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.
September 2018
Check out this new video showcasing our wonderful school district! #WatertownWay
Dear Parents, Families and Students, Friends and Neighbors,
Welcome back to another exciting school year!  All of our schools have enjoyed welcoming our students back today to another great year of learning together. It has been great seeing our halls fill again with students eager to engage in their learning.
We had many causes for celebration over the summer including another terrific year of summer school and Camp Invention. We are fortunate to have a strong partnership with the Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation. This year they helped support the WUSD with over $200,000 in grants and strategic initiatives, including support for over $90,000 to continue to transform how our students engage in play at recess as well as support for an innovative and research-driven pilot reading support program at Douglas School.
The WUSD has also applied for, and received a grant from, the state Department of Public Instruction for more than $500,000 to work to expand our charter school innovative programming. We received $188,000 in grant support to enhance our building safety and security. Additionally, we received a $56,000 Transition Readiness Grant to support our students with special needs. The WUSD has a long history of being strong stewards of the taxpayer dollar, and our aggressive pursuit of alternative funding through grants is one of the ways in which we demonstrate that resolve.
Over this past school year, the WUSD once again received national recognition for a Best Community for Music. Additionally, the WUSD has been recognized again this year for one of the Best High Schools in Wisconsin and the nation per  U.S. News and World Report. Additionally, both Lebanon and Schurz Schools were acknowledged as Title 1 Schools of Recognition. The WUSD is truly a place for educational excellence and opportunity for all of our students and families.
Referendum Information
While the WUSD offers outstanding opportunities for our students and families, we are facing budget challenges as we move into the 2018-2019 school year. We are facing a budget deficit of over $1 million for the 2018-2019 school year and an average deficit of approximately $4 million annually over the next five years.
When we share this information with our families and community members, we are frequently asked, “Why are we facing this deficit?” The primary reason for our deficit is declining student enrollments. Over the past several years, the WUSD has experienced a trend of declining enrollments. In 2013-2014 the WUSD had a student population of more than 3,900 students, while in the 2017-2018 school year we served just over 3,700. We project that in 2020-2021, the WUSD will serve approximately 3,600 students. People then frequently ask, “Why are our numbers declining?” The District has not experienced a spike in our open enrollment  out numbers, nor have we seen increased numbers of our students attending parochial schools – in fact, our parochial schools are struggling with this same issues. The students are simply not in the community, and we are not seeing them come through our schools. 
Compounding the financial implications of our declining enrollments is the fact that the WUSD has been a traditionally low spending District.  Over the past 10 years the WUSD has spent approximately $1,000 less per student than the average in the State of Wisconsin. Due to our declining enrollments, being a low spending district and having spent years making reductions, we find ourselves in a situation where we have lean staff and resources and very few areas to look to make additional reductions. As a result, the Board of Education has made the decision to move forward with a school referendum question on the November 6 th ballot to address our current and future budget deficit.
The Board has decided to pursue a referendum that will not increase the current property tax mill rate. This means that if the referendum passes, property tax on the school portion of the property tax bill, will not be impacted. A successful referendum will allow the District to offset our budget deficit on average by $3.3 million each year. This means that the District will still be making reductions at the rate of approximately $700,000 each year, but our deficit will be offset by a successful referendum. Again, if the referendum passes, property taxes will not be increased, and the District’s tax (mill) rate will remain at $8.98 – the lowest of all surrounding communities.
Want more information to make an informed decision about the referendum before voting arrives on November 6? Please join us for one of our Referendum Information Nights – October 2, 2018, at 6:00 p.m. at RMS or October 29, 2018, at 6:00 p.m. at WHS. 
The upcoming school year promises to be another great one for our students and families as we continue to work toward our District priorities – enhancing teaching and learning for every child, every day; developing people and partnerships; and innovation. I look forward to seeing you at our many events and celebrations throughout the school year.
Cassandra Schug
Superintendent of Schools
Upcoming Events
  • Sept. 13: WHS Senior Class Picture Day
  • Sept. 24: WHS College & Career Planning Info Night, 6 to 8:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 1-6: Homecoming Week
  • Oct. 2: Referendum Informational Night - RMS Media Center, 6 p.m.
  • Oct. 5: Homecoming Football Game - Goslings vs Oregon, 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 6: Homecoming Dance
  • Oct. 8: WHS Fall Vocal Concert
  • Oct. 11 & 18: Schurz Fall P/T Conferences
  • Oct. 15 & 23: RMS Fall P/T Conferences
  • Oct. 16: WHS Fall P/T Conferences
  • Oct. 18 & 23: Webster & Lebanon & Lincoln Fall P/T Conferences
  • Oct. 20: Parent Music Club Lite Nite Hike
  • Oct. 25 & 26: No School
  • Oct. 29: Referendum Informational Night - WHS Media Center, 6 p.m. 
  • Oct. 30: Douglas Fall P/T Conferences

See WUSD calendars to find spring concerts, school events and 2018-19 district annual calendar
Enhancing Teaching and Learning for Every Child - Every Day
"Challenge 5" Project Encourages Strong Student Attendance
School attendance is a key factor in the academic, social and emotional success of students. Research tells us that it is crucial to build positive attendance habits early! This year, the WUSD, the Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation and community partners are working together to encourage positive school attendance with CHALLENGE 5!

We are challenging all students and families to “STRIVE for LESS THAN 5” days absent this year! YOU CAN DO IT! We have exciting things planned to motivate and teach students and their families the importance of regular school attendance. We look forward to working with families to support regular school attendance for our young learners!
Watertown Unified School District recognizes personal illness, severe illness or a death in the family, religious observances, extreme weather conditions, required court appearances and health appointments as reasons for excused absences. To ensure that medical absences and appointments are considered “excused,” please provide a doctor’s note for any appointments or medical situation that requires a student to be absent. 
Students are considered truant if they are absent without an excuse OR if a parent does not notify the school on/before the day of the absence, or by 3:30 p.m. on the day of the return to school. We prefer parents notify us by phone on the day of the absence (or in advance), so that we know that the student is safely under the supervision of the family. Truancy by a student, as well as contributing to truancy by a parent, is a violation of both State and City Law. After 10 absences, a doctor’s excuse may be required to have an absence be considered excused. 
The WUSD, in partnership with the City Attorney and the Watertown Police Department, participates in the Truancy Abatement Program. School principals and staff work closely with the Truancy Abatement Officer, and will notify him if a child develops a truancy record. The Truancy Specialist works with the elementary and middle school students, their guardians and school staff to effectively deal with their attendance issues in an effort to help them avoid entering the legal system. Unexcused lates or tardies to school may be treated as truancy when a pattern becomes habitual or excessive.

Maintaining good communications with building principals and office staff in regards to any student absence is essential in maintaining positive relationships between students, their families and the District. Together we can “STRIVE for LESS THAN 5” and keep our students thriving!
Endeavor Wins Grant to Expand Project-Based Curriculum
Endeavor Charter School was awarded a $550,000 grant from the Department of Public Instruction to advance and expand its Project-Based curriculum with an emphasis on 21 st Century skills of communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creative problem-solving. 

Funding of the grant was based on an application that showed evidence of strong academic results and student growth while increasing access to innovative public school models. Endeavor opened its doors in the 2014-15 school year.

The grant covers the 2018-19 through 2022-23 school years. Areas of focus over this timespan will be community-based projects tied to businesses and organizations in the Watertown area; technology that connects students to people and resources worldwide; training for all staff in Project-Based and personalized learning; and outreach. The award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the staff and students at both WHS and Endeavor.  Congratulations, WUSD!
Morning Reading Club at Douglas School Promotes Daily Reading
With the help of a Watertown Way grant, Douglas Elementary School Title I reading teachers created a "Morning Reading Club” to increase students' independent reading.

The two year project has been successful with more reading and student readers waiting at the door each day for Morning Reading Club to open at 7:30 a.m.!

The Morning Reading Club was designed by Title I Reading Teachers Amy Marchant and Amy Schaumann in response to teachers’ concerns about independent reading. Not all students are motivated or have the support to read independently, yet research shows that the amount of time students read outside of school has been connected to growth in multiple literacy areas, and to their ability to gain other skills. 

The teachers' goal was to make independent reading accessible to all students by providing the time, the place, enjoyable reading materials and support for students to read outside of the classroom. They hoped the Morning Reading Club would help to establish the habit and enjoyment of daily reading. 

Students attended Morning Reading Club based on teacher recommendation, invitation or parent request. Teachers adjusted the materials and routines depending on the specific students involved to keep them engaged and attending. Bins of new books, Finger-light Fridays, literacy apps and word games, in addition to great books, kept things interesting. 

Teachers found that some students began reading more regularly at home, while others felt a sense of accomplishment where they hadn’t before. Some students were much more motivated to read, and new books were discovered and shared. Students talked about books a lot, and some students just liked having a place to come to before school. For all involved, it was a positive reading experience.  
Developing People and Partnerships
Distinguished Alumni Award Winner: Ed Raether
1954 Alumnus Served in Navy, as Global Valuation Executive

Ed Raether was born in the Township of Lebanon and raised in the Lebanon and Watertown areas. He attended Immanuel Lutheran grade school in Lebanon and graduated WHS in 1954. He played baseball and was the student manager of the football and basketball teams. Ed also attended Badger Boys State.

Ed served in the U.S. Navy, including two years of active duty from 1956-57. He graduated from the Milwaukee School of Engineering with an Associate Degree in Industrial Management in 1968, and in 2012 he received an Honorary Doctor of Engineering Degree from MSOE.

Ed started his career with Automatic Welding in Waukesha and then joined American Appraisal where he worked for 40 years. He rose through the ranks and became a Vice President and Managing Director for Central and Eastern Europe where he received numerous awards for his extraordinary service.

The Fall of the Berlin Wall in late 1989 opened huge valuation opportunities in Eastern Europe. In 1990, Ed was transferred to Budapest, Hungary to open a valuation practice office. He oversaw the opening of additional offices in Warsaw (1991), Prague (1992), St. Petersburg/Moscow (1995) and opened/managed the Hamburg/Berlin practice (1998-1999). He returned to the U.S. from Berlin in 2001 and managed the Industrial Valuation Group. In total, he carried out valuations in 65 countries. Ed retired in 2008 at the age of 72.
Ed was President of the Engineers and Scientists of Milwaukee, has been a member of the American Society of Appraisers, President of the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Society of Appraisers and President of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church. Ed currently serves on two of the church’s committees. He is a MSOE Regent and has received numerous awards from the school, including the 2006 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year and “Wall of Fame” recognition.

Ed is the President of the Lebanon Historical Society, and recently helped rebuild and relocate the Karl Greve Log Cabin from Watertown to Lebanon’s Trechel Park.

Ed lives in Waukesha with his wife Arlene. They have three children and five grandchildren.
Please Extend a Warm Welcome to Our New Staff!
Welcome to Our New Administrators!

  • Margaret Brady - Human Resources Director
  • Jessica Scherer - WHS Associate Principal
  • Jason Widiker - RMS Principal
  • Nick Ryan - RMS Associate Principal

Welcome to Our New WHS & District-Wide Teachers!
Back Row, Left to Right: Anthony Bilgrien, Jessica Jones
Front Row, Left to Right: Heather Bernhardt, Lauren Leahy, Katherine Curtis
Not Pictured: Kolleen Gibbons

Welcome to Our New RMS Teachers!
Back Row, Left to Right: John Nortman, Alicia Bishop, Corissa Kressin, Saedra Fremont, Molly Stapleton, Megan Mueller
Front Row, Left to Right: Brad Vonck, Kaitlyn Rinka, Sydney Jaskolka, Ross Foley, Leigh Ann Graf

Welcome to Our New Elementary Teachers!
Back Row, Left to Right: Brain Beaudo, Patricia Loftus, Kristen Roberts, Wendy Canenguez, Stefanie Renner, Mark Searing
Front Row, Left to Right: Samantha Diderrich, Sheila Marg, Wendy Schmit, Emma Phillips, Jessica Trexler
Not Pictured: Emily Merritt
Gratitude for Our 25 and 30 year Staff Members!
Left to right: Darianne Keuler-Nelson, Lynn Linskens, Deborah Fischer, Kristen Travis, Linda Ruesink, Wanda Doughty, Deborah Hamada, Teresa Gimler, Joan Schubarth and Donna Neeman.
Not pictured: Vincent Haseleu, Staci Bratz, Diane Klemm, Barbara Manders and Donna Parys
Alumni Spotlight on Tina Oiler
Lincoln 2nd Grade Teacher, 1994 WHS Alumnus

My husband and I live in Watertown with our three children. Ashley is studying education at UW-Whitewater. Cade will be a junior at WHS this year. Lily will be a seventh grader at RMS. If we’re not watching one of our kids at a sporting event, we love to spend time at our cottage in Wautoma.

