WASB Connection Podcast
WASB Connection PodcastApr 28, 2023
39. How School Boards Can Boost Student Achievement
A great teacher, we all know, can change the course of a child’s life. The same is true of school board members, as well. They have a different role, but the choices school board members make can help their district’s students reach their potential.
So, how does that happen? The work of a school board to deliver a quality education to all children is called governance, and that's the focus of this month's episode.
The Wisconsin Association of School Boards has created a new framework to help school board members understand quality governance. It’s called the “Essential Elements of Governance,” and it goes into detail about the five crucial areas that research suggests school boards should focus on.
We talk to two people here at the WASB, both former Wisconsin superintendents, who had a hand in creating this framework. Ben Niehaus is director of member services for the WASB, and Fran Finco is a governance and search consultant. You can see a graphic describing this framework here.
We’ll talk about why we made this framework, what its parts are and how you can learn more about how to put it into practice.
If you want to learn more, register for a Spring Workshop, held at six locations throughout Wisconsin from May 9-23. Learn more and register at the event website.
We will also discuss governance topics at the 2023 Summer Leadership Institute, held July 14-15 in Green Bay. The event website has details.
38. Exploring Emergency Educator Licenses
When a school district can’t find a licensed educator, they may hire an unlicensed person with certain conditions. This is commonly referred to as an emergency license, and they also can be used by counselors, social workers, librarians and school administrators.
The number of these licenses has nearly tripled in the past decade, prompting the Wisconsin Policy Forum to investigate.
This episode features a conversation with the researcher who looked into this issue. These licenses aren't necessarily a problem, but they could signal deeper issues. We talk about the kinds of questions school board members should ask about emergency licenses.
In addition, a new group of Wisconsin school board members sill soon take office. The WASB hosts New School Board Member Gatherings in April, and we talk to Member Services Director Ben Niehaus about why these complimentary meetings are worthwhile for new members.
Learn more about these meetings at the event webpage.
37. Legislative Update: A New Two-Year Budget
Wisconsin lawmakers are creating the next two-year budget. It will have a major impact on the opportunities school districts can offer their students.
This month, we hear from the WASB government relations team — Dan Rossmiller and Chris Kulow — about what’s happening in Madison and how education leaders can contribute to the conversation.
We’ll start by getting you caught up on the budget essentials so you can have informed discussions with decision makers.
We’ll also talk about our Day at the Capitol. Held March 22, it’s a chance for school board members and administrators around Wisconsin to meet with their legislators in Madison. We make it easy by organizing meetings with your local lawmaker.
To learn more, visit our Legislative Advocacy Tips and State Budget pages.
36. The Governor and State Superintendent Address the State Education Convention
The 102nd State Education Convention is over, and we’re hoping attendees will be thinking and talking about it for months.
This month, we’re sharing two speeches from the convention.
First, we’ll hear from Governor Tony Evers, who made his 38th appearance at the convention.
After that, we hear from State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dr. Jill Underly.
The text of both speeches will be published in the March issue of Wisconsin School News.
35. Wisconsin Combats the Referee Shortage
It’s getting more and more difficult to find and keep referees for youth sports. And without refs, kids can’t play.
Today, we talk to two women who are at the center of Wisconsin's effort to recruit and retain these officials. They are Kate Peterson Abiad, assistant director of the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association, and Ashley Ingish, a physical education and health teacher and head volleyball coach at Waterford High School.
We talk about what’s behind this phenomenon and how an effort to train young officials in the classroom is one element of the WIAA’s plan to meet the challenge. Ashley will also be sharing what she’s learned at the State Education Convention. Look for her booth in the Exhibit Hall’s School Fair.
34. Working Better Together
Have you ever struggled to persuade colleagues to see things your way? Has your hand ever hovered over the "send" key after you finish a difficult email? Or maybe you've been challenged to find the right words with a fellow school board member.
Sarita Maybin may be able to help.
She’s an author, expert on communications and the Thursday keynote speaker at the 2023 Wisconsin State Education Convention.
In today's episode, we talk about working better together. Sarita breaks it down into concrete tips that can make a difference in your professional life, including the work place and school board.
You can learn more about Sarita and other keynote speakers on our convention website. You can also find an excerpt of her book in the December issue of Wisconsin School News.
33. What’s Trust Got to Do With It?
David Horsager believes that successful people, companies, schools and other institutions have one thing in common: they’re trusted. And when they struggle, he believes a lack of trust is usually the root cause.
He’s the keynote speaker for the first general session of the 2023 State Education Convention. Registration opens Nov. 1.
In this episode, we discuss how to build trust every day, how to show appreciation and the role of trust in the superintendent-board relationship.
The 2022 Trust Outlook, which we discuss, is available here.
32. A Fall Wisconsin School Board Tradition Continues
Every fall, the Wisconsin Association of School Boards travels around the state to provide an update to members and give them an opportunity to share a meal.
Fall Regional Meetings are once again underway. This month’s episode is a mini-regional meeting in podcast form. We’ll start by taking a few minutes with our executive director, John Ashley, to talk about fall colors, supper clubs, member visits and other reasons these events are special for him.
Legislative updates have long been part of regional meetings. We’ll also hear a legislative update — including a peak into discussions around the next two-year state budget — from government relations staff Dan Rossmiller and Chris Kulow.
Finally, before each Fall Regional Meeting a WASB attorney will lead a workshop on running effective board meetings. We’ll hear from Associate Executive Director and Staff Counsel Bob Butler about why that’s an important topic and give you some tips to bring to your board.
Visit our website to learn more about Fall Regional Meetings and Fall Advocacy Workshops.
31. Reversing the Teacher Shortage One Student at a Time
Plenty of students want to serve as educators. But they face challenges, not the least of which include negative reactions from their friends and family.
A Mauston teacher is working toward a solution. She's encouraging students to pursue education careers through Educators Rising, a national group that guides young people on a path from high school through college and into their teaching careers.
In this episode, we speak with Leah Luke, the Wisconsin coordinator for Educators Rising, and Erin, a recent Mauston graduate and Educators Rising member, about encouraging students to explore education careers. We’ll talk about the role of board members in helping solve the teacher shortage, as well as how to start an Educators Rising chapter in your district.
If you’d like to contact Leah Luke about starting an Educators Rising chapter, you can reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How To Keep Improving as a School Board
School boards spend a lot of time continuously improving their school district. But they may not devote as much time to understanding their own strengths and weaknesses.
In this episode we discuss the Annual Board Development Tool with Shelley Burns, board president at Mequon-Thiensville, and Rob DeMeuse, research director at School Perceptions. The complimentary online survey is designed to help boards identify their areas of strength as well as where further discussion is needed.
Read more about the Annual Board Development tool to find out how to get started at your district.
How Are Districts Spending Federal Relief Funds?
Wisconsin school districts have or will receive almost $2.4 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funds. They’re using this one-time money to purchase technology, directly respond to the pandemic and adapt in the long term.
The Wisconsin Policy Forum recently released a report offering the first statewide snapshot of how district leaders have used these dollars.
In this episode, we discuss this report with Sara Shaw, senior education and policy researcher at the forum, and Dan Rossmiller, WASB director of government relations.
Find a link to the Wisconsin Policy Forum report here.
How to Be a Servant Leader
Leaders put others before themselves. That's the core of the concept of servant leadership.
In today's episode, we talk to Tom Thibodeau, an associate professor at La Crosse-based Viterbo University, about what servant leadership means and how it applies to school leadership.
Tom is the founder of the Master of Arts in Servant Leadership, the first master’s degree of its kind in the nation. He’s also a dinner speaker at the WASB Summer Leadership Institute, a two-day professional development conference held in La Crosse this July 8th and 9th.
If you're a Wisconsin school board member or school staff member, learn more and consider registering at the event website: https://wasb.org/meeting-and-events/2022-summer-leadership-institute/
Building a Solid Foundation for New School Board Members
Newly elected school board members are taking their oath of office this month.
In an effort to help them be effective as quickly as possible, the WASB holds gatherings across the state for new board members every April. This year, the gatherings are Tuesday through Thursday, April 19-21. Find details at the event website.
This month, we speak with the WASB's Ben Niehaus and Bob Butler about both these gatherings and their general advice for new school board members.
If you're a veteran board member in Wisconsin, we encourage you to share this episode and a link to our New School Board Member Handbook.
Social Media Guidance for School Board Members and Legislative Update
Our latest episode tackles two topics: practical and legal ways to use social media along with an update on the recently concluded legislative session.
First, we hear from WASB Associate Executive Director and Staff Counsel Bob Butler on using social media without violating the law or common board policies. Find his story on the topic in the April issue of Wisconsin School News. WASB members can register for his May 5 legal webinar on the topic at our Online Events page.
Then we move to the recently concluded legislative session with Government Relations Director Dan Rossmiller and Government Relations Specialist Chris Kulow. Browse the WASB Legislative Advocacy Toolkit to learn more effective ways of advocating on behalf of students. If you're interested in skipping to the legislative content, it begins at 18:13.
