Two Education Support Professionals win WEAC ESP scholarships

Two exceptional Education Support Professionals have been awarded 2019 WEAC ESP scholarships.

The winners of the $1,000 scholarships are Terri Taylor, who works in Milwaukee Public Schools and is a member of the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association and the Milwaukee Educational Assistants Association, and Taneka Golden, who works in Racine public schools and is a member of Racine Educators United.

Taylor plans to use her scholarship money to help defray costs for a course she is taking at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee titled The Exceptional Individual. This course, she said, will help with understanding special needs students in today’s school.

“I will be able to explore the legislation, collaboration, transition, standards, learning disabilities/behaviors disorders,” she wrote. “Completing this course will help with completing the school social work certificate requirement. I currently work with Milwaukee Public Schools as a parent coordinator and just graduated from graduate school with my Masters of Science in Social Work. This course will help in my career becoming a school social worker in Milwaukee Public Schools and to also work with students with special needs in the schools.”

Golden, a paraprofessional, said she will use her scholarship money to purse an Elementary Education Degree.

“I decided to pursue this degree a few months ago when I was able to work a summer internship through the Center for Urban Teaching as a Fourth Grade Teacher,” she wrote. “I believe that obtaining this scholarship will allow me to not only relieve some of the financial stress on my end but also continue to support my children. This scholarship will help with the purchase of books and other supplies that are needed to complete my degree.”

The WEAC ESP Scholarship is awarded for study at either a two-year or four-year accredited institution of higher education or for job specific professional programs, courses or certifications.

Recipients must be an employed, active ESP member of WEAC who is interested in pursuing classes that will enhance their skills or further their career in the education field. Find out more about the scholarship.

The scholarship is part of a long-term program to elevate the work of education support professionals in Wisconsin Public Schools. WEAC received a grant from the National Education Association’s Great Public Schools (GPS) Fund to build respect and recognition of Education Support Professionals. GPS Fund grants, established by NEA members in 2013, are designed to help enhance the education profession and promote student success. 

Greendale’s Erin McCarthy is Wisconsin’s 2020 Middle School Teacher of the Year

From the Department of Public Instruction

In a surprise ceremony at her school Thursday, Erin McCarthy of Milwaukee, an eighth grade social studies teacher at Greendale Middle School who is a member of WEAC Region 7, was named the 2020 Middle School Teacher of the Year.

State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor made the announcement during an all-school assembly. As part of the Teacher of the Year honor, McCarthy will receive $3,000 from the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation.

“Every day, teachers work to help students gain confidence, skills, and knowledge so they can contribute successfully to our world,” said State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor. “It’s such a pleasure to meet with educators who represent the best of this tremendous calling.”

Herb Kohl, philanthropist, businessman, and co-sponsor of the Wisconsin Teacher of the Year program through his educational foundation, said he supports the program because “I want to help teachers pursue their unrealized goals for their classroom, their school, or their professional development.”

Erin McCarthy strives to spark every child’s curiosity about history, along with their sense of agency in the present, so that they leave her class enthusiastic not only to explore the world, but to improve it.

“Since my daughters started your class,” one parent wrote, “they are eager to discuss all that they are learning and aspire to learn…. They are working harder than ever to prove themselves to be respectful and responsible young people.”

McCarthy considers it her mission “to connect students to their place in history so they take action to impact their local and global community.” She finds she is able to spark curiosity and motivate reluctant learners by connecting them to diverse figures, especially those whose voices have been left out of history. McCarthy has developed a curriculum for writing these voices back into the narrative. At the end of the year, students perform an exercise of rewriting a chapter from their own textbook with a goal of making the story more complete. This project has successfully engaged students who were otherwise reluctant to learn.

McCarthy labors to ensure every student is included in her classroom’s community. “I’ve shifted the focus in my classroom to valuing the experience of each student and not teaching to the ‘average,'” she explained. “The work is exhausting but yields the greatest rewards.” She will, for example, take extra time to find the right story from history to engage a struggling reader. She includes visual, musical, and tactile experiences in her classroom so a diverse range of students can learn effectively. In addition, McCarthy embarked on a multi-year project to ensure students in special education can fully participate in her class’s National History Day project.

It was McCarthy who originally brought National History Day to the school. Students pick a historical topic of their choice and learn to manage complex projects comprising research, collaboration, developing an argument, and sharing outside the classroom. Gradually, over four years of collaboration between McCarthy and special educators, Greendale’s National History Day project became fully inclusive of students with disabilities.

“Our students with significant cognitive and learning challenges found their path to success,” McCarthy said. She told of a moment when “Elizabeth” (not the student’s real name) presented about the historical figure named Ruby Bridges. “As Elizabeth shared the story of a little African-American girl who spent an entire year alone in a classroom with just one teacher because of the fear of integration it was a poignant moment. Elizabeth’s education experience was similar to Ruby Bridges because at her previous school the special education model used was to isolate Elizabeth in a classroom by herself. Preparing her documentary provided Elizabeth opportunities to read, research, and connect to history.”

McCarthy is a leader in engaging students in self-directed research, known as “inquiry-based learning.” Educators nationwide asked to learn about her “Four I’s of Inquiry” model for fueling students’ curiosity. The approach shows versatility; her class even used it to respond to a “crisis of unkindness” at school. Inspired by historical examples yet working with current data, students developed plans for improving their school culture, presented them to administration, and formed a “Fix It to Fight It Club.”

