Tuesday, May 24, 2016

What’s New in Benefits? Online Open Enrollment!

Guest Blogger:
Tina Johnson, Assistant Director of
Administrative and Human Resources

Employee Benefits Open Enrollment runs from

Monday, May 23rd through Wednesday, June 1st

We know that as the school year winds down, thinking about something as exciting as your employee health benefits may not be high on your list. With that in mind, the Administrative and Human Resources staff have made a special effort to make enrolling in health benefits as simple as possible. Brand new this year is the Online Employee Health Benefits Open Enrollment!

You should follow these instructions to complete the Online Open Enrollment:

  1. Log on to www.janesville.k12.wi.us
  2. Scroll to the middle of the page and click on the For Staff box. Numerous options will appear below it. You will want to choose Employee Access (this is the last option in the first column).
  3. Skyward will appear on the screen.  Please login with the same Login ID and password used to log in​to your computer account​​.
  4. Once you have accessed Skyward, a box should pop up, informing you that you have an Online Form that needs to be completed. You can access the form by clicking on the link.  
  5. Once you have entered in all the information, you will scroll back to the top.  You should select ‘Save’ OR ‘Print and Save.’
  6. You should then  click on ‘Step 2, Complete Online Form.’ There will be a box to check that indicates you have completed the online form.  Please check ‘Finish and Submit.’
  7. You should receive a verification email indicating that you have completed the Online Open Enrollment Process.

After you have completed the Online Open Enrollment process, you may go back and print your form by logging back into Skyward. Under the Employee Information Tab, select ‘Online Forms.’  Your Enrollment form will show under completed Online Form. You can view and print from this area.

Who should have access to the Online Open Enrollment?

Online Open Enrollment will be available to employees who work 6 or more hours per day, or certified staff who work more than 4 hours per day (at a pro-rated amount).  If you do not have access to Online Open Enrollment, and feel that you are eligible for benefits, please contact Jamie Brown at ext 5007 to discuss the eligibility parameters.

As a reminder, this open enrollment is for your health benefits only, and must be completed by June 1, 2016. Enrollment for other benefits offered through the district, such as your Flex Spending Account, etc., will be done separately at a different time. 

We know this is a new process for everyone, and the Administrative and Human Resources team appreciates your time and patience as we go through the first Online Open Enrollment together!  


Q: What if I don’t want to make changes to my current coverage?

A:  The Online Open Enrollment form must still be completed.

Q:  I am not sure if I have coverage.  Who should I contact?

A:  Please contact Jamie Brown at ext. 5007 or jabrown@janesville.k12.wi.us to discuss your eligibility.

Q:  I can’t login to Skyward.  Who should I contact?

A:  Please contact Tina Johnson at tjohnson@janesville.k12.wi.us or ext. 5022 for help logging into Skyward Employee Access.

Friday, May 20, 2016

International Career Development with DECA

 Guest Bloggers:
John Zimmerman, Parker High School DECA Advisor and
Melissa Ellis, Craig High School DECA Advisor

The Parker and Craig DECA Chapters have recently returned from the 71st annual International Career Development Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. More than 17,000 DECA members, advisors, and business sponsors gathered for this conference. Participants tested their skills in different business and marketing competencies, shared their work and school experiences, and celebrated student accomplishments.

Seven Parker and four Craig DECA members attended the conference. While there, they participated in business role-plays, interviews, market research presentations, written marketing exams, and written economic exams. All DECA events, whether at the local, state, and international level, rely on business support and corporate professionals to be able to provide a valuable experience to DECA participants. The Parker and Craig DECA Chapters would like to thank the local businesses for their financial support.

Parker High School DECA International Qualifiers
Parker DECA was well represented by:
  • Jessie Lobrano and Emily Feirer - Buying and Merchandising Operations Research Event;
  • Claire Timm - Hospitality and Tourism Operations Research Event;
  • Michael Henry - Retail Merchandising;
  • Carly Treinen - Business Management; and
  • Ian Brown and Bree Porter - Financial Services.

Craig High School DECA International Qualifiers
Craig DECA was well represented by:
  • Alyssa and Coby Brault - Hospitality and Tourism Operations Research Event; and
  • Max Rammer and Joey Spoden - Buying and Merchandising Operation Research Event.

The students were able to network with more than 80 exhibitors representing businesses and colleges. The students participated in different activities outside of their competitive events by attending a Nashville Sounds baseball game and visiting the Opryland facilities. All of our students represented Parker and Craig High Schools, and Janesville, with the greatest of integrity and professionalism.

“The opportunity to compete at the International level was exciting. It is something I will never forget. It was great to meet and network with students from all over the world,” said competitor Claire Timm.
“Going to Nashville was a once in a life-time experience for me. It was really cool to see how the different levels of competition are run, as well as seeing other projects fellow DECA members created. My twin brother was my partner, and it was awesome for both of us to be able to see what real life business scenarios are like, as we both have always had an interest in business,” said competitor Alyssa Brault.

Friday, May 13, 2016

TAGOS Leadership Academy hosts Career Day

picture of Stephanie DavisGuest Blogger -- Stephanie Davis, English Advisor, TAGOS Leadership Academy

I knew I was going to be a teacher when I was a third grade student at Walworth Elementary School.  That school year, I had the opportunity to assist a student who had just moved to the United States from her home in Japan.  I sat with her every day in the back of the room and helped her with her work.  When my teacher, Mrs. Gregory signed my yearbook that year, she wrote that I would make an excellent teacher someday.  I’d like to think that I have made her proud.
Not every student is as lucky as I was.  While I knew at a young age what I wanted to be when I grew up,  many high school students, including seniors, still struggle to decide what they want to do with their lives.  At TAGOS we utilize Career Cruising to help students find their path, but we also hold an annual Career Day.  We believe it is very important to expose our student population to different types of careers and college options that they may not have considered or even known about.  We want students to see the wide variety of options they have, whether it be college, a technical school, the military, an internship, or entering the workforce right away.
Career Day at TAGOS was started last year and was organized by our social work intern, Amanda Jo Serrano, a Parker High School graduate. Amanda Jo did a fabulous job putting this event together.  The event was organized to engage students with careers they are already interested in, and introduce them to careers they may not have previously considered.  TAGOS serves 7th-12th grade students and we wanted all students to spent time rotating through the sessions, not just our juniors and seniors.  It is never too early, or too late to learn about different careers.  Our first Career Day was a great success and we decided to make it a yearly event.

This year, Career Day was held on April 25th and was organized by our social work intern, Megan Vincent a Craig High School graduate. Megan did a great job organizing a successful event.  We had several presenters attending from a broad range of fields, including: Radio (99.9 WJVL), Cosmetology (Academy of Cosmetology), US Army, Hospice & Nursing (Mercy), Counseling (Mercy), Tattoo Artist (Alkali), Dental Hygienist (Robinson & Prijic), Music Production, Janesville Police Department K-9 Unit, Photography, Janesville Fire Department & EMT, as well as UW-Colleges and Blackhawk Technical College.  
This year’s event was a great success, Many students were able to walk away with great information.  We received good feedback from students, staff, and presenters. A few comments provided include:

  •  “I love art and I never thought about using my skills in the tattoo industry.  I don’t know whether that is the path for me, but it was interesting to learn about a different type of career using art.” 
  • “I learned that I can finally fulfill my dream and fly in the military.”
  • “I was interested in nursing before, but I had never considered a career as a hospice nurse.”  
  • “I enjoyed the counseling presentation.  I am considering a career in counseling after hearing Mrs. Benash speak.”
  • “I’m glad UW-Colleges and BTC were both here.  I know I want to go to college, but I’m just not sure where.  Hearing them both talk about their available programs will help me make a decision.”
  • “This was a great, well organized event.  We had very high attendance.  Students were engaged, polite, and asked well thought out, pertinent questions.  The K-9 Unit was a big hit and the kids were excited to pet Fred the dog.”

