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.
May 2019
Five smiling guys giving thumbs up next to their Computer Science gallery night exhibit
Students at Endeavor High School displayed their best projects of the school year at the 4th Annual Gallery Night showcase.

Dear Parents, Students, Community Members and Friends of Education,

The month of May through the end of our school year is filled with many exciting events for our students, staff and families. My favorite day of the year is Graduation, and this year it falls on June 8. Please join me in congratulating the exceptional Class of 2019! They have been an outstanding class, and we are proud to celebrate their successes as they cross the stage in the WHS field house to receive their hard-earned diplomas.

Our annual Scholarship Program on May 13 was a wonderful evening when we recognized many of our extraordinarily accomplished and hard-working students. This year our generous and supportive community awarded our WHS seniors more than $450,000 in scholarships. Without the support of our community, many of these young people would not be able to pursue their education – we appreciate and give thanks to our community members for all you do to support our students. If you are looking for an opportunity to support student scholarships, please consider coming out to the third annual Rotary Wild Goose and Duck Chase on June 14. This event was started by Rotary to provide additional scholarships to our WHS students, and it promises to be a fun evening. Tickets are available at the event and at the District office.
For the seventh year in a row, we are proud to announce that the Watertown Unified School District has received national recognition as a Best Community in Music Education. We are truly fortunate to have a great music program here in the WUSD, and that would not be possible without an exceptional music staff and supportive music parents. My thanks and congratulations go out to the music department on this honor.

We are again pleased to announce that the Watertown High School has made the U.S. News & World Report Best High Schools list as a nationally ranked best high school. WHS was recognized as among the best high schools in the state and nation. WHS also was recognized for the fourth year in a row as an AP Pacesetter School. Additionally, for the fourth year in a row, our Academic Decathlon team finished first in Division 1 in the state of Wisconsin, and competed in a national online competition, finishing second in the nation in the medium schools competition.
For the third consecutive year, Schurz Elementary School was recognized as a Title 1 School of Recognition. State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor presented Schurz with this prestigious award at a state Capitol ceremony on May 20.

We are so fortunate in the WUSD to be surrounded by fantastic students, staff and families. The WUSD offers an outstanding education to our students every day while also offering diverse opportunities, a comprehensive curriculum, and a warm and welcoming environment. It is my honor and privilege to be a part of this great District. Thank you for the opportunity to work with your children!

While the school year is rapidly coming to a close, don’t forget that Summer School will open its doors on June 18! May you all enjoy a wonderful summer surrounded by family and friends.

Cassandra Schug
Superintendent of Schools
Upcoming Events
  • May 27 - No School - Memorial Day
  • May 28 - Art Walk on Main Street, 4 to 7 p.m.
  • June 4 - Webster Awards Day
  • June 4 - Webster PTO Meeting, 5:30 p.m.
  • June 4 - Douglas Field Day & Cookout
  • June 4 - Lebanon Awards Night, 5:30 to 7 p.m.
  • June 5 - Schurz Awards Assembly, 9 a.m.
  • June 6 - Last Day of School, 11:30 Dismissal for Elementary & RMS - Full Day for WHS
  • June 7 - Graduation Practice and Senior Picnic
  • June 8 - Graduation Day, 10 a.m.
  • June 17 - Summer School Open House - 4K & Kindergarten - Lincoln, 4 to 6 p.m.
  • June 17 - Summer School Open House - Grades 1-12 - WHS, 5 to 7 p.m.
  • June 18 - First Day of Summer School Classes
  • June 24 - School Board Meeting, 6 p.m.
  • July 10 - August 6 - Online Registration for 2019/20 School Year
  • July 18 - Last Day of Summer School Classes
  • August 6 - In-Person Registration for 2019/20 School Year at WHS

See WUSD calendars  to find spring concerts, school events and 2019-20 district annual calendar
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Enhancing Teaching and Learning for Every Child - Every Day
Looking Out for Your Child's Mental Health
Young woman resting face in hands
Mental health. It’s something that everyone is talking about. Why? The truth is that mental health issues are prevalent. It is estimated that 1 in 5 adults will experience a mental health condition during their lifetime. Suicide rates are on the rise and are now the second highest cause of death for young people ages 10 to 24.

Early warning signs of mental health concerns can begin to show up in very young children. Half of all mental health disorders show first signs before a person turns 14 years old, and ¾ of mental health disorders begin before age 24.

Mental health is essential to health and well-being. Despite the fact that mental illness is common, there still remains a great deal of stigma around the issue. Fears of stigma may prevent people from seeking out the necessary help and treatment. Less than 20 percent of children and adolescents with diagnosable mental health problems receive the treatment they need. Early mental health support can help a child before problems interfere with other developmental needs.
What are some warning signs I should look for?
  • Feeling very sad or withdrawn for more than two weeks
  • Seriously trying to harm or kill oneself, or making plans to do so
  • Experiencing sudden overwhelming fear for no reason, sometimes with a racing heart or fast breathing
  • Getting in many fights or wanting to hurt others
  • Showing severe out-of-control behavior that can hurt oneself or others
  • Not eating, throwing up, or using laxatives to make oneself lose weight
  • Having intense worries or fears that get in the way of daily activities
  • Experiencing extreme difficulty controlling behavior, putting oneself in physical danger or causing problems in school
  • Using drugs or alcohol repeatedly
  • Having severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
  • Showing drastic changes in behavior or personality
What should I do if I am concerned?
  • Talk to your child’s pediatrician.
  • Ask for a referral to a mental health specialist (i.e. community counselor or social worker, clinical psychologist, psychiatrist)
  • Talk to Student Services staff at your child’s school (i.e. counselor, psychologist, or social worker)
For more information about children’s mental health, you may wish to check out the following:

WUSD Showcased by Student-Centered Learning Platform
WUSD eCampus and Endeavor High School will be showcased to other schools nationwide by Foundry, a leading management e-platform to manage student-centered learning. WUSD has partnered with Foundry, a Milwaukee-based company that supports educators who want to implement student-centered Deeper Learning within the complexities of managing interdisciplinary learning.

Foundry was particularly interested in eCampus because unlike other schools Foundry supports, eCampus offers project, problem, and inquiry-based approaches to earning credits in an online or blended setting. “Nobody’s doing what you’re doing,” Foundry Chief Learning Officer Camille Mortimer said. Part of WUSD’s technology plan development will include expanding access to resources like Foundry to other corners of the district. Learn more about Foundry at its website, projectfoundry.com.
Mindfulness Project Launched to Improve Student Wellness
Watertown High School students are learning social emotional and wellness practices such as mindfulness and yoga, thanks to professional development by two WHS learning strategists, Kristin Grender and Lee Bosch.

Bosch and Grender, who also serves as the high school’s vision impaired teacher, received their yoga and mindfulness certification through Yoga Alliance and Breathe for Change (B4C). B4C is an intense 200-hour training for educators whose goals are to enhance well-being in their lives, classrooms and school communities.

The two purchased a singing bowl, essential oil diffusers, mindfulness CD, magnetic Zen Garden, sensory bottles, literature pertaining to mindfulness practices and a Himalayan salt lamp. Students created a mindfulness video that is used to teach others about mindfulness practices. They have enjoyed taking responsibility to use the new items in an appropriate way in class. 

Teachers have seen students taking on greater responsibility for conflict resolution. Students and their families say they are using the mindfulness techniques learned in school in their home environment as well. This energy is creating a positive ripple effect on the entire school community. 

If teachers are interested in learning more about how to differentiate and implement wellness and mindfulness techniques in their classrooms, please email Bosch or Grender. 
Two young men engaging in mindfulness practice
Two young men with singing bowl and mindfulness banners
Developing People and Partnerships
Certified Staff Spotlight on Peter Watts
Peter Watts, RMS Science Teacher
Science Teacher at Riverside Middle School

I’ve been teaching in public schools for 31 years, working in Milwaukee Public Schools before coming to Watertown. I worked as a naturalist for the WDNR for three years, as well as a curator assistant at the Milwaukee Public Museum, digging dinosaurs in the summers. I started gardening in 4 th grade when my dear teacher Mrs. Morton had us collect fall leaves for projects, grow zinnias and tomatoes (that I planted at home and nurtured all summer), and participate in a large flower convention in Chicago in 1969 that showcased our projects at one of the exhibits I’ve been gardening ever since. I re-wilded my first patch of woodlands in my mother’s backyard in 1971, transplanting trilliums, violets, ferns and other flora I found growing the oak woods near my home in Waukesha. I spent my summers among those oak trees, playing near the cold water springs that were abundant near my elementary school. Being outdoors is one of my biggest joys. I love hunting and canoeing, hiking and camping. Oh, and I love biking. I ride my bicycle through snow, wind and rain. I’d rather be outside than mostly anywhere else.
While working at the Milwaukee Public Museum, I became the third member of the U.S. Snow Sculpting Team that won three national championships and one international title. I also served in several capacities in the Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers, including as president.
I have two beautiful grandchildren and plan on spending a lot of time with them when I retire in June.
What do you love most about your work at the Watertown Unified School District?
My colleagues have been a bright spot and have made my work here more like entertainment than work. I am also appreciative of being able to stretch my creative wings and allowed to take educational ventures that would probably scare a less courageous district.
Share a favorite success story.
I received a letter from a former student from many years ago and I blew it off at first because it seemed so unlikely. Peter Levi, who is now an assistant professor of Environmental Science and Sustainability and has become renowned as an ecosystem ecologist, thanked me for sparking his lifelong interest in science. He has traveled all over the world studying the nitrogen cycle and freshwater streams and I am very proud of the work he’s done. Knowing that I was able to be a small part of that journey, albeit vicariously, is certainly up there as a favorite success story.
Share a surprising fact about yourself.
As I enter my last year of teaching in the public school system, I have started my own business called Phenoculture Wisconsin, LLC. For those who know me, this is not an easy shift. I’m not one to make radical changes very easily. I came up with the term “Phenoculture” as it bounced around in my head one day. Phenology is the science and study of cyclic and seasonal natural phenomena, especially in relation to climate and plant and animal life. Permaculture is the development of (agricultural) systems that mimic natural ecosystems and are intended to be regenerative, sustainable and self-sufficient. My new venture includes educational consulting focused on teaching how to live lightly upon this planet, leaving it better than we found it. I want to help communities solve issues around food security and healthier eating. I am designing and installing natural environments conducive to learning, sustainability, self-reliance, promoting pollinators and regeneration for municipalities and residences.
When your students and colleagues talk about you, what do you hope they would say?
I hope that they would say that I put my whole being into everything that I do, that I am a person of integrity and principles and that I care about this wondrous blue orb called Earth so much that it hurts.
Any words of wisdom or advice?
My first tidbit of wisdom is that we should never forget what our past colleagues have done to further public education so JOIN OUR UNION. My second is a quote by Albert Einstein: “A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
Support Staff Spotlight on Laura Zautner
Laura Zautner, Lincoln Elementary STEM Administrative Assistant
Lincoln Elementary STEM Administrative Assistant

My official school title is “Mrs. Z”… I absolutely LOVE my job!! I love the people whom I work with, in fact… I LOVE people! I especially adore the kids… they are the “wind beneath my wings” and make my day each and every day. I try to do the same for them - to be a day-maker, even if in a very small way. I love inspiring as many smiles as I can. My goal is to make each one of them feel like they are important to me and our school and that they are truly one of a kind. I also try my best to make them feel like family. While on the subject of family… I have a husband, Kent, who is my very best friend. I have two children. My daughter, Abby (husband, John), is a nurse and is working on her Master’s Degree to become a nurse practitioner. She is unbelievably talented and can do almost anything she puts her mind to! My son, Ben, is super talented as well. He works alongside his dad and grandfather at our family-run business where they do outstanding home improvement work! We recently rescued an adorable dog, Max, who immediately became one of the family.
My husband and I will soon be graduating from Grand-dogs and Grand-chickens to a real live Grand-HUMAN. We are expecting our first grandchild, Hazel Jane, in July! YIPPEE!! We all are extremely excited and have been “thinking PINK” for some time now.
My motto is “Be the reason someone smiles today.” I try to live each day with this in mind. This is my advice to all the students as well. I tell them “Be the reason!” It only takes a few seconds to accomplish this, but the joy you’re giving another is a feeling that may last a lifetime. When grown students return just to visit me, or come through the door to tell me about a new job or something amazing that they have done… or to even show me an engagement ring, that special, blessed feeling they gave me as students comes around full circle. This makes me feel like I made a difference and inspired something good along their journey. 
Board of Education Spotlight on Doug Will
Doug Will
Tell us a little about your family. Where did you grow up? 
I was born and raised in Hustisford, WI. I have two sisters - I am in the middle. For 34 years I have been married to my wife Carrie (Rhodes). She was born and raised in Watertown and attended Douglas Elementary, Riverside Middle and Watertown High. I have three children - Leslie, Ellyn, and Luke - all attended St. Bernard’s up through 6th grade, then Riverside Middle and Watertown High. All three graduated from the University of Wisconsin system. My family has lived in Watertown for 34 years. 

Where did you go to school?
I attended Hustisford School District (one building - K-12) and was a member of the first kindergarten of Hustisford. After graduating from Hustisford with 36 classmates, I attended Moraine Park Technical Institute, graduating with a two-year degree in accounting.

If you could meet any person (celebrity, political, historical, etc.), who would you choose and why? 
Jesus Christ - ask him for forgiveness.

Who was your favorite elementary school teacher and why? 
Mrs. Sussex, my 4th grade teacher. She taught me to respect her and others in the classroom by not putting up with my disturbances that I thought were funny - she put me in my place. She changed my thought process of what was the reason for going to school and I never forgot that.

What is your all-time favorite movie or book? 

In your spare time, what do you like to do? 
Spending time helping my family any way I can. I am a big fan of and enjoy all of the Wisconsin sports teams. I also enjoy hunting, fishing and spending as much time in the outdoors working around the farm.

Why did you choose to come forward for School Board? 
I came forward to try and help the school district become one of the best school districts in the State of Wisconsin. I would like to help in the process of building relationships among the School Board, administration, faculty, parents, community leaders and business leaders to work together to make this district and community a desired place in south central Wisconsin to live and raise a family.

What do you see as the Board’s challenges? 
One big challenge of the Board is providing the right direction and resources to our administration to implement our plan and belief to be the best school district in the State of Wisconsin. As a team, we need to find ways to be more productive with less, funnel resources to the areas that need it most, and make sure our students have a strong foundation in the early years to be able to move forward to the next level.

As you look ahead in the next several years, what do you see as the Board’s priorities? 
One area would be raising our literacy proficiency. Also, we need to set goals to increase our overall effectiveness (as measured by the State of Wisconsin) of our school district's ability to provide the best education for our students. We need to work with the administration to rally all of our dedicated district team members and provide them with the tools and direction to accomplish the district’s goals. We also need to be more active and inclusive in working side by side with our community and business leaders to promote both the Watertown Unified School District and the City of Watertown.

If the WUSD were chosen to be the cover story of TIME magazine, what would be the topic of that story? 
How the Watertown Unified School District is able to provide the best early years literacy rate (100% Proficient) in the State of Wisconsin.
Watertown Unified School District | 920-262-1460 |  www.watertown.k12.wi.us