Another way McCarthy connects students to history — inviting family histories into the curriculum — also helps families connect to the school. One mother thanked McCarthy after students interviewed family members about the 2001 terrorist attacks. “Being from a military family, September 11 was a life changing day for us … Thank you for providing this teachable and talkable moment.”

Musing on the world of education, McCarthy would like to see more focus on making the community an extension of the classroom, for career development and civic participation. She’s excited about the “whole child” movement, which emphasizes education for social, emotional, and other goals, in addition to academic assessment scores. In McCarthy’s classroom, skills like working hard and pushing one’s self get equal weight as growth in one’s knowledge and academic abilities.

In addition to classroom responsibilities, McCarthy serves on teams for diversity and equity in her school district; she has helped trained teachers to provide students with disabilities with opportunities to grow and succeed. McCarthy is a member of the board of directors of the League of Women Voters of Milwaukee County, and has participated in numerous professional development opportunities in her field throughout the country. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Roosevelt University, Chicago, and a master’s in public history from Loyola University, Chicago.

Read about all the 2020 Wisconsin Teachers of the Year.

MTEA member Chad Sperzel-Wuchterl is state’s 2020 High School Teacher of the Year

From the Department of Public Instruction

In a surprise ceremony Wednesday, Chad Sperzel-Wuchterl of Milwaukee, an art teacher at Reagan High School in Milwaukee Public Schools and a member of WEAC and the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association (MTEA), was named Wisconsin’s 2020 High School Teacher of the Year. 

State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor made the announcement during an all-school assembly. As part of the Teacher of the Year honor, Sperzel-Wuchterl will receive $3,000 from the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation. 

“Every day, teachers work to help students gain confidence, skills, and knowledge so they can contribute successfully to our world,” said State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor. “It’s such a pleasure to meet with educators who represent the best of this tremendous calling.” 

Herb Kohl, philanthropist, businessman, and co-sponsor of the Wisconsin Teacher of the Year program through his educational foundation, said he supports the program because “I want to help teachers pursue their unrealized goals for their classroom, their school, or their professional development.” 

Sperzel-Wuchterl calls education “a vibrant, ongoing, lifelong process that interweaves the individual within a greater community.” His students’ artwork has been displayed throughout that greater community, not only in the school but also in university campus art galleries, the Wisconsin Capitol, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and revolving displays in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward. 

Sperzel-Wuchterl infuses college experiences throughout the curriculum by collaborating with professors from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design and the Minneapolis College of Art Design to provide lessons, workshops, and even professional critiques of student work. For students, an added benefit of working with professors on critiques and revision is learning about financial support for college. “Last year alone, $3.5 million was offered to 41 of my seniors as scholarships were put forth to draw in talented artists to multiple universities,” Sperzel-Wuchterl says. Students also make an annual visit to the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point, where they participate in art workshops and learn about college options and scholarships from admissions staff. 

Working against what he calls the “’starving artist’ misconception,” Sperzel-Wuchterl invites parents to attend the campus visits to learn about college affordability, scholarships, and the wide array of careers available for students with art degrees. 

Another hallmark of Sperzel-Wuchterl’s philosophy is his belief in the intrinsic motivation to learn. “My experience has been that the more I empower students, the more excited they become in the learning process. I think this approach is essential as it lays the groundwork for independent learning which is expected at the college level and also paves the way for life-long learning.” 

A major tenet of his teaching practice includes a focus on closing the achievement gap. Sperzel- Wuchterl embeds literacy within his visual arts classes and uses ACT data to better understand his students’ literacy-related strengths and areas in need of improvement. He is then able to tailor literacy-infused art lessons to support students reading about and analyzing art and art theory, describing their artistic processes, explaining their work to professors and other professional artists, listening to critiques, and writing their reflections. Students also develop valuable collaboration skills in many creative projects and work with diverse media to develop existing talents and build new skills. 

Students embrace a global mindset. “Our student population includes 31 different cultures, some of whom are immigrants, refugees, or first-generation Americans,” Sperzel-Wuchterl notes. “Every culture has a unique perspective to share with the world at large.” A partnership with artists in residence and the international project, Inside Out, resulted in portraits of the school’s culturally diverse students and staff appearing on the exterior of Reagan High School. Sperzel-Wuchterl also features, in his classroom and around the school, artworks by marginalized people. 

Even while working tirelessly to widen students’ experiences and opportunities, Sperzel-Wuchterl’s belief in education as a lifelong process remains at the center of his own development. In his professional learning, he says he has witnessed an increasing “openness, adaptability, and flexibility” in education; he dreams of facilitating even more collaboration, to “knock down the rigid silos … separating truly gifted educators from each other and limiting their professional development.” 

Sperzel-Wuchterl began teaching at Reagan High School, which offers an International Baccalaureate program, in 2004. He holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in visual arts from Cardinal Stritch University. 

Read about all the 2020 Wisconsin Teachers of the Year.

Wisconsin has three winners of NEA Human and Civil Rights Awards

NEA has announced three Wisconsin winners of this year’s prestigious NEA Human and Civil Rights Awards. The Wisconsin winners are:

  • Bayfield educators and WEAC members Rick and Lorie Erickson.
  • Former State Senator Tim Cullen of Janesville.
  • GSAFE, a Madison-based advocacy organization devoted to creating safe educational environments for LGBTQ individuals.