Highlights from the 2022 State Education Convention
We've included highlights from the student music performances, general sessions and keynote speakers. We also asked attendees — presenters, students, education leaders and exhibitors — about why they come to the convention.
The student video team's video summary of the convention is available here.
The ESPN article that describes Milwaukee Brewers Manager Craig Counsell's story about the chicken running at midnight is available here.
The School Leadership Team: A Conversation With Wisconsin's Superintendent of the Year
School boards govern their districts in partnership with a superintendent. Each person understanding their role is a key part of the team working effectively.
We talk to Mary Pfeiffer, Wisconsin Superintendent of the Year and superintendent of the Neenah Joint School District, about the challenges and opportunities faced by these leadership teams.
We talk about her background, common stumbling points and why it may help to get to know each other on a personal level.
Please consider taking a brief survey to help us improve the podcast.
Episode 23: Preparing the Next Generation to Pivot
Ravi Hutheesing is no stranger to change. As life threw him curve balls, he pivoted from rockstar to aviator to cultural diplomat.
He believes children of the future will increasingly have to make pivots of their own, a message he's bringing as a keynote speaker at the 2022 Wisconsin State Education Convention.
In this episode, we talk through Ravi's fascinating career and the role education can play in preparing children to catch opportunities and recover from setbacks. He breaks that preparation into four themes:inspire curiosity recognize and nurture talent, provoke critical thinking foster communication
Learn more about this topic, and Ravi himself, at his website.
Meanwhile, learn more about the Wisconsin State Education Convention at our website.
Bonus Episode: Managing Challenging School Board Meetings
School boards meet to conduct business. At the same time, these meetings are a chance for the public to weigh in.
Balancing these aims isn't always easy during tumultuous times. The Wisconsin Association of School Boards in October held a three-part webinar series about managing challenging school board meetings.
This bonus episode is comprised of the second of those webinars, which addresses holding school board meetings. It includes a conversation among WASB Associate Executive Director and Staff Counsel Bob Butler and WASB consultants Dan Nerad and Louise Blankenheim, both former superintendents.
Our hosts didn't follow a presentation, but we did share this supplemental guide on holding public meetings.
Parts 1 and 3 in this series covered preparing for the meeting and post-meeting activities. Find recordings at our Online Events page (scroll down to "Recent Complimentary Online Events").
Episode 22: Promoting Diversity on Our School Boards
School boards are hardly unique in that candidates are often drawn from similar social and political networks. This can lead to a lack of school board member diversity across many characteristics, including race, gender, class and age.
This episode includes a discussion with researchers about how to recruit women to run for locally elected office. The insights they share are applicable to improving school board diversity in general. They also summarized their research in the October 2021 issue of Wisconsin School News: https://wasb.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/WASB_2021-10-October.pdf#page=10
We also speak with a Wisconsin school board president about one way to educate potential new board members. We'll talk about how the Greendale School District's School Board Academy works, and how you can adapt it to your district. You can find contact information for our guest at his district website: https://www.greendaleschools.org/district/board.cfm
Finally, please consider taking this survey to help us improve the podcast: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NCR6VJV
Episode 21: Conflict Resolution
Navigating conflict has always been part of school leadership. But what should we do when incivility runs rampant and compromise seems impossible?
We talk with a longtime mediator and WASB consultant, Cheryl Stinski, and Waupaca School Board member Betty Manion. We'll talk about why conflict can be healthy as well as how to defuse it when it becomes counter-productive. We discuss timeless strategies for helping other people feel heard and respected, and why what a person says is often less important than what they mean.
If you're interested in tips to prepare for and conduct challenging board meetings, skip to 20:16. We talk about why preparation is so critical and how to react if someone violates norms and rules.
Episode 20: COVID Relief Funding
With the help of the Wisconsin Association of School Business Officials, we assembled a group of experts in school finance to talk about federal COVID relief funds and preK-12 education. We discuss how this money can be spent as well as some best practices and mistakes to avoid.
We noted the DPI has assembled a summary of the funding for ESSER under each of the stimulus bills, including fiscal information, allowable activities, and specific programs outlined under each act. Find that document here.
Episode 19: Toward Effective Governance
We know good teachers and good principals help kids learn. We talk about how school board-superintendent teams can have the same effect.
Retired superintendents and WASB consultants Dan Nerad and Fran Finco break down effective governance. We talk about the parts of effective governance and the mindsets that underlie it all.
They'll go into much more detail at the 2021 Summer Leadership Institute, to be held July 24 in Green Bay.
Episode 18: Culturally Responsive Teaching in Lac du Flambeau
To understand culturally responsive teaching, we went to a school district that sees this practice as a core part of its mission.
