Our mission is to engage all of our students in rigorous and relevant learning to maximize their unique talents and abilities, and to prepare them for the challenges of the future.

Mark Wood of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and his band led students in two rock concerts.
Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter                                                        May 2016
Celebrating Our Teachers, Graduates and Community

Dear Parents, Students, Community Members and Friends of Education,

The month of May through the end of our school year is filled with many exciting events for our students, staff and families. My favorite day of the year is Graduation, and this year it falls on June 4. Please join me in congratulating the exceptional Class of 2016! They have been an outstanding class, and we are proud to celebrate their successes as they cross the stage in the WHS field house to receive their hard-earned diplomas.

We look forward to our annual scholarship program on Monday, May 16, at 7 p.m. It is a wonderful evening where we will recognize many of our extraordinarily accomplished and hard-working students. Last year our generous and supportive community awarded our WHS seniors almost $500,000 in scholarships. Without the support of our community, many of these young people would not be able to pursue their education. We appreciate and give thanks to all our community for all you do to support our students.

For the fourth year in a row, we are proud to announce that the Watertown Unified School District has received national recognition as a "Best Community in Music." 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. My thanks and congratulations go out to the music department on this honor.

May also includes Teacher Appreciation Week, and I wanted to encourage staff and community members to use this time as an opportunity to thank a teacher who made a difference in your life. The efforts of our educators expand beyond a week in May, but Teacher Appreciation Week represents a special opportunity to recognize the work of the individuals who have chosen to educate our children. Taking the time to make a phone call, send an email or a card, would be deeply appreciated by any teacher.

The efforts of a teacher can change the life of a child. I am grateful to the teachers I have had in my life, I am grateful to my children's teachers, and I am grateful to be surrounded by so many great teachers in the Watertown Unified School District.

While the school year is rapidly coming to a close, don't forget that summer school will open its doors on June 20! May you all enjoy a wonderful summer surrounded by family and friends.

- Cassandra Schug
Superintendent of Schools
Upcoming Events

Fiesta 5K - May 14 - begins and ends at Schurz Elementary
  • 5K starts at 9 a.m.
  • 1K starts at 8:30 a.m.

Watertown Art Walk - May 31, from 4 to 7 p.m. - downtown  


Graduation - June 4 at 10 a.m. - WHS Fieldhouse

Check your school websites for more events.
Enhancing Teaching and Learning for Every Child - Every Day
Watertown Listed in "Best Communities for Music Education"

For the fourth year in a row, the Watertown community and our school district has been selected by the NAMM Foundation as one of the Best Communities for Music Education. This national award is bestowed to roughly 500 schools across the United States annually, and the WUSD music staff is proud once again to have earned such prestigious recognition.

Music plays an irreplaceable role in the education of a well-rounded child. Our district's music program emphasizes the importance of the Arts in education and will continue to provide opportunities for extremely high quality music experiences for all Watertown students.

'Music In Our Schools Month' features concerts, competitions and Capitol event

Students and staff celebrated continued success during this year's national 'Music In Our Schools Month', as they hosted Grammy award winning artists, performed in competition and at the State Capitol and earned national recognition.

Solo/Ensemble: Hundreds of RMS and WHS students participated in band, choir and orchestra events at the Wisconsin School Music Association District Solo/Ensemble Festival hosted by Hartford Union High School in early March. More than 70 of our high school musicians qualified to perform at the state level April 30 at UW-Whitewater.

Mark Wood Rock Concerts: Watertown High School students, staff and the community were treated to not one, but two stellar rock concerts in early April. The WHS music staff welcomed artist and clinician Mark Wood and his band to perform with the WHS band, choir and orchestra. As the founding member of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Mark and his team brought with them a fantastic repertoire of rock-inspired music and level of energy and professionalism. Over a three-day workshop, students developed their tone quality, articulation, listening skills and body language while touching on 8 of the 9 National Standards for Music Education.

Link Up! and Pizazz Show Choir: Not to be outdone, our rock star elementary school musicians have been busy performing with the Madison and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestras as a part of the Link Up! program this spring. Enthusiastic vocalists also are performing throughout the community in a show choir called PIZAZZ. Students meet weekly to develop confidence and musicianship and were selected to be one of 13 ensembles to perform in the rotunda of our State Capitol in April.
Art Walk adds 'Chalk the Walk'
Join us for free event May 31  

The Watertown Arts Council and WUSD Art Dept. are teaming up for the 6th Annual Watertown Art Walk on May 31 from 4 to 7 p.m.