They will be among 13 winners nationally honored at the annual NEA Human and Civil Rights Awards program July 3 in Houston, held during the NEA Representative Assembly.

Following are descriptions of the Wisconsin winners:

Rick and Lorie Erickson

Leo Reano Memorial Award

Veteran Bayfield, Wisconsin, educators Rick & Lorie Erickson have enriched the lives of children in the Native community they’ve become an integral part of.

In the district they serve, seventy-five percent of the student population is of the Anishinaabe Nation, indigenous to the Great Lakes region. As such, Rick and Lorie have developed a profound knowledge, respect and appreciation of the culture’s past and present, working diligently toward the goal of fostering an environment where Native youth can celebrate their identity for generations to come.

Working in concert with the Bayfield school system and the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Rick and Lorie have advocated for Native traditions and heritage to be incorporated into the curriculum. Rick and Lorie not only understand how vital it is for these children to express themselves, but that it’s equally important for those outside the culture to learn about those around them, and to advance understanding and appreciation.

Nourishing their bodies goes hand in hand with healing the soul; recognizing that much of the economic disparity stems from decades of historical trauma, they view their educational philosophy through the lens of cultural sensitivity. Their holistic approach has empowered and instilled a sense of pride in thousands of young people.

Rick and Lorie’s efforts to embed themselves in the community are always on display: both have taken courses in the Anishinaabemowin language. Lorie’s Early Childhood Special Education classrooms are consistently decorated with artwork that beautifully represents Anishinaabe life, and she creates activities for the children that include maple syruping, beading, and the rich tradition of storytelling, key to passing on lore, legacy, and history.

The Ericksons’ efforts have been recognized locally: Rick was awarded the 2003 Excellence in Science Education Award by the Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers, and was named the 2014 Wisconsin High School Teacher of the Year. Lorie’s forward-thinking concept of interfacing with tribal elders to guarantee culturally appropriate and effective programs for Native youth, garnered her recognition from the Wisconsin Indian Education Association.

Together, Rick and Lorie Erickson continue to make a better life for young people of all backgrounds in their community, so that no one ever forgets, to paraphrase the classic lyric, that “this land was made for you and me”.

Tim Cullen

NEA President’s Award

Senator Tim Cullen has been a champion of education for over 40 years. His body of work creating policy at the state and local level has continued to ensure that both students and teachers win at every level within the Wisconsin Public School System.

Initially, Senator Cullen wanted to be a high school social studies teacher, but once he started working for former Congressman Les Aspen, he found himself drawn to politics. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater, Senator Cullen was elected to the Wisconsin Senate in 1974, representing the 15th district. Combining his love for education and politics, as a state senator, Cullen served on the education committee and was Majority Leader 1981, 1983 and1985. A strong advocate for public schools, Senator Cullen was awarded The Friend of Education Award in 1983 from the Wisconsin Education Association Council, for the passage of a collective bargaining law.

Cullen would hold the Senate seat until 1987. Republican Governor Tommy Thompson appointed Cullen to head the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services where he served for one year before leaving public service for the private sector, and becoming the vice-president for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin.

While working in the private sector Cullen continued his support and advocacy for public schools by serving on the Janesville School board, the same district where the Senator graduated high school.

In 2007, Senator Cullen, concerned with the lack of educators of color in the Janesville School District, met with then-Superintendent Karen Schulte to learn more about the ratio of students of color to teachers of color. The report showed students of color made up 14% of Janesville’s student population; however, only 1% of the 800+ teachers in the district identified as people of color. Senator Cullen quickly took action in developing the “Janesville Minority Teacher Scholarship” (JMTS). The proposal would provide a multi-year renewable college scholarship to a student of color for up to $5,000 per year for tuition, books, and fees to students of the Janesville Schools. In return, the student must pursue a degree in education, obtain a Wisconsin State Teacher Certification, and then apply for a position with the School District of Janesville when they have completed their degree.

Since its inception in 2008, The Janesville Minority Teacher Scholarship has had six graduates who are working in the Janesville Schools with a total of 17 years of experience among them. Four more students are currently taking advantage of the scholarship, with one recipient expected to graduate in the Spring of 2019.

Senator Cullen’s commitment to diversity in the classroom, his dedication to quality public education and his lifetime of public service have been instrumental in shaping the Wisconsin Public School system.

GSAFE

Virginia Uribe Award for Creative Leadership in Human Rights

From its start in 1991 as a volunteer-based grassroots organization operating out of private homes, under the name Gays and Lesbians Against Discrimination in Education (GLADE), GSAFE has successfully added “gender identity/expression” language to non-discrimination policies in the state of Wisconsin. The organization switched its focus from programs in South Central Wisconsin to serving the entire state, connecting with over 200 Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) networks across the states. GSAFE has aimed to work with Wisconsin students, educators, community members, and elected officials to create safe educational environments where LGBTQ individuals can learn and gain the confidence to become successful.

GSAFE ensures that students at hundreds of schools have access to reliable programs and spaces that increase feelings of belonging and safety. This organization has developed and provided programs that have helped other students learn to respect diversity and refrain from abusive behaviors such as bullying and stereotyping. This student club network works with numerous school districts and various professional education organizations every year in order to provide educators of all grade levels the tools to navigate the sensitivities of identity and sexual orientation in the day to day classroom setting and within their school communities.

