Our mission is to engage all of our students in rigorous and relevant learning to maximize their unique talents and abilities, and to prepare them for the challenges of the future.
January 2018
Dear Parents, Students, Friends and Neighbors,

Happy New Year! Welcoming a new year is always exciting because it creates a great opportunity for reflection and renewal. With the beginning of second semester we have many accomplishments that should bring our students, family and District great pride. 
 
Our new Lincoln STEM School has completed its first semester, and the Board this month was excited to hear about all of their accomplishments, including pursuing STEM challenges, passion projects, and learning about science and math through Project Lead the Way units of instruction. We are excited to be able to offer this fantastic opportunity for our elementary students and families. 
 
We are grateful to be continuing our partnership with the Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation through efforts with the Every Child Thrives team. This team is working on ensuring every student in our schools is ready for school and able to thrive in health, learning and life. If you are interested in learning more and how to get involved, visit the Foundation’s website.

We are proud of our WHS Academic Decathlon (ACADEC) Team. They consistently have performed at high levels, and this year they are ranked second in Wisconsin overall and first in Division One. They are currently preparing for the State Championships in Wisconsin Dells on March 8 and 9, and their goal is to retain the Division 1 Championship and win the overall State Championship! Join me in wishing them luck!

We have seen our students improve their skills in math and reading over the course of first semester/trimester. We have seen our athletes compete and represent us admirably across the state. We have seen our students, staff and parents engage in opportunities to give back, and we have seen our students perform in musicals, contests and concerts. We look forward to a new year of continued great accomplishments for our students and our staff!
 
We have many exciting events coming up. Our winter sports seasons will be ending, and we will begin gearing up for our spring sports. There are many upcoming concerts, literacy nights and other events for our students and parents to enjoy. Be sure to join us for our 13 th annual Trivia Night to support our Booster Club – February 17 – the theme this year is Classic TV Shows. Our annual Freshmen Preview Night at WHS will be held January 29, and WHS will host the Arts, Beats and Eats program February 25. I look forward to seeing you at our many events across the District.

May all of you find a way to live the life of your dreams in 2018.

Sincerely,
Cassandra Schug
Superintendent of Schools

“The secret to living the life of your dreams is to start living the life of your dreams today, in every little way you possibly can.” - Mike Dooley
Upcoming Events
  • Jan. 31: Red Cross Blood Drive, 2:30-6:30 p.m., Lebanon
  • Feb. 13: WHS Scholarships Due
  • Feb. 15: All Schools Early Release at 11:30 a.m.
  • Feb. 16: No School - Staff Development Day
  • Feb. 25: WHS Arts/Music Festival - Arts, Beats & Eats, 12-5 p.m.
  • March 10: WSMA Solo Ensemble Festival at WHS
  • March 15 and 16: Riverside Middle School Play, 7 p.m.
  • March 19: All City Chorus Concert, 6:30 p.m., WHS
  • March 24-April 2: No School - Spring Break
  • April 3: School Resumes

See WUSD calendars to find spring concerts, school events and 2017-18 district annual calendars
Save the Date! Trivia Night "Classic TV Shows" on February 17
The 13th Annual Watertown Athletic Booster Club Trivia Night is open to all high school students and adults from all communities. Last year more than 1,000 people attended!

Saturday, February 17, 2018
Watertown High School 
Doors open at 5:30, Trivia begins at 7:00 pm. 

Reservations can be made through any athlete. All tables should be paid for in advance! The website for online registration is  http://bit.ly/wabctrivia. Cost is $10.00 per person with a maximum of 8 people per table. If you have any questions, please contact: wabctriv@gmail.com
Innovation
RMS to Expand Personalized Learning
RMS Academy is the recipient of a CESA 1 Leadership Design Academy grant in the amount of $12,000 to develop and expand personalized learning at Riverside Middle School. With the help of the Institute for Personalized Learning and several peer districts from around the state, the team of eight staff members is working to create and apply a strategic action plan, design and implement a customized personalized learning model, move towards systemic change and establish milestones of progress. The goal is to ultimately design a school experience that builds independent, diligent and purposeful learners.  Way to go, RMS!
Lincoln STEM has Launched!
Lincoln Elementary STEM students in kindergarten through third grade are pursuing lessons and learning in science, technology, engineering and math through the Project Lead the Way Launch curriculum. 

Learners are exploring topics like robotics, light, sound, plants, flight, design and modeling and many others. Habits of Mind, the makerspace, data notebooks, passion projects and learner profiles are driving student engagement and learning. 

The overall goal throughout their time at Lincoln is to develop knowledge and skills to thrive wherever they go next. Being comfortable taking intellectual risks, adept at collaboration, confident in the face of challenges, and skilled at creating solutions to complex problems are just a few of these essential skills that we’re striving to build all while maintaining a love of learning!. Dr. Seuss said it best - Oh, the thinks you can think!

