The WHS Academic Decathlon team participated in the regional competition, scoring a school record 38,100 points. The team is ranked No. 4 in the state overall and, for the first time in school history, No. 1 in the division.
Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterJanuary 2016 
In This Issue
Watertown Unified School District: Celebrate our success

Dear parents, students, friends and neighbors,

Happy New Year! I love welcoming a new year because it's so valuable to have an opportunity for reflection and renewal.

We have many accomplishments to celebrate as 2016 begins. Among them are:
  • Our WHS juniors performed well above the state average in English Language Arts and math on the ACT.
  • Our WHS Academic Decathalon Team is ranked fourth in the state and first in Division 1. 
  • Our students have improved their skills in math and reading over the course of first semester.
I hope you are as proud as I am of our students and staff. I look forward to continued great accomplishments this year!

-Cassandra Schug
Superintendent, Watertown Unified School District

Excellence for all: That's our vision
The Watertown Unified School District is committed to the vision of Excellence for All. We believe we can lead the state in our efforts to reach the learning needs of every child, develop people and partnerships, and lead through innovative practices and leadership. We believe that the WUSD is a destination district in our state, and we plan to build on our reputation as an innovator in education, and a great place to live, work and go to school.
New WUSD students: Kindergarten registration

Just move to our school district? Have a child ready for school? Don't miss these important registration opportunities:

Watertown 4 Kids
Children who will be 4 years old before Sept. 1, 2016 may be enrolled in Watertown 4 Kids, a community-based, tuition-free, four-year-old kindergarten program for children who live in the Watertown Unified School District. Online registration forms are available, or you may pick up registration materials at any elementary school or the Educational Services Center (ESC) at 111 Dodge St. Registrations will be accepted on a first come, first served basis at the ESC, 10 a.m. - 6 pm. on Tuesday, Jan. 26 and Wednesday, Jan. 27. For more information, call 920-262-1460, x3208.

Five-year-old kindergarten registration
Children who will be 5 years old before Sept. 1, 2016 may be enrolled in kindergarten. Please pick up registration paperwork at any elementary school or at the ESC, 111 Dodge St. To guarantee a spot for your student, please complete and submit the enrollment paperwork by Tuesday, March 1.

How to create lifelong readers

Reading events create lifelong learners Teachers continually look for ways to engage students in reading for learning and enjoyment, like our family literacy nights at each elementary school. Usually held once annually to increase reading motivation and enhance the home-school connection, we encourage you to join us:

Attend events with your student: Build a love of reading
  • Webster Elementary School: Reading Restaurant, Thursday, Feb. 18 
    Students will participate in three different literacy "entrees" where they will read books with Webster staff and enjoy a snack. During these sessions, families will receive tips to help their reader at home.
  • Schurz Elementary School: Science fair and literacy event, Tuesday, March 8
  • Lincoln Elementary School: Author celebration and literacy event, Wednesday, May 3. Families may play games, read, make a craft and see their student's writing. 
All events are held in partnership with the Watertown Public Library. For more information, please contact your student's school.

RMS launches intensive science course

A new intensive science course for eighth-grade students begins at Riverside Middle School this month. RMS Academy will launch with more than 25 students who have a special interest in science. The program uses project, problem and inquiry-based approaches, meaning that students start with a question, challenge or problem, apply a scientific method, and defend solutions that emerge using research, data analysis, collaboration with peers and experts in our community, and guidance and coaching from their teachers. 

"The idea for RMS Academy grew from our strategic focus on innovation," said Dave Vitale, director, Curriculum and Instruction. "We are dedicated to doing everything we can to prepare students for future success."

Writing and communication skills, applied math and technology, as well as a heavy emphasis on reasoning skills, make up the cornerstone of the course approach to knowledge and skill development. Some direct instruction, workshops and the occasional online module will be necessary to introduce or reinforce important concepts. 

Modeled after Watertown's Endeavor Charter School, RMS Academy is designed to be responsive to each student's abilities, interests, learning style and backgrounds. Learning will be an interdisciplinary, inquiry and project-based, collaborative learning model where students take ownership of their education through the development of a personalized learning plan. For enrolled students, RMS Academy replaces their current science course.

"In the future, we'd like to broaden the Academy model, expanding it into other areas of focus, like math and English," Vitale said. 

For more information, contact Riverside Middle School.

Developing People and Partnerships
Staff Spotlight: Douglas Elementary School teachers and Vince Haseleu

Three second-grade teachers at Douglas Elementary, Lisa Clark, Lori Clark and Casey Krueger, have been working together as a group with our professional learning communities initiative, collaborating to be completely student and data focused, with huge results. Their goal is to raise student reading levels from 50 to 95 percent by the end of the school year. 

