The Riverside Middle School spring musical was Music Man, Jr., a one-act version of the Broadway musical. It was attended by a total of more than 500 people, and a special ceremony was held the closing night to honor director Ken Sina, who is retiring at the end of the school year.
Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterMay 2015 
In This Issue

Dear parents, students, friends and neighbors,


Between now and the end of our school year, there are many exciting events for our students, staff and families. My favorite day of the year is graduation. Please join me in congratulating the exceptional class of 2015! We are proud to celebrate their successes as they receive their hard-earned diplomas. 


Our annual scholarship program will take place at 7 p.m. Monday, May 11. We will recognize many of our extraordinarily accomplished and hard-working students. Our generous community continues to support our Watertown High School seniors as they pursue their education, last year providing more than $500,000 in scholarships. 


A community-wide congratulations to Chris Kemp, WHS social studies teacher and academic decathlon advisor, who earned a Kohl Teacher Fellowship this year. The award recognizes and supports teaching excellence and innovation, and we are so proud to have teachers of Chris' caliber in the WUSD. In addition, for the third year in a row, we are also pleased to announce that our district has received national recognition as a Best Community for Music Education. We are truly fortunate to have a great music program here in the WUSD, and that would not be possible without an exceptional music staff and supportive music parents. 


May means Teacher Appreciation Week, and I encourage everyone to use this time to thank a teacher who made a difference in their life. The efforts of a teacher can change the life of a child. Take time to make a phone call, or send an email or card. Your efforts will be deeply appreciated by any teacher. I am grateful to be surrounded by so many great teachers in the Watertown Unified School District. 


May you all enjoy a wonderful summer surrounded by family and friends.


-Cassandra Schug

Superintendent, Watertown Unified School District

Preparing students for the future: Simulation teaches money management

Watertown High School business education teachers, led by Lynn Miller and Rhonda Nachtigall, along with the Watertown Chamber of Commerce, recently teamed up to co-sponsor "Get R.E.A.L." (Real Education About Life), an interactive, hands-on experience to help students learn about money management. 

Nearly 250 students researched and selected careers, participated in classroom lessons and then put their financial skills to the test. Each student entered the event with a family status and a paycheck. After deducting taxes, students made a deposit into their checking account. As the simulation progressed, students learned the challenges of managing a monthly budget by visiting various stations, staffed by local business volunteers. At each station, volunteers assisted them in making choices that fit their life, including housing, utilities, daycare, transportation, groceries and insurance. 

Two stations, "Fate" and "SOS," taught students about planning for unexpected events, and how to rebalance their budgets and make better choices.

Watertown High School students, grades 10-12, participated in the Get R.E.A.L." (Real Education About Life) event. 

Talent Development Program (Gifted and Talented)
Student assessment scores: How are they used?

Assessments help us understand how well students are doing in a variety of subjects, at different ages and grade levels. For parents and students, testing data is available through Skyward. Visit the school district website, log into Skyward, and you'll see test scores on the left side of the screen. Scores and percentile ranks are listed for each assessment. These tests are taken three times annually by every student in grades 2-8.  

Student assessment scores are used as an initial starting point when students are referred to the Talent Development Program (Gifted and Talented)Teachers are able to pretest students and use Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) data to determine mastery of concepts before they're taught. Students then are divided into groups to work on concepts that have not been mastered and delve into more in-depth subject matter. Groups vary according to mastery of skills, and we encourage parents to contact teachers with questions.

If you think your student may be eligible for the Talent Development Program (Gifted and Talented), visit the website and complete a Parent Nomination Form. We also encourage students to nominate themselves if they feel their coursework is not challenging.

If you have trouble accessing Skyward or you do not have your login information, email Sharon Zastrow for assistance. For more information about the test results and what they mean for your student, visit the Parent Resources section of the Renaissance Learning website. Additionally, our Talent Development Program staff write a blog to help parents learn more about educational activities outside of school and raising gifted children. 

