Information about tryouts can be found in the Forms & Flyers folder.
This Wednesday evening is our District’s Annual School Board meeting. The evening begins with our budget hearing at 5:45pm in the OHS conference room. The budget hearing is a time where questions can be asked regarding the proposed 2015-16 budget and related financial issues. The budget hearing is followed by the Annual meeting, typically starting at approximately 6:00pm. Please see my post from 9/21 for more information about school district annual meetings.
In preparation for our annual meeting, I would like to provide some important information related to our local tax levy. You may be aware that public school districts are funded in two primary ways – state equalization aid and our local tax levy. One function of the annual meeting is to take an advisory vote regarding the local tax levy. Even though our state equalization aid decreased just over 4%, our administrative team was prepared to recommend a “flat local tax levy.” In other words, we were planning to recommend no increase in the local levy amount. However, since our annual meeting information was published we received notification from the state that our District would be responsible to pay $75,047 for 10 students attending private schools using newly legislated voucher expansion money. Because the state is billing OSD for these students, we will need to increase our local tax levy by that exact amount. (The state budget bill actually allows us to levy for an additional $17,000 for voucher expansion. We do not plan to levy the additional allowance – only for the exact amount required for the voucher program in Oostburg.)
Statewide, the impact of voucher expansion on local tax levies is expected to be $21,374,926. Legislation allows that amount to double each year over the next several years until the cap on voucher enrollment is completely eliminated. It is important for our community stakeholders to recognize the impact voucher expansion will have on our local and state property tax rate as we now fund parallel educational systems using local tax revenue.
As a District we are one of small minority of state school districts that have levied locally at a much lower rate (under levy) than allowed by state imposed limits. In fact, since 2008 our District has an under levy totaling $1,902,600. It is a credit to our parents, staff and other community stakeholders that we continue to be one of the top academic schools in the state while also controlling costs. Unfortunately, those costs will be increased by just over 1.4% locally in order to pay for the voucher program this year..
We encourage you to attend our meeting this Wednesday!
Although working hard, taking risks, and continuously growing is what our main focus and vision are at OMS (as opposed to upholding a persona that one is smart), there is one area where we like to focus on being “smart”. That one area is around goal setting. In order to make our goals stand the test of time and increase the odds of meeting them, we strive to make them Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Furthermore, studies have shown that writing down goals and sharing them increases the odds of achieving them. This is why I am officially writing down and sharing with you my SMART goal for OMS for the 2015-16 school year.
Specifically, we have a building goal related to reading. This is a relevant goal as encouraging our children’s reading is the best way to support their learning and intellectual development, and an ideal way to put them on the path to future success in high school and beyond. It’s measureable (based on Aspire results), attainable (I believe that we can meet it), and time-bound (will end at the end of the school year). Therefore, my goal for OMS is:
By the end of the 2015-16 school year, OMS 6-8 grade students will have an overall average increase of 2 points in their Aspire Reading scores when comparing Fall of 2015 with Spring of 2016 results.
However, this goal can’t be accomplished by myself alone. The quote “It takes a village to raise a child” applies directly to my SMART goal for this school year. In order for students to increase their reading skills over the course of the school year, teachers, students, parents, and other important people in each child’s life need to reinforce the importance of reading and encourage and model it for them. The OMS staff and I have specific strategies that we will be employing throughout the school year to take specific steps toward reaching this goal. Along with intervention, differentiation in the classroom, and learning together through a book study around specific reading strategies to teach the students, we will work tirelessly on implementing the Reading Workshop model at OMS. Through the workshop model, we will make sure students are being stretched to read increasingly more complex texts as the year progresses. Students are also given time throughout the school day (and are expected to do the same at home at night) to drop everything and read (DEAR). The more reading students do, the better they will become at reading. Practice makes perfect!
I hope that you join the OMS staff and me in raising reading skills for all students at OMS this school year. It’s a critical goal that is so very important for their future success. By all working together, I’m confident that we will meet it!
Good morning, Parents.
As some of you may be aware, Act 55 establishes a new Wisconsin Civics Graduation Requirement. This element of the 2015-17 biennial state budget requires that all students beginning with the 2016-17 graduates must pass a civics test comprised of 100 questions that are identical to the 100 questions that may be asked of an individual during the process of applying for US citizenship. (Naturalization Test) Students must correctly answer 60% or more of the 100 questions in order to pass the test. Like many other schools, since Act 55 allows the format of the test to be up to the school/district, we plan to convert the citizenship test to an electronic multiple choice format test for ease of scoring. In fact, we plan to use a google classroom platform so that the scoring is automatic.
Given the high stakes of this requirement, we want to be well ahead of it from a timeliness perspective with our students. We plan to administer the test to the juniors, sophomores and freshmen this year. In future years, we will give the test to freshmen as part of the Civics class which is the natural fit with the curriculum. The law also stipulates that students are allowed to re-take the test as often as they wish, if they do not pass. We plan to give the test to the three classes of students in late October or early November (depending on the class in which they are currently enrolled in) and where necessary we will allow re-takes in the week or two following the first administration of the test. Obviously, for those who do not pass the test, it would be wise to re-take the test while the topics are fresh in their memory. Special education students are to take the test as required, but the law says that students with an IEP must complete the test but they do not have to pass it in order to graduate. After students have passed the civics test, there will be a notation on their transcript that indicates they have passed the civics test required for graduation.
If you have any questions about the civics test, please feel free to give me a call at 920-564-2346 x 4001
Have a great week,
Don’t forget: The Box Tops contest is going on now through October 23rd. The student turning in the most Box Tops will win 4 free passes to a sporting event and $20 to the concession stand. The winning class will receive an extra recess! “Don’t toss ’em… clip ’em!”