DA Blog



Welcome Guest
Recent Posts Recent Comments Categories Archives

 subscribe subscribe
 
Page 1, 2

Thoughts on information sharing during District Hold/Locks (October 17, 2017)

date 11/14/2017 author Andy Rowland category Uncategorized comment Leave a comment

Last year, we experienced two hold/lock events and have had two so far this year. Both internal and external reasons have resulted in the district implementing hold/lock. For years, districts have taken precautions when alerted to safety concerns relating to our students. Some district precautions went unnoticed, and others resulted in a letter being sent home after the incident. Cell phones and social media have been game changers in how we receive and transmit information to our students, families, and the community. Early in my administrative career (2003), I noticed the change when parents were calling about a bus accident prior to the bus company notifying us. This has required districts to communicate directly with parents.

When a hold/lock is called by one of our administrators (building or district level), the district administrator is contacted and apprised of the situation. The first message is to the District Leadership Team and any directly impacted schools. The district safety director (David Brokopp) and district administrator (Mark Elworthy) then identify next steps for the district and establish a direct line of communication with the Whitewater Police Department. We then determine who needs to be notified of the lock down. At the end of a hold/lock, a final announcement is made.

During a Hold/Lock, students with cell phones have probably already contacted parents and friends at this time. During a hold/lock, there are three messages that the district transmits: the announcement of hold/lock, any urgent message based on change in the status of the situation which caused the hold/lock, and an announcement of the hold/lock ending. Our preferred message delivery is email with a Spanish version; text messaging or phone calls are for urgent updates.

In summary, I believe we have been successful because of the training the district completes on a regular basis, and the relationships that have been built with the first responders in the city and the counties. We are fortunate to have a resourceful community partnership with first responders, UW-Whitewater, the City of Whitewater, and our business community. Our goal during these events is to accurately communicate critical information to those impacted by the hold/lock. We know student safety can be very stressful for family and community members who are concerned about their loved ones. Thank you for your support.

Reflexiones sobre el intercambio de información durante los procedimientos de bloqueo y retención (Hold/Lock) del distrito (17 de octubre de 2017)
El año pasado, experimentamos dos eventos de bloqueo y retención y hemos tenido dos en lo que va del año. Tanto por razones internas como externas han resultado en que el distrito implemente el procedimiento de bloqueo y retención. Durante algunos años, los distritos han tomado precauciones cuando se les alerta sobre preocupaciones de retención relacionadas con nuestros estudiantes. Algunas precauciones del distrito han pasado desapercibidas, y otras dieron lugar a que se enviara un aviso a casa después del incidente. Los teléfonos celulares y las redes sociales han cambiado la forma en que recibimos y transmitimos información a nuestros estudiantes, a nuestras familias y a la comunidad. Al comienzo de mi carrera administrativa (2003), noté el cambio cuando los padres llamaban acerca de un accidente de autobús antes de que la compañía de autobuses nos lo notificara. Esto ha requerido que los distritos se comuniquen directamente con los padres.
Cuando uno de nuestros administradores (del edificio o del distrito) llama a un de bloqueo y retención se contacta al administrador del distrito y se le informa de la situación. El primer mensaje es para el equipo de liderazgo del distrito y para cualquier escuela directamente afectada. El director de retención del distrito (David Brokopp) y el administrador del distrito (Mark Elworthy) luego identifican los próximos pasos a seguir para el distrito y establecen una línea directa de comunicación con el Departamento de Policía de Whitewater. Luego determinamos quién debe ser notificado del procedimiento de bloqueo y retención. Al final de ese procedimiento, se realiza un anuncio final.
Durante un “Hold /Lock” o bloqueo y retención, es probable que los estudiantes con teléfonos celulares ya hayan contactado a sus padres y amigos. Durante un procedimiento de bloqueo y retención, hay tres mensajes que transmite el distrito: el anuncio de que hay un bloqueo y retención, cualquier mensaje urgente basado en el cambio en el estado de la situación que causó el bloqueo y retención, y un anuncio del final del bloqueo y retención. Nuestra manera preferida de mandar mensajes es un correo electrónico con una versión en español; mensajes de texto o llamadas telefónicas son para las actualizaciones urgentes.
En resumen, creo que hemos tenido éxito debido a la capacitación que el distrito hace de manera regular, y las relaciones que se han establecido con los agentes de respuesta en la ciudad y en los condados. Somos afortunados de tener una asociación comunitaria con los agentes de seguridad, con UW-Whitewater, con la Ciudad de Whitewater y con nuestra comunidad empresarial. Nuestro objetivo durante estos eventos es comunicar con precisión la información crítica a aquellos impactados por los procedimientos de bloqueo y retención. Sabemos que la retención de los estudiantes puede ser muy estresante para los miembros de la familia y la comunidad se preocupan por sus seres queridos. Gracias por su apoyo.

