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Office of School Safety Launches School Critical Incident Response Team Program

The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) announced today (6/16) that the state’s Office of School Safety (OSS) has begun training twelve regional Critical Incident Response Teams (CIRTs) around the state.

According to the DOJ, these CIRTs are designed to provide all Wisconsin K-12 public, private, charter and tribal schools with access to a regionally based team to support them if a “critical incident” ever occurs at their school. (more…)

Numerous current and former school board members are off and running for legislature, governor

Every two years, after nomination papers are filed and the field of candidates is set, the WASB government relations team tries to identify and recognize all the current and former school board members who are running for the state Senate and state Assembly.  These candidates bring with them a working knowledge of the issues and challenges facing school boards and can be valuable contacts for you and your boards.

This year, we have identified a bumper crop of nearly twenty current and former school board members seeking election to the Legislature and the Governor’s seat. If we may have missed any candidates with a background of school board service that you are aware of, please let us know so that we may properly recognize their candidacy. 

This year’s group of candidates includes the following: (more…)

Niehaus selected to study committee on shared school district services

The committee members for the 2022 Legislative Council Study Committee on Shared School District Services have been announced including WASB Member Services Director Ben Niehaus. As a former superintendent and administrator in northern Wisconsin, Ben has a great deal of experience utilizing shared service agreements including serving as a shared superintendent for two school districts. We are appreciative that he was selected to serve and will be able to share his experiences with the committee.

To help Ben prepare for his role, we are asking school leaders to share some examples of areas where you are already cooperating and sharing services with other school districts. We feel it is important for lawmakers to know to what extent this is already happening. If you are willing to share, please email Ben at (more…)

Fields set for state races: an ideal time to make advocacy inroads

Fields set for state races: an ideal time to make advocacy inroads

Following the June 1 deadline for filing nomination papers, the field of candidates for the governor’s race and Wisconsin Legislature (as well as other statewide offices) is set, barring any unexpected glitches or challenges to nomination papers. Despite a substantial number of unopposed incumbent state legislators (see below), a near-record thirty lawmakers did not seek re-election. This guarantees that the Legislature will have many new faces sworn in in January.

This an ideal time for school leaders to begin building relationships with those likely to be members of the new crop of lawmakers as well as incumbents, especially those in seats where those incumbents are certain or highly likely to be re-elected. In areas where there are contested legislative races, the Capitol Watch column in June-July issue of the Wisconsin School News provides tips for school leaders on how to host a candidate forum. You can access that column here. (more…)

Wisconsin’s ESSER III Plan receives final approval from U.S. Education Department

The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) received confirmation this morning that the U.S. Department of Education (USED) has granted final approval of Wisconsin’s ESSER III plan. ESSER III refers to federal COVID relief funding that was allocated to K-12 education under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), passed by Congress in March 2021.  States were required by the APRA to submit plans for how they would spend this funding and get those plans approved by the USED.

Much of the state’s plan was approved by the USED in December 2021; however, the USED deemed a portion of the plan not to comply with provisions in the ARPA requiring funds to be used to address both the academic impact of lost instructional time during the pandemic and the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on certain subgroups of students. The state submitted a revised plan in early February addressing the USED’s objections and that plan was finally approved this week. (more…)

State Superintendent convenes new group to tackle early literacy challenges in Wisconsin

Last Thursday (4/28), State Superintendent Dr. Jill Underly convened the first meeting of a new State Superintendent’s Reading Advisory Council. The online meeting was the first of several such meetings.

Collectively, the Reading Advisory Council’s membership represents a variety of geographical areas, school district sizes, races, ethnicities, and reading philosophies. Council members are expected to bring their expertise about early literacy to the Council and to learn together and share information and recommendations with DPI about how to strengthen literacy learning in Wisconsin’s schools. (more…)