More recently, GSAFE launched Foundations of Leadership (FOL), an innovative class for advanced learners in the area of leadership. FOL enhances the education of LGBTQ students, particularly students of color, whose experiences are at the center of the class. The course strives to reorient the community’s understanding of who is considered talented and gifted and lifts up the leadership of LGBTQ youth of color who are underrepresented and often absent from advanced learners courses. The project has expanded in unique ways to include providing one-on-one instruction for youth experiencing suspension and/or incarceration and has piloted classes inside the restrictive confines of the Dane County Juvenile Detention Center. FOL is an essential project particularly in the state of Wisconsin and the city of Madison, which has one of the country’s highest rates of school push out and incarceration of youth of color, particularly African-American youth.

GSAFE advocates for including milestones in LGBTQ history as part of public school curriculum, from the persecution of homosexuals in Nazi Germany, to the Stonewall Uprising of 1969. Because of their advocacy and dedication, over half of Wisconsin school districts have gender-inclusive policies. In 2010,GSAFE heralded the first Lieutenant Governor’s Conference on LGBTQ Youth in Wisconsin and is planning their inaugural LGBTQA Students of Color Summit in Madison. GSAFE has continued to help districts pass and implement inclusive policy, and has continued to collaborate with statewide partners. GSAFE has become a “go-to” organization for the education and political community alike for creating safe and supportive environments for LGBTQ youth.

For more information, visit: http://www.nea.org/grants/HCRAwards.html.

Three dozen WEAC members honored as Kohl Foundation Teacher Fellows

Three dozen WEAC members have been selected as 2019 Teacher Fellows by the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation.

Each honoree and their school receives an award of $6,000. Kohl Teacher Fellowship recipients are educators who have been chosen for their superior ability to inspire a love of learning in their students, their ability to motivate others, and their leadership and service within and outside the classroom. In total, 304 students, teachers, and principals are being honored this year by the Herb Kohl Foundation. 

The Kohl Foundation Scholarship and Fellowship program was established by Herb Kohl, philanthropist and businessman, in 1990. To date, the Foundation has awarded $17.8 million to Wisconsin educators, principals, students, and schools. “Education is the key to the future of Wisconsin and our nation. I am very proud of the accomplishments of these students, teachers, and principals and look forward to the great contributions they will make in the future,” Kohl said.

The WEAC members honored as Kohl Foundation Teacher Fellows this year are listed below. (If you are a WEAC member or know of one who received a Kohl Teacher Fellow honor this year but is not listed below please let us know by emailing us at communications@weac.org and we will make sure we get that educator’s name added to the list of honorees.)

CESA 1

Jean Biebel, Wauwatosa 
Wauwatosa East High School, Wauwatosa 

Alexander Branderhorst, Milwaukee 
Milwaukee High School of the Arts, Milwaukee 

Raymond Duncan, Milwaukee 
Marshall High School, Milwaukee 

Erin McCarthy, Milwaukee 
Greendale Middle School, Greendale 

Kaitlynn Radloff, Milwaukee 
Milwaukee High School of the Arts, Milwaukee 

Aimie Rognsvoog, Milwaukee 
IDEAL, Milwaukee 

Chad Sperzel-Wuchterl, Milwaukee 
Reagan High School, Milwaukee 

Elizabeth Sutherland, Shorewood 
Whitefish Bay High School, Whitefish Bay 

Jill Werner, Wauwatosa 
Waukesha North High School, Waukesha 

Nancy Wisniewski, Milwaukee
Mitchell Elementary School, Milwaukee 

CESA 2

Angela Flynn, Janesville 
Turner High School, Beloit 

Matthew Flynn, Beloit 
Memorial High School, Beloit 

Julie Martin, Madison 
New Glarus High School, New Glarus 

Rachel Schramm, Madison 
Shabazz-City High School, Madison 

CESA 4

Paul Anderson, Arcadia 
Arcadia High School, Arcadia 

Tricia Gibbons, Holmen 
Logan High School, La Crosse 

Kate Hooper, La Crosse 
North Woods International School, La Crosse 

Regina Quandt, Winona 
Arcadia Elementary School, Arcadia 

CESA 5

Elizabeth Hansen, Portage 
Portage High School, Portage 

Daniel Rhode, Baraboo 
Baraboo High School, Baraboo 

Ashley Tessmer, Wisconsin Rapids 
Lincoln High School, Wisconsin Rapids 

CESA 6

Jessica Longdin, North Fond du Lac 
Evans Elementary School, Fond du Lac 

Jane Savatski, Menasha 
Berry Elementary School, Appleton 


CESA 7

Scott Christy, Green Bay 
East High School, Green Bay 

Jonathan Delray, Sheboygan 
Kiel High School, Kiel 

CESA 9

Dawn Bohm, Kronenwetter 
D.C. Everest Junior High School, Weston 

Matthew Cepress, Weston 
D.C. Everest High School, Weston 

Lori Linsmeyer, Rhinelander 
Crescent Elementary School, Rhinelander 

CESA 10

Niki Anderson, Eau Claire
Memorial High School, Eau Claire

Rebecca Omtvedt, Holcombe
Lake Holcombe Schools District Office, Holcombe

Nicholas Sirek, Eau Claire 
DeLong Middle School, Eau Claire

John Scott Thiel, Altoona 
Altoona Middle School, Altoona

CESA 11

Debra Bell, Menomonie 
Boyceville Community Schools District Office, Boyceville 

Jennifer Clemins, St. Croix Falls 
Saint Croix Falls Elementary School, Saint Croix Falls 

Suzanne Imhoff, Frederic 
Saint Croix Falls High School, Saint Croix Falls 

CESA 12

Lorie Erickson, Bayfield 
Bayfield Elementary School, Bayfield

Click here for the complete list of 2019 Kohl Education Foundation student, teacher and principal honorees.

Monroe’s Sarah Compton granted Milken Educator Award in surprise ceremony

Monroe teacher Sarah Compton – a member of WEAC Region 6 – was awarded a Milken Educator Award Friday in a surprise ceremony during a school assembly at Northside Elementary School.

Compton was recognized for challenging her fifth-graders “to think critically and dive deep into their learning.” In particular, the award honored her for her work on a series of project-based lessons on financial literacy in which students explore concepts of spending, saving, sales tax, discounts and interest.

“WEAC congratulates Sarah Compton on her achievement,” said Ron Martin, WEAC President. “There are amazing things happening in Wisconsin Public Schools, and that’s a direct result of the inspiring educators who work in them. WEAC is proud to support educators like Sarah so they can go above and beyond for their students.”

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Carolyn Stanford Taylor congratulated Compton, saying, “Teachers who can build strong, personal relationships with their students are always successful at knowing how to unlock a child’s fullest potential. Sarah Compton’s efforts to tailor learning through choices and relationships are a model for others to follow. Congratulations to Sarah for this recognition.” 

Below is the Milken Family Foundation’s video and news release from Friday’s ceremony. Click here for more photos and information about Sarah Compton.

From the Milken Family Foundation

The student stock market is up and so is student achievement in Sarah Compton’s fifth-grade class at Northside Elementary in Monroe, Wisconsin. An engaging project that pays real-world educational dividends, Compton’s student stock market teaches critical thinking and economic concepts as students invest an imaginary nest egg and manage their individual portfolios. It’s one of several project-based building blocks for Compton, whose lessons are invariably down-to-earth and feature hands-on learning no matter how abstract or elevated the material gets. A data-driven educator, Compton creates individually tailored learning plans within her big set pieces, so each student tackles appropriate challenges that boost growth, confidence and test scores.

Yet it was Compton who got a big lift this morning at a surprise school assembly where she was presented with a Milken Educator Award by Milken Family Foundation Senior Program Director Greg Gallagher and Wisconsin State Superintendent of Public Instruction Carolyn Stanford Taylor. An enthusiastic Compton was named a 2018-19 recipient of the national recognition, which comes with an unrestricted $25,000 cash prize. She is the only Milken Educator Award winner from Wisconsin, and is among the 33 honorees for 2018-19.

The Milken Educator Awards, hailed by Teacher magazine as the “Oscars of Teaching,” has been opening minds and shaping futures for over 30 years. Research shows teacher quality is the driving in-school factor behind student growth and achievement. The initiative not only aims to reward great teachers, but to celebrate, elevate and activate those innovators in the classroom who are guiding America’s next generation of leaders. Milken Educators believe, “The future belongs to the educated.”

Compton stresses independence and self-reliance in her students, attributes that will prepare them to take advantage of whatever challenges come their way. Always striving to see the big picture, Compton not only uses data to differentiate her students’ lessons, she also coaches colleagues through data analysis and individualized instruction planning. She sits on building and district committees and frequently leads professional development on responsive classroom practices, math and literacy.

“Sarah Compton knows that each student has a unique path and interests,” said Gallagher. “Helping them get excited about learning is her special gift, and we are proud to welcome her as a Milken Educator.”

“Sarah is one of the most talented young educators I’ve ever had the privilege to work with,” said shared Monroe District Administrator Rick Waski. “Her ability to use student data to drive personalized, engaging instruction for every child is second to none.”

About Milken Educator Sarah Compton
Sarah Compton challenges her fifth-graders at Northside Elementary School in Monroe, Wisconsin, to think critically and dive deep into their learning. In a series of project-based lessons on financial literacy, students explore concepts of spending, saving, sales tax, discounts and interest. Next, they learn about the stock market, including how to choose companies for investment based on data trends and current events. They track an imaginary $10,000 investment as a group, then move to a friendly competition as individual students try to grow their pretend portfolios. Along the way, students practice computing with large numbers and decimals, calculating percentages, graphing and estimation. Engagement is sky-high, both because of the project’s real-world connection and because it offers students options along the way. In another popular unit, students create public service announcements on issues facing today’s teens: obesity, texting while driving, high school dropout rates and cyber-bullying. A vibrant classroom presence, Compton is dedicated to maximum growth for students at all levels and provides engaging and relevant instruction. Her students deliver among the highest growth scores in the district.

Compton seeks innovative instructional solutions and is always willing to try something new to spur student achievement, access and equity. A leader for her grade level and within the building, Compton studies data to build individual learning plans for each student and helps other Northside teachers use data to differentiate their instruction. She designs curriculum and creates formative assessments for the district. Compton sits on Northside’s leadership committee and has served on district committees for math and literacy. She mentors colleagues in both content-area mastery and assessments, developing a district model to help teachers engage in peer-to-peer support and cross-coaching. Compton frequently leads professional development for the district on responsive classroom practices, math and literacy. She works tirelessly to improve her craft; when Compton speaks during a meeting, the whole room listens.