Read more about Lincoln STEM in this Watertown Daily News article.
Enhancing Teaching and Learning for Every Child - Every Day
Douglas 5th Grade Teachers Increase Student Engagement, Creativity
The fifth grade team at Douglas Elementary received a Watertown Way Grant award for their efforts to increase student engagement, creativity, team work and achievement.

Teachers Julie Burchardt, Lindsay Lease and Matt Stollberg implemented several large scale changes last school year, including full inclusion of special education students who were previously in the regular education classroom on a limited basis. Through Project-Based Learning, differentiation and standards-based grading, the teachers were better able to meet the diverse needs of their students.

To reach high levels of student engagement, the trio implemented many new projects such as: historical simulations, unique research-based projects, and many group based activities that allowed their students to work collaboratively with their peers. They also enjoyed connecting multiple areas of subject matter within common projects. By implementing projects that encouraged creativity and participation, the staff noticed high levels of student engagement and enthusiasm. For instance, during our explorer simulation days, the students were literally cheering when it was time for Social Studies! 

Douglas' yearlong work all came together for the Spring Showcase event. Students had the option of expanding on any previous areas of content they studied throughout the year. Students used a variety of technology, art and interactive activities to demonstrate their expertise. The teachers were thrilled with the pride students showed in their achievement, and it was a fun night for all students and their parents!

The Watertown Way grant was well deserved to support these teacher who effectively differentiate curriculum for all children while integrating all subjects. This process has continued to grow and evolve this school year, and they are excited by the results!
Teacher Lauren Kell Earns Prestigious National Board Certification
Congratulations to Lauren Kell, Schurz Elementary first grade dual language teacher, for earning her National Board Certification! It is a high honor and puts Kell in a group of just over 1,200 teachers in Wisconsin to ever receive the national certification. Kell describes below why she participated in the program and how it has benefitted her students.

Why did you decide to pursue National Board Certification?
About 3 years ago, I was starting to feel that I needed a change in my career. I had been teaching first grade for many years, and although I loved it, something just didn’t feel right. I didn’t feel like
I was connecting with or bringing joy to my students. Also, at the same time, I had the privilege of observing my own two children develop as they attended a high-quality preschool. I was intrigued and excited about the teaching methods that I saw at my children’s preschool. I started investigating various programs to get my preschool certification. However, all of the preschool licensure avenues that I researched were very expensive. But it was through my program search that I learned about the National Board Certification for Early Childhood-Generalist. I decided that this would be the best option for me to learn more about early childhood, enhance my teaching and advance my career.

Do you believe this has made you a better teacher?
The certification process has undoubtedly made me a better teacher because it makes the students and their learning my intense daily focus. The National Board process identifies 5 Core Propositions, or standards, that a master teacher must consistently demonstrate. These propositions are intended to positively impact student learning through the teacher’s practice. The propositions guide and focus lesson planning, evaluation and most importantly, interactions with children, parents, colleagues and community stake holders.

How is your classroom different now than when you first started the process?
My classroom is different now because the 5 Core Propositions have empowered me to be a passionate student advocate. By focusing my energy on the 5 Core Propositions, my daily work has become more systematic and impactful for my students’ needs. The most important aspect to understand about the National Boards, is that it is not really about you as a teacher at all. It about improving the lives of children through steadfast advocacy, systematic commitment, upliftment and love.

The 5 Core Propositions are:
1. Teachers are committed to students and their learning.
2. Teachers know the subjects they teach and how to teach those subjects to students.
3. Teachers are responsible for managing and monitoring student learning.
4. Teachers think systematically about their practice and learn from experience.
5. Teachers are members of learning communities.

What gives you the most pride from this experience?
I am most proud that the work I did with vulnerable students was deemed worthy as impactful practice. Actually, it’s the proudest I have ever been of anything I’ve ever done. It proves that I truly serve my community as a teacher and that I’ve improved the lives of children. At the same time, it’s tremendously humbling because I learned so much from the master teacher mentors who supported me. It’s hard for me to believe that I’ve earned the same accolade that they have.
Developing People and Partnerships
Alumni Spotlight on Steve Schleicher
WHS Social Studies Teacher, 1984 WHS Alumnus

Why did you come back to Watertown/the school district? 
It’s a good place to raise children. Both my parents and my wife’s parents were here. The cost of living was much better than other areas we were considering.

What’s most different from then and now? 
The city has grown and changed a great deal. When we returned, one of the deciding factors was the new high school building. Much of the city has changed. Sadly, this includes the disappearance of some of the city’s industrial base.

What is your favorite memory from your school days?
I can’t say enough good things about the time I spent playing football and participating in choir and drama. This clearly shaped much of my adult life. I spent 25 years coaching football because I had great role models like Dan Herbst, Bruce Wittenwyler and John Stueber. I have recently started to pursue acting and voice acting as an actual job. The training I got from Don Christensen in choir and Greg Hellrung in drama were fantastic.

