:00, CST, December 15, 2014.
5. Youth Librarian Consultant Honored
The creator of the DPI’s Growing Wisconsin Readers program has earned the coveted Wisconsin Librarian of the Year award from the Wisconsin Library Association.
With a vision of having every child enter school ready to read, Tessa Michaelson Schmidt, public library consultant for youth and special services, launched Growing Wisconsin Readers in 2013. This three-year early literacy project aims to increase awareness of the importance of developing language and early literacy knowledge, skills, and attitudes in children from birth through kindergarten.
Based in Wisconsin public libraries, the initiative provides resources to caregivers about how to read effectively with babies, toddlers, and young children. On the Growing Wisconsin Readers website, caregivers find helpful information in English, Spanish, and Hmong.
As part of the project, Schmidt worked to clarify and simplify grant processes. This enabled libraries in small communities to receive additional funding to provide appropriate services for early literacy activities, such as the “1000 Books Before Kindergarten” program. By identifying opportunities for libraries to reach families through health care settings, Schmidt guided librarians to write grants for literacy, partnering with the national Reach Out and Read program.
“Growing Wisconsin Readers has become a galvanizing effort across hundreds of Wisconsin libraries, building a bridge between literacy within the home and school through the library,” State Superintendent Tony Evers said.
In announcing the award, the Wisconsin Library Association acknowledged the alignment of Growing Wisconsin Readers with the state superintendent’s Agenda 2017 initiative to have every student graduate college and career ready.
Funding is through the federal Library Services and Technology Act grant awarded to the DPI by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Schmidt resides in Madison and has also worked as an elementary teacher and school media specialist.
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