Thoughts on my First Year at WUSD

date 11/14/2017 author Andy Rowland category Uncategorized comment Leave a comment

Thoughts on my First Year at Whitewater Unified School District

The purpose of this communication is sharing what I learned in my first year as the District Administrator of Whitewater Unified School District. The major themes of my blog entry are: The referendum, and what I have learned about key processes of the district, and what our community supports.

What a year it has been. The year has been full of many celebrations and the development of many partnerships. When I arrived, the district was preparing for a capital referendum campaign. A lot of community engagement occurred during the planning process that assisted me greatly with the transition to Whitewater. Being a part of the referendum campaign allowed me get to know the community and better understand what they support. Meeting people and hearing their stories is something that has always energized me. Conversations with community members have provided me insight in how the community operates and what people value.

The referendum passed on November 8, and the real work of planning and completing the projects began. The planning phase again reinforced what people valued. We had a Core Team guide the process and then met with focus groups based on school projects like the middle school fine arts classrooms. The work completed during the summer of 2017 represented 15% of the referendum work, another 35% of the work will be completed during the 2017-18 school year, and the rest will be completed during the summer of 2018. As a district, we know that not all of the ideas discussed during the referendum were able to be completed. The Core Team prioritized the importance of the projects based on how they impacted student learning and student safety. We will have some wonderful improvements to celebrate at this time next year. The referendum will help us identify and prioritize future projects to enhance student learning.

In preparation for future projects, a transition team was created to evaluate three critical processes: curriculum, finances, and communication (both internal and external). Thank you to Kelly Seichter, Doug Parker, and Nathan Jaeger for leading the committees which were composed of staff, administrators, parents, and community members. The transition’s team work was threefold: inform critical communicators in the district about how it functions, review the process, and assist me in identifying some high priority items for future years. Attached is a summary of the findings. As a district, we will continue dialogue with critical communicators and reflect on how we can improve the educational learning opportunities for our students.

In terms of programming for our students, I am appreciative that people are willing to be proactive in addressing issues that surface from time to time or have remained unaddressed. Three examples of this programming are the Always Connected Program for improving parent and student understanding of the internet/social media, the It Gets Better Programming which UW-Whitewater brought in to promote why diversity and acceptance is important, and the Martin Luther King Day Programs at the middle and high school for promoting his six principles of peace. I am confident that we will continue these programs as we continue to support all of our students and families.

I am fortunate to work in a community that values education and is supportive of all of our students. On a daily basis, I witness many people giving of their time and resources without anything expected in return. It is truly amazing the financial support that our community provides on a regular basis.

Pensamientos en mi primer año en el Distrito Escolar Unificado de Whitewater

El propósito de esta comunicación es compartir lo que aprendí en mi primer año como el Administrador del Distrito del Distrito Escolar Unificado de Whitewater. Los temas principales de mi entrada en el blog son: el referéndum y lo que aprendí sobre los procesos clave del distrito y aquello que nuestra comunidad apoya.