Calling all preschoolers and kindergarteners: It's registration time

Watertown 4Kids
Did you know the Watertown Unified School District offers tuition-free, community-based four-year-old kindergarten? Watertown 4Kids is a half-day, four-year-old kindergarten experience based in our community daycares and preschools. Children work with licensed teachers in a play-based curriculum to learn pre-literacy and pre-math skills based on the Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards. For more information, please contact the Educational Services Center at (920) 262-1460, ext. 3208.

Five-year-old kindergarten 
Applications are now being accepted for five-year-old kindergarten, for children who turn five before Sept. 1, 2015. Pick up registration paperwork at any elementary school, the Educational Service Center, 111 Dodge St. or visit the WUSD website. For more information, please call (920) 262-1460, ext. 3208.

Charlie Langbecker and Nicole Tenhaken are among
the 320 seniors graduating from Watertown High School this year
2015 graduates are off to great places
WHS seniors, 320 in all, will walk the stage to receive their diplomas at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 6, in the WHS Fieldhouse. Approximately 40 percent of seniors are going to a four-year college, 20 percent are headed to technical school, and others have enlisted in the military or are moving directly into the workforce. 

You're off to great places! 
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So...get on your way! 

- Dr. Seuss,  "Oh, The Places You'll Go!  
Last day of school: Plan for early release

The last day of school is Wednesday, June 10, and students will be released at 11:30 a.m. On behalf of the staff, administration, and WUSD Board of Education, we thank you for your continued support of our students and staff. 

Enjoy the summer. We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday, Sept. 1 for the first day of the 2015-16 school year!
Summer school starts June 22

Summer school will run June 22-July 23, Monday through Thursday. (No Friday classes.) For more information, including registration, attendance, class information, busing and lunch, please visit the district website or contact:

Andi Wyrwa
Summer school secretary
Lebanon Elementary School
(920) 925-3712
Jean Vesper
Summer school secretary
Lincoln Elementary School/Summer school drop-off
(920) 262-1465

Developing People and Partnerships
Improving student achievement
Dual language program provides foundation for student success 

The 2014-15 school year marks the second year of the dual language program at Schurz Elementary School, where students in kindergarten and first grade receive instruction in Spanish 90 percent of the day, and in English 10 percent of the day. Research shows students in dual language programs often meet or exceed the performance of peers who only participate in a single-language program. 

First grade teacher Jordan Mosoti found that students quickly pick up the new language and understand with little visual support. She is very proud of her students. "I have seen an extreme amount of growth in this class in regard to their language abilities," Mosoti said. "Not only are these students beginning to understand and speak the language, but they are also becoming great writers and readers. They are constantly asking how to say new words and are anxious to expand their vocabulary."

The goal for all dual language program students is that they become biliterate, meaning that they can speak, listen, read and write in two languages. Students also will develop a strong understanding of other cultures. 

"We see the value in being bilingual and know that this will bring many opportunities for these students in the future," Mosoti said. "It's an amazing skill and takes an enormous amount of effort on their part."

Students in kindergarten and first grade at Schurz Elementary School receive instruction in Spanish during 90 percent of their school day.
WHS teacher receives elite Kohl Fellowship award
Kemp honored for ability to inspire, motivate students

Watertown High School Principal Scott Mantei and 
Chris Kemp (right).
WHS Social Studies teacher, Christopher Kemp has received a prestigious 2015 Herb Kohl Educational Foundation Fellowship award. Award recipients are 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. 

The Kohl Educational Foundation Fellowship program was established by Herb Kohl, retired U.S. Senator. Each fellowship recipient receives a $3,000 award, and his or her school receives a matching grant for innovation in education.

WUSD honored for commitment to music education

The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) has named Watertown among the nation's Best Communities for Music Education for the third year in a row. Watertown joins an elite number of districts nationwide to receive this prestigious distinction. 

"Ensuring that every child has access to music in schools requires commitment by students, teachers and those who determine school budgets," said Mary Luehrsen, executive director, NAMM Foundation. "We commend the districts and schools that have earned the Best Community designation this year."

