Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What's Right in Education!

Submitted by:
Mark Little, Edison Middle School Cross Country Coach

At our Optimist Cross Country Meet in September I had several adults and kids mention to me how nice and sportsmanlike our runners were.  I was very proud.  We talk about this kind of thing daily in practice as being very important.  Then when I got to school the next day I received the following e-mail message.

I'm sending this email as a compliment to the cross country team at Edison, and am hoping you will pass it along to the coaching staff.  This afternoon my son, a 5th grader at St. Matthew's Lutheran School competed in the cross country meet at Optimist Park.  My son has many talents, music, math, Lego building, but he is not naturally athletic.  He enjoys cross country, despite the fact that he is consistently in last place, often with a very large gap between himself and the other runners.

Today as I was waiting for him to finish, I noticed crowd of green shirts near the part of the course where the runners enter the final stretch of the race.  I assumed that another runner was coming, aside from my son.  But no, a group of students from Edison joined my son on the course so he didn't have to finish the race alone.

I realize that the students maybe shouldn't have entered the course, and maybe they needed to be preparing for their own race, but it was a truly touching moment.  Please thank them for showing such kindness and encouragement to a fellow athlete. 


A couple of weeks later we were running as a team (90 of us) at practice and when we finished a little 4th grade girl on our team wanted to nominate a 8th grade girl for our “Golden Shoe” award.  This is a homemade trophy (a 4”x4” post with one of my old running shoes attached, painted gold) that is awarded weekly to a team member who most demonstrates what it means to be an Edison Cross Country team member.  The little girl didn't give me a very clear reason why, but I saw the following post on the Edison Cross Country Facebook Page the next day: 

Hi there -
I live on W State St so I see your kids running past every fall. My little kids love to watch them. But today I saw something really cool from your team, and shared it with my the facebook community for my business. The story has since been seen by nearly 10,000 people. Just wanted your kids to know that when they are full of awesome it does not go unnoticed by the community. They did a great job representing Edison today!

Here's what I shared: 
Dear Cross Country Girls,
I was enjoying an afternoon of running errands without my children when I saw you waiting for the light to change at the intersection. You looked strong, athletic, vibrant, and beautiful in the autumn sunshine. I know a lot of kids in town, but I don't know any of the three of you. Which is a disappointment, because I wish I knew your names so that I could run into your mothers at the supermarket to tell them what I saw.
The light changed and you took off running, ponytails bouncing with each leaping step. And then I noticed the smaller, younger girl running behind you, a full city block behind you. One of you look over your shoulder to see where she was. As I waited for my light to change, I saw the second girl in your group look over her shoulder at her. Then I watched all three of you run in place, cheer her on, and let her catch up a bit so she wasn't running alone anymore.
I was enjoying an afternoon of running errands without my kids, but now wished they were in the car with me so I could point out how Full of Awesome you are. I never ran cross country (I played soccer) so I don't know how much teamwork goes into the sport. I just know I am so proud of what I saw today.

Keep up the great pace,


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

School District Staff Receive Congratuations!

Printed in the Janesville Gazette on October 20, 2013
Paid for by Studer and Kennedy Families

Monday, October 28, 2013

China's Wisconsin Investments Include the School District of Janesville

As we move forward with our Janesville International Education Program (JIEP), and especially our ongoing alliance with educators and students in China, it is encouraging to see what’s happening around our state in terms of Wisconsin-China relations.

A recent (Oct. 19, 2013) article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel highlighted a growing trend of Chinese investments in Wisconsin. Those investments include:
·         The Marriott hotel in Milwaukee
·         The redevelopment of the Pabst Brewing complex in Milwaukee
·         The expansion of DeltaHawk Engines, a jet engine manufacturing plant in Racine
·         The use of private Chinese investment for a 700-room dorm at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Chinese investment in Wisconsin is particularly active in the Milwaukee area after the seven-county Milwaukee metro area was designated a special investment zone for qualified foreign investors.

The School District of Janesville agrees that Chinese investments in Wisconsin benefit our state economically. In the case of the SDJ, the benefit is more than economic. Our students receive a direct educational benefit as the result of learning from a global perspective.

The contacts we have developed in China reinforce our understanding that Chinese educators desire a strong partnership with our district. This partnership provides a strong revenue and educational foundation for our JIEP program, which also includes ongoing and emerging opportunities with educators and students in Argentina, Cambodia, Thailand, Australia, Columbia, Mexico and Slovakia.

The SDJ welcomes foreign investment. It provides another revenue source that prepares our students with a global education necessary to succeed. We welcome the Chinese investment in the Milwaukee area, and we will continue our efforts here in Janesville to sustain and cultivate new global educational opportunities for our Janesville students.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Response to Blog "When Merit Pay is Worth Pursuing"

Gary Ritter, author of the article cited in my blog, of Friday, October 11, 2013 titled "When Merit Pay is Worth Pursuing", wanted to comment and respond to an e-mail he received regarding the blog posting. Below is his e-mail to me:

Good Morning Superintendent Schulte,

My name is Gary Ritter and I am a Professor of Education Policy at the University of Arkansas. My colleague, Joshua Barnett, and I noticed that you cited our article on your blog on October 11. (

We have received an email from a member of your community who I believe was a teacher asking about the possible peer review and for critiques of our work. We sent the following:

"The study that we referred to in that Educational Leadership essay is described more clearly in Joshua Barnett's dissertation and then further examined in an article in the peer-reviewed book linked here: ""

For a critique of our study that expresses the concern that our data do not allow us to fully control for the differences between intervention schools and control schools, click here:

Finally, we recommended to the teacher (and to anyone else who may be interested in a more general discussion on the issue of merit pay) a book written by Dr. Barnett and myself (linked here):

I think that our book is written in a reasonably straightforward and user-friendly way. We'd be happy to talk with you more about merit pay if your district chooses to go further down this path. I hope this is helpful and thanks for referring to our article.

Gary Ritter
University of Arkansas

Joshua H. Barnett is Assistant Research Professor at Arizona State University;
Gary W. Ritter is Director of the Office for Education Policy at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville;

Thursday, October 24, 2013

EPO and PPO Plan Documents Now on District Website

Courtesy of the Administrative and Human Resources Department, Benefits Team

The Mercy EPO and Alliance PPO Plan Documents and Summary Plan Descriptions are now available on the School District of Janesville’s website.  These important documents cover information that you need to know about your health plan.  The information includes everything you need to know from eligibility to plan exclusions and limitations and many more pertinent topics.  

You will be able to access detailed information about all the medical benefits that are covered under each plan. In addition to these documents we will also be posting a blog on frequently asked questions about our benefits.  As always be sure to contact the Administrative and Human Resource Department, Benefits Team with any questions. 

Access Directions:
  Go to:
     Janesville Main District Website
     Click on Departments
     Click on Administrative and Human Services
     Click on Employee Handbook and Benefits Handbook
     Scroll Down and on the Right Side under the Delta Dental link you will find the link to the 
          Plan Documents and Summary for the EPO and the PPO.