Qué año ha sido. El año ha estado lleno de muchas celebraciones y de desarrollo de muchas asociaciones. Cuando llegué, el distrito se estaba preparando para una campaña de referéndum de capital. Durante el proceso de planificación, se produjo una gran cantidad de participación de parte de la comunidad, lo cual me ayudó mucho en mi transición a Whitewater. Ser parte de la campaña del referéndum me permitió conocer a la comunidad y entender mejor aquello que ellos apoyan. El conocer gente y escuchar sus historias es algo que siempre me ha dado energía. Las conversaciones con miembros de la comunidad me han proporcionado información sobre cómo funciona la comunidad y qué cosas valora la gente.

El referéndum se aprobó el 8 de noviembre y comenzó el verdadero trabajo de planificación y finalización de los proyectos. La fase de planificación nuevamente reforzó lo que la gente valoraba. Tuvimos un equipo central que guió el proceso y luego se reunió con grupos focales basados �??�??en proyectos escolares como las aulas de bellas artes de la escuela intermedia. El trabajo completado durante el verano de 2017 representó el 15% del trabajo del referéndum, otro 35% del trabajo se completará durante el año escolar 2017-18, y el resto se completará durante el verano de 2018. Como distrito, sabemos que no todas las ideas discutidas durante el referéndum pudieron completarse. El equipo central priorizó la importancia de los proyectos según cómo impactaron el aprendizaje de los estudiantes y la seguridad de los estudiantes. Tendremos algunas mejoras maravillosas para celebrar en este momento el próximo año. El referéndum nos ayudará a identificar y priorizar proyectos futuros para mejorar el aprendizaje de los estudiantes.

En preparación para proyectos futuros, se creó un equipo de transición para evaluar tres procesos críticos: currículo, finanzas y comunicación (tanto interna como externa). Gracias a Kelly Seichter, Doug Parker y Nathan Jaeger por liderar los comités compuestos por el personal, los administradores, los padres y los miembros de la comunidad. El trabajo en equipo de la transición fue triple: informar a los comunicadores críticos del distrito sobre su funcionamiento, revisar el proceso y ayudarme a identificar algunos elementos de alta prioridad para los años futuros. Adjunto hay un resumen de los hallazgos. Como distrito, continuaremos dialogando con comunicadores críticos y reflexionaremos sobre cómo podemos mejorar las oportunidades de aprendizaje educativo para nuestros estudiantes.

En términos de programación para nuestros estudiantes, estoy agradecido de que las personas estén dispuestas a ser proactivas al abordar los problemas que surgen de vez en cuando o que han permanecido sin respuesta. Tres ejemplos de esta programación son el Programa Always Connected para mejorar la comprensión de Internet y redes sociales entre padres y alumnos, la Programación It Gets Better que UW-Whitewater presentó para promover la diversidad y la aceptación y su importancia, y los Programas del Día de Martin Luther King en la escuela media y secundaria para promover sus seis principios de paz. Estoy seguro de que continuaremos estos programas mientras seguimos apoyando a todos nuestros estudiantes y familias.

Tengo la suerte de trabajar en una comunidad que valora la educación y apoya a todos nuestros estudiantes. Diariamente soy testigo de muchas personas que dan su tiempo y recursos sin esperar nada a cambio. Es realmente sorprendente el apoyo financiero que nuestra comunidad brinda de manera regular.

Reminder of Weather Delays and Closings

date 10/17/2017 author Mark Elworthy category Uncategorized comment Leave a comment

Reminder of Weather Delays and Closings 
 
With the arrival of winter, families, students, and community members often inquire how decisions to close or delay school are made and communicated. If school is delayed or closed, our goal is to make a decision by 5:00 AM. In making the decision, the District Administrator drives the roads and consults with Nelson’s Bus Service, local snowplow drivers, and area district administrators. We will broadcast the decision on television and radio stations as well as communicate electronically via the WUSD website and Infinite Campus. If the wind chill is sustained at -35 degrees F or a Wind Chill Warning is issued, most school districts will close, although this is a local decision.
 