Committed to Monroe’s school community, Compton gets to know every child and family and communicates regularly with parents so they can work together to support students. She is known as a genuine advocate for her students and stresses independence and self-reliance. Compton has made great strides with students with behavioral issues, taking time to relate to them on a personal level and build mutual respect so they know she is on their team. When these students return to Northside after they graduate, she is the first person they want to see.

Compton earned a bachelor’s degree in education in 2007 from University of Wisconsin Whitewater and a master’s of education in 2011 from University of Wisconsin La Crosse.

More information about Compton, plus links to photos and a video from today’s assembly, can be found on the Milken Educator Awards website at http://www.milkeneducatorawards.org/educators/view/Sarah-Compton.

Milken Educators are selected in early to mid-career for what they have achieved and for the promise of what they will accomplish. In addition to the $25,000 prize and public recognition, the honor includes membership in the National Milken Educator Network, a group of more than 2,700 top teachers, principals and specialists dedicated to strengthening education.

In addition to participation in the Milken Educator Network, 2018-19 recipients will attend a Milken Educator Forum in New Orleans March 21-24, 2019. Educators will have the opportunity to network with their new colleagues and hear from state and federal officials about maximizing their leadership roles to advance educator effectiveness.

More than $138 million in funding, including $68 million in individual $25,000 awards, has been devoted to the overall Awards initiative, which includes powerful professional learning opportunities throughout recipients’ careers. Many have gone on to earn advanced degrees and be placed in prominent posts and on state and national education committees.

The Awards alternate yearly between elementary and secondary educators. Unlike most teacher recognition programs, the Milken Educator Award is completely unique: Educators cannot apply for this recognition and do not even know they are under consideration. Candidates are sourced through a confidential selection process and then are reviewed by blue ribbon panels appointed by state departments of education. Those most exceptional are recommended for the Award, with final approval by the Milken Family Foundation.

Past recipients have used their Awards to fund their children’s education or their own continuing education. Others have financed dream field trips, established scholarships and even funded the adoption of children.

To get regular updates on the surprise Milken Educator Award events, follow and use the #MilkenAward hashtag on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The Milken Educator Awards tour is on social media at www.facebook.com/milkeneducatorawardswww.twitter.com/milkenwww.youtube.com/milkenaward, and http://instagram.com/milkenfamilyfdn.

For more information, visit www.MilkenEducatorAwards.org or call MFF at (310) 570-4772.

About the Milken Educator Awards
The very first Milken Educator Awards were presented by the Milken Family Foundation 31 years ago in 1987. The Awards provide public recognition and individual financial rewards of $25,000 to elementary and secondary school teachers, principals and specialists from around the country who are furthering excellence in education. Recipients are heralded in early to mid-career for what they have achieved and for the promise of what they will accomplish.

Wisconsin Teacher of the Year joins other top educators at ‘Teach-In for Freedom’ in El Paso

Sarahí Monterrey at the El Paso Teach-In

Wisconsin High School Teacher of the Year – and WEAC Region 7 member – Sarahí Monterrey joined dozens of other state teachers of the year and hundreds of NEA members last weekend for the “Teach-In for Freedom,” an all-day event organized by Teachers Against Child Detention (TACD) to protest the inhumane detention of children at the Mexican border and the criminalization of immigrant families.

“The Teach-In in El Paso was a powerful experience because teachers were united to be a voice for the over 10,000 children who are in detention centers across our country,” Monterrey told weac.org. “This was not a protest but rather an opportunity to educate the public about immigration policies and the effects of these policies on children. 

“It was powerful to come together with educators from across the country who shared lessons on various aspects of immigration,” she said. “There were also community organizations present who are doing tremendous work to advocate for immigrant rights, and they provided excellent resources to the public.”  

Monterrey, interviewed by PBS News Hour, said the impact of the administration’s immigration policies reaches deep into her classroom in Waukesha, Wisconsin. She said she sees effects of trauma in her classroom, with students saying they are sad, can’t concentrate or have stomach aches.

It’s very difficult for students to learn,” Monterrey said. “And it’s very hard because, sometimes, even as an educator, it’s hard to find the right words of what to say, because, sometimes, I do feel helpless.”

With support from WEAC, Monterrey traveled to El Paso to participate in the teach-in, which was led by National Teacher of the Year Mandy Manning. The goal was to shed light on the impact of child detention policies on the border, which TACD calls a “moral disaster.” The teach-in focused on the harm immigrant kids experience when separated from their families, and aimed to educate the country on why these families have fled from their home countries and how Americans can welcome them legally and contribute to their ongoing care and integration. 

NEA Today also covered the event, noting that educators and others have been outraged by the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy of separating immigrant and refugee children as young as 18 months old from their parents.

“Detained in more than 100 government detention centers across 17 states, these children have been denied access to public education, and likely will suffer irreparable, lifelong psychological damage, educators said. The practice also violates their fundamental right to seek asylum,” NEA Today reported.

In honoring Monterrey first as the State High School Teacher of the Year and then as Wisconsin’s representative for National Teacher of the Year, the Department of Public Instruction noted that, as a child immigrant from El Salvador, Monterrey recognizes the pivotal role teachers play in students’ lives.