In addition to our outstanding presenters, we are thankful for the food donated by Kwik Trip, Texas Roadhouse, and Mac’s Pizza Shack. Through their generosity, we were able to have breakfast and lunch available for all of our volunteer presenters.We hope to continue the Career Day event at TAGOS in years to come, adding many more careers and participants for students to learn about.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Please thank the people that make our schools great

May 2-6 is Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week

Providing an education to every child is not just about preparing students for successful employment in the future, it is the foundation of our democracy. Engaged citizens help a community thrive, and students that graduate from high school are more likely to remain engaged and active citizens, wherever their paths may lead them. We are lucky to live in a community that supports its local schools and understands the importance of education. The success of our students and the quality of our schools is reflective of the dedication of our employees. This includes the staff preparing school meals, answering the telephone calls, keeping the classrooms and hallways clean, counseling students, helping students safely cross the street, and teaching the children. During Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week, May 2-6, let’s remember to thank the people who do such amazing work in our schools.

The work of educating our children is not just a job of our teachers. It takes a team of individuals, each with their specific role, working together to create positive learning environments in our schools. Many of us had a teacher who inspired us or guided us toward the path we would follow later in life. Or we remember a school secretary that always had a hello and a smile for us when we came to school. Or it’s the coach that told us to focus on the fundamentals or helped us perfect a certain skill. When we think back to our own school days, I am sure we can all recall someone who had a positive impact on our lives. The School District of Janesville is filled with dedicated employees that today’s students will someday look back upon as inspirations.

Without a doubt, our teachers and school staff work to solve problems that would baffle most of us. They do the amazing with fewer resources than would be expected for a task of such importance. They strive to create learning environments in our schools where every child is provided with an opportunity to learn and succeed. 

Our employees, with their compassion and dedication, have a far-reaching impact on our students and our communities. Please join me in thanking the teachers and staff in our schools for what they do for the students of Janesville—not just during Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week—but throughout the year!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Building the Future of our Community

Guest Blogger: Mr. Andy LaChance, School to Work Coordinator, School District of Janesville

Image of Seneca Foods WharehouseOn March 28, 2016 local employers from across the greater Janesville area opened their doors to School District of Janesville educators. This effort allowed teachers to connect with the business community, so they can help their students make real-world connections to their classroom experiences. These types of connections and professional development opportunities help educators further improve their practice, continuing their work to educate every child. This partnership allowed 19 teachers the opportunity to learn about area businesses and share that experience with hundreds of students in their Career and Technical Education classes.

One of Janesville’s larger employers, Seneca Foods, invited 17 teachers for a tour and job shadow experience for the day. The facility employs nearly 400 people with a wide range of job duties requiring varying skill sets. The tour allowed teachers to familiarize themselves with plant operations and to envision opportunities to include the experience in lessons for students.

three teachers at seneca foods wearing safety equipment
Left to right: Janesville teachers Devin Yager, (Edison Middle School) Janet Attoe, (Edison Middle School) and Kimberly Lien (Marshall Middle School) keeping Health and Safety at the forefront when touring Seneca Foods.

Janet Attoe, Edison Middle School FACE teacher, enjoyed seeing the Seneca research area where sanitation and packaging procedures are tested and applied to the production line.  She was also impressed with the way they reuse their wash water and have a digester that produces methane gas used to fuel the plant.  

Two prominent local car dealerships, Hesser Toyota and Rock County Honda, invited Jeff Dettman (Parker High School) and Keith Wright (Craig High School) to shadow their automotive repair technicians.  These local dealerships are eager to form a career pipeline with the Janesville School District which should provide opportunities for Janesville’s advanced automotive students to realize direct application of the knowledge gained in the classroom to real world careers.

Image of student welding with proper safety equipmentIn addition to having educators go out into the field, Janesville educators have also invited experienced technicians and skilled trades people into the classroom. Students benefit by having training and mentoring provided by experts in the trade, and teachers benefit by keeping up to date with the latest innovations. Agustin Vasquez, Chris Bush, and Robby Austin from ANGI Energy Systems have been coming to teacher Kirke Utecht’s class at Parker High School, helping student welders learn more about the work and opportunities in this skilled trade.

Additional visits are planned for the upcoming May 6 Staff Professional Development day with local businesses United Alloy, Evonik, and Tigre expressing interest in hosting educators. As they engage local business and continue their own professional development, Janesville educators are expanding options available for students, helping them see the direct real-world relevance to their classroom experience. This is one of the many ways Janesville educators continue to build a stronger future of our community.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Grading Smarter, Not Harder

Guest Blogger -- Dr. Kolleen Onsrud, Curriculum Coordinator, School District of Janesville

Several years ago, I had surgery on my left ankle.  I had been injured some thirty years earlier, and in the years since, I had managed to reinjure it many times.  The original injury was simply a sprained ankle, yet it was bad enough that I went to a doctor. The doctor put me on crutches, told me to stay off of my ankle, use ice, and take ibuprofen.  I followed these directions, and then when I healed, resumed with my normal life and activities.  Over the years, I would repeat this pattern of injury, rest and recovery, over and over again.  After a few years of this, I became frustrated. Essentially each time I would get to the point that I had enough; I would again go to the doctor for help and receive the same advice.  I believed that there had to be a better way to change this outcome, but I could not figure it out on my own. It took nearly thirty years, but I finally met with a doctor, who suggested that I try a surgical repair. The surgery was a success, and I have not had the same injury since.  In this case, I believed I needed to change, but I needed some help in order to do it.  Changing our grading practices is similar in that many of us understand that we need to change; however, we are often not sure how or what to change.   

It is clear to me that changing our high school grading practice is a highly charged topic. Each of us holds an opinion formed by our own experiences and practices, both personal and professional.  It is these experiences that make changing our grading practice so complex.  Sometimes, like in my example with the new doctor, we need to hear from someone who holds a different perspective than our own.  Thus, the School District of Janesville will have teacher, principal, and author, Myron Dueck, present to the high school staff on Friday, May 6th at Parker High School.  Myron will share strategies and ideas that will guide teachers to create grading systems that measure student learning. The ideas are based on solid research, are practical, and can be applied within any classroom. 

Dueck’s presentation will be based on his book ‘Grading Smarter, Not Harder: Assessment Strategies that Motivate Kids and Help Them Learn.’  We encourage you to read his blog posts “Sound Grading” at https://myrondueck.wordpress.com/category/sound-grading/ or 
“Aha Moments on the Road to Better Teaching” at http://www.middleweb.com/18174/aha-moments-better-teaching/ 

As we continue to find the best ways to provide meaningful instruction to students, and improve our methods of assessing student knowledge, we can look to others in the field for guidance--to help us learn how to change, adapt, and improve. As we evolve in our practice, we are better able to serve the greater Janesville community by educating every child.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Craig and Parker Receive Silver Rating!

Janesville Craig and Parker High Schools continue the tradition of excellence in education receiving another “Silver” ranking by US News and World Report for 2016.  Both schools remain in the top 100 high schools in Wisconsin, according to the magazine. The schools achieved “Silver” status, with Parker ranked 66th and Craig ranked 56th in Wisconsin. The report issued rankings for 164 of the more than 500 high schools in the state.

“We have excellent educators and support staff who do their best every day to guide students on their academic journey,” said Dr. Karen Schulte, Superintendent. “Our community should be proud of our high schools—not just because of their rankings in this report—but for the opportunities our schools provide students, helping them graduate ready for career or college.”

The report uses a methodology that rewards high schools that serve all students well—both college bound and those planning on entering the military or workforce. An emphasis on mathematics and English language arts is applied, as well as the requirement that the school’s graduation rate meets or exceeds the national graduation rate.

“These rankings help confirm what we know about our schools,” added Schulte. “We have high expectations for our students, quality educators, dedicated parents, and a community that is committed to our schools. By working together, we are providing a better future for our children, and that is part of a foundation that supports a better Janesville for all.”

US News and World Report 2016 Best High Schools in the US: