Friday, May 31, 2013

JAC-PTA 30th Annual Awards Banquet

Nearly 170 people attended the Janesville Area Council - Parent Teacher Association 30th Annual Awards Banquet. The celebration honored JAC-PTA’s outstanding volunteers, teachers, school support staff, businesses and students with a dinner and presentation at the historic Armory, downtown Janesville, on May 23, 2013.

Mary Orley, WI PTA Secretary and Edison PTA President, stepped to the podium to present the awards. A gift of $100 each was given to the PTAs of the year’s Unity, Volunteer, Support Staff Person, and Teacher of the Year Award winners. The $400 from the Janesville Education Foundation (JEF), presented by JEF President, Roberta Blazkowski, is a generous gesture to the PTAs to continue to “pay it forward.”

The Unity Award is given to businesses that work with the PTAs. Unity Award nominees included Jim and Ellen Purviance, owners of Dairy Queen on West Court Street; Edmund Halabi, owner of the Italian House, and Pete Drozdowicz of E & D Waterworks and Chris Brose, owner of El Ra Bowl. 

Chris Brose was chosen as the winner of the 2012-2013 Unity Award for El Ra Bowl’s long standing commitment and encouragement to Janesville’s youth. Mr. Brose makes bowling accessible to all students throughout Janesville. Bowling is a healthy and safe sport and form of recreation with an emphasis in team building.

The Volunteer of Year was chosen from the following nominees:
Nancy Bennett, Adams Elementary School
Leslie Wente, Edison Middle School
Theresa Vellella, Jackson Elementary School
Tami Troeger, Jefferson Elementary School
Jim & Candy Nicholson, Lincoln Elementary School
Kyla Raupp, Madison Elementary School
Ann Walsh, Marshall Middle School
Denise Molidor, Monroe Elementary School
Jack & Sharon Torpy, Roosevelt Elementary School
Tami Carlson, Van Buren Elementary School
Roberta Blazkowski, Washington Elementary School

The 2012-2013 JAC-PTA Volunteer of the Year, Leslie Wente, was nominated for her tireless, “under the radar” volunteerism at Edison Middle School, JAC-PTA, Wilson Elementary School, her church, and so much more with compassion and unassuming generosity.  

Support staff members are the “behind the scenes” reasons we succeed. The nominees for this honor include:

Beth Shepherd, Adams Elementary School
Teri Behm, Edison Middle School
Cathy Ryder, Franklin Middle School
Kelley Hansen, Jackson Elementary School
Tonya Richter, Jefferson Elementary School
Valerie Griffith, Madison Elementary School
Denise Rankin, Marshall Middle School
April Palmer, Monroe Elementary School
Lisa Ramirez, Roosevelt Elementary School

Guidance Office Secretary, Teri Behm, Edison Middle School PTA Support Staff Person of the Year, received the award for JAC-PTA Support Staff Person of the Year. Mrs. Behm is fondly thought of as the “triage go-to-person” when you need something or you’re just having a bad day at Edison. She also is a leader of the Edison Builder’s Club (a Kiwanis Service club).  Teri stated, “That’s just what I do. I am there for the kids.”

The 2013 JAC-PTA Teacher of the Year winner was announced from the following nominees:

Dottie May, Adams Elementary School
Dan Murray, Edison Middle School
Michol Startup, Franklin Middle School
Jan Stark, Jackson Elementary School
Joan Jimenez, Jefferson Elementary School
Dana Simmons, Lincoln Elementary School
Lisa Plewa, Madison Elementary School
Deb O’Leary, Marshall Middle School
Lisa Haberli, Monroe Elementary School
Neal Boys, Parker High School
Chris Campbell, Roosevelt Elementary School
Amanda Mory, Van Buren Elementary School
Gee Gee Jannene, Washington Elementary School

The Teacher of the Year, Lisa Haberli, is extremely dedicated to the academic, fitness, health and overall well-being of the students at Monroe Elementary School and the success of their PTA.

State of Wisconsin PTA President, Heather Leckey, then spoke.  “PTA members’ and supporters’ contributions are invaluable to our school programs and students. Thousands of students would suffer without those who selflessly sacrifice their time to help.”  Heather has been involved with PTA for more than a decade and has held the positions of president, treasurer and secretary for elementary and middle schools in Janesville. She has served the Janesville Area Council PTA in the capacity of vice president and liaison from Wisconsin PTA. Additionally she has served on the Wisconsin PTA Board of Directors in the position of Region D Advisor and Vice President.
Among those celebrating at the dinner were Superintendent, Dr. Karen Schulte; Commissioners Kristin Hesselbacher, Cathy Myers, and Karl Dommershausen; and JAC-PTA secondary schools liaison, Edison Middle School Principal Jim LeMire.

Renae Henry, 2013-2015 JAC-PTA President closed the event, stating, “You volunteer not because you have more time or money, but because you care. Your heart is filled with compassion for our children and their education. Words cannot express how grateful we are to have you here. It is both a privilege and honor to reap the rewards of your tireless dedication and contributions to PTA.”

Mrs. Henry then read a personal letter written by National PTA President-Elect, Otha Thornton. He wrote, “I am proud of your accomplishments and look forward to greater achievements next year.” He encouraged us not to miss the opportunity to continue advocating for proper funding, arts, music, and foreign languages in our schools. In conclusion, as you prepare for the coming school year, please keep Mr. Thornton’s quote in mind, “Excellence is not an act, but rather a habit.”

Thursday, May 30, 2013

What's Right in the School District of Janesville

What’s Right in the School District of Janesville (SDJ) is a forum to recognize outstanding performances and achievements by SDJ employees, students and schools.

Parker Track Student-Athletes Qualify for the State Meet!

The following Parker High School student-athletes qualified for the State Track and Field Meet.

Kendall Apfel – (3200 Meter Relay)

David Green – (3200 Meter Relay)

Ashley Hartwig – (Discuss)

Paul Jacobson – (Shot Put)

Mitch Koller – (3200 Meter Relay)

Keegan McCluskey – (3200 Meter Relay)

Steven Presti – (3200 Meter Relay)

Devonte Scott – (High Jump)

Miranda Slaback – (1600 Meter Run)(3200 Meter Run)

T.J. Steinke – (Discuss)

Dane Tyler – (3200 Meter Relay)

Craig Track Student-Athletes Qualify for the State Meet!

The following Craig High School student-athletes qualified for the State Track and Field Meet.

Odean White - (400 Meter Relay) (800 Meter Relay) (100 Meter Dash)

Ryan Kind  - (400 Meter Relay) (800 Meter Relay) (200 Meter Dash)

Javen Murry - (400 Meter Relay) (800 Meter Relay)

Trevann Hall - (400 Meter Relay) (800 Meter Relay)

Tom Gabower - (400 Meter Relay) (800 Meter Relay)

Michael Whitaker - (400 Meter Relay)

Bjarne Wolff - (800 Meter Relay)

Spencer Hrycay - (3200 Meter Dash) (1600 Meter Dash)

Evan Lalor - (1600 Meter Dash)

Ian Reinicke - (Triple Jump) (Long Jump)

Aisha Coleman - (400 Meter Relay) (Triple Jump)

Aleyha Slatter - (400 Meter Relay)

Ashley Pohlman - (400 Meter Relay)

Gabrielle Geller - (400 Meter Relay)

Candace Enis - (400 Meter Relay)

Jessica Washington - (400 Meter Relay)

Maggie Slatter - (100 Meter Dash)

Alli Calkins - (Triple Jump)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What's Right in the School District of Janesville

What’s Right in the School District of Janesville (SDJ) is a forum to recognize outstanding performances and achievements by SDJ employees, students and schools.

The Janesville Alumni Association works to strengthen and maintain the connection between the School District of Janesville and its graduates by informing them of District accomplishments and goals and offering a medium to plan special events/reunions and encourage alumni interaction and communication. 

The purpose of an alumni committee is to foster a spirit of loyalty and to promote the general welfare of the organization.  Alumni associations exist to support the parent organization’s goals, and to strengthen the ties between alumni, the community, and the parent organization.

The Janesville Alumni Association Committee has chosen a new logo.  The Association conducted a logo contest throughout the month of April.  The winning entry is displayed at the top of this page. 

Parker Teacher Bob Hackbarth designed the winning logo.  That name may sound familiar, as he created the School District of Janesville’s “bell” logo and our current logo. 

The new logo will make the Alumni Association more visible, which will allow the Association to move forward with their mission – Connecting Janesville Alumni Worldwide.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Staying Safe Online: Don’t Be Hacked!

Many of us have been attacked by hackers - and if we haven't been, chances are, we will be attacked at some point.  These are computer generated hacks, and even if we catch the hacker quickly, and lock them shortly after they attack us, the damage will be done.  While each of these attacks are different, the frequently use our contacts to notify friends and family that we are in some far away country in need of money.  The vicious attacks will delete our e-mail and contacts - making it impossible to notify family and friends that we have been hacked and are not in the Philippines in need of money. 

You should take your personal online security seriously.  How do you know if your password is secure enough?  You can do this by testing your password here  If your password is identified as weak, or that it can be cracked easily, change your password to something significantly complex.  

A complex password has UPPER and lower characters, contains numbers, and special symbols - a significantly complex password contains them all and in random order.  The problem is significantly complex passwords are difficult to remember - and you should have a different one for every account, which complicates remembering them.  Here's an example of a significantly complex password that's easy to remember and relatively easy to type.  Let's say you need to change your password for EBay, and you need a unique password just for EBay.  Your password could be ^USoOMyEBayAccount2!  It stands for:  You Stay Out Of My EBay Account Too - something easy to remember, and it reminds you of the dangers of hackers every time you use the password.  

Then, for your bank account, it could be ^USoOMyBankAccount2!  By changing just the middle few letters, you have a significantly complex password, unique for each account that is easy to remember.  

For your online e-mail, it would be - ^USoOMyEMailAccount2!
For your PayPal Account it would be - ^USoOMyPayPalAccount2!

According to the website provided above, it would take 32 Sextillion years for a desktop PC application to crack this password. 

We are all responsible for our online safety. Test your passwords using the link provided, and change any and all passwords that are weak or easily identified. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Communicating Across Cultures

At Kennedy School, as teachers Heidi Ochoa and Leah Hildebrand and Principal Allison DeGraaf prepare to travel to China this June, they are taking advantage of current technology to connect and prepare for the trip. Heidi and Leah  utilize Facetime to communicate with Chinese administrators, teachers and students.

Heidi and Leah work with students to teach them classroom management techniques, practice English and math lessons. In one lesson, Heidi walked students through basic techniques of practicing saying English words, identifying whether they were nouns or verbs and recognizing the number of syllables in each word.

The work our teachers are doing with the Chinese students is reminiscent of a story I once read. In a biography of a man named Brother Andrew, he shares his experience of studying English. He begins his studies in Holland, where he is natively from, before moving to England for his education. He spends months developing his English skills with a teacher from Holland, who briefly before his departure confesses, “There’s something on my mind. Something I’ve wanted to tell you for a long time. Only I didn’t quite know how to do it. You see, Andrew, I’ve never actually heard any English. But I’ve read a lot of it, and a lady I write to in England says my grammar is perfect.” When Andrew arrived in England, he discovered that his English was not only unintelligible, but also laughable. He spent the following two months intensively restudying the English language.

As we build relations with other countries that speak languages other than English, it is crucial that we build solid language skills. Communication is key to building relationships and developing a solid partnership. Utilizing Facetime not only provides an opportunity for the Chinese students and teachers to familiarize themselves with our teachers and begin learning some SDJ practices, but it has also helped prepare our teachers for their trip to China, as well as teaching here in Janesville. Heidi stated that she is learning to explain things in a different way to meet the needs of these specific students.  She is also learning about the different culture and climate of Chinese schools. The elementary schools follow more of a middle school model here in the United States.

Overall, the technology available to us has helped to prepare both the students, and our teachers. The benefits of this technology have helped to grow the resources available to the SDJ, and it has been amazing to watch our teachers at Kennedy utilizing this technology to build international relationships.

A big thank you to Dr. Smiley and his AWESOME technology team!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What's Right in the School District of Janesville

What’s Right in the School District of Janesville (SDJ) is a forum to recognize outstanding performances and achievements by SDJ employees, students and schools.

Craig Closet Receives Donation

The Craig Closet received a donation in the amount of $1235.57. The money was gifted to the “closet” by Best Events and Blackhawk Community Credit Union, who donated $500 each. Craig’s Cougar Credit Union students raised the remaining funds!

Craig High School Raises $15,000 for Third Annual “Pace for Parkinson’s” Event

Over 300 walkers/runners participated in Craig’s third annual Pace of Parkinson’s event.  A check will be written to the Wisconsin Parkinson’s Association in the amount of $15,000!

Franklin Middle School Raises Money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

Franklin Middle School students donated $1,550.89 to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through the “Pennies for Patients” drive. The donation will help children with cancer and other blood borne illnesses.

Marshall Students Win Division One (8th Grade) Tournament

Nine Marshall Students competed in the Wisconsin State Basketball Invitational Championship Tournament and won the Division 1 8th Grade Boys Championship.  They are: Adam Anhold, Cade Badertscher, Logan Christensen, Nick Cramer, Nick Cropp, Nick Kaufman, Austin Kraus, Jake Negus and SanTrell Payton.

Marshall Students Learn the Importance of Cyber Safety

Computer Innovation students in Mrs. O’Leary’s classes learned the importance of being safe and smart when using social media.  Students today have easy access to numerous social networking sites, but are they being cautious enough when doing so?  Officer Olin visited all of the Computer Innovation classes to help stress the importance of being safe, smart, responsible and cautious when using the internet, email, instant messaging and all other social media sources.  Hopefully from these discussions and videos, students will be more aware about being safe and cautious when using the computer and their phones!  

Madison Elementary School Says Thank You

Madison Elementary School would like to thank Faith Lutheran Church, who donated $1000 for student supplies with money that was remaining from the Church sponsored breakfast club. Your generosity is very much appreciated!

Monroe Elementary School Says Thank You

Turning Point Church donated a new refrigerator to Monroe’s health office.  The refrigerator is used to house medications and medically necessary snacks for students, along with ice packs for recess injuries.  Thank You!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Personal Online Privacy Protection

The importance of personal online protection against hackers and intruders, particularly in today’s global environment, cannot be overstated.  This is true for students, faculty, staff, and parents alike.  Everyone needs to be vigilant about protecting their online accounts with strong passwords.  This is not only true of our e-mail accounts, but all online accounts.  Many of us have social media accounts, access to our credit cards from the web, as well as our bank and brokerage accounts.   

If any of your online passwords are: 123456, password, rockyou, princess, or abc123, congratulations, you have one of the top 10 most common (and easily cracked) passwords, according to a study done by security researchers at Imperva.

What should you do? Here are a few ways that you can stay safe online:  
·   Make your password at least 12-15 characters in length
The longer the password the less likely it is to be cracked. You may think it’s a person trying to crack your password.  It’s not.  It’s a computer doing millions of calculations a second.  Computers don’t tire, and they don’t give up.  The longer and more complex your password, the longer it will take an automated tool to test all the possible combinations to find a match.
·   Use at least 2 upper-case letters, 2 lower-case letters, 2 numbers, and 2 special characters
If your password is only made up of lower-case alphabet letters, then you have just reduced the number of possible choices of each character to 26. Even a fairly long password made up only letters can be cracked quickly. To protect yourself, use a variety and use at least 2 of each type of character. The longer, the more complex, the less likely your password is to be compromised.
Consider this: It is reported that adding just two numbers to your password may increase the time it takes to crack your password from a few minutes to a few years.
·   Make the password as random as possible, avoiding whole words
Many automated cracking tools first use what is called a "dictionary attack". The tool takes a specially made password dictionary file and tests it against your password. For instance, the tool will try "password1, password2, PASSWORD1, PASSWORD2" and all other variations that would be most commonly used. There is a high likelihood that someone used one of these simple passwords and the tool will quickly find a match using the dictionary method.
Tip: Avoid using personal information as part of your password. Don't use your initials, birth date, your kid's names, your pet's names, or anything else that could be gleaned from your Facebook profile or other public sources of information about you.  
Test Your Passwords Now
It's important to know if your password is relatively safe. To do this, go to and start typing.  As you type, the indicator will update after every character to tell you, approximately, how long a desktop PC would typically take to crack it.
The key to strong password construction comes down to a combination of length, complexity, and randomness. If you follow these basic principles, then you are taking the steps necessary to protect yourself and your privacy. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

The School District of Janesville’s Retirement Reception

The School District of Janesville held its annual retirement reception at Craig High School on May 18, 2013.  Employees who are retiring or resigned and have 10 years or more of employment with the School District of Janesville qualify to be recognized at this event.  Eighteen people chose to be recognized. 

Last Name
First Name
Years of Service
Special Ed. Aide
Special Ed. Aide
6th Grade Teacher
English Teacher
Math Teacher
FACE Teacher
Math Teacher
Special Ed. Aide
Van Buren
Kindergarten Teacher
Math Teacher
Music Teacher
Special Ed. Teacher
Special Ed. Teacher
Special Ed. Teacher
8th Grade Teacher

“On behalf of the Board of Education, School District of Janesville, staff, and union leadership, we thank the 2012-2013 district employees who are leaving us for their dedicated service to the students, parents, staff and community of the School District of Janesville.”
Karen Schulte, Superintendent