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.

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New School Year, New Innovation 

Dear Parents, Families, Students, Friends and Neighbors,

We are excited to be kicking off another exciting school year at the Watertown Unified School District. We can't wait to open our doors to our students and staff for another year filled with opportunities, learning and enthusiasm.

We have many causes for celebration over the summer including another terrific year of summer school and Camp Invention. The RMS Garden received the Watertown Arts Council Garden Award for the month of July. The WUSD again received national recognition for a Best Community for Music. Watertown High School had an all time high number of Advanced Placement exams taken, exams passed and number of AP scholars. At the SkillsUSA National competition, these students received these honors:

3 State officers attended on behalf of Watertown
WI Middle School Liason - Rebecca Pirkel
WI HS Officers - Samantha Pirkel and Brad Pirkel

Automated Manufacturing Technology - 5th Place!
CAD: Katie Brewster
CAM: Chase Brodeske
CNC: Robby Gratz

HS Opening & Closing Ceremonies - Runner Up in Preliminaries 
Cole Flegel, Cameron Pilgreen, Calvin Marks, Elyse Asmus, Tyler Gruenwald, Connor Meyer, Griffin Meyer

CPR/First Aid - 28th Place
Julia Harper

The WUSD hosted the Project-Based Learning (PBL) Institute this summer, sharing with teachers and administrators from across the state and country our best practices regarding innovation in the District, as well as hosting nationally-recognized speakers and presenters. The WUSD is a leader in innovation in the state, and we are excited to continue this work in the upcoming school year.

This year our staff is continuing our commitment toward becoming a Professional Learning Community (PLC). Many of our staff have attended conferences and been working collaboratively with a grant-sponsored coach on the goal of targeting student achievement through a collaborative and comprehensive approach to teaching and learning. We look forward to continuing this work in the 2016-17 school year.

The upcoming school year promises to be another great one for our students and families as we continue to work toward our District priorities - enhancing teaching and learning for every child, every day; developing people and partnerships; and innovation. I look forward to seeing you at our many events and celebrations throughout the school year.

- Cassandra Schug
Superintendent of Schools
Upcoming Events
  • Sept. 1 and 2: NO School - Staff development days
  • Sept. 5: NO school - Labor Day
  • Sept. 6:  First Day of School
  • Sept. 23: Homecoming Parade and Football Game
  • Oct. 3 - Nov. 15: Parent-Teacher Conferences
  • Oct. 27 and 28: NO school - Staff development/comp days
Check your school websites for more events.

Open Houses  

Douglas School
Open House
  • September 1, 
    • Kindergarten only:  4 to 5 p.m.
    • Grades 1-5:  5 to 6 p.m.
Lebanon School
Open House - Ready Set Go Night
  • August 30, 4 to 6 p.m.
Lincoln School
Open House - Ready Set Go Night
  • August 30, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Schurz School
Open House and Cookout
  • August 30, 5 to 7 p.m.
Webster School
Open House   
  • September 1, 5 to 6:30 p.m.
Riverside Middle School
Open House
  • August 31, 4 to 7 p.m.
Watertown High School
Open House - Back to School Fair
  • August 31, 5 to 7 p.m. followed by Academic Awards 7 to 8 p.m.
Parent Presentation - "Playgrounds to Pills"

"Playgrounds to Pills:  Prevention begins with Parents" 
will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 28 in the WHS auditorium. A resource fair will begin at 6 p.m. with the presentation beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Every day in the U.S., 2,500 youth ages 12-17 abuse a prescription pain reliever for the first time. Fifty-one million Americans over the age of 12 have misused prescription drugs at some point in their life, including 1 in 4 teenagers. Yet, we know that teens who consistently learn about the risks of drug use from their parents are up to 50% less likely to use drugs than those who don't get this information from their parents. Attending this upcoming event might be the most important thing you do as a parent this year on behalf of your child.

Please join us in learning more about teaching resiliency and refusal skills at an early age, childhood brain development and its impact on decision making skills, and parenting strategies that make a difference in alcohol and drug use risk reduction.

For more information or to register for this FREE event, please go to: https://playgroundstopillswhs.eventbrite.com
Enhancing Teaching and Learning for Every Child - Every Day
Collaborative Wednesdays in 2016-17
Homework Club, YMCA options for early release

The WUSD is committed to providing the highest level of education to each of our students. Collaborative team planning time is critical to taking the next steps in our system to increase student achievement by providing teachers with an opportunity to work together across the District on student learning targets, data analysis, best teaching practices, and planning for the design of classrooms and schools that foster 21st century skills.