We are fortunate to offer high levels of music programming to our students, thanks in large part to our great music staff. NAMM recognizes 388 school districts in 46 states, singling out districts for outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students and community elders who have made music education part of the core curriculum. 

Spring election brings school board changes

We appreciate the time and dedication of outgoing WUSD board members Jennifer Hepp and Dennis Rambo. Neither sought re-election on the April ballot. Jennifer Hepp served on the Board for six years, and Dennis served the District for 15 years. Newly elected WUSD board members are Karrie Uttech and Frances Milburn.
2015-16 School Board members include: (back row, left to right) Mark Holland, Ron Buchanan, Steve Kauffeld and Mark Putra. (front row, left to right) Frances Milburn, Karrie Uttech and Kate Lapin. Not pictured: Tony Arnett and Jennifer Bakke.

Outgoing Board members Jennifer Hepp and Dennis Rambo.

Staff spotlight: Donna Neeman, Mary Marshall and Hank Hechimovich
Hank Hechimovich
Hank Hechimovich is our new Buildings and Grounds Supervisor. He is a graduate of Horicon High School and lives in Horicon with his wife, Cindy. Together, they have four grown children. Most recently, Hank was the Buildings, Grounds and Safety Supervisor with the Horicon School District. 

Hank is a state-licensed emergency medical technician and firefighter, working 17 years on the Horicon EMS team and 28 years with the Horicon Fire Department. He also is a certified CPR/AED and first aid instructor. Hank's hobbies include hunting, fishing, gardening, and raising chickens and pigs.

Mary Marshall teaches kindergarten and first grade at Lebanon Elementary School. She and her husband Justin live in Oconomowoc. They've been married for four years and are expecting their first child any day now. (It's a girl, and they can't wait for her to make her entrance!) She enjoys baking sweet treats, taking their dog Eames on walks and spending time with family. 

Mary Marshall
This is Mary's sixth year of teaching, and she knew she wanted to be a teacher since she was in first grade. "Working at Lebanon is not just a job, it's my dream job," Marshall said. "I really love working with young children and seeing the growth they make academically, emotionally and physically within a school year. I especially enjoy collaborating with other teachers from different buildings and working closely with my families to help their child reach their greatest learning potential."

Her favorite kind of success stories are when students make a connection from what they learned outside of the school environment, and a parent or other staff member lets her know about it.

Students and families might be surprised to know that Mary was adopted from South Korea at age three months. She said when others talk about her, she hopes they talk about her genuine love for teaching young kids and keeping a positive attitude.

Her best advice? "Even though the school year sometimes seems so long, enjoy every second of the time you have with your students! Know that you've made a difference in their life."

Donna Neeman is an administrative secretary at Riverside Middle School. She's been married for 30 years and has two dogs, Tido and Karina. In her spare time, she teaches a swimming exercise class, plays tennis, serves as a substitute teacher of CCD at her church, and most recently, became a big sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Donna Neeman

Neeman says, "Every day is an adventure for me, and every year gets better and better! I love interacting with students, staff and parents. I love to assist in any way, from making a student smile, and providing a tissue or bandage, to hearing about everyone's plans for the weekend."

Big or small, she is proud of all the students and their successes, whether it's a student who gets ouof his wheelchair and takes steps for the first time, a winner of the spelling bee or a student who performs in the middle school play.

Students and families might be surprised to know that Donna does the hula hoop (in her basement, with the door closed)! Donna hopes students say she is "patient, kind, and always greets them with something positive to say and a smile."

Her best advice? "Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is not here, live in the present! Set goals for yourself!"

Meeting the Needs of a Diverse Population
Student educates others about autism

In honor of National Autism Awareness Month, we are highlighting the talent of one of our
Brandon Baluyot

students with autism, Brandon Baluyot. A WHS student and participant in the Real Life Experiences about Community and Home (REACH) program, he has worked hard to educate his classmates about autism. Brandon has written poems, presented information to students on autism and helped conduct an "Autism Awareness Week" at WHS. This year, he again wrote a poem.