What year did you graduate from WHS?
I graduated in 1994. We were the last class to leave the “old” high school. I attended Marian University and graduated in 1998. 
Why did you come back to Watertown/the District? I taught my first two years in Waupun. When I was offered the chance to teach at Lincoln, I jumped at the opportunity. To teach at the same school I attended grade school is pretty cool. I even had the good fortune to work and teach with my former second and third grade teachers. Now starting my 18th year in the district, I am blessed to be able to work with the talented and dedicated staff of WUSD.

What is your favorite memory from your school days?
I always loved our school picnics at Lincoln Park as a Lincoln Panda. Friends Helping Friends at RMS was a great memory throughout middle school. Ecology camp and Homecoming week were my favorite memories as a high school student. I am thankful for the connections and relationships that were built with my teachers and coaches. 

Advice for anyone wanting to become a teacher or getting into the field of education?
My advice for new teachers is to build relationships with your students. Get to know your students. Love your students. Relationships are everything. Be a lifelong learner and have fun!
Certified Staff Spotlight on Justin Thayer
4th Grade Teacher at Douglas

I grew up in Eagle and attended Mukwonago Schools. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education (1-8) from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Last year I earned my Master's degree from Marian University in Instructional Technology. This year is the beginning of my eleventh year of teaching. The first six years of my career, I taught third grade at Trailside Elementary school in Waterford. After that, I moved to WUSD and have taught third, fourth and fifth grade.
I live in Ixonia with my wife, our son, Zack and my daughter, Ava. I cheer for the Packers, Badgers and Brewers when they play. I also enjoy hunting, fishing and hiking with my family. 
What do you love most about your work at the Watertown Unified School District?
What I like most about working at WUSD is that we are encouraged and given the freedom to try new things in our classroom. We are then able to share these new things with our colleagues so we can learn from each other. I never thought that I would be teaching 3D printing, coding, programming or a robotics unit. The students have become so engaged with these topics. 
Share a favorite success story.
I was given the opportunity to loop with my class last year, and it was great to be able to hit the ground running with the same class, with a few new students sprinkled in. Knowing students' weaknesses and strengths, I was able to push a student who didn’t understand subtraction with regrouping to be able to not only understand it, but also collaborate with her peers to show them how to do it. Seeing students who struggle with something one day, and then teach it to other students is one of the greatest things that I can do as an educator. Take the backseat and watch the students encourage and teach each other. 
Share a surprising fact about yourself.
I played rugby in high school and college.
When your students and colleagues talk about you, what do you hope they would say?
I hope they say that I am a fun and encouraging teacher/colleague that pushed them to be a little bit better and try something new. 
Any words of wisdom or advice?
The best teachers teach from the heart, not from the book. Some of my best lessons come when students are asking questions and involved in collaborative research. 
Support Staff Spotlight on Connie Held
Instructional Paraprofessional at Lincoln

I was raised in Lebanon and graduated from Watertown High School. After graduating from UW-Whitewater with a degree in Elementary Education, I taught and worked in the Madison area until Jeff and I married in 1976. We returned to Watertown where I worked as an Analyst for Dr. Sylvia Rimm at Educational Assessment Service. We have four children, and have now been blessed with five grandchildren. In my spare time I like to read and spend time with family, especially playing with our grandchildren! 
What do you love most about your work at the Watertown Unified School District?
For the past 25+ years, I have enjoyed working with some excellent educators at Lincoln, many of whom have remained my friends. My work with students has been very rewarding, and when they enjoy being with me, it makes it even more rewarding. I love to help children succeed in school. 
Share a surprising fact about yourself.
Some people may be surprised to learn that I am an avid Packers and Brewers fan and am willing to talk about sports anytime.
When your students and colleagues talk about you, what do you hope they would say?
I hope I will be remembered as someone who not only worked hard, but was kind, made a difference in their life and found time to listen and laugh.
Any words of wisdom or advice?
“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.” - E.E. Cummings
Watertown Unified School District | 920-262-1460 |  www.watertown.k12.wi.us