November 6th Edition

Why Kids Misbehave

by Brian Mendler, Author 

I firmly believe that understanding why a student misbehaves is the key to changing that behavior. Once understood, it is easy to realize how ridiculous many of the traditional consequences we currently use are.

Imagine you are a doctor and five patients come to you with a runny nose. You give them all tissue. The next day all come back. You give more tissue. Again they come back. This cycle goes on until you start asking some questions. You quickly learn the first person has allergies. The second refuses to wear a hat when it is cold out, and the third is a cocaine addict. The symptom (runny nose) is the same. The solution to the symptom is completely different for all. Without understanding why the runny nose exists, it is almost impossible to properly treat any of the patients. View detention, in-school suspension and suspension as tissue. They might wipe the problem away for a few minutes, but none fix the real underlying issue.

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Classroom Libraries: Who Owns the Reading?

by Matt Renwick, Principal, Mineral Point Elementary School. 

“You are welcome to check out books as long as you are reliable.”

I had been looking at the library in the church, a few minutes before mass started. We weren’t at the church in which we belong, one in a neighboring town. The parish librarian noticed what I was doing and offered this comment.

My first thought was, has anyone confided to this person that they are, in fact, unreliable? Thankfully I bit my tongue as the librarian demonstrated how to check out a book.

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I Have to Teach Who? How Principals Address Resistance to Inclusion

by Aaron J. J. Engel, Ph.D. Superintendent, Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau School District

I remember a moment in my first year as a principal when one of my special education teachers advocated for inclusion for one of our ninth-grade students who had a disability. She explained that the student was in segregated, or pull-out, math but was very capable of succeeding in the general education algebra class. We decided it was best for the student’s education to challenge her academically by putting her in front of a trained math teacher in algebra with her general education peers. I naively thought this decision to promote inclusion would be easy.

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The Use of E-Cigarettes by Youth

The use of e-cigarettes by youth has skyrocketed to epidemic proportions both in Wisconsin and nationally. Governor Tony Evers, DHS Secretary-Designee Andrea Palm, and State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor have released a joint letter that provides actions that schools and districts can take and a list of resources to address the issue of e-cigarette use by youth.

Meemic Foundation Grants 

The Meemic Foundation, a grateful partner of AWSA, has awarded more than 2,300 grants worth an estimated $410,000 dollars to elementary school teachers statewide. Now, the Foundation is offering its largest single grant award, a flexible seating classroom grant worth up to $10,000. Here are the details:
The Meemic Foundation is giving away 12 complete classrooms with Flex-Space Furniture from Lakeshore® valued up to $10,000 each. From design to installation, winners will work with design experts from Lakeshore to create a customized classroom to meet the needs of PreK-5 grade teachers.

  • NO APPLICATION! Simply login to nominate yourself, another educator or a school. It takes seconds to apply.
  • 12 PreK to 5th grade classrooms will be selected as winners
  • Application deadline is Dec. 31, 2019
  • To learn more or to enter to win, visit:

November 20th Edition

Incorporating Social and Emotional Competencies into IEP Development

by Katie Berg, Beth Herman, Jess Nichols, Daniel Parker, and Paula Volpiansky

This article outlines how Wisconsin’s Social and Emotional Learning Competencies support IEP development to improve access, engagement, and progress for students with IEPs in age/grade level curriculum, instruction, and environments.  In 2018, the Student Services Prevention and Wellness team at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (WI DPI) released a framework for social and emotional learning competencies in partnership with the Safe Schools Healthy Students grant and the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL).  As the social and emotional learning competencies were being developed, the Special Education team at WI DPI was updating sample IEP forms as well as a framework for developing College and Career Ready IEPs: Improving Outcomes for Students 3 through 21 (CCR IEPs).  Consultants across DPI teams saw immediate connections between the Social and Emotional Learning Competencies and the CCR IEP 5 Step Process related to identifying and supporting social and emotional functional skills for students who receive special education through an Individualized Education Program (IEP).

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Coaching as a Leadership and Equity Lever

by Tammy Gibbons, Director of Professional Development, AWSA

Educator Effectiveness is meant to be an individualized and guided professional growth process.  Inherent in the process is that supervisors act as coaches who develop the capacity and expertise of classroom teachers so that the needs of students can be met.

Recently there have been many indicators revealing that opportunity and achievement gaps exist and are growing in the state of Wisconsin.  You may or not be familiar with WEERP, the Wisconsin Educator Effectiveness Research Project. WEERP is a research-practitioner partnership between the Office of Socially Responsible Evaluation in Education at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. This project focuses on monitoring and influencing Educator Effectiveness as a means for impacting achievement and engagement for all students in the state of Wisconsin.

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