January 6, 2010
It is a pleasure for me to provide the community with this mid-year update. Now that I am approximately five months into the position of superintendent, I have a broader understanding of the “big picture” in New Glarus related to several key areas. The purpose of this article is to share a brief overview of the district’s planning pertaining to student achievement, our budget, including building and maintenance expenses and the consolidation study that was conducted last year.
Planning for Continued Growth in Student Achievement
The New Glarus School District has a tradition of academic excellence. Staff members and students were surveyed first semester to obtain an understanding of what they see as the district’s strengths and areas in need of improvement. Some of the strengths include the quality of the staff, commitment of administrators, motivation of students, and parental support. Some of the areas that may benefit from more attention include a focus on higher academic standards, smaller class sizes, increased space and more staff involvement in curricular decisions.
I am in the process of meeting with various civic, business, and professional groups throughout the community. If you are aware of a group that may be interested in sharing overall perspectives related to student achievement I would be pleased to hear from you. You may contact me at email@example.com or 608-527-2410 Ext. 4116.
Budget, Building and Maintenance Needs
The budget planning process for the 2010-2011 school year began in December. The Board’s Budget Committee reviews all district expenditures and works with the administrative team and staff to create a sustainable budget for the next school year.
Our school district faces the same challenges that many families and businesses face in this turbulent economy. Double digit increases in health insurance along with predictable increases in maintenance, fuel, utilities and insurance pose constant demands on an already strained budget. We have a variety of maintenance needs in our aging elementary school and increased enrollment that will require additional staff. We know we will have to make reductions in our budget for the 2010-2011 school year. We will have more specific information about the extent of the reductions that I will share during a public meeting on Monday, February 1 at 7:00 pm in the High School library. This meeting will include a slide presentation of the district’s maintenance and space needs.
Consolidation Possibilities with Monticello and Belleville
The New Glarus, Monticello and Belleville school districts jointly requested representatives from the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance to conduct a study to determine the fiscal impact of a consolidation. This study was paid for by a state grant. The initial findings of the study were shared with the three school Boards at the end of September. The meeting provided an overview of the population demographics, challenges and opportunities for the three districts. A summary of the financial incentives available for districts considering consolidation was also provided. Representatives of the Taxpayers Alliance will provide an overview of their research on Monday, February 1 at 7:00 pm in the New Glarus High School library.
It would be a significant understatement to suggest there is a lot going on in our district. I believe we have before us an unparalleled opportunity to rally our strengths around an exceptional group of students eager to make 2010 a momentous year. I have previously referenced an important public meeting the Board of Education has scheduled for Monday, February 1 at 7:00 pm in the New Glarus High School library. Please join us and encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same. The meeting will provide an opportunity to: 1.) share a summary of the consolidation study that was conducted last year and 2.) review the district’s maintenance / building needs. Thank you for your ongoing interest and support.
December 5, 2009
Thursday, Dec. 10, 7PM, HS auditorium --------- Middle School Winter Concert
Tuesday, Dec.15, 7PM, HS auditorium --------- High School Winter Concert
Friday, Dec.18, 11:00-1:45PM, Elem cafeteria ---- Family Holiday Luncheon (tickets required/call Beth Buesser @ Elem. Office 527-2410 ext.1000)
The District is looking to replace the present inadequate sound systems at the high school and elementary schools, so you can all enjoy the events more.
And a few thoughts from others:
"Kids learn more by accident in a place where they feel good than on purpose in a place where they don't." Jim Kern
"Your success and happiness lie in you...resolve to keep happy and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties." Helen Keller
contributors: Laura, Bill, Larry
November 18, 2009
The New Glarus School Board consists of seven citizen volunteers, each of whom are interested in hearing what is important to you. Citizens are encouraged to attend and address the Board at its regular meetings, currently scheduled to take place on the second and fourth Monday of each month, beginning at 7:15 p.m. at the Middle/High School Library. If you cannot attend, Board members can be reached by e-mail or by calling the District office (527-2410). E-mail contact information is listed below:
Mark Romich (President); firstname.lastname@example.org
David Noyce (Vice President); email@example.com
Dan Sherman (Treasurer); firstname.lastname@example.org
Virginia Dreier-Schween (Clerk); email@example.com
Paul Eichelkraut (Director); firstname.lastname@example.org
Mary Anne Oemichen (Director); email@example.com
Larry Stuessy (Director); firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch next week’s Post Messenger for details on the Board Retreat, which took place on November 16. The primary focus of the retreat was on strategic planning and goal setting, particularly as it relates to improving student achievement and “raising the bar” academically.
November 6, 2009
I was fortunate, being retired, to be able to go to our High School auditorium and join several classes of students, and staff, to listen to Nazi war camp survivor, Nate Taffel. Mr. Taffel, was born to Jewish parents, in Poland, in 1928. Listening to the atrocities, he suffered in Nazi prison camps during World War II, is life changing. He overcame his hatred, to be able to return to living, but will never forget.....
Paraphrasing, his advice to the students:
- treat others like you want to be treated
- get a good education, to help fight genocide, racism, discrimination
- the freedoms in this country are the greatest in the world
During my short time on the Board, I am beginning to realize how good our students, and staff, throughout the District, are.
"Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army." Edward Everett
"Education takes place in the combination of the home, the community, the school, and the receptive mind." Harry Edwards
This issue's reporter, Larry Stuessy
October 29, 2009
The Board has selected two superintendent search firms, as finalists, to interview at the next Board meeting, Nov. 9th. The firms are Fox River Consultants, Packwaukee, WI and Wisconsin Association of School Boards, Madison, WI. Both groups have worked extensively throughout the state and their fees are comparable, $7000 to $9000 range.
The time line for either firm is about the same:
1) work with Board, staff, community to create a job description in Nov/Dec
2) post the position nationally in Dec
3) review applicants material and screen candidates in Jan
4) schedule interviews in Feb
5) reference checks/second interviews in Feb and Mar
6) assist with contract/compensation package in Feb and Mar
7) contract offer to Superintendent finalist by end of Mar
8) newly contracted Superintendent starts July
We again leave you with a couple quotes to ponder.
"The process of learning can and must become not only one of growing but also of sharing." Joe Nathan
"Happiness is accomplishing something you didn't think you could do." Ring Lardner
This issue's reported by Larry Stuessy & Bill Conzemius
October 23, 2009
- H1N1 updates are on the school website. Superintendent, Bill Conzemius, will be working with school nurse, Susan Way, and the Green County Public Health Dept. in making any school closing decisions.
- The Freshman Social Studies class of Ms. Lexa Speth had Mary Murphy, an expert on practices of genocide throughout the world, speak to them this week. Ms. Speth is in the process of arranging Nazi death camp survivor, Nate Taffel, to speak at NGHS on Friday, Nov. 6
- The WI Taxpayers Alliance has updated info for WI (state rankings)
property tax = 4.4 % of Personal Income (9th)
individual income tax = 3.3% of PI (12th)
corporate income taxes = 0.48% of PI (24th)
other fees/charges = 3.18% of PI (29th)
general sales tax = 2.32% of PI (33rd)
Superintendent Conzemius states, "My work in the District has become more complex, more detailed, and more focused on people doing what I consider to be the most important work in our nation." He leaves us with a couple quotes to ponder.
"Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go." T.S. Eliot
"The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it's the same problem you had last year." John Dulles
this issue's reporters: Larry Stuessy & Bill Conzemius
October 16, 2009
The "Board Corner" has now evolved into the "District Corner". The reason is to provide you with a wider view of what is going on at school. We members of the Board want you to hear from all who are involved in our kid's educations, so you have a bigger picture and better understanding.
Our next School Board meeting will be on October 26 at the usual time, 7:15 PM, and place, MS/HS library. Our Board, will also be having a "retreat", on November 2nd, from 6-9 PM to focus on building a framework for long-term system improvement. We'll be discussing and reflecting on questions/food for thought, given to us by our new interim Superintendent, Bill Conzemius. They are:
- Where are we now?
- Where do we want to be?
- How will we close the gaps between where we are and where we want to be?
- What are we learning?
- Where do we focus next?
In conclusion, I leave you with a quote from Alexandre Dumas: "One's work may be finished some day, but one's education, never."
this issue's Board reporters, Mary Anne Oemichen and Larry Stuessy
September 23, 2009
New Glarus School Board
Middle/High School flooring - If you have not stopped in yet, please take a moment to stop and look at the new flooring in the middle/high school building. During the summer, the old carpet was removed in the hallways and cafeteria and replaced with shiny new tile. Not only will it be easier to clean and require less maintenance to keep up, it really looks good! The cafeteria also has new dining tables that fold up and are easier to move. The old tables were put to good use in existing classrooms.
Tennis Courts - at long last, we have tennis courts that are ready for play! You will notice that we now have four courts instead of the previous three. Our physical education classes are already using the courts as part of their curriculum. Additionally, the fact that we have four courts now makes it possible for New Glarus to consider a club or competitive tennis team sometime in the future. In the meantime, please dust off your tennis rackets and stop by on a nice night or weekend and play tennis!
This Week's Board Reporter: David Noyce
September 10, 2009
New Glarus School District
The New Glarus School District is pleased to announce its two final candidates for the interim superintendent position. They are:
William Conzemius: Dr. Conzemius has 37 years of experience in education. He served as the Verona School District Superintendent from 2001 to 2005. He served as Interim Superintendent in Mauston during the 2007-2008 school year. He has also served as a principal in multiple buildings in Verona, served as its Special Education Director, and also worked as an educational psychologist in the Poynette School District. Dr. Conzemius has his Ph.D in Educational Administration from UW-Madison.
Kerry Jacobson: Dr. Jacobson has 34 years of experience in education. He served as the Superintendent in the Osseo-Fairchild School District from 1998 to 2009. He has also served as superintendent in two school districts in Minnesota, principal in one school district in Minnesota, and has worked as a teacher in school districts in Maryland and Kentucky. Dr. Jacobson has his Ph.D in Educational Administration from UW-Madison.
The New Glarus School Board, along with staff and parent/community representatives, will be interviewing both candidates on Wednesday, September 16 at the MHS Library. Interviews will start at 6:00 p.m. The public is welcome to attend.