Advice for anyone wanting to become a teacher or get into the field of education?
The teaching profession has changed a great deal since I entered it 25 years ago. Someone considering teaching should be aware of several things. First, understand the current political reality in the state of Wisconsin. This has caused some of those changes. Second, you really need to understand and relate to kids. Some people may have great content knowledge, but will never be able to relay that knowledge if they cannot build rapport with their students. This is a profession, that if done correctly, is completely exhausting. Finally, it is absolutely worth it. The relationships you build, and the knowledge you gain from your students, makes this an immensely rewarding profession.

Tell us something about yourself - family, kids, hobbies
I have been blessed to have a great and supportive family. I have been able to commit so much time to teaching and coaching because I have the most wonderful wife, Kathy. My wife is one of the big reasons we moved back to Watertown. We both decided that it would be great to raise our children near their grandparents. I have been lucky enough to be at the high school and be around my own kids while they have attended. My son, Jake, graduated in 2014 and will graduate this spring from UW-La Crosse with a degree in Chemistry. My son, Joe, graduated in 2016 and is a sophomore at UW-Madison studying Chemical Engineering. My daughter, Katie, is a Junior at WHS and plans on becoming a math teacher and later a school administrator. The Watertown Unified School District has done a great job educating and preparing them to pursue their dreams.

Anything else you might like to share?  
Recently I have become a professional actor and voice actor. Many people let me know that they saw me on a Steinhafels commercial that aired during a Packer game early in the season. A short film that I appeared in will be premiering at the Wildwood Film Festival in Appleton. I am always pursuing new voice acting and acting jobs and hope to make the jump to full time when I retire from teaching. Again, I wouldn’t be able to do this without the support of my family, especially my wife, Kathy.
Certified Staff Spotlight on Darianne Keuler-Nelson
Library Media Teacher at three WUSD Elementary Schools

As a young girl growing up on a rural dairy farm, trips to the "big city" were limited. I would wait with great excitement and anticipation to travel for this special treat. For my family, Watertown was the “big city.” We would drop fresh eggs off at the egg factory (currently the Watertown Street Department), enjoy an ice cream treat at Kline's Department Store (currently the Pidder, Padder, Paws Store) and complete the trip with grocery shopping at the A & P Store (currently the ESC building). Now a mere 40+ years later, I am happy to say that traveling to Watertown still fills me with feelings of excitement and anticipation. It remains a special treat!
 
I have been a Watertown educator my entire working career – now going on 30 years. I have taught 1 st grade, 2 nd grade and Kindergarten and currently teach Library Media classes at three elementary schools. Why have I chosen to dedicate my career to Watertown? I have stayed here due to our district’s time-tested commitment to children. I am a firm believer if you want to see positive gains with your students, you need to make personal connections and work with them! Too often we, as educators, get caught up in current trends, data and paperwork when often the clear solution is simply to “work with children.” I am so grateful for the many remarkable relationships I have made within the Watertown community because of my ties with our district. It has been a true joy and frankly, my life’s passion to work in education. 
 
Currently, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to restructure the elementary library media curriculum. We are incorporating new technologies and STEM-related standards. Our entire elementary library team is hard at work! It is fun to see our young minds exploring the endless opportunities that spark their curiosity AND it helps keep this “old goat” on her toes!
 
I look forward to spending many more years with my “Watertown family.” It’s a great place to be! #watertownway
Support Staff Spotlight on Donna Parys
Instructional Paraprofessional at Lebanon Elementary

Share a little background about yourself.
I was born in Milwaukee where I met and married the love of my life, my husband Bernie. We moved to the Township of Lebanon in 1977 where we still reside. We have two grown daughters and a 19-year-old grandson. I enjoy cooking and baking. In my few moments of spare time I relax by doing cross-stitch projects. I started working as an Instructional Paraprofessional at Lebanon Elementary 30 years ago.

What do you most love about your work at WUSD?
I am very fortunate to be at a small school and work with children throughout all grades. I love helping students learn and watching them grow academically. It's very rewarding making a difference in a child's life. I am also very blessed to work with teachers and staff who are dedicated to their work.

Share a favorite school success story.
Working at Lebanon for 30 years has given me daily success stories. I love the get-it moments or the sincere thank you from a struggling student. It's also very touching to have former students come back to Lebanon to visit and share their memories of me working with them.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.
I've always had an interest in archery. My husband recently surprised me with my own bow and arrows. I hope to become a skilled archer.

When your students and/or colleagues talk about you, what do you want them to say?
I would want them to say that I am a hard-worker, reliable, thoughtful and go above and beyond in everything I do.

Any piece of advice?
"The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday." - Anonymous
Watertown Unified School District | 920-262-1460 |  www.watertown.k12.wi.us