Our goal is get exposure for the fine arts in the community, while helping to stimulate economic development in downtown Watertown. The community is invited to walk along Main Street visiting the businesses hosting artists for this free event. The Art Walk will include WUSD elementary, middle school, high school and collegiate alumni artists and photographers, as well as local artists. An awards ceremony will be held at 7:15 p.m. in the Partnership Bank lobby.

New this year, students and adults will participate in a "Chalk The Walk" activity. Each participant will be assigned a section of sidewalk on which to make chalk art, adding fun and color to the event.

The Art Walk is just one of many community events with which the WUSD Art Dept. collaborates:

Art On Main banner project: Students at WHS, Douglas and Webster are participating in the 4th annual Art On Main banner project. These one-of-a-kind painted banners hang from the lamp posts on Main Street throughout the summer. Winners are chosen via ballots which can be cast during the Art Walk.

Bank, newspaper honor art student of month: WHS Art & Partnership Bank collaborate to feature the WHS Art student of the month in their lobby. The bank displays the student's artwork and posts an article in the newspaper.

Other art news:

The art department is pleased to announce its affiliation with the National Art Honor Society; a new chapter was initiated at Watertown High School, sponsored by Mr. Pawl and Mrs. Strobel. To qualify for initiation, students must have art scholarship, art service and art character. The WHS chapter is proud to announce 24 new inductees did meet the criteria and were inducted at the Spring Into the Arts Festival held at the Watertown Elks Lodge in February.

The WHS Visual Arts Classic (VAC) team placed 1st in the team competition at regionals and also took 1st place in the art quiz bowl competition. The team advanced to VAC State competition in Madison and took 3rd place overall. The team competed in the individual categories as well; the team earned seven Gold medals and five Silver medals.

There are two ways for art students to earn college credit at WHS. Advanced Placement Studio Art is a year-long course where students make a portfolio of art to be reviewed by the AP Board for college credit. Another opportunity for students to get college credit is with the WHS AP Art History course. This course was redesigned and audited this year and approved to be the first social studies/art crosswalk course in Wisconsin! WHS students electing to take AP Art History can now apply it as a social studies credit or an elective credit.
Developing People and Partnerships
New Career Help for Students
Inspire Madison offers business partnerships

WUSD is excited to be collaborating with local businesses on the launch of Inspire Madison. Inspire Madison is an online tool that helps connect students with opportunities around Watertown and the surrounding communities via career information, career coaches, job shadows and much more!

To learn more about how your company can partner with local school districts, visit www.inspiremadisonregion.org. This program is free to companies and will be available for WUSD students next fall. If you have any questions, please contact Sara Dood at Doods@watertown.k12.wi.us.
Staff Spotlight
Our staff spotlight column regularly highlights two staff members so you can get to know our team a little bit better. This month we're featuring Michelle Beine and Stephanie Kernen.

Michelle Beine
Music and Choir Teacher at Schurz / Lincoln; Director of Elementary Show Choir "Pizazz"

Michelle Beine
Share a little background about yourself. 
Upon college graduation, I taught K-12 music in Alma Center, WI for three years. After that, I moved back to the area and was the choral director at Jefferson High School for four years. When my twins were born, I chose to stay home with them for several years. I started subbing in the district when they entered kindergarten and then joined the WUSD music staff in 2009. I have been married for nearly 20 years. My husband is a CPA and partner at Sikich LLP. We have 16-year-old twins, Megan and Zachary, and a chocolate lab named Sam.
What do you love most about your work at WUSD?  
Most recently, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time co-directing Pizazz, the district wide elementary show choir. I love watching students strive to reach their fullest potential! It is such a joy to see students learn and grow through various musical experiences, and in turn, share the love of music they have found with their peers and the community!
Share a favorite school success story.     
While at JHS, I had a student who challenged me nearly every day for what seemed like my entire first year there. After remaining firm in my expectations and helping this student to see that I believed in his potential, he finally came around and began to understand that I was persistent because I cared. Once he realized this, he often came to me for advice, calling me his "mom for the week," when his own mother would go out of town. Upon graduation, this same student returned often to run sound and lights for me at the JHS concerts, thanking me for believing in him when few others did.
When your students and/or colleagues talk about you, what do you hope they say?   
I hope that they would say that they can clearly see how much I care about my students, and because of that, how I always encourage them to do their best and to strive to reach their highest potential in all they do.
Any piece of advice?   
Each day is a gift!  Live it to the fullest!!
Stephanie Kernen
Stephanie Kernen
Occupational Therapy Assistant at Webster / Schurz

