Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Meeting with Commissioner Cassellius

Commissioner Cassellius met with Region 2 Superintendents today in Mankato.  She highlighted various legislative priorities.  To date, her main concern is the issue of sequestration.  As it stands sequestration would impact our district budget by a 5% reduction to all federal funding sources.  Special Education and Title will be directly impacted.  If sequestration comes to fruition, our most needy students will have opportunities taken from them.  I encourage you to contact your local legislatures and discourage them from using sequestration as a way to balance the budget if you are so inclined.

Commissioner Cassellius also highlighted other state legislative action:

- Increase to kindergarten funding
- $22/per pupil unit funding for teacher evaluation
- Equalization aid
- Creation of regional centers
- Literacy aid change

The morning was full of rich information.  It appears that legislative action at the state level could bring positive changes to education.  Only time will tell...

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Grant Writing at JWP

There are several grants out and about that various organizations can apply for from year to year.  JWP doesn't have a full time grant writer, but we have had several teachers throughout the years apply for grants related to their field.  

Eric Kehoe recently completed a grant through Shell which would provide him with a possible lab makeover.  The process for this grant was rather intense and included different rounds of application.  One of those rounds included completing a video submission.  You may view the submission by visiting this web-site:  In the end, Eric has been selected as a 2013 Shell Science Lab Challenge District Winner.  His prize package includes: 

- Designation as an "NSTA/Shell Science Lab Challenge District Winner" and a School Banner
- $1,000 in donated lab equipment/materials/gift certificates
- $1,000 Shell Science Lab Challenge grant to purchase science/lab equipment and science education resource books.
- $300 gift certificate to the NSTA bookstore
- One year NSTA Learning Center membership for two
- Paid registration for two teachers to attend a 2013 NSTA Area Conference

In addition, his application and video will be included in the final judging where their panel will select one grand prize winner and four national finalists.  The grand prize winning school will receive a lab makeover support package valued at $20,000.

Mrs. Steinberg, JWP's FCCLA Director recently applied for a Delta Dental Serve a Smile Grant for the FCCLA program.  Funds were limited this year and not all applicants were awarded a grant.  We are happy to announce that JWP's FCCLA was one of the groups awarded a grant.  In this case, they were awarded a total of $442.30. 

Thank you Mr. Kehoe and Mrs. Steinberg for taking the time to complete these grant applications and congratulations on your success!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Great Week!

This week has been pretty exciting for our student athletes and fine arts participants.  We started off the fun with an exciting come from behind effort by our JWP GBB team followed by a first round playoff win.  On Saturday the 23rd of February our JWP BBB team had a last second victory over the FBA Cardinals, the #2 seed in sections.  On this same day Kylie Morton, Jacob Wilson, Mikaela Wehking, and Amber Volkmann earned a trip to state for their FCCLA STAR event!  We are very proud of all our students and appreciate their hard work and dedication.  Thanks for all you do students!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Playoff GBB

Our girls basketball team played Glenville-Emmons this evening in the first round of the playoffs.  The girls continued their momentum from Friday evening and won this game 69-43.  They will play Faribault BA (FBA) on Thursday at FBA's home court.  Keep the momentum rolling JWP girls basketball!

Go Bulldogs and Grizzlys!


How about those JWP Girls Basketball Players!

On Friday night the Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton Girls Basketball team was down to United South Central 40-6 in the second half.  However, our girls did not quit!  As a matter of fact, they stepped up to the challenge courageously.  As our girls were mounting a comeback you could sense something special was going to happen.  Our girls fought their way back into the game and almost overcame their 34 point deficit.  In the end, the girls lost 58-56.  The loss does not take away their outstanding perseverance and commitment to improving their position.  We can all be very proud of our girls basketball team.  Congratulations players and coaches!  Good luck tonight vs. Glenville-Emmons.

Go Bulldogs!

February Reflections

In the Spirit of Valentines

Top Ten Things to Love about JWP!

It is quite obvious that I have a true love for the Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton Public School District.  I graduated from JWP High School and began my teaching career at the Elementary.  My direct experiences with this district have always been ‘top-shelf’!