Dr. Larry Ouimette is administrator of the Lac du Flambeau School District, a majority American Indian rural district in northern Wisconsin.
In April he wrote a story in School Administrator magazine about the connection between cultural responsiveness and effective education.
We talk about the role of culture in education, as well as some of their other continuous improvement strategies, including Lac du Flambeau Family Circles.
Episode 17: A Lesson in Communications That Engage
Elmbrook Schools are in one of the most competitive education markets in the state, so communications that engage and build relationships with employees and families are critical.
The district led a popular State Education Convention session on engagement, and we sat down with Chris Thompson, the district's chief strategy officer, to talk about the ideas, events and approaches that work for them.
Learn more about Chris here.
Episode 16: The Duties of School Board Officers
Wisconsin school boards generally must select a president, vice president, treasurer and clerk from among their ranks.
We talk about what each of these roles entails, including legal requirements and the extra duties enshrined in boards' policies and practices.
For those who'd like to go deeper, the WASB will release a Board Officer Training Series this May. Keep an eye on our Online Events page for more.
Episode 15: The State of COVID
This episode is a conversation with Louise Wilson, state school nurse and health services consultant for the Wisconsin Department of Instruction. We discuss what we've learned about COVID, vaccine rollout and more.
We also discuss plenty of resources to stay informed:
Episode 14: Legislative Update — Vaccines, COVID Relief and More
Given the fast pace of news in Madison and Washington, D.C., this episode will be an update on education news at the state and federal levels.
We discuss how the latest COVID-19 relief money is being given to schools, vaccines and more.
As always, subscribe to the WASB Legislative Update blog for the latest information.
Finally, please consider taking a brief survey to help us improve the podcast.
Episode 13: Wisconsin's Teachers of the Year
This episode features conversations with three of Wisconsin's teachers of the year.Trisha Kilpin, Greendale School District, school social worker.
Derrick Meyer, Amery High School, School District of Amery, agriscience and driver’s education teacher.
Susan Richardson, Milwaukee German Immersion School, Milwaukee Public Schools, third grade teacher.
Learn more about them, and the two other teachers of the year, at the DPI teacher of the year announcement.
We're also including some resources about trauma to accompany the conversation with Trish Kilpin:https://dpi.wi.gov/sspw/mental-health/trauma/modules https://sainta.org/tag/compassion-curve/ https://traumastewardship.com/
Episode 12: Preview of the 100th State Education Convention
As a virtual experience, the 100th Wisconsin State Education Convention, to be held Jan. 20-22, will be different from all those that have come before it.
We wanted to give attendees an idea of what to expect, so this episode begins with a conversation with WASB Communications Director Sheri Krause.
Next, the episode heads into a conversation with Anna Maria Chávez, executive director and CEO of the National School Boards Association and a convention keynote. We spoke about COVID, leadership and her background, as well as some of the following NSBA resources:
Increasing Equity and Achievement by Empowering Students
Setting a New Course: A Legal Guide to Operating Schools in the Pandemic Era
To learn more about the convention and register, go here.
Episode 11: Coping With Stress
Stress has always been part of being a board member. But the pandemic is requiring education leaders to make tough decisions that may prompt criticism from their community.
This episode is a conversation with WASB consultants Louise Blankenheim and Cheryl Stinski, who are developing a 2021 State Education Convention breakout session on coping with stress. We talk about how stress affects us, how to know when it's a problem and what we can do about it.
Episode 10: Educational Equity
This episode focuses on educational equity. It begins with an overview of the issue from Wisconsin Association of School Boards consultants Louise Blankenheim and Dan Nerad. They also talk about specific ways that boards and districts can create more equitable schools.
Starting at 18:25, we talk to Pa Lee Moua, who is diversity, equity and inclusion officer for Appleton Area School District. We talk about her own story as a refugee and how it affects her ability to communicate with students and community members.
To see the equity statement we discuss and read the 15 questions for school boards about equity and racial justice, visit our site: https://www.wasb.org/about-wasb/regionsdirectors/wasb-equity-statement/
A recording of the July 30 webinar we talk about is here: https://youtu.be/ZFwGxBsQRbw
Episode 9: Conversations With Three Female Superintendents
A number of long-serving female superintendents are retiring. We caught up with three of them to talk about their path to leadership, their lessons learned and how others can follow in their footsteps.Deb Kerr, School District of Brown Deer Michelle Langenfeld, Green Bay Area Public Schools Pam Yoder, School District of Belleville
Episode 8: Introduction to the Title IX Overhaul
Title IX, the federal anti-sex discrimination law, is undergoing major changes that affect virtually every school district in the country.
In this episode, we spoke with two WASB attorneys about the changes: Associate Executive Director and Staff Counsel Bob Butler and Staff Counsel Dan Mallin.
To learn more about the Title IX changes, visit our Hot Policy topics page on this subject.
In addition, a recording of our July 8 webinar is available here, and the handout is here.
Episode 7: Conversations With Board Members of Color
This episode features interviews with three school board members of color, in order: Marilyn Ruffin of Sun Prairie, Gloria Reyes of Madison and Tricia Zunker of Wausau.
To learn more about Sun Prairie’s BEAM Awards, visit its Facebook page.
More information about the book Reyes recommends, “We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom,” is available here.
The Wausau district’s statement about equity and social justice can be found here. Statements from other districts can be found at the WASB’s Boards Taking Action page. Click on the “Racial Injustice” tab.
Episode 6: The New Board Member Experience
New school board members often face a steep learning curve. This episode includes three conversations meant to help new members find their footing.
First, we talk with Bob Butler, WASB associate executive director and staff counsel, about the WASB New School Board Member Handbook.
Then we talk with two veteran board members — Gary Vose of Kettle Moraine and Larry Dux of Pewaukee — who give general advice to new members and explain their work as part of the WASB's Peer Mentoring Program.
Finally, this page provides a good overview of basic resources for new school board members.
Bonus Episode: A Discussion About the Link Between Board Governance and Student Success
This bonus episode comes to us from the Texas Association of School Boards. If you like education podcasts, check out TASB Talks wherever you listen or go to their website.
This episode is a conversation with Paul A. Johnson, a researcher who studies the connection between school boards and student achievement. We're sharing this now as a complement to an article about school board governance in the May issue of Wisconsin School News.
Thanks for listening, and we'll be back with a regular episode for new school board members later this month.
Episode 5: Onboarding New Members
This episode features an interview with WASB consultant and 43-year education veteran Fran Finco. Learn more about him here.
Learn more about the New Board Member Gathering webinars, which will be held the evenings of April 21, 22 and 23: https://www.wasb.org/meeting-and-events/2020-new-school-board-member-gatherings
If you miss them live, look for the recording at our webinars page.
Fran also mentioned the New School Board Member Handbook, which can be found here.
Episode 4: Teacher retention
Episode 4 of the WASB Connection Podcast focuses on how districts are addressing the teacher shortage by making their districts better places to work.
First, WASB members can learn more about the issue of teacher retention by downloading this presentation, given before last year's Fall Regional Meetings.
We'd also appreciate it if listeners could review our podcast on their favorite app and take the survey.
Based on survey feedback, we're including timestamps for different segments so listeners can jump to the area they're interested in.
This month's legislative update begins at 28:25. Our Legislative Update blog can be found here.
Listeners who'd like to learn more about how stay interviews work can read this story in Wisconsin School News.
Episode 3: The State Education Convention
This episode covers the 99th annual Wisconsin State Education Convention, held Jan. 22-24 in Milwaukee. Photos are now available online, including one of Southern Door County School District student Luke Bousley (featured at 9:23). A photo of Kettle Moraine High School student Peter Kopperud (featured at 10:50) is here.
Episode 2: Convention Conversations
This episode features conversations with two Wisconsin State Education Convention speakers.
The first is Dr. David Schuler, the 2018 Illinois and national Superintendent of the Year. We talked about his district's college, career and life readiness program, which will be the subject of a pre-convention workshop. Learn more here.
We also spoke with Dr. Yong Zhao, the Thursday keynote speaker, about how we can take a more expansive view of educational outcomes.
We also check in with Dan Rossmiller, WASB governmental relations director, to give a brief convention preview of the delegate assembly. We also briefly discuss the Virtual Attendee Access program.
A conversation with 2020 State Education Convention keynote Dr. Scott McLeod
We would like to thank the Texas Association of School Boards, Georgia School Boards Association, Tennessee School Boards Association and the Michigan Association of School Boards for their advice and encouragement as we started this podcast. If you are interested in educational issues, we encourage you to listen to their podcasts, too.
Dr. Scott McLeod's 4 Shifts Protocol (a tool intended to facilitate educator conversations about student learning) is available at his website. He also posts regularly at his blog, Dangerously Irrelevant.
To learn more about the 2020 State Education Convention, please visit our website.
WASB members can read the legal comment Bob Butler referred to here.
To learn more about the tour of the Betty Brinn Children's Museum tour Sheri mentioned, click here.
In addition, please consider taking a brief, nine-question survey to help us understand who is listening and improve the podcast.