June 17th Edition

Pain, Promise, and the Path to Racial Justice

By Jim Lynch and Joe Schroeder, AWSA

Race is a social construct.  The genome has been mapped, and we know that our species share 99.9% of our DNA with one another.1

That “social construct” has very real meaning in our country.  Babies who are black and white are born with the same amazing potential.  However, based solely on the social construct of race, we can predict wide disparities for people of color in education, criminal justice, health, and poverty.  And, here in Wisconsin, we have some of the widest disparities in the nation.2

The Soiling of Old Glory

Two photographs from the same American city...

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COVID-Related Edition of the Update Coming Monday

On Monday, June 22, the DPI will be releasing COVID-related guidance for next school year. This guidance, as well as, other timely COVID related information will be included in a special edition of the Update on Monday.

 New LawImportant ID Card Changes for Fall '20

by Gary D Haas, Sr Business Development Exec with Lifetouch

The state of Wisconsin recently passed a law with important new ID requirements for Wisconsin schools.  This law goes into effect on 7/1/2020. Here is a link to the statute itself. High level, this is what schools are required to do.

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2021 State Superintendent Election and the SAA Endorsement Process

By John Forester, WI School Administrators Alliance

Wisconsin voters will elect a new State Superintendent in April 2021.

As the SAA reported a couple of weeks ago, two candidates have announced their campaigns to become the next State Superintendent, Pecatonica Superintendent Jill Underly and Assistant State Superintendent Sheila Briggs.  The SAA anticipates a crowded primary field to be assembled before the January 5, 2021 candidate filing deadline.  Why?  We are aware of several other potential candidates who are currently weighing a bid.  Also, using history as our guide, an open seat for State Superintendent tends to draw a large candidate pool.

Read more.

Elementary Principals Convention: New Dates

February 3 - 5, 2021 - NEW DATE!  | Osthoff Resort | Elkhart Lake 

Due to COVID, AWSA has moved the date of the Elementary Principals Convention from October 7-9, 2020 to February 3 - 5, 2021 at the Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake. Registration will open this fall!  

This year's convention will feature:

  • Keynote sessions on Discipline Deep Dive: Improving School Disciplinary Practices to Save Every Student by Andy Jacks, and The Power of Integrity by Colonel Art Athens.
  • Pre-Conference sessions, including the Elementary Principals Legal Seminar, Leading Professional Learning Communities, Planning For Your Retirement, and From Striving to Thriving: How to Grow Confident, Capable, Readers
  • Over twenty-five concurrent sessions, including sessions on: 
    • Lessons Learned Through the Health Emergency

    • Coaching for Equity

    • Self-Care and Work-Life Balance

    • Closing Opportunity Gaps

    • Building Staff Capacity for Social-Emotional Teaching and Learning

    • Elementary Innovation

    • Succeeding with Students with Severe Emotional and Behavioral Needs

If you have any questions about the 2021 Elementary Principals’ Convention please contact AWSA at 608-241-0300.

June 22nd Edition

Guidance Released by DPI and WIAA

Educators are busy preparing for what comes after the state’s school closure order expires on June 30.  Today, the DPI released its comprehensive Forward Education guidance document.
District administrators and local health officials will meet via zoom today at 2 PM to discuss this guidance.  The meeting will be recorded and made available (the link will be posted to AWSA’s Coronavirus page after the meeting).
On June 18th the WIAA released Guidance for Summer Activities. The WIAA will release additional information in the coming weeks (e.g. sport-specific recommendations). 

What are Districts Planning to Do This Fall?

The Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators is planning on conducting a survey to school districts this week to share their preliminary plans for fall instruction.  When the results are released we will pass this information along to you.

COVID Advocacy: Funding and Flexibility

Funding: What We Know

The CARES Act became law on March 27th and included COVID support for America’s schools.  In Wisconsin, this support will be delivered in three ways:

  • The DPI has will distribute $174 million through ESSER grants.  Districts may begin applying for ESSER funds by the end of July (costs incurred between March 13, 20, and September 30, 22 will be eligible for reimbursement).
  • The DPI will provide statewide support to a) expand access to high-quality online content, b) provide professional development for remote instruction, and c) expand the capacity of school staff to provide mental health services. The Department is expected to provide more details on this support in the coming weeks. 
  • The Governor announced on June 18th that he will provide an additional $46 million of CARES Act funding to K-12. The Governor is working with the DPI on how these dollars will be allocated to schools.

Funding: 2020-21 State Budget

There is an enormous concern throughout the country about the devastating impact of COVID on state budgets for 2020-21.  In Wisconsin, estimates show a potential $2-3 billion hole in next year’s budget which would necessitate deep cuts in education or heavy state borrowing.

In May, the House passed the HEROES Act which included $90 billion for state stabilization funding to fill state budget deficits ($58 billion dedicated to education).  It will be critical for the US Senate to pass legislation that includes stabilization funding.


Educators planning for next school year, during the ongoing COVID Pandemic, need flexibility from state laws and rules to best meet students’ needs.  Flexibility related to licensure, hours of instruction, assessment, and more will need to be provided as soon as possible as districts put plans in place.
AWSA has convened a COVID Thought Leaders Team to guide our COVID-related advocacy. In addition, the team will guide the development of member services including information, model resources, and professional learning. 

Professional Learning: Building Effective Leadership Academy

In these highly challenging times for leading and living, it is natural for even a seasoned, deeply skilled school leader to feel overwhelmed and uncertain in the post-COVID environment.  Given the COVID-19 pandemic, we have updated our Building Effective Leadership Academy content this year to address:

  • Becoming a Better Version of Yourself:  Meeting the Adaptive Challenge of Reopening School
  • COVID as Collective Trauma:  Supporting and Leading Others Through the Turbulence
  • Cornerstones and Linchpins:  Setting Priorities Amid Many Potential Pathways
  • Your Next 100 Days:  Embracing and Leveraging This Re-Set Moment

Click here for more information about the BEL Academy.

NASSP Members: Last Chance to Register for Annual Members Meeting

Yesterday, NASSP members received a reminder to register for the Annual Members Assembly.  We encourage you to participate in the Assembly as you will have the opportunity to vote for Wisconsin's very own Gregg Wieczorek for the office of NASSP President-Elect!  
The official vote will take place at Noon CST on July 8th during the virtual business meeting with the purpose of electing various positions to the board and to vote on new bylaws. One of the positions to be determined is president-elect.  If you register for the meeting you will be able to attend and vote to help Gregg win the election.  All NASSP members in good standing are eligible to vote.  The process should be short, taking between 15 and 30 minutes. 
Gregg, the principal of Arrowhead High School in Hartland, is a former AWSA board member and served as our president for the 2005-06 school year.  In 2012, Gregg was named Wisconsin Secondary Principal of the Year.  Currently, Gregg is finishing his fourth year on the NASSP board where he has served as treasurer for the past two years. 

Jostens Virtual Conference

The Jostens Renaissance Virtual Conference on July 13-15, is being offered to all educators and student leaders at no cost.