The most important impacts for our families are the following:
  • School will be dismissed at 2:00 p.m. each Wednesday
  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday schedules will be as follows: 
    • WHS/ECS - 7:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.; on Wednesday school also begins at 7:45 a.m.
    • RMS - 7:55 a.m. to 3:20 p.m.; on Wednesday school also begins at 7:55 a.m.
    • Elementary Schools - 8:00 a.m. to 3:05 p.m.; on Wednesday school also begins at 8:00 a.m.
  • Buses will run slightly earlier on Wednesdays - arriving at WHS and the elementary schools at approximately 2:30 p.m. and at RMS at approximately 2:50 p.m.
  • If your son/daughter is in need of an option between 2:00 and the time for bus departure on Wednesdays, each school will offer a homework club option. Also offered is child care through the YMCA which would be available until 6:00 p.m. for students. Please contact the YMCA at 920-262-8555 and ask for the Great Escape Program for more details and cost information.


For further information please contact your child's principal or visit the District's website: 
Developing People and Partnerships
Distinguished Alumni Award: Dan Brandenstein  
Class of 1961 Graduate served as NASA astronaut, Naval aviator 

Dan Brandenstein
Dan Brandenstein is the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. Mr. Brandenstein was born and raised in Watertown where he attended St. John's Elementary School and graduated from Watertown High School in 1961. Dan graduated from University of Wisconsin - River Falls in 1965 with a double major in mathematics and physics. 

He served in the U.S. Navy for 27 years as a Naval Aviator and test pilot, logging 192 combat missions and 400 carrier landings. In 1978 he was selected as an astronaut by NASA. In his 14 years with NASA, he flew four Space Shuttle missions, commanding three of them and served as the Chief of the Astronaut Office for six years. Dan followed this with 20 years as an Aerospace Executive, at Kistler Aerospace as the Program Manager, at Lockheed-Martin as Program Manager and at United Space Alliance as Chief Operating Officer.  

He was the 1983 Distinguished Alumnus, University of Wisconsin - River Falls; the 1992 Society of Experimental Test Pilots' Iven Kincheloe Award winner, inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2003 and has received numerous other awards throughout his career. Dan retired in 2012 to a small ranch in the Texas Hill Country while continuing to serve as the Chairman of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.

Class of 1961
WUSD's Distinguished Alumni Award is formed for the purpose of providing our current students and community with a vision of the outstanding legacies of Watertown High School. Past award winners are listed on our website. It is hoped that these people will provide role models for our current students and offer us a chance to celebrate the successes of those who have graduated from our school.

Honor Brandenstein at Homecoming Parade and Pep Assembly 
Mr. Brandenstein will receive this honor at WUSD's Homecoming, on Friday, September 23.  He will be honored at a luncheon, introduced at the WHS Pep Assembly, lead the Homecoming Parade as the Parade Marshall, and enjoy the Varsity Football game that evening.
Welcome, New Hires!
WUSD proudly presents the new certified staff for the 2016-17 School Year! New teachers reported for a week-long induction to the District. Welcome Aboard!

Elementary Staff
Back Row: Dana Busler, Kelvin Roe and Joelle Lillge. Front Row: Kim Ryan, Amy True, Alexis Burns, Sara Babino and Cory Ray-Subramanian

RMS Staff
Back Row: Fred Wendt and Ariel Ewert. Front Row: Jessica Brown, Michelle Mankiewicz, Tammy Rusch, Rachel Mefor and Ted Frank

WHS Staff
Back Row: Alan Capps, Rachel Christian, Michael Gross, Lee Bosch, Kelly Pokrzywa, Chad Martin and Adam Krause.  Front Row: Jackie LaDew, Kim Schneider, Holly Bouche, Bethany Fredericks, Adam Krause, Meghan Davis and Liam Champeau

Staff Recognitions
Congratulations to our staff who are celebrating 25 and 30 years of service with the Watertown Unified School District! We value you and appreciate your dedication to the youth of our community. 

Nancy Kopplin - 30 years
Nancy Kopplin, RMS Food Service Production Manager - 30 years
Julie Berres - 25 years
Julie Berres, Douglas, Grade 4 Teacher - 25 years
Debra Doubet - 25 years
Debra Doubet, WHS Special Ed Paraprofessional - 25 years
Karen Lesch - 25 years
Karen Lesch, RMS Grade 7 Math Teacher - 25 years
Susan Moldenhauer - 25 years
Susan Moldenhauer, RMS Media Specialist - 25 years
Jill Oswald - 25 years
Jill Oswald, Webster Speech Therapist - 25 years
Jean Vesper - 25 years
Jean Vesper, Lincoln Administrative Secretary - 25 years
Peter Watts - 25 years
Peter Watts, RMS Grade 7 Science Teacher - 25 years
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 Joan Jaeckel and Dave Ulm.

Joan Jaeckel
Supervisor of Nutrition Services

Joan Jaeckel
Joan and her husband Alan have lived in the Town of Ixonia for the past 28 years. She has worked for WUSD for the past 25 years. Prior to working for the District, Joan was the office manager for a John Deere lawn and garden center and also worked as a loan processor for Wisconsin Finance in Oconomowoc. 

