May 1, 2019
Two New Tips:
Developing Effective and Persuasive Arguments
Providing Time for Their Personal Passions
A message from Peggy Larson, Ed.D.
District Administrator

Way back in August, I shared 10 tips to make your children’s learning more visible. I have been sharing tips each month, and just like the school year is flying by, here we are, already on Tip #6 of 10!

I took the tips from the work of Ron Ritchhart. Hopefully, these tips will help make you feel more a part of what your child(ren) is/are learning at school.

Here we are, already at tips 7 and 8.

7. Support Your Child in Arguing Effectively and Persuasively. If you’ve raised a teenager, I hope you’ll appreciate this tip! A study in the Journal of Child Development (J. Allen, 2012) showed that teenagers who argue constructively with their parents by building a case and providing evidence for their position were more able to resist peer pressure to use drugs than were students from more authoritarian households. Researchers found such arguments were training grounds for teens that enabled them to learn to speak up, voice an opinion, and use evidence.

I find this very interesting, and it makes sense to me. I recall as middle school principal, I would have students practice what they might say to someone who hurt them or practice an apology to someone they may have hurt. We would talk it out and examine the issue, before the student had to act. This way the students could feel more confident and prepared to move forward.

I believe people do not want to make bad choices and/or decisions when it comes to things that may cause harm, but under pressure it is difficult to provide a reason as to why not. This strategy of having your children build a case for their argument as practice to make good choices and/or decisions seems logical.

8. Provide Time to Pursue Passions. In the movie Race to Nowhere, producer/director Vicki Abeles documents how the pressure to succeed on tests is robbing children of rich learning experiences, causing stress-related problems, disengaged students, disruptions to home life, and wide-scale cheating. One argument the film makes is that teens need the time and space to pursue their passions and interests. Parents must make sure these passions, which may turn into life callings, are not squeezed out of their child’s life. This month’s tip encourages families to pay attention to your children's interests and to make time for their learning, but also to make time for their passions.

I think WCSD’s grading and reporting methods, and no-homework other than reading policy in elementary school, help with this. Our homework and grading policies are steeped in research and support this approach to learning. Our grading and reporting practices are intended to help reduce stress by allowing students to relearn and be reassessed on learning targets. Our goal is learning and our approaches are intended to help students learn, while avoiding the pressure of all students learning at the same pace. Also, by allowing time for students to pursue their interests during non-school hours, students can engage with activities that they love. Learning happens there too!

Tip number 8 is to help your child find his/her passion so that he/she feels better, engages with other aspects of life, and focuses on learning rather than stress.
Update: Bussing Contract Out to Bid
back-school-bus.jpg
At the Board of Education meeting on Monday, April 22, 2019, it was unanimously decided the District will go to bid for transportation. While the District has been satisfied with the quality of its current bus contractors, and is very grateful for the wonderful drivers who go out of their way to assist our students, the District also has an obligation to the taxpayers to manage our resources to ensure we provide a quality service at a reasonable cost.

Background on transportation services.
The Finance Committee of the Board of Education has met with Winneconne Bus Contractors since October 16, 2018. Our attempts to negotiate have come to a halt. Contractors proposed an 8.5% increase in year one, 2.5% increase in year 2, and 3.5% in year 3 (14.5% increase over 3 years). In addition, they requested a 10% increase for Suburbans (base and mileage). The District counter offered at 2% each year for the next 5 years (10% increase over 5 years). This was rejected by our local contractors, and they no longer wish to negotiate. It should be noted that based on a survey of Districts within an approximate 25-mile radius, area bus contracts have settled anywhere between 1.0% and 2.2% each year for three-to-five year contracts. With the district and the bus contractors so far apart, the Board of Education decided it has to seek out other options.

Financial factors drive the decision
Our core purpose is education. As we deliver education, the District has many financial pressures to balance, including, but not limited to, transportation services. For example, the District recently presented the outcomes of our enrollment projections and maintenance needs. Over the next 15-20 years, over $30 million in projects have been identified and prioritized. We have been “saving” for a few capital projects for the last six years by diverting $100,000 from our general operating budget to fund 41, as allowed by law. This fund allows us to set aside money for capital projects such as roofing. It is likely we will continue to be under this sort of financial pressure.
This is an example of the multiple priorities we must balance. In light of so many needs, a 14% increase over three years for transportation is not realistic. Therefore, we will compare other transportation services and costs. I will most certainly keep you updated on the status of the bidding process and which companies provide us their proposals. 
Thank you for reading this article. If you ever have questions about my article or our school district, feel free to contact me at (920) 582-5802 ext. 3141. 
Congratulations and Best Wishes
Thank you to these staff members for their years of service!

Three staff members will retire at the end of this school year. Please join us in wishing them the very best as they enter their next phase of life.

Karla Holl , elementary music educator, 32 years of service
Jolene Johnson , special education educator, 16 years
Julie Abler , administrative assistant, District Office, 12 years
Student Newspaper Approved for Next Year
Next October, Winneconne High School students and staff can look forward to the first edition of a new student newspaper. At its April meeting, the Board of Education approved this new student club. Mr. Garvens, a high school teacher, will serve as the club’s advisor.

Thanks to students Caleb Boutin and Carter Norton for doing the work to bring this proposal to the Board of Education. Through this new opportunity, students will learn about journalism, editing, online publishing, and other skills related to the production of a newspaper.

It will be yet another way for students to explore potential career fields.
Developing Skills to Solve Real World Problems
High School students Russell Stertz and Kristi Nagler presented their leadership project to the Board of Education on April 22. Their project researched solutions to the non-school traffic on Wolf Run.

Russell and Kristi’s presentation to the Board of Education included research about the effect of traffic on Wolf Run, including the cost of repairing the parking lot because of increased use. According to the students, local drivers use Wolf Run as a shortcut.

The students concluded that a break-away gate would offer a solution. The Board of Education appreciated their creative and professional presentation, and take their ideas under consideration.
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The End of the School Year Means Many Activities
We Hope to See You There!
May 4 - FFA Banquet 6 pm
May 6 - HS band concert 7 pm
May 9 - MS band concert 6:30 pm
May 13 - HS choir 7 pm
May 16 - MS choir 6:30 pm
May 31 - GRADUATION, 7 pm
June 6 - last day of school for students
Winneconne Community School District | (920) 582-5802 | Website