Submitted by this week's "Board Reporters," Mary Anne Oemichen and Larry Stuessy
August 27, 2009
New Glarus School District Board of Education
As of last week, there were 23 applicants for the interim Superintendent position. At the full Board meeting on August 24, the Board, with assistance from the building principals, selected preliminary final candidates. Background and reference checks are just about complete, after which the the final candidates will be announced to the public and posted on the school website. Interviews will take place either the week of September 7 or September 14. The interview day schedule is still not finalized, but will be announced and posted on the school website and in the Post Messenger as soon as it is set. The public is welcome to attend!
Submitted by this issue's Board Reporters, Larry Stuessy & Mary Anne Oemichen
August 20, 2009
New Glarus School District Board of Education
Last week, the Board's Personnel Committee finalized a plan for interviewing interim superintendent candidates. As of August 17, the District had 12 applicants for the interim! At the full Board meeting on August 24, the Board will select no more than five (and preferably fewer) final candidates who will be invited to participate in an interview process. Stay tuned to next week's Board Corner for information on final candidates and on a final interview date.
The District recently utilized "Survey Monkey" technology to solicit public feedback about priorities for an interim and about possible interview questions. Approximately 60 District residents have responded, providing valuable feedback. The Board is utilizing these results to formulate candidate interview questions to come from three stakeholder groups: (1) the Board; (2) staff, students, and the administrative team; and (3) parents and other concerned citizens. The Board will be finalizing the list of questions at its August 24 meeting.
The Board is currently soliciting up to ten parents/citizens to participate in candidate interviews. The District would like to have parents be among the participants, along with citizens who do and do not have children in the District. In other words, we would like to see all potential community stakeholders represented in the process.
If you are interested in serving on this interview group, please contact the District office at 527-2810 as soon as possible. Interested citizens must be available to participate in all candidate interviews, tentatively scheduled for September 2. While the interview day schedule has not yet been finalized, the time commitment will likely last part of the day and well into the evening. If the District receives more than ten requests to participate in the process, a lottery system will be utilized to insure selection is fair and impartial.
Of course, even if you are not on an interview group, all citizens are invited and encouraged to attend interim candidate interviews.
This issue's Board Reporters, submitted by the Personnel Committee of the Board of Education (Virginia Dreier-Schween, Mary Anne Oemichen, and Mark Romich)
New Glarus School District Board of Education
The New Glarus School District is continuing to move ahead on its interim superintendent search. The District has received numerous applications and is in the process of determining interview questions, participants, and process. The District wants to know what types of questions parents and other concerned citizens want to see asked of potential applicants. The District has e-mailed parents a survey form as a means to solicit feedback on the interim search and on interim candidate interview questions. Whether you have a child in the District or not, you can access the same survey by going to the District website at : http://www.ngsd.k12.wi.us
As for the permanent superintendent search, the District has solicited proposals from about a dozen potential superintendent search firms. The District will review search firm proposals and bids and will then make a final selection.
Stay tuned to this Board Corner for future updates!
This issue's Board Reporters, Mary Anne Oemichen and Larry Stuessy
New Glarus School District Board of Education
On Monday, August 2, the Board Personnel and Policy Committee met. As part of their work, a job posting for an Interim District Administrator was created. It is posted on our District website and with WASDA (Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators). In addition, the posting was either mailed or e-mailed to about 60 candidates who were signed up with WASDA and/or WASB as Interim Superintendent Candidates, as well as, others who are qualified and have expressed an interest in the position.
To view the posting at our District website: http://www.ngsd.k12.wi.us choose District Departments --> Human Resources --> Job Postings --> Administration Vacancies.
The Board also met on Monday, August 10. An update from that meeting will be in the next "Board Corner".
Mary Anne Oemichen and Larry Stuessy, This issue's "Board Reporters" with help from Nita Duerst
New Glarus School District Board of Education
On July 27, the New Glarus School Board held a "retreat," during which a large audience had an active discussion about options for proceeding with replacing former Superintendent Barbara Thompson. At the conclusion of the discussion, the Board voted unanimously to (1) begin a search for a full time interim superintendent; and (2) pursue contracting with a superintendent search firm that can assist the District in hiring a permanent superintendent.
Several Board members and meeting participants stated that an interim superintendent would provide the administrative team with needed support and guidance in the short term. The Board's Personnel Committee is working closely with administration to immediately begin recruitment of a qualified interim superintendent.
Simultaneously, the Board is beginning the process of hiring a search firm that will assist it with finding a permanent superintendent. In the coming weeks, the Board will interview potential search firms and make a selection. A search firm will facilitate a recruitment and hiring process that will strive to also regularly seek involvement and input from all major stakeholders, including staff, parents, students, District residents, and other community groups. Collaboration, communication, and involvement on multiple levels will help the District find the best possible fit for the community and for the children in our District.
Please stay tuned to the "Board Corner" and to the District website to learn more about future developments and opportunities for community involvement and participation in the search process.
Mary Anne Oemichen and Larry Stuessy, This issue's "Board Reporters"