Lisa Clark has taught in the Watertown School District for 17 years and attended Watertown schools herself. She describes teaching second grade at Douglas Elementary as her "dream job." "I absolutely enjoy working with seven and eight year olds because they are the perfect mix of energy and inquisitiveness," Clark said. "What I love most about my work in the WUSD  is collaborating with my teammates to help every student reach his or her full potential. I have learned so much from my colleagues and feel so very fortunate to work in a school with such dedicated, compassionate staff."

Lori Clark has been teaching second grade at Douglas Elementary for 16 years. "I was inspired to teach by so many wonderful teachers along the way, but really idolized the teaching style of Robin Radocay, when I did my student teaching with her, also in second grade at Schurz Elementary," Clark said. "I'm also following in my grandmother's footsteps, as she taught second grade for 32 years." She enjoys the camaraderie and friendships she has developed in the WUSD. "I have developed an extremely close relationship with my second-grade team, and we are like the perfect jigsaw puzzle," Clark said. "Each of us have different strengths and can depend on each other to collaborate and work as a team to make sure every student in our grade level has their individual needs met."

Casey Krueger is a Watertown native and graduated from Watertown High School. She coached the Watertown Blue Revue for nearly 10 years. Krueger earned her undergraduate degree from Carroll University and currently is working on her masters degree in Educational Technology. "I love working with a passionate group of professionals," Krueger said. "Lisa Clark and Lori Clark are supportive and knowledgeable, and we make a great team."

Lisa Clark
Lisa Clark

Lori Clark
Lori Clark

Casey Krueger
Casey Krueger

Vince Haseleu
Vince Haseleu
Vince Haseleu has worked in the WUSD since 1993. For the last 12 years, he has served as head daytime custodian at Schurz Elementary School.

"Over the years, I have seen many times the dedication that goes on behind the scenes, when it comes to providing a great learning environment for kids. Now that some of the students I've known are older, it's very interesting to see how they've followed their dreams, which were made possible by all of our staff," Haseleu said.

Haseleu has lived in Watertown his entire life, and has a 32-year-old stepson and a 16-year-old son, as well as a 6-year-old yellow lab.

"I have been doing this type of work since I was 12 years old. Cleaning at Shopkos, Piggly Wigglys and offices," Haseleu said. "In my free time, I enjoy many outdoor activities, including hunting, fishing and gardening. I also enjoy traveling out west to the mountains."

School board spotlight: Steve Kauffeld
Steve Kauffeld
Steve Kauffeld
Steve Kauffeld serves as Board of Education clerk and has lived in Watertown for more than 50 years. A graduate of Watertown High School, he and his wife raised three children here.

If he could meet any person, Kauffeld said he would want to meet Jesus. "Throughout recorded history, there is no one more polarizing," Kauffeld said. "No one has been written about more, and no one has had more impact on man's civilizations, societies, cultures and individual lives." Kauffeld's favorite books are the Bible, for it's timeless message of hope and salvation, as well as "The Count of Monte Cristo," by Alexander Dumas and any of Jack London's books.

Kauffeld fondly recalls his seventh grade science teacher, Mr. Tonneson, and an uncle, who opened the doors for him to "our majestically created world." "I have an all-around, naturalist passion to identify and understand the symbiosis of plants and animals, and their usefulness to man. These things were a natural fit for my involvement with the Izaak Walton League of America, a national conservation organization which I have been a member of since 1976," Kauffeld said.

A retired arborist, Kauffeld believes strongly in the necessity of public service. "In our form of government, it should be incumbent on all of us to serve, not just as a duty, but as a way of thanksgiving for the liberties and freedoms we have been endowed with," he said.

Kauffeld has only served one term on the school board and feels it's just an initiation period. "To be an effective board member requires additional years of service to fully grasp some of the nuances in the operation of an entity with a multi-million dollar annual budget, serving a community the size of Watertown, surrounding townships, and their divergent needs."

Looking ahead for the school district, Kauffeld says the district is not unique. "We are facing a national conundrum of how to fund operations, as the resources traditionally available dwindle each year, and the effect on programs and staff. Based on the way our children learn and are taught, charter schools seem to offer some quality options. Additionally, the advent of technology, and its exponential growth, is having a profound impact on education. With proper leadership, we can better utilize the amazing amount of information to more sustainably support and grow our learning centers, while enhancing and engaging our youth through innovation."
Events and dates
Mark your calendar for these WUSD events:
  • Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 26-27: Four-year-old kindergarten registration, WUSD, Educational Service Center
  • Monday, Feb. 1: Freshman Preview Night, 7 p.m., Watertown High School
  • Tuesday, Feb. 2: High school counselors visit Riverside Middle School to meet with eighth graders
  • Saturday, Feb. 20: Trivia Night, a fundraiser for the Watertown Athletic Booster Club: 7 p.m. (doors open at 5:30 p.m.) 
  • Tuesday, March 1: Deadline to submit five-year-old kindergarten registration materials
  • Friday and Saturday, March 11-12: WHS spring play, "The Trouble With Summer People" 
  • Saturday, May 14: Fiesta 5K Run to benefit Schurz Elementary School