May 6th Edition

Status of Safer at Home Order

Educators have been eager to learn if the Safer at Home order would be extended for the remainder of the school year.  On April 16th the Governor extended the order to May 26th and closed schools for the remainder of the year.  In addition, the Governor issued a new executive order outlining “opening” the state in three phases.  On April 21, Legislative leaders asked the State Supreme Court to block the extension (from April 24 to May 26th).  The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on May 5th and is expected to make a ruling in short order.  AWSA will track this carefully and will update members on implications for state orders related to schools.

Graduation/Promotion Planning

We know that middle and high school leaders are busy trying to determine how best to bring closure to the school year and plan for promotion/graduation ceremonies.  AWSA has drafted this Guide for Non-Traditional Ceremonies to support your planning process. We plan to release revisions to this Guide as information is updated and new resources are identified. We invite you to use this form to make suggestions or share resources we can include in future revisions.

In addition, we encourage members to ask and answer each other's questions on traditional and online/non-traditional ceremonies on the Middle and High School Principals Forum.  We will keep this topic at the very top of the forum for the next month so that it is always easy to locate the conversation.

Getting Closure This School Year

by Adam Scanlan, Ed.S., Principal & Director of Special Education, Swallow SD

Unprecedented. Social Distancing. Virtual Learning. Digital Learning. Google Meet. Zoom. 


There are so many terms that have come to the forefront of our vocabulary and have certainly developed some core memories that will stick with us for a lifetime. Closure became very real when we realized that we were closing our doors to students. To be honest, it hurts to even type that or say it out loud. That's the exact opposite of why we're in this profession in the first place. Closure can be an act of closing or the condition of being closed. Now that the end of the school year is on the horizon, we're seeing that the closure in having a comforting or satisfying sense of finality is going to be a challenge. We're not able to go on our annual field trips that are a rite of passage, the end-of-year picnics with staff members manning the grill aren't being scheduled, and the good-bye waves and "tag, you're it!" jokes on the school signs will have to wait another year. 

Read more.

It’s All Fun and Games Until…. Frequently Asked Legal Questions about School Sponsored Field Trips

by Melissa Thiel Collar, Attorney, Legal Counsel, Green Bay Area Public SD

School principals commonly receive questions regarding different legal aspects of school-sponsored field trips, ranging from who may give permission for a student to participate in a field trip, to whom may accompany students on a field trip, as well as questions regarding medication administration on a field trip.  Your district’s school board policies should address important topics such as the chaperone to student ratio, who may authorize a field trip and guidelines for overnight field trips. Various other school board policies in your district most likely impact field trips as well, which are discussed further below.  

Read more.

DPI Publishes Rule to Expand Aidable Online Summer Courses to K-12 

Under current law Wis.Stat.sec.121.14(1)(a)3, if students in grades 7-12 complete certain online courses (e.g. classes related or similar to instruction that is offered during the regular school year), a district may count instructional minutes. The DPI has published an emergency rule that expands the grade levels in which districts may receive aid to K-12. The rule goes into effect May 5, 2020.

Retirement 2020

Retiring? Please let us know! Email [email protected] to be included in our recognition brochure and for information on a one-year complimentary retired membership with AWSA.

May 20th Edition 

COVID and Education in WI: What Comes Next?

The Supreme Court’s ruling on Governor Evers Safer at Home Order did not impact the state’s order to keep school facilities closed until the end of the year (June 30). So, what’s next for schools?

Mental Health: In an effort to provide assistance and resources for educators supporting students’ mental health DPI conducted a series of Community of Practice meetings. In this article, the authors share a brief summary of the topics covered and resources discussed related to virtual counseling and supports, responding to crisis virtually, Self-care and Compassion Resilience for Educators and, dealing with grief and loss. Read More.

Summer School: The DPI has published Emergency Rule 2003, expanding the ability of public school districts to use online instruction for summer school and count instructional minutes for membership. The emergency rule went into effect on May 5, 2020 and is in place for the summer of 2020. It does not change the types of classes that can be offered through summer school, but rather allows districts to offer those classes in an online format for all grades K-12.

2020-21 School Year: The DPI is developing a Roadmap to guide school and district planning for next school year. The guide is expected to be published in the coming week. AWSA has convened a COVID Thought Leaders Team to provide input on the association’s state and federal advocacy, and, what information and resources will be most helpful to members.

Professional Learning: AWSA has and will continue to adjust our professional learning opportunities to fit members needs during this health emergency. Registration is open for AWSA academies which continue to receive rave reviews for providing the opportunity to develop high-leverage leadership practices in key areas of the work (coaching, equity, mental health, data, PLCs). And, administrators who complete an academy will continue to be reimbursed for 75% of the registration fee next year. This summary table is a helpful tool for leaders to select the right academy for your needs and school context.

Legal: In this article Attorneys Robert Burns and Abby Busler provide legal considerations for leaders related to special education and planning for 2020-21. Read More.

Promotion and Graduation Ceremonies: Members are planning virtual ceremonies as a first or
last option and AWSA has drafted this planning guide to inform the process.

AWSA Election Results

The following members have been elected to serve on the AWSA Board of Directors.

  • Region 1 (co-director): Mike Roemer, Principal, Reagan High School, Milwaukee
  • Region 2 (co-director): Jennifer Fanning, Principal, Kennedy Elementary School, Janesville
  • Region 2 (co-director): Rainey Briggs, Director of Elementary Education, Middleton-Cross Plains
  • Region 3: Carmen Burkum, Principal, Fennimore Elementary School, Fennimore
  • Region 7: Cindy Olson, Principal, Washington Middle School, Green Bay
  • Region 8: Adam DeWitt, Principal, Oconto Middle and High School, Oconto
  • Region 10: Sue Kern, Executive Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, Chippewa Falls
  • Region 11: Sara Eichten, Principal, Somerset Middle School, Somerset
  • Region 12: Dave Scholz, Principal, Phillips Elementary School, Phillips

They will join the following board members whose seats were not up for election this spring:

  • Region 1 (co-director): Ellis Turrentine, Principal, Starbuck – an IB World School, Racine
  • Region 4: Nicki Pope, Principal, Lemonweir Elementary School, Tomah
  • Region 6: Deb Janke, Principal, Lomira High School, Lomira
  • Region 9: Anita Mattek, Associate Principal, Antigo High School, Antigo
  • President: Dan Carter, Principal, Heritage Elementary School, Waunakee
  • Past-President: Trisha Detert, Principal, Washington Elementary School, Merrill

Jerry PritzlJerry Pritzl appointed as AWSA’s President-Elect

At its April meeting, the AWSA Board of Directors unanimously appointed Jerry Pritzl, Principal at Poynette Middle School, to the office of president-elect. Jerry is currently serving on the board as director of region five and will begin his term as president-elect on July 1, 2020. He will then serve as president in 2021-22.