While the district has the responsibility to close school due to weather, no decision of ours overrides the judgment of parents. If parents have a sincere concern for the safety of their children, they can certainly keep them home or remove them from school early.
 
 
 
Recordatorio sobre los retrasos o cancelaciones debido al clima
 
Con la llegada del invierno, las familias, estudiantes y los miembros de la comunidad a menudo se preguntan sobre las decisiones y comunicaciones que se toman acerca de cerrar la escuela o retrasar el inicio de clases. Si se cierra la escuela o se retrasa el inicio de clases, nuestra meta es tomar esas decisiones hasta las 5:00 AM. Para tomar una decisión, el administrador del distrito maneja por las calles y consulta con el servicio de buses Nelson , con los empleados locales que limpian las calles y con los otros administradores del distrito. Una vez que se haya tomado una decisión, ésta será anunciada en los canales de television y de radio y la comunicaremos también electrónicamente a través de la página web del distrito y de Infinite Campus. Si el viento frío se mantiene a -35 F o se anuncia una advertencia de vientos frios, la mayoria de distritos escolares cierran sus escuelas, aun cuando la decisión es tomada a nivel local.
 
Si bien el distrito tiene la responsabilidad de cerrar la escuela debido al clima severo, ninguna decisión nuestra va antes que la de los padres. Si los padres tienen una sincera preocupación por la seguridad de sus hijos, ellos pueden mantenerlos en casa o retirarlos temprano de la escuela. 

3rd Annual Golf Fore! Kids on August 20

date 10/17/2017 author Mark Elworthy category Uncategorized comment Leave a comment

Whitewater Unified School District will be hosting its 3rd Annual Golf Fore! Whitewater Kids on August 20 at Prairie Woods Golf Course.

 

The Whitewater Unified School District Leadership Team, comprised of school principals, district coordinators and administrators, is hosting the 3rd Annual Golf Fore! Whitewater Kids Outing on Sunday, August 20, 2017, at Prairie Woods Golf Course. 

This event will make a difference in the lives of Whitewater children. All proceeds from this golf outing and dinner will support:

  • Scholarships for graduating WHS seniors
  • Performing Arts through the Whitewater Music Parents Association
  • Athletics through the Whippet Booster Club
  • Whitewater Unified School District’s Family Emergency Fund

There are several ways you can participate in this fun and worthwhile event. First, you can register a foursome for the golf outing, or register as an individual and we will find you a team. Second, you or your business can sponsor a hole, which entitles you to a sign on the course acknowledging your support. Third, you or your business can donate items for the silent auction or raffle, or prizes for the outing. Fourth, you can attend the dinner reception following the golf outing, where we will also recognize this year’s recipients of the Friend of Whitewater Kids awards. Finally, please consider helping us promote the event by posting a flyer in your business and sharing information with others.

If you are interested in attending  this important charitable event, please fill out the registration/sponsorship form on the WUSD website: http://www.wwusd.org/page/2927. Forms are also available at WUSD’s Central Office. If you have questions, please contact any member of the District Leadership Team or call 262-472-8700.

WUSD Video - Why Whitewater?

date 06/27/2017 author Mark Elworthy category Uncategorized comment Leave a comment

Whitewater Unified School District Video

Whitewater Unified School District Video – During the year, we developed a video to celebrate the district’s achievements. Here is a link to the video, Why Whitewater? - https://youtu.be/Af7b0MrWUGk

We are fortunate to have so many wonderful teachers and leaders in the district. Great job everyone. The video summarizes the many awesome characteristics for the Whitewater Unified School District. Highlights include many academic, athletic, and art activities throughout our district. All of these activities are possible because of the high level of community support and community partnerships. The video has both Spanish and English subtitles available.

