April 12th Edition

Why Can't We Just All Get Along – Schools and Family Law Disputes

By Melissa Thiel Collar, Legal Counsel, Green Bay Area Public School District

As education professionals, it is not uncommon for others to seek your input and advice regarding students you are entrust­ed to educate. Outside of a child’s parent or guardian, educators typically interact with a child more frequently than other adults. 

Increasingly, educational employees are asked to become involved in family law mat­ters such as custody hearings or hearings re­garding the physical placement of the child. This involvement may come in many forms, including a request from the parent to write a letter for a custody hearing that provides information about the parent’s involvement at school or the child’s appearance and preparedness for school during the parent’s periods of physical placement; a request by a child’s guardian ad litem (“GAL”) for student records or to complete a “survey;” or a subpoena by a parent’s attorney to testify at a custody or divorce hearing.  Regardless of the source of the request, the request itself often places school staff squarely in the middle of the parents’ family law dispute, thus complicating and perhaps undermining your role as an educator and administrator. 

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Prioritizing Your Professional Learning for 2017-18

by Dr. Joe Schroeder, Associate Executive Director, AWSA

We are in that very busy part of the calendar where administrators need to facilitate a strong finish to the current school year while simultaneously planning well for the new one around the corner.  A key preparation for 2017-18 involves identifying priority professional learning needs for you and for your staff -- and then pursuing high quality offerings to meet those identified needs.  As you may recall, AWSA is in the midst of significantly shifting how we support the professional learning needs of our members, particularly through the ongoing addition of multi-session, blended academies and professional coaching.  Detailed information about each AWSA offering (including dates, locations, and registration) will be published and sent to you in both electronic and hardcopy form in coming weeks.  So please keep an eye out for AWSA’s 2017-18 Professional Learning program information coming your way in early May. In the meantime, here is a preview of the details to come for those interested in a sneak peek. . . .

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Title IX Issues Involving Booster Clubs and Facilities – How Equity Impacts Both

By Bob Butler, Attorney, WASB Associate Executive Director and Staff Counsel

You have just received notice from a booster club that they intend to donate a significant amount of money toward your boys’ baseball team. The booster club informs you that the donor wants the funds to go toward new uniforms and improvements to the baseball diamond’s dugout and infield. Beyond the school board’s policy on acceptance of donations, have you thought about equity issues under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 in accepting and administering the donation? The following article will provide background information on Title IX related to the role of the Title IX Coordinator, the handling of booster club funds under the lens of Title IX and how Title IX affects facility access, planning and development.

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April is the Month of the Military Child

April is the Month of the Military Child!  We take time in April to recognize the unique challenges facing the children of military families. Military children move frequently, often switching schools up to six times during their K-12 school years. Families are often separated by frequent and lengthy deployments. Students understand that their parents may face life-threatening dangers, regularly, as part of their military responsibilities. Military children, like all students, need strong understanding and support from school staff.  Often times school staff can be the steadying force in a military student's life.

State Superintendent Tony Evers has always been a strong supporter of military families and in 2010 he appointed Shelley Joan Weiss as the Wisconsin Commissioner for the Education of Military Children.  Shelley chairs the Wisconsin Council for the Interstate Compact for the Equal Educational Opportunities for Military Children. Annually, Superintendent Evers has brought attention to military children by proclaiming April as the Month of the Military Child

Schools throughout the state and nation are honoring the contributions of the children of military families in a wide variety of ways. We were happy to kick off the month with a joint celebration with the Sparta, Tomah, and New Lisbon School Districts, along with families who serve at Fort McCoy and Volk Field on April 6, 2017.   We are sharing the celebrations through the Wisconsin Interstate Compact for the Education of Military Children Facebook page. We are also sharing information on Wisconsin celebrations with the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs and the National Commission office.

If you would like more information about the Interstate Compact, please check the DPI webpage https://dpi.wi.gov/sspw/pupil-services/school-counseling/connections/military-children. You can also contact Commissioner, and AWSA member, Shelley Joan Weiss at [email protected]. You can also share photos of your celebrations with Shelley.

AWSA’s Annual Election

AWSA’s annual election will open on April 14. The success of our association depends, to a large degree, upon the quality leadership that members collectively choose to lead AWSA. We are proud that our tradition of strong leadership continues. The election will remain open through April 30. This year, Directors will be elected from Regions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, and 11. Members of each of these regions will be emailed a notification on April 14, 2017 with a link to an online ballot listing the candidate(s) for that region.

April 26th Edition

Don’t Waste Your Time Reading This (Unless You Really Do Want to Innovate Your Practices)

By Kevin Miller, School Innovation Consultant

This is Part One of a multi-part series of articles about how to establish meaningful innovative practices in public school districts.  Part Two will appear in a future edition of The Update Bulletin.

Why are you reading this article?  No, really, why are you reading it?  The teaser must have been really compelling…wait a minute, this is the teaser – but it’s also the first paragraph.  Is this sort of like breaking the fourth wall in comic books and movies?  Will I have a Ferris Bueller or Deadpool type experience if I read this article?  And what does this have to do with school innovation?  Ugh, I feel like I’m being tricked, but I also feel like I have to go on.

“This is uh... This is ridiculous, ok I'll go, I'll go, I'll go, I'll go, I'll go. What - I'LL GO,” Cameron Frye, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Yes, that’s an extremely unconventional way to begin an article in a professional journal, but then, this entire article is far from conventional.  Instead, hopefully you’ll find it refreshingly out-of-the-ordinary.  And, hopefully, you enjoy occasional movie references because they can be very helpful when making some points.  So, let’s get on with it.

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New Tools for Your Communication Needs

By Joe Donovan, Donovan Group

Strong school leaders engage stakeholders in meaningful ways to promote student success. Starting today, you can find a host of new communication-related tools to support this important work. Members now have access to communications resources under the Communication Support section of the website. These resources are divided into two categories: Crisis Communications and the more general Communications Practices, Planning, and Tools section.

AWSA’s Annual Election

AWSA’s annual election is now open!. The success of our association depends, to a large degree, upon the quality leadership that members collectively choose to lead AWSA. We are proud that our tradition of strong leadership continues. The election will remain open through April 30. This year, Directors will be elected from Regions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, and 11. Members of each of these regions were emailed a notification on April 14, 2017 with a link to an online ballot listing the candidate(s) for that region.