“The power in making students feel welcome and safe cannot be underestimated,” she said. DPI noted:

Monterrey’s work on inclusion includes the visible, “Dreamers Welcome” and “This School Welcomes You” posters. Not as visible, but just as important, are her extra efforts to ensure a curriculum that is representative of various backgrounds so students feel inspired; her work to improve family communication so parents understand they are part of their student’s success; and her outreach to ensure that English learner (EL) students have access to extracurricular activities and support to be ready for college.

Watch the PBS News Hour report on the El Paso Teach-In:

Amid immigration debate, top teachers gather to protest child detention

Some of the nation’s top teachers recently gathered in El Paso, Texas, to speak out against the government’s practice of detaining children who cross the U.S.-Mexico border. Dismissing the notion that they shouldn’t get involved in political advocacy, teachers said they see some U.S. policy and procedures as “abusive.”

Read the NEA Today report:

At the Border, Teachers Protest Detention, Separation of Children – NEA Today

On a makeshift stage in El Paso, Texas, former Texas Teacher of the Year Leslie Anaya delivered a message to the roughly 15,000 immigrant children who are held captive in federal detention centers, where they are denied an education and separated from their mothers, fathers, and anybody else who loves them.

Read more about Sarahí Monterrey:

Sarahi Monterrey named a 2019 High School Teacher of the Year

MADISON – In a surprise ceremony at her school today, Sarahi Monterrey, an English Learner teacher at Waukesha North High School, was named a Wisconsin 2019 High School Teacher of the Year. State Superintendent Tony Evers made the announcement during an all-school assembly.

Watertown School District recognizes “Discipline with Dignity’ work by WEAC members Pam and Tim Suski

Pam and Tim Suski

The Watertown School District is recognizing WEAC members Pam and Tim Suski for their work with the “Discipline with Dignity” program that has demonstrated success through compassion and high expectations.

“Often our students who regularly struggle to make good choices at WHS have challenges at home,” the Suskis say. “We want to provide positive support and high expectations for both academics and behavior. Through this program we show that we believe in them and expect excellent behavior — because they are capable of it.”

Read the entire school district newsletter article:

‘Discipline with Dignity’ Focuses on Compassion and High Expectations

The “Discipline with Dignity” program launched in September 2017 with support from a Watertown Way grant is finding success using positive support and high expectations for students who make poor choices.
 
“Discipline with Dignity” aims to go beyond “punishments that are punitive” to a plan that is focused on the “whole child” so:
 
·    Negative behavior declines with more meaningful consequences
·    Recidivism rates drop
·    Students complete academic work during “restorative” time
·    Students become more connected to WHS and Watertown itself
·    Academic achievement and positive behavior improve, setting students up for more positive futures. 
 
Understanding students’ stories
Program leaders Pam and Tim Suski say they understand there are deeper reasons why students make poor choices. Often our students who regularly struggle to make good choices at WHS have challenges at home. We want to provide POSITIVE support and HIGH expectations for both academics and behavior. Through this program we show that we BELIEVE in them and expect excellent behavior — because they are capable of it. We have brought consistency to the restorative time program, earning students’ trust, so they are more willing to work with us and talk with us about their struggles. 
 
During the first hour of restorative time we work on academics and in the second hour we work on social skills/empowerment activities to help them become better members of WHS and the City of Watertown. We also “recruit” our toughest cases who consistently skip detentions (because they want out-of-school suspension) and have them serve time in an in-school suspension with a retired staff member who strives to build positive connections. As they work through this new system, we hope they see that we respect them, and they will then have more respect for the building, teachers, peers,and most importantly — themselves.
 
We were graciously awarded a $4,800 Spark! Health Grant from the Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation; we are using those funds to purchase items for building, cooking and recreational projects and compensate teachers for their help with this project.
 
‘Restoration Hours’ include Skyward review, activities
The kids have responded well and seem to like the calm, consistent manner of “restorative hours” on Thursdays. Each week we look up their grades on Skyward to help direct them towards what things they need to do to pass their classes. We have also started with recreational and cooking activities in the first half of the year, and we will now be moving to some small building projects as well as outside projects in the Peace Garden in the spring. The hardest part has been trying to get our students who struggle the most to “buy in” to the system, and sit down to work on school work and/or talk with us, but we keep trying! Overall, due to a variety of changes at the high school, not just from our program, the number of discipline referrals is down.
 
The highlights are watching the kids find success with work and see that they CAN accomplish assignments and that people truly care about their success. It is also wonderful to see kids accept rules, consequences, and high expectations for behavior, as they realize that teachers and administrators care for them and want them to make great choices for future success. It is also great to see these kids interact positively with each other as they learn to play euchre, play an intense game of Uno, bake cookies, decorate for Homecoming or Prom, or work together to accomplish some building project. They feel more connected with the school overall.
 
Slowly, over time we know that our high expectations for them, their academic performance, and their behavior show that we care — and we won’t give up on them. If we can turn just one kid around who is walking a rough path, then we feel we have succeeded.
 

Sun Prairie’s Sandra Kowalczyk is Wisconsin’s Global Educator of the Year

From the Department of Public Instruction

Sandra Kowalczyk

WEAC Region 6 member Sandra Kowalczyk, a Sun Prairie middle school reading specialist, will receive the 2018-19 Wisconsin Global Educator of the Year award in a brief ceremony January 16 during the Patrick Marsh Middle School all staff meeting in Sun Prairie. 