 

Video Del Districto Escolar de Whitewater - Durante el año, desarrollamos un video para celebrar los logros del distrito. Aquí hay un enlace al video, ¿Por qué Whitewater? –https://youtu.be/Af7b0MrWUGk

 

Tenemos la suerte de tener tantos maestros y líderes maravillosos en el distrito. Buen trabajo a todos. El video resume las muchas características impresionantes para el Distrito Escolar Unificado de Whitewater. Los aspectos académicos incluyen muchas actividades, atléticas y artísticas en todo nuestro distrito. Todas estas actividades son posibles debido al alto nivel de apoyo comunitario y asociaciones comunitarias. El video tiene subtítulos disponibles tanto en español como en inglés.

The 100 Day Phone Call Challenge

date 03/21/2017 author Mark Elworthy category Uncategorized comment Leave a comment

One of my peers, Joe Sanfelippo (Fall Creek District Administrator), challenged other district administrators to make 100 calls to families in celebrating the first 100 days of school. I accepted the challenge. What an awesome experience. It was great to learn more about our students and families. Next year, I hope to make all of the calls in one day. The phone calls consisted of thanking parents/guardians/students for the students’ academic achievements, leadership, and making improvements at school (academic or behavior). The conversations were priceless and invigorating.

The experience has reminded me how important positive connections are. Education is a people business that is driven by the type of interactions we have. The longer I work in the education field, the more I understand the significant impact of the interactions.

We are fortunate to have positive messages throughout our schools and community. When I walk through the hallways in the schools, I see and hear those positive messages. For this to continue, we need to continue to celebrate our strengths and differences.
Positive messages occur when there is active dialogue on what we value. This occurs when all parties are willing to listen and acknowledge there are different viewpoints on some topics. My observations in Whitewater indicate this occurs in our community and schools. I am proud to be a part of a community that values inclusivity.

As a leader, I know my actions are visible. When something does not seem right, I ask myself, “What does this mean?” I am fortunate to have many community and staff members who help me make decisions every day. Once I have an answer, I focus on how I can be a part of the solution. One of my daily goals is to recognize people for their contributions and positivity. 

RISE Mini Grants

date 03/17/2017 author Mark Elworthy category Uncategorized comment Leave a comment

Congratulations to all of the RISE Mini Grants awarded to staff. Great ideas that will make a huge impact on student learning. RISE Mini Grants are distributed on an annual basis. 
 
RISE Mini Grants
 
STEM Bins - Michelle Kuhlow   $510

  • This Washington Elementary kindergarten will use six STEM bins as part of an exploratory rotation for Science/tech/engineering/math projects.
 
Davis Weather Station – Shannon Frye  $650
  • This weather station will be housed in Lincs Learning Growing School Garden.  Providing real-time weather data for the whole school. 
 
Virtual Reality googles: 6 full kits, 10 starter kits, Rebecca Ebling - $590
  • The high school French teacher requested 16 starter kits for VR.  She was awarded six full kits and ten starter kits.  These will be used for VR tours of French museums and tours of towns in France. 
 
Tiggly Word and Tiggly Math, School IPAD apps – DeAnna Brunner - $300
  • These apps combined with the accompanying manipulatives will provide skill building practice for students in reading and math. 
 
Magna-tiles and light table – Sara Brautigam - $578
  • Lakeview students will benefit from the Magna-tiles and two light tables to build and create with lights and shadow.  With these tow tools student will create art in a whole new tech based way. 
 
Large magnetic boards and accessories – Jerre Sveum - $575
  • Versatile tools for any classroom to utilize in the Lakeview STEAM center. 
 
Green screen and tools equipment – Lisa Meinke - $760
  • IPAD, green chromakey screen, tripod, apps bundle, microphone.  All these tools will help implement a green screen recording center for Lakeview’s new STEAM center. 
 