Joan and Alan have been blessed with three great children and seven amazing grandchildren! They love spending time with their family and attending the grandchildren's sporting events. They also love to garden, travel and hike. Joan and Alan have hiked in many of the National Parks and just recently began hiking the Ice Age Trail; their goal is to hike the entire 1,000 miles. Joan said, "We don't care how long it takes, we are just enjoying the journey!" Joan also loves reading, cooking healthy, trying new recipes and sharing good food and wine with friends.

Her favorite thing about her job is the people - both coworkers and the students! "Every day is a success when working with the Nutrition Services Team in preparing and serving the best meals," Joan said. Several years ago, Joan applied to participate in the Summer Food Service Program which has successfully served free meals to children ages one to 18 during WUSD's summer school session. This program continues to be a success.

An interesting tidbit that not many people know is that Joan just started turkey hunting last spring. She hasn't had a successful hunt yet, but just being outside an enjoying the beauty of the woods is enough for her.

Joan's piece of advice is "Be grateful!  It makes life sweeter!"
Dave Ulm
Dave Ulm 

Dave Ulm is a graduate of Watertown High School. Dave said, "I didn't think I'd ever go back; however, in 1989 I did just that." Ulm began his career at WHS as a member of the support staff after working 11 years for a local home improvement company. As a member of the maintenance team, he now takes care of classroom and office furniture, cabinetry, casework and other special requests for the district. Ulm is married to Judy and they have two married children and a six-month-old granddaughter. 

What he likes most about his job? "I enjoy the thanks and appreciation that I receive from staff and students for the projects that I have designed and built for their classrooms and offices." Ulm enjoys completing projects that aid teachers and/or students. His favorite successes are those that involve the adaptive projects for the OT/PT departments which help the students to be more independent.

Dave and his wife like to travel and they have walked the Great Wall of China, traveled Europe, visited Machu Picchu, climbed Wayna Picchu and enjoyed relaxation in the Mexican sun!

When asked how he would like people to remember him, Dave said, "A phrase that always makes me smile is when I remember a quote from a former, now departed co-worker, Don Haznaw: 'That David's a good boy!'" 
Dave's piece of advice is, "No matter what you do, use your God-given talents to serve others to the best of your ability."
School Board Spotlight
J. Mark Holland
J. Mark Holland

J. Mark Holland was born in Elwood, Indiana, but lived his first years in northern Wisconsin before returning to Indiana. Mark began his schooling at a small rural school in Curtisville, Indiana. His last two years were at a Lutheran school, and four years at a Christian high school. Mark noted, "My most effective elementary teacher was Mrs. Smith, who FORCED us to learn at her own pace."

Mark is married to Phyllis and they have three grown children and six grandchildren with three granddaughters-in-law. The Hollands moved to Watertown in 1973. Mark taught at Maranatha Baptist University for 27 years and has been retired for 17 years. Phyllis worked at Watertown Hospital as an RN for many years and also now is retired.

Mark earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Indiana University and Master of Science in Educational Administration from Ball State University, with some additional work at both Maranatha Baptist University and UW - Whitewater.

Mark's favorite book is, of course, the Bible. He said it is intriguing in its depiction of ancient historic events, of revelatory truth and of his own destiny. After his retirement, Mark continued to teach the older adult Sunday School Class and went on to share one of their unique studies by writing a book, Thrice Trumpeted Truths. Mark's writing efforts continue online.

This is Mark's 15th year as a member of the School Board and he said the time has been rewarding in many ways. WUSD has implemented an innovation in contrasts, he noted: 
  • First, the District endeavored to comply with the multiplicity of demandingly restrictive Federal and State mandates while being innovative in an approach to educating students as individuals. 
  • Second, the District has increased the number of students who enroll in advanced courses while also raising the graduation statistics. 
  • Additionally, the use of technology and greater latitude from the State has allowed the Alternative Learning Center, the Endeavor Charter School and other ongoing innovations.
  • Also, a point for tax-payers: The District has developed and implemented greater financial stability for the district's future.
WUSD e-Campus Curriculum Launches 

New this fall is the launch of the WUSD e-Campus that has been in the works since the district became part of the Wisconsin e-School Network back in 2014-15. The e-Campus will offer fully online curriculum, as well as single courses and blended learning modules that mix face-to-face classrooms with online access to people, ideas, resources and content.  

Managing our growth so that we're able to support our staff and students as we make this part of the district's permanent landscape are among the goals for 2016-17. Several of our teachers currently maintain some element of their course in the virtual realm, including discussion forums, Google Classroom or content creation sites. 

The e-Campus will be part of that mix, as well as a larger effort to leverage the power of technology to improve upon personalized pathways to discovering content and proficiency-based measures of progress that create a good fit between the teacher, the learner and anticipated outcomes. The term e-Campus suggests something broader than just an virtual school. It is more than online classes. For more information, contact Bob Logan at 920-262-7500 x 3227

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