September 23rd Edition

New Situation-Specific COVID Communications Resources Available

In July, AWSA's communication partner, the Donovan Group, created the Communication Plan for Reopening Schools. It included a month-by-month roadmap of recommended communication tactics and a wealth of templates for your use.  

Now, in response to the unprecedented need for new, situation-specific templates and protocols for issues like positive cases, health and prevention efforts, schedule changes, shifts in schools' instructional models, extracurricular activities and school meals, the firm is providing more than 200 new templates and protocols for the wide array of scenarios school and district leaders will face this school year related to COVID-19. 

The templates are free to use without attribution. 

Please find the new templates here. 

Registration is Open for SLATE

AWSA is a proud co-sponsor of SLATE, Wisconsin’s most comprehensive instructional technology conference.  While we are not able to meet in-person this year, SLATE’s virtual platform will provide a top-tier interactive experience that will allow classroom, school, and district leaders to engage, connect, and grow like never before.  

As educators have worked tirelessly through the COVID pandemic we have so much to learn from one another. SLATE features new ways to connect to ask questions about our biggest needs and share our successes. 

Review this year’s program and register today! And, find comprehensive information, including full session descriptions, online at the SLATE Website.

Governor Extends Mask Order 60 Days

Governor Evers issued a new public health emergency on September 22nd to extend the statewide mask mandate by 60 days.  The current mask order was due to expire on September 28. The Legislature could vote to cancel the order, but Legislative leaders have not commented publicly on their intentions.

Important Legal Updates: 

Key Legal Considerations Regarding Student and Staff Speech in an Election Year 

Leading up to the November presidential election, students and staff are likely to engage in the political process to some extent. Reflecting the political polarization in America, there are instances of students and staff bringing their passion about politics into their school districts. A brief overview of key legal considerations will help building administrators navigate issues involving student and staff speech during the election year.  

Read More.

AWSA Legal Hotline Generating Additional Speech Questions: Coming to a School Near You?

In the short time since students have returned to school across the state, I have received several Hotline calls regarding student and staff speech. Today’s Update will address speech issues including disruptive backgrounds in virtual classrooms, student clothing, and more.  

Read More. 

Case Update: Failure to Follow IEP Costly to District

recent federal court decision from the Eastern District of Wisconsin is a reminder to all administrators of the need to develop appropriate IEPs – even when a parent refuses to participate - and then to follow them with fidelity, or your district could be faced with hefty penalties.  

Read More.


September 9th Edition

Extra Support For Your Growth and Self-Care

School leadership is challenging in the best of times and especially so during a pandemic.  Therefore, AWSA is providing extra support for your continued professional growth and self-care. 

AWSA certified coaches are available to provide support through reflective coaching, collaborative discussions, and planning for continued development. Learn more about complimentary coaching services here. 

Monthly Self-Care Sessions
Based upon positive feedback from our initial back-to-school Self-Care Sessions, AWSA will be offering a 45-60 minute Self-Care Session every month for the remainder of this school year at no cost. Learn more about the Self-Care Sessions here.

Webinar Series on Mental Health and Data Leadership Announced

Mental Health Leadership Series

Meeting the increasing mental health needs of students, staff, and community was a -- if not the -- key leadership priority prior to COVID.  And the unique challenges of this year’s reopening has only elevated the need.  To this end, AWSA is working in partnership with DPI to offer this series of workshops, which are designed to grow the capacity of school leaders to build resilience and mental health supports in the communities where they live and serve.  Each webinar in the series is provided at no cost and will be recorded. 

Click here for more information on this five-part series.

Data Leadership Webinar Series

What data can we use to inform how we continue our COVID 19 response? What data tells us whether our students' needs are being met? How are teachers using data to make necessary adjustments to meet student needs? What data should we gather to determine if our strategies are working? AWSA has put together a webinar series to help leaders develop an inquiry mindset, data use culture, and capacity to lead continuous improvement efforts that focus on high-quality data-informed improvement.  Each webinar in the series is provided at no cost and will be recorded. 

Click here for information on this four-part series. 

US Department of Education Will Not Waive Testing Mandates This Year

On September 3, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos informed states that they should not count on getting the same waivers from federal testing mandates for this school year that they got last spring as the pandemic shut down schools.

Pack a Healthy Lunch, But Don’t Forget to Bring It to School!

Forgetting our lunch at home is a great analogy for our lives in school as leaders. We have important tasks that we know are great for kids such as a good call home or a class read aloud, yet we get so distracted with other people’s problems, that we forget to follow through. We set it all up on our calendar. We’re going to change our students’ lives around. But then the reality of the busy day gets in our way. 

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Leading in Uncertainty

As school leaders re-open during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is foreseeable that we will become consumed by creating safety and operational preparations. It is also foreseeable that an overfocus on the uncertainty will cause a lack of focus on what is certain. Losing focus of the voice of the faculty, staff, and students are certain to lead to failure. Success, however, is linked to the leader’s ability to identify the collective voice of the school community. 

Read More