Virtual Reality Goggles, Phones, Chargers (10) – Justin Stewart
  • Mr. Stewart will spearhead the VR initiative at Lincoln elementary, creating virtual reality experiences (field trips, experiments, travel) for students. 
 
Lego Wall – Heather Borgen - $560
  • The plywood, vinyl gutters and legos that will make up this lego wall will help students with beginning engineering problem solving, art recreation, letter and word formation, sensory stimulation and much more.  

Referendum Update February 1

date 02/01/2017 author Mark Elworthy category Uncategorized comment Leave a comment

Referendum Update (2/01/17)

We have reached a milestone in the planning of the referendum projects. Thank you to everyone who has contributed. We have completed the schematic design phase.  Essentially, we now know where the walls go and are 99% sure on the concept of the design for areas identified for renovation.  The next phase will focus on the details: furniture, fixtures, and equipment.

We plan to have new display boards soon. Below are some changes from the pre-referendum drawings:

  • Bathrooms in all buildings except for WHS – Today (2/1) we reviewed EUA’s updates based on DLT concerns that we were losing too many stalls due to code renovations. The initial plan was not to increase any square footage in the bathrooms; we now have decided to capture additional space wherever possible. This has increased scope so other projects may need to be scaled back. As previously shared, the renovations have resulted in the district having to follow newer building code. The new codes required an ADA stall and specific “widths and space” for movement. All make sense but take more square footage. The net result is fewer stalls, urinals, and sinks. I do believe the new codes promote more privacy with urinal privacy panels and off-set line of view from doorways.
  • Washington
  1. 4K room – Remains where it is due to load-bearing wall limitations.
  2. Conference room added (where 4K was projected to be).
  • Middle school
  1. Entrance – Current main entrance and office are being redesigned and renovated.
  2. Driveway on Elizabeth – Determined not to improve circulation and drop-off. We are still working on some options. This will be finalized later in the referendum scope to allow time for planning.
  3. MS locker rooms – These have been included in the renovations; previously not in the scope.
  4. Fine Arts area – All areas will be in different rooms. This is possible with the fitness room being returned to the former weight room (left of the gym). All areas will have significant increases in square footage and will result in improved instructional spaces for general music, choir, band, and art.
  • Lincoln – The entrance will be on the north side of the building - if you are familiar with the building, it will be about where the staff work room is currently located. We are working on some circulation improvements here.
  • High school – No major changes but all targeted renovated areas will look and operate differently. We are still working to finalize the functionality of the MPR space. The current exterior walls are the challenge.
  • Other Projects Update - HS skylight replacement. We are getting quotes. The project will be a slow process based on material availability. Some funding will be covered by insurance. We may use some referendum dollars to finish the project.

Referendum Update - January 2017

date 02/01/2017 author Mark Elworthy category Uncategorized comment Leave a comment

On Monday, January 9, the school board held a work session on projects related to the $23.5 million capital referendum. Business partners Eppstein Uhen Architects and JP Cullen were present to review the project. The presentation outlined work completed on the first phase (schematic design). Initial meetings have focused on areas that are larger in scope (Lincoln and HS PE/athletics, LMCs, and school entrances). The district has held core team meetings every other week, and focus meetings have been held at the building level as needed. Core team members are Mark Elworthy, Nathan Jaeger, Charlie Barr, Mary Kilar, David Brokopp, and Bill Kuchan. The first phase is 85% complete. The next phase is design development which will generate the bid documents. The project is scheduled to go out to bid in April.

At the meeting, the board was presented the five secure entrance designs, changes in scope at Washington, Lincoln, and the middle school, and were updated on the bathroom renovations process. The board was informed that on January 3, Nate Jaeger and Mark Elworthy met with the City of Whitewater to discuss potential traffic safety improvements at Lincoln and the middle school. It was agreed that there are many safety concerns that need to be addressed. The major changes are as follows:

1. Washington

The 4K room will no longer be relocated to the current locker room spaces. There was initial concern about the lack of natural light which we thought could be addressed by bringing in natural light from the entryway. A load-bearing wall will prohibit us from opening that room up as much as we wanted. That space will be utilized for other instructional areas and conference space. We feel this is a better outcome than the original design.