State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor will present the award, commending Kowalczyk for her work to bring an international perspective to her classrooms and community.

“Developing global competence takes time. Sandra captures and sustains middle school students’ attention through global literature and face-to-face opportunities to learn from people of other cultural backgrounds,” said Stanford Taylor. “She is generous with her time, sharing successful practices with fellow educators here and across the world.” 

Fellow teachers, parents, colleagues, friends, or students can nominate a teacher for the Wisconsin Global Educator of the Year Award, which recognizes those who provide high-quality learning opportunities for students and make exemplary contributions to the profession as it relates to global education. In addition to her classroom use of literature to awaken social justice and cultural experiences, Kowalczyk brings international guests to the classroom and school community and facilitates the Go Global Club, an after-school opportunity for students. A parent who supported her nomination noted that Ms. K prepares students to have the cultural curiosity, understanding, and skills needed to be a young global citizen. 

Kowalczyk graduated from Wild Rose High School and traveled to the former Soviet Union at age 17. Since catching the travel-learning bug, she has visited five continents, gaining experiences and insights to share with her students. Her professional commitment to global education brings artists and authors into her classes and community. She builds relationships with schools abroad and shares her work through state, regional, national, and international education events.

To qualify as the Wisconsin Global Educator of the Year, a teacher must cultivate students’ global awareness, promote growth of global competencies, model and engage colleagues in best practices for global learning, and employ innovative approaches to building global knowledge and skills. The Wisconsin Global Educator of the Year is selected from among nominees by the State Superintendent’s International Education Council. The recognition includes a $1,000 honorarium from Madison area Rotary Clubs. 

Kowalczyk is a former Wisconsin Middle Level Teacher of the Year and serves on the Wisconsin Teacher of the Year Council. She received the Association for Middle Level Education 2018 Educator of the Year Award at the association’s conference last October. She earned National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification in 2009 in Literacy: Reading-Language Arts/Early and Middle Childhood. 

62 WEAC members earn National Board Certification in 2018

Sixty-two WEAC members recently joined the ranks of Nationally Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) in Wisconsin, and 26 renewed their certification. Known as one of the top honors in the profession, NBCTs are assessed by their peers on 5 core propositions of accomplished teaching. WEAC is the state leader in providing candidate support; WEAC supports include intensive summer Jump Start training, monthly in-person cohorts, an online prep course, virtual mentors, and a winter writing retreat.

“The support that I received from WEAC was so instrumental that I do not believe I would have passed without it. It’s hard to believe that it was all free to WEAC members,” said Sarah Schnuelle a recently certified NBCT and educator in Jefferson.

If you’re interested in information on becoming Nationally Board Certified please click here or e-mail nbctsupport@weac.org.

2018 New NBCTs

TAMMIE ALEKNA
HOLLY BAUKIN
MEGAN BERGER
MOLLY BILSE
JILL BOECK
CARLA BONSIGNORE
KATHERINE BONTEMPO
BARBARA BORRE
RACHEL BURKEL
NATALIE COOK
SAMANTHA CRUZ
ANNMARIE DAHL
ANDREA DINNDORF
TRACY DOBKOSKI
AMANDA DOHMS
EMILY DRAIN
VIRGINIA ELSEN
BRENDA ERDMAN
MARY ANN FEUTZ
KARLY FRISCH
MARGO GOFF
ERICA GRETEBECK
SARAH GREY
LAURA GROCHOWSKI
MATTHEW HARMON
ANITA HARRISON
KATHRYN HATLESTAD
KARI HEDEMAN
SARAH HILL
ANDREW HOLDMANN
CHRISTINE HUMBERG
EMILY INSTENES
ABIGAIL KEAN
AMY KLEIN
AMY KLINE
LEIGH KOHLMANN
ERICA KOHLMEYER ZENKE
CHRISTINA LADURON
DIANA LEHNHERR
DAWN LEMIRAND-POEPPING
ELLEN LINNIHAN
ANDREW LIPSKI
ANN MARCHANT
SARA MCKITTRICK
JESSICA NARLOW
CORYNN NORDSTROM
ERIN PETERS
SUSAN PETERSON
KEVIN PODEWELTZ
JESSICA REED
JEAN ROBINSON
SHANON RODENBERG
LINDSAY RUDEBUSCH
AMY SCHAEFER
SARAH SCHNUELLE
LEXA SPETH
HEATHER STERNITZKY
DIANA STRATTON
MICHAEL TAMBLYN
DAVID WALKER
NATHANIEL WEISS
JOSIE WIESER

2018 NBCT Renewals

DANA ACAMOVIC
CHRISTINE AHRENS
CATHERINE ANDERSON
M GILLIAN ARBUCKLE KING
EMILY CHERONE
JAMI COLLINS
MOLLY COUGHLIN
MARY FASSBENDER
RACHEL GROVE
THOMAS GRUNDER
ELLEN GRUNDER
JAY JOHNSON
ERIN KRASE-MINCHK
ANN KRONCKE
ANDY KRUGER
REBECCA LETTER
PAUL MAJORS
CHERYL MIRACLE
KAREN REHORST PORRAS
JENNIFER SECOR
KIMBERLY SERENE
MARY SILVA
NICHOLAS SIREK
KATHRYN STEEDMAN
KIMBERLY TRENDEL
THERESE URBEN

We apologize if we missed you. If so, please send an e-mail to nbctsupport@weac.org.