Share a little background about yourself.
I have worked in the district for five years as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant and have had the privilege of working in each building (with the exception of Lebanon). I currently travel to Webster, Schurz, RMS, WHS and 4K. My husband Justin and I live in Waukesha and share our home with our dog, Cora. I love hiking, biking, traveling and spending time with family and friends.
What do you love most about your work at WUSD? 
Since I get to travel to different schools throughout the district, one of my favorite things about working at WUSD is getting the chance to watch the students grow, change and achieve goals each year in different settings. It is such a great feeling to create positive relationships that carry from the early childhood setting on to the rest of their time at WUSD. Another thing that I love about working at WUSD is the wonderful staff and the friendships that I have made. Every day brings a new adventure and a new learning experience that I cherish.

Share a surprising fact about yourself.
Something that most people do not know about me is that I was in dance for 23 years and was a part of a professional team for seven of those years.

When your students and/or colleagues talk about you, what do you hope they say?
I hope they say that I am a caring, optimistic person that works hard to make learning fun.

Any piece of advice?
One piece of advice that I could give in my short career is to try and find something positive in every situation.
School Board Spotlight
Ron Buchanan

Ron Buchanan grew up in Illinois, attending school in Illinois and graduating from Lincoln Community High School in 1944. After high school he attended one year of college at Michigan State while in the service, Army Air Corps. Then he went into active duty. After the service, Ron worked at Tri-Mart and retired from Holiday Wholesale.

Ron has four grown daughters - three live in Texas and one in Boston - and three grandsons. Ron is the last surviving member of his immediate family.

When asked who he would like to meet someday, Ron said "Vince Lombardi" because his motto 'we never attain perfection but in trying we get to excellence' is a great statement to live by.

Ron's favorite subject in school was math and his favorite teacher, Mattie Anderson, coincidentally taught math. Ms. Anderson always told her students, "You may get to 6th grade without knowing math, but you will not leave here without knowing math." 

Favorite movies of Ron's are Biloxi Blues and Airplane - Airplane because it is most entertaining, and Biloxi Blues because it is about Air CorpsTraining and paralleled Ron and the men from that time period. Many scenes in the movie were just as Ron remembered.

In Ron's spare time, he follows football and college basketball. Ron was an avid golfer and bowler back in the day.

Ron decided to run for school board because he was curious about the financial aspect of public education. The Board's greatest challenge is addressing declining enrollments and balancing the budget. "The population in Watertown is getting older and there are fewer children and school choice makes a huge difference," Ron said. "Balancing the budget is always a priority."
WUSD Hosts Innovative Schools Conference
Join us for Project-Based Learning Institute

WUSD is excited to host the Innovative Schools Network's 4th Annual Project-Based Learning Institute (PBL) June 16-17 at WHS. All schools - public, private, local and remote - are encouraged to attend to learn ways to embrace innovation in the classroom.

The presenters represent some of the region's most accomplished schools and teachers who are making this work manageable, meaningful and relevant for all learner types. They will offer advice on managing projects whether teacher-led, student-led or co-created.

Schools increasingly are using projects, problems and inquiries to teach students who then - individually or as a group - seek answers, a resolution or further investigation. This approach requires a rethinking of how schools organize students, staff, time, and content as well as typical assessment and grading practices. For more information about the PBL Institute, contact Dave Vitale 920-262-1460 ext. 3203 or your building administrator.
Building Culturally Responsive Practices

Watertown believes in excellence for all and ensuring all students can succeed. In order to best serve all district students and families, a committee recently attended training on "Building Culturally Responsive Systems." The focus of this training, attended by the Superintendent, building-level administration, school counselors and all levels of teachers, was to help find ways to build our cultural competence as a means for all to celebrate, understand and manage the dynamics of differences.

"Making sure all students can succeed means understanding students' cultural beliefs and practices," the Wisconsin RTI Center advised. "By engaging in Culturally Responsive Practices, you are forming an understanding about the values, beliefs and behaviors of people from cultures that may be different from your own."

Our committee members will be bringing the knowledge and resources from the training to each school in order to collaborate ways to continue to improve our practice as a district, as a building, as a team, and as individuals.

Watertown Unified School District | 920-262-1460 | www.watertown.k12.wi.us