2. Lincoln

a. Entrance – The preferred staff option is on the north side of the building about 100 feet from the northeast corner. A canopy would designate the new entrance. The new entrance allows for better flow. Parking near the new entrance has been proposed to assist with student drop-offs and pick-ups.
b. Circulation - The District will approach the city to formally request changes in street parking near the school and implement a right-turn-only out of the north driveway.
    1) No parking on Prince Street between Highland Street and West Peck Street. There would be a new drop-off/pick-up area cut-in on Prince Street (west side). It would be created by a curb-cut and would be intended strictly for drop-offs and pick-ups. This would require an ordinance change which would involve gathering community input.
   2) If these changes do not improve student safety and circulation, the district will consider requesting the City of Whitewater to implement one-way driving on Prince Street between Highland Street and W. Peck Street, preferably in the southern direction. This change would also encourage parents who have students in both the middle school and elementary schools to drive around the block (clockwise) to drop off/pick up their children. This would require an ordinance change which would involve gathering community input.

3. Middle School

a. Entrance – In the pre-referendum meetings, an Elizabeth Street entrance was proposed. It has been determined not to be viable. The current office will be renovated. Additional visitor parking will be added near the current entrance.
b. Circulation - In the pre-referendum meetings, a driveway in front of the school was proposed. It is being re-evaluated for effectiveness, safety, and cost. There is a concern that it would add a second lane of traffic for students to walk through. The district is considering a cut-in for pick-up/drop-off on Elizabeth Street. In the next couple of weeks, there will be meetings with focus groups regarding LMCs, the HS PE space, the MS fine arts space, and ADA bathroom renovations and design. 

Washington Elementary nominated for Blue Ribbon Schools Award

date 01/31/2017 author Mark Elworthy category Uncategorized comment Leave a comment

Washington Elementary School in Whitewater Nominated for 
Prestigious National Blue Ribbon Schools Award


State Superintendent of Schools Tony Evers has nominated eight Wisconsin public elementary schools for the National Blue Ribbon Schools award, which is a U.S. Department of Education effort to recognize overall academic excellence or progress in improving student achievement. We are pleased to announce that Washington Elementary School is among those nominated.

“The Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes the hard work of students, educators, families, and communities in striving for solid student academic achievement,” Evers said. “Our public school nominees provide a safe and supportive learning environment where young people can build a foundation for future academic and life success. I wish our nominees well in the next phase of the Blue Ribbon Schools process.”

Schools nominated to the program must complete the Blue Ribbon Schools application and undergo a rigorous national review process. Awards, presented to “Exemplary High Performing” and “Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing” schools, are typically announced in early September. The Blue Ribbon Schools Program has recognized more than 8,500 of America’s schools since it began in 1982. To be considered for the program, schools must be among the top schools in the state for overall achievement on statewide assessments or closing achievement gaps between student groups. 

Tom Grosinske, principal of Washington Elementary, comments, “We are so proud and humbled to be nominated by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction for the National Blue Ribbon Schools award through the U.S. Department of Education. This validates the incredible work our school staff has been doing for our students. We have known all along we have amazing families, a world class staff, and a very supportive school district. This nomination is evidence of the positive and student-centered culture that is Washington Elementary School.”

The 2017 nominees are:

  • Washington Elementary School, Whitewater Unified School District
  • Mountain Bay Elementary School, D.C. Everest Area School District, Weston
  • Robinson Elementary School, Laona School District
  • Shorewood Hills Elementary School, Madison Metropolitan School District
  • Oriole Lane Elementary School, Mequon-Thiensville School District
  • Elmwood Elementary School, New Berlin School District
  • Phillips Elementary School, Phillips School District
  • West Salem Elementary School, West Salem School District