Valentine’s Day was always my favorite holiday as a youngster.  I  looked forward to the sweet treats and, more specifically, who was going to ask me to be their Valentine.  Although I was disappointed from time to time at the lack of Valentine requests, the candy was never a disappointment.  With that said, I have highlighted a list of the top 10 things to love about JWP.  Please be mindful that I was unable to squeeze everything you should love about JWP into a short list of 10.

1.     Dynamic and Motivated Students
2.     Understanding and Caring Families
3.     Engaged Community Members
4.     Highly Effective Instructional Staff
5.     Committed Paraprofessionals
6.     Friendly and Talented Kitchen Staff
7.     Courageous Custodial Staff
8.     Welcoming and Knowledgeable Secretaries
9.     Dedicated Administration
10.   Diverse School Board

Kitchen and Baseball Field Projects

The Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton School Board has engaged in several conversations regarding the need to remedy both the kitchen and the baseball field.  At this point, the School Board will be creating a district-wide facilities assessment and priority list.  Completing this process will provide the School Board with an excellent decision making tool.  We will keep our public posted as further details are developed.

Professional Learning Communities

As many of you are aware, the Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton School District will be going through the Professional Learning Community (PLCs) implementation process this summer.  PLCs consist of three big ideas:

1.     All students can learn at high levels.
2.     Adults work collaboratively in a collective effort.
3.     Adults understand results and respond appropriately.

Within the work of the three big ideas, four questions are asked consistently to ensure improved practice and student learning:

1.     What is it that all students must learn?
2.     How will we know they have learned it?
3.     What will we do if they have not learned it?
4.     What will we do if they have learned it?

By engaging in focused collaborative conversations, professional practice will improve.  As professional practice improves, student achievement begins to rise.   Continuing those conversations will set a positive upward trend.

Community Relations

We have a committed group of community members from Janesville, Pemberton and Waldorf working together to bring our communities together.  Our first event was a family movie night at the Main Street Plaza in Pemberton.  Thirteen folks braved the weather to attend the event.  We strongly believe many more would have participated had the weather cooperated with us.

Our second event was a Valentine’s Day Party, which was held on Saturday, February 16, 2013 in the Waldorf Community Center.  There were several events and activities for children ages birth to 3rd grade.

We plan on having events each month for children and adults of our three communities.  It would be absolutely wonderful to see you in attendance.  Typically each event is free of charge.  In some cases, small items can be purchased at a reasonable price.  The goal of the committee is to bring our three communities together.  If you are interested in joining the committee, please contact the JWP District Office.

Monday, February 18, 2013

They're Back!

Tuesday marked the first day back for our state legislatures. I always find this to be an exciting time for our great state of Minnesota. This session, like many others should be full of excitement.
One of the items I am interested in is the stance the legislatures may take on the delayed payments to schools. Many of you are aware that our state delays payments to schools. For example, they may provide schools 60% of the money they owe them in one fiscal year and the remaining 40% in the next. This puts schools in difficult situations. At times, they may need to borrow money to make it through the year. By doing so, they end up paying interest which takes away dollars from the classroom.

This year, our legislatures ran on the platform that the delayed payments would be paid back in full to school districts. Several districts throughout our state are happy to hear this. However, Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton would prefer a slow payback to the delayed payments and an increase to per pupil funding. Our district has been managed well and we have not had to cash flow borrow in lieu of on time payments from the state. Therefore, interest payments have not been relevant to our district. In essence, the delayed payments have been an annoyance but not catastrophic.
I have talked to several administrators throughout our state about lobbying for our cause. Quite frankly, I have often believed that lobbying efforts may be ineffective. However, the colleagues I have spoken to have stated it really does have a positive impact on outcomes. The mindset I used to have is that it would not matter what I said, no one would listen to me anyway. What I have found in my experience is that our legislatures yearn our input. Therefore, I strongly encourage any of you that have an interest in a legislative topic to contact your representatives. I firmly believe your input will make a difference. If any of you are interested in teaming with the JWP School District to lobby for our needs, I encourage you to contact me.

Go Bulldogs and Grizzlys!