Past Issues | Jun 10, 2013 |
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1. Budget Actions before Dawn in Joint Finance Committee
State Superintendent Tony Evers released a statement criticizing middle-of-the-night actions by the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee, which expanded school vouchers statewide and provided a paltry increase to public school funding — less than the rise in costs and inflation.
“Our children are caught in the crossfire of an ideologically driven expansion of school vouchers that is financially reckless and academically unproven,” Evers stated.
The measures passed just after 6:00 a.m. Wednesday. “This pre-dawn action has not had one second of public testimony, there have been no public hearings, and no public fiscal analysis has been done,” Evers noted, adding that the “backroom deal ... does too little to improve funding for public education and does nothing to address well-documented financial and achievement problems in private and religious schools in Wisconsin’s voucher programs.”
History shows, he said, that:
Evers contrasted the committee’s actions with his own budget proposal, which would have “fixed our broken school finance system, while investing in the kids of Wisconsin. Our students, all of our students, deserve better.”
2. Practices “Spotlighted” for Wisconsin Educators
The DPI’s two-year-old Spotlight Schools grant program is proving to be powerful, both for educators who come to learn from their effective practices and for “spotlighted” schools themselves.
Spotlight Schools are Wisconsin Schools of Recognition committed to showcasing effective practices to other Wisconsin educators. They have focus areas like professional learning communities, building positive school climate, or creating a literacy program within the Response to Intervention framework.
Since the program’s inception in 2011, 598 educators representing 101 schools in 68 districts have visited 18 Spotlight Schools.
Several months after the first visits, the DPI surveyed the visitors. Virtually every team (of those who responded) had implemented one or more ideas observed at the Spotlight School.
They had implemented ideas like looping (teachers staying with the same students for multiple grades), professional learning communities, and scheduled intervention time, as well as particular classroom lesson or curriculum ideas.
One called a visit to Washington Elementary in Oshkosh “the most awesome experience in my teaching career!!!”
For 2013-14, the DPI is awarding grants of $50,000 to support eight new Spotlight Schools:
Additionally, three Spotlight Schools will receive $25,000 to continue the status:
As another benefit, “the Spotlight Schools themselves frequently report that this is some of the best professional development they have ever had,” says Beth McClure, DPI education consultant.
3. Badger High School and its Culinary Team
Student’s Eye View!
Here are some highlights of a report, written for DPI-ConnectEd by graduating senior Rebekah Rennick of Badger High School, on State Superintendent Tony Evers’ visit to her school in May:
DPI-ConnectEd often features student reports of special events such as visits by State Superintendent Tony Evers. We are also interested in short articles, by students or adults, about exciting programs, promising practices, initiatives that could benefit from publicity, or even your questions related to education in Wisconsin. E-mail just a sentence or two to firstname.lastname@example.org, with "Story Idea" in the subject line.
4. International Computer Science Prize for Appleton Teen
An Appleton 15-year-old won four awards for independent research, presented at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, where he competed against over 1,500 students from 70 countries.
Dhaivat Pandya of Appleton North High School presented “Pardus: A Statistical Approach to Reduce Perceived Latency in Network Filesystems.” Describing his research topics in an online video, Pandya explains he has improved existing algorithms to predict what Web users will search for online, based on other Web-searchers’ behavior. He then created a method to pre-load those predicted webpages, so when users ended up fulfilling the predictions, they wouldn’t have to wait as long for their pages to load. The time difference is especially important for users with inexpensive smartphones.
Described by his school counselor, Therese Helein, as an “independent learner,” Pandya won an all-expenses-paid trip to the CERN particle physics lab in Switzerland, a $1,500 Open Source Award from Go Daddy, a third-place “Grand Award” of $1,000 in the category of Computer Science, and a $200 prize from the Association of Computing Machinery.
Additionally, Dominique Helen Tlomak, 15, of University School of Milwaukee won a $1,500 Grand Award in Medicine and Health Sciences, for research related to cancer prevention; and Clarise Evelyn White, of Milwaukee’s Divine Savior Holy Angels High School, won a full tuition scholarship to Drexel University for her work on quagga mussels in Lake Michigan.
5. Engineering Educator from Brillion Honored
Steve Meyer of Brillion High School is one of three winners of the national DiscoverE Educator Awards for engineering education.
The National Engineers Week Foundation presents the awards to full-time educators, grades 6-12.
Each winner receives a $2,000 cash prize, a 3M digital projector, a 3M gift pack of classroom supplies, and a trip to Washington, D.C. The other two honorees are in North Carolina and Nebraska. Eight other educators were honored as runners up, receiving $500, a 3M Shoot ’n Share camera, and a 3M gift pack.
Meyer says all students can benefit from “thinking like an engineer,” and that engineering can “help solve many of the world’s problems.”
Meyer established a manufacturing engineering curriculum, brings in speakers, arranges industry tours and internships, co-sponsors a STEM club, and supports vehicle and invention competitions. He has helped connect his school to the business community, leading to the addition of a new $1.5 million technology and engineering education center.
6. Understanding Dyspraxia, a Motor-Coordination Disability
Awareness has grown, especially since Radcliffe publicly discussed his struggles with the condition a few years ago.
Up to 10 percent of the population, mostly males, are thought to experience some level of developmental dyspraxia, which causes difficulty with motor activities, especially where visual perception is involved. As children, it can take them longer than others to learn to walk or ride a bike.
For Radcliffe, who has a mild form, effects have included difficulty in school, difficulty with handwriting, and some trouble tying his shoes even in adulthood (on film sets he sometimes asks for assistance with this part of the job).
Radcliffe has said doing light gymnastics as part of his Potter role reduced many of the symptoms.
Dyspraxia Wisconsin, in coordination with A Community for a Positive Tomorrow, is hosting its first-ever meet and greet, a picnic on Lake Michigan in Port Washington, Saturday, June 29. Attendees are also encouraged to share musical or other talents using the park’s bandshell. More details are available at http://dyspraxiawisconsin.org.
Everyone is welcome at the picnic, which aims not only to help people with dyspraxia meet each other, but also to help educate the public.
7. Summer Schedule
After this week, DPI-ConnectEd will publish on an occasional basis throughout the summer, returning to a weekly schedule in late August.
Have a rejuvenating, productive, reflective summer.
IN THIS ISSUE: