Past Issues | May 13, 2013 |
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1. Budget Papers and Articles
The Department of Public Instruction has updated its page on the 2013-15 budget process with a series of issue papers providing background on specific elements of the budget, such as charter schools, funding for charter and rural schools, digital learning, WISEdash, parental choice research and expansion, and special need vouchers.
The department is also continually adding both new, and somewhat older, articles from local news coverage detailing the impact the proposed budget would have in Wisconsin school districts. The articles posted by the DPI now number nearly 100. The full list is available on its own page.
2. State Revenue Projections Up
With state budget revenue projections having gone up by $575 million to a total of nearly $1.8 billion more than estimated a year ago, State Superintendent Tony Evers issued a statement saying, “We have a tremendous opportunity to strengthen Wisconsin’s future by investing in our children and our public schools....
3. Presidential Scholars
Wisconsin’s 2013 Presidential Scholars are:
Every state has at least academic presidential scholars selected based mostly on their performance on college entrance exams. In addition, 15 at-large candidates were chosen and 20 Presidential Scholars in the Arts were selected based on participation in the national YoungArts program. This year, Wisconsin students “made a good showing” in that one of the nation’s 15 at-large scholars and one of the country’s 20 arts scholars (Davison) were from the Badger State.
Teachers named by the scholars as being most inspiring and challenging will be honored with the Teacher Recognition Award:
4. School Library Funding
Wisconsin school districts will share $30.1 million in library aid paid April 29 from the Common School Fund, the only state funding specifically designated for the purchase of materials for school libraries.
Aid is based on the number of children between the ages of 4 and 20 living in each school district. This year’s school library aid payment was $24.71 per child for 1,218,203 children counted in the 2011-12 school census. Funding is down by $2.4 million from last year. The census total was down by 6,486 children as well.
Districts must use the library aid by June 30 for books, media materials, or computer equipment housed in the school library. (A description of the fund and eligible purchases can be found on the DPI website.)
“Aid from the Common School Fund provides important support for school libraries, which are a proven resource that helps our students develop important skills and supports academic achievement,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers. “Aid from the Common School Fund is often the only funding school libraries receive to purchase new materials.”
Established by the Wisconsin Constitution as a permanent trust fund for the state’s schools, the fund is mostly invested in loans to Wisconsin municipalities and school districts. Interest on these loans is where most of the library aid comes from.
5. Playful Learning Summit
Educators who are passionate or curious about game-based learning and digital media are invited to a pre-eminent professional development event — newly re-named as part of an emerging national project.
Formerly called the Games+Learning+Society (GLS) Educators Symposium, it’s now the Playful Learning Summit. It’s still organized by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s GLS Center, a national leader in the field. The DPI is a sponsor of the event.
The day includes hands-on workshops to help educators at all levels explore STEM, digital storytelling, video game design, affinity spaces, literacy, and “gameful” classrooms, curricula, and experiences. Topics like improvisation and physical movement will explore “low-tech” playful approaches.
A keynote on connected learning will be delivered by Dani Herro, a former Wisconsin educator who is now a professor of digital media and learning.
The summit occurs in Madison on Tuesday, June 11.
Attendance at the symposium tripled since 2009. The transformation into the Playful Learning Summit coincides with the birth of the Playful Learning Initiative, a project of the Learning Games Network (which involves GLS and counterparts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology). The initiative promises to build a “thriving” national community of “people who use games for learning,” and to build a portal, the Playful Learning Platform, of educational and commercial games along with lesson plans, student reviews, and other information.
IN THIS ISSUE: