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 2017
Students at the Annual Rotary Roundup shared what school they will attend in fall and their field of study.

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 10. Please join me in congratulating the exceptional Class of 2017! 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.

This year we held our annual scholarship program on May 15. This event is a wonderful evening where we recognize many of our extraordinarily accomplished and hard-working students. This year our generous and supportive community awarded our WHS seniors over $430,000 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 all our community 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 first annual Rotary Wild Goose and Duck Chase on June 23. 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 fifth 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. 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.

For the first time, we are pleased to announce that Watertown High School has made the U.S. News and World Report list as a nationally ranked silver medal high school. WHS was recognized as among the best high schools in the state and in the nation. Additionally, for the second 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 where they finished 3rd nationally.  

In additional celebrations both Lebanon and Schurz Schools were recognized this year as Title 1 Schools of Recognition. Lebanon School was recognized for student achievement, and Schurz was recognized for beating the odds. Both schools were honored at a state ceremony in May where State Superintendent, Tony Evers, presented the schools with this prestigious award.

We also celebrate our amazing staff – Kristin Grender, vision teacher, was recognized as a Kohl Fellow, and Dave Pawl, WHS art teacher, was recognized by the state as Secondary Art Teacher of the Year. Jana Strobel, WHS art teacher, was a Crystal Apple Award winner, and was highlighted on NBC 15 news for her contributions to art, students and our community through her teaching and her work with her colleague Hillary Lobenstein to help our families through the establishment of the Gosling Nest at WHS.

As if all that news weren’t enough to celebrate, thanks to the Watertown Community Health Foundation, the WUSD was awarded over $125,000 in grants to support our students in becoming more active and healthier in school and in life every day. The grants funded included active recess, flexible seating, water bottle filling stations, and mindfulness education.  

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, and 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 19th! May you all enjoy a wonderful summer surrounded by family and friends.

Cassandra Schug
Superintendent of Schools

Upcoming Events
  • June 8: Last Day of School, early release at 11:30 a.m.
  • June 10: WHS Graduation, 10 a.m. at WHS Fieldhouse
  • June 15: Summer School Open House 
  • June 19 - July 20: Summer School (schedule)
  • June 23: Rotary Wild Goose and Duck Chase
  • July 24-28: Camp Invention
  • Sept. 5: First Day of School, 2017-18 School Year
See WUSD calendars to find spring concerts, school events and 2017-18 district annual calendar

Enhancing Teaching and Learning for Every Child - Every Day

Watertown Named on 2017 Best High Schools List
Watertown High School ranked among the 2017 Best High Schools in the state by the  U.S. News & World Report, earning Silver Medal recognition. 

U.S. News used a four-step process to determine the Best High Schools. The first three steps ensure that the schools serve all of their students well, using their performance on the math and reading parts of the ACT. This includes examining the performance of subgroups such as minorities and students who are economically disadvantaged. Graduation rates also are used as benchmarks. Students need to exceed state averages in both instances.

For schools that meet these criteria, a fourth step is used to assess the degree to which schools prepare students for college-level work, as measured by participation and pass rates on Advanced Placement exams. Only the top 15% of High schools nationwide receive gold (2.5%) or silver (next 12.5%) medal recognition.

Congratulations to our WHS staff, students and families for this noteworthy accomplishment!
Lebanon, Schurz Honored as WI Title 1 Schools of Recognition
State Superintendent Tony Evers praised Lebanon Elementary School and Schurz Elementary School for being among 178 schools to receive Wisconsin Title I School of Recognition honors for the 2016-17 school year. 

Evers welcomed Andy Bare and Kari Dean from Schurz School and Kent Jacobson and Wendy Thayer from Lebanon School at a special ceremony May 1 at the State Capitol. Lebanon Elementary was recognized for student achievement and Schurz Elementary for beating the odds.

“Our Schools of Recognition are staffed by dedicated educators,” Evers said. “Their success is something to celebrate; it serves as an example of the importance of schools, families, and communities working together to ensure that every child graduates ready for college and careers.”

Schurz Principal Andy Bare, State Superintendent Tony Evers and District Instructional Coach Kari Dean
Lebanon Principal Kent Jacobson, State Superintendent Tony Evers and Reading Instructor Wendy Thayer
WUSD's Music Education Program Receives National Recognition

The City of Watertown has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education for the fifth year in a row! The Watertown Unified School District is one of 4% of districts across the nation receiving the prestigious award in 2017. 

This award recognizes that Watertown is leading the way with music learning opportunities designating music and the arts as important elements of well-rounded education for all children.  

“Music is an integral part of our daily lives," said Reid LaDew, high school band director. "In Watertown, we work to provide our K-12 students with the opportunities to express themselves while developing literacy skills through participation in a collaborative experience.

"Not every student is destined for a career in music, but they will spend the rest of their lives listening to it and interacting with it on a daily basis," he added. "Creating lifelong learners who appreciate and value art is at the core of our mission as music educators in Watertown.”

The WUSD Music Department continues its dedication to providing high quality educational experiences for all students. High school musicians recently attended a Madison Opera production of Mozart’s "The Magic Flute" and prepared for a week-long performance tour to Colorado. As the 2016-17 school year comes to a close, there is one more spring concert where Watertown musicians will put their knowledge, skill and growth on public display:

Thursday, June 1: RMS Concert, 7 p.m., RMS Gymnasium


Teachers Create Gosling Nest to Help Students in Need

It is estimated that one out of every three students in Watertown is currently experiencing food hardship, meaning family members can’t always afford the food they need.

Those affected are not just numbers. They are real people. They are our neighbors. They are our students.

WHS Language Arts Teacher Hillary Lobenstein was committed to finding a way to help our struggling students. She began to create her vision in January of 2016 and named it the Gosling Nest. The Gosling Nest is a place for students in need to get free food, personal essentials, and new and gently used clothing, shoes and coats. Today, Hillary is joined by WHS Art Teacher Jana Strobel in growing the Gosling Nest to service the needs of our student body. 

The mission of The Gosling Nest is to model compassion through providing food, clothing and other basic necessities to Watertown High School students to promote educational success. 

If you are willing to help donate food, clothing or personal essentials or make a monetary donations to help the Gosling Nest, please contact us

Developing People and Partnerships

Best Wishes to Our Retirees

Congratulations to our 2016-17 retiring staff who were recognized at a recent Board of Education meeting. Thank you for your years of service to our community, students and staff!

Pictured back row (left to right): Sue Pieper, Nancy Zimmermann, Kent Jacobson, Deb Jacobson, Daisy Klymanen, Andi Wyrwa, Nancy Flood, and Robin Magnuson. Front row (left to right): Sue Kemmerling, Donna Dickhut, Joanne Schmidt and Gigi Kudronowicz.

Not pictured: Cheryl Rowedder, Karen Williams, Sheree Fischer, Joan Oestreich, Cecilia Salas and Jerry Vegter.

Staff Spotlight
Our staff spotlight column highlights two staff members so you can get to know our team better. This month we're featuring  Abby Reichert and  Paula Stooksbury.
Abby Reichert 
Fourth/Fifth Grade Teacher at Lebanon Elementary School

Share a little background about yourself.

I am a fourth and fifth grade teacher at Lebanon Elementary School. I have been teaching there for 12 years. I love teaching at Lebanon because of its small environment, incredible families and staff who are dedicated to and value academics and learning.  

I have 2 boys who attend Lebanon and another son who is 2. While I am home, I am busy keeping up with these guys! We enjoy doing many outdoor activities like sports and taking walks.  

What do you love most about your work at WUSD?
I enjoy being a teacher in the Watertown Unified School District because it is where I grew up and have my family ties. I was a student in the Watertown School District and it is rewarding to be on the other end of that now as an educator. It is such a pleasure to hear and see former students who now attend RMS or WHS or may have even graduated and see where life has led them.  

As a teacher at a small school with a small staff, I always appreciate collaborating with teams from other schools and knowing that I can communicate with them if I ever have any questions or concerns regarding curriculum or issues regarding students. This district has proven that I can always count on colleagues.

Share a favorite school success story.

A success story I like to share is one of a former student I had in both fourth and fifth grades who was diagnosed with a brain tumor that was inoperable. There was a point in time when he was not able to attend school very regularly due to effects from chemotherapy and radiation. I honestly did not think that this student would be back to attend fifth grade. But, he did! With a lot of hard work, amazing family support and some extra help, this student was able to finish out his educational career in the Watertown School District and now is a successful person in the workforce post high school. The student’s family still thanks me for all I did for him when I see them out in the community. I feel he taught me what it really is to be a teacher and to put students’ needs first.

When your students and/or colleagues talk about you, what do you hope they say?

I would hope they say that I always want what is best for kids, and I encourage and set high expectations to push students to their highest potential. I would hope they would say I care about them, am always available and approachable, no matter when the situation or conversation may be. I am flexible and always willing to be a team player to make things go as smoothly as possible. Providing a comfortable and trustworthy community allows kids and staff to have success. Lastly, I hope students would say that I love teaching and this is what I was meant to be and do.

Any piece of advice?  

My advice as a teacher would be to start each day with a positive attitude. Each day brings a new outlook and perspective, as well as new decisions and ideas. This is a job where each day is always different, challenging and rewarding. I love that my days are always busy and full of things to do. Always put the kids’ needs first and do what is best for kids!

Staff Spotlight
Paula Stooksbury 
Instructional Paraprofessional at Douglas Elementary School

Share a little background about yourself.

I moved to Watertown to attend Maranatha Bible College. I'm a Mom to three former Douglas Tigers and a "Gamma" to four boys! 

What do you love most about your work at WUSD?

I work primarily with the Kindergarten team at Douglas Elementary School. I love teaching children and people I work with make my job enjoyable. 

Share a favorite school success story.

I enjoy seeing former students and hearing about their lives. Douglas Principal Emily Lessner says, "Paula models calm and caring actions and helps students develop problem-solving and friendship skills at an early age."

Share a surprising fact about yourself.

I worked at the Octagon House as a tour guide.

When your students and/or colleagues talk about you, what do you hope they say?

I would hope they say that I am a kind and caring person. Nancy Flood, a colleague of Paula, shares, “Paula is always a calming presence in the classroom. Her patience and caring way make her a favorite among all of the students who attend Douglas! She is one in a million!"

Any piece of advice?  

Listen twice as much as you speak and treat others like you would like to be treated.

School Board Spotlight
Paul VanDenLangenberg

Share a little background about yourself.

I grew up in De Pere, a suburb of Green Bay. I am the middle child of five siblings. I am married to my wonderful wife Debra, who grew up in Lake Mills. I have an adult step-son named Brandon, who also lives in Watertown. My wife Debra has lived in Watertown most of her life. I moved to Watertown in 2003 when we were married.

Where did you go to high school and college?

I graduated from De Pere High School in 1971. I received my Bachelors of Science degree from UW-La Crosse in 1976. I started my working career as a teacher in the McFarland School District teaching physical education and health education. In 1999 I received a Master’s of Science degree from UW-Whitewater in special education. I taught students with disabilities from 1993 to 2010.

If you could meet any person, who would you choose and why?

That is a difficult question as there are so many people a person might like to meet or talk with. For me, I first thought of the Reverend Billy Graham. He is an example to all people, an inspirational speaker and writer, and has a great message. He truly has lived a life and career with great impact around the world.  

Who was your favorite elementary teacher and why?

This is challenging my memory of years gone by. My fifth grade teacher was Mrs. Ryan. She inspired me to improve every day. My old report cards indicated good improvement as that year progressed and then came to an end. I remember her tearing up and being extremely upset when the news of the assassination of President Kennedy was announced over the P.A. system during that November day in 1963.

What is your all-time favorite movie or book?

I have seen many very good movies over the years, it would be hard to pick out a true favorite. However, the first movie that did come to mind was Forest Gump. I like non-fiction reading, especially inspirational and historical based books. I read and study the Bible on a regular basis. 

What do you do in your spare time?

I am an avid Packer Fan, rarely do I miss a game on TV. I enjoy Badger football and basketball as well. I like home projects, gardening and staying physically active outdoors.

Why did you choose to run for School Board?

I chose to run for School Board under no specific platform or personal agenda. I simply have a high regard for education and the educational process. I value the personal education that I worked to receive. Because of my interest in education and my desire to serve the community, I decided to seek a position on the Watertown Unified School District Board of Education. I have a passion to see students successfully move from school learners to life-long learners after graduation. It is my passion that all students are prepared for the jobs of the future.

What do you see as the Board's challenges?

Budget issues will always be a challenge. School funding and dropping enrollments challenge the well-being of many school districts.  

As you look ahead in the next several years, what do you see as the Board's priorities?

I see board priorities as never ending. I feel initiatives that foster innovation, develop people and partnerships, and enhance teaching and learning should always be a focus.

Watertown Unified School District | 920-262-1460 |   www.watertown.k12.wi.us