Monday, August 7, 2017

Welcome Back to School!

Challenge Learn Grow Succeed. We are the Mauston Schools… this is our brand and you are the reason that we are successful! You make all the difference and your dedication and mindfulness is our strength. It is a new year and with a new year comes a chance to try new things and garner new strengths so that we grow and give others hope.
Welcome back to this school year! Our District is committed to professional development for staff and again this year staff took part in a variety of instructional trainings that will assist and support staff in their instructional goal setting this year. As you know, summer is a very busy time for staff and school and District leaders. Here is a sampling of some accomplishments that have happened since early June.

  • A highly successful Summer School Program and Lunch in the Park Program for the greater Mauston area. Orchestrating success for kids and families.
  •  As of this writing the District is pleased to welcome 18 new teachers to our learning Mauston School District Community. Many of our existing support staff will return and a number of new support staff will join us as well. We will welcome all new teachers and support staff to the District at the Welcome Back to School Event on Tuesday, August 29.
  • Professional Development in Mathematics and Reading Workshop at elementary and middle schools, FAB LAB high school training and high school attendance at the Bioenergy Institute for Educators. Powerful professional development involvement!
  • Mauston High School has been busy establishing distinguished partnerships with regional business and industry and higher education to expand MHS’s Insight Program and advancing dual credit college options for high school students.
  • Two of our elementary schools, Grayside and West Side Elementary will welcome new principals to begin the new school year. Please welcome Bobbi Steele and Jolene Routson!
  • 1050 student Chromebooks to advance learning as a result of a recent technology lease.
  • The Track/Field and Grandstand Community Field Referendum Project is very near completion and we hope for the opportunity to play a few varsity soccer and football games on the field in September pending the approval of the contractors telling us the grass is at a substantial level of growth.
  • A July School Board Workshop on the District’s interest in improving teacher compensation to remain competitive in the public education free market.

Mauston Schools continue to be grand places where educators are committed to teaching and supporting GREAT students! I am very proud to share with you our mission action statement:

The School District of Mauston is your District of Choice where students, educators and community embrace high expectations in academics, arts, extracurricular activities and community engagement to best prepare each learner to achieve success in the world of work, college and life.

In keeping with tradition, I invite each of you to participate in the Welcome Back to School Staff Breakfast and Program beginning with a HOT breakfast at 7:30 AM on Tuesday August 29 in the Mauston High School Commons.
Please review the schedule below for the week you return to school. Your building specific schedules will provide more detail for you for Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday. Teacher float days this year include Monday August 21 through Friday August 25 and August 28, 31 and September 1. The first day of school for students in grades 4K-9 is Tuesday September 5 and for students in grades 10, 11 and 12, Wednesday September 6.
We are fortunate to be in the profession of teaching and supporting others. We get to transform the lives of children and youth! Until I see all of you soon, I wish you a wonderful rest of August.


Christine M. Weymouth,
Superintendent of Schools

SCHEDULE FOR AUGUST 29, 30 and 31, 2017
Tuesday, August 29
Wednesday, August 30
Thursday, August 31 & Friday September 1

Welcome Back to School Breakfast and Program
7:30 AM – 8: AM
Hot Breakfast at MHS (ALL STAFF)
8:00 AM – 9:00 AM
New Staff ALICE Training at MHS
8:30 – 10:00 AM Session 1
10:15 – 11:45 AM Session 2
12:15 – 1:45 PM Session 3
2:00 - 3:30 PM Session 4 New Shoretel Software Phone Training on Operation and Use
of New Phones – Attendance is voluntary (*Video training will be made available also.)
7:45 AM – 3:45 PM
See Building Schedules (Lunch On Your Own)

(This is an additional Teacher Float Day)
8:15 AM – 9:45 AM
Superintendent Weymouth’s Welcome and “Mindfulness in the Workplace” by Betsy Delzer (Middleton-Cross Plains School

10:00 AM – 3:45 PM
See Building Schedules

Friday, July 7, 2017

Mid-Summer Update

“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: This is the ideal life.” 

~ Mark Twain


I hope that your summer is progressing nicely and that you are discovering new adventures with those you love. Summer is a time to reflect and perhaps dabble in something inspirational or just wake up a little later. I wish you a safe and fun-filled summer and look forward to beginning a new year with you later in August.

Here are a few highlights of School District of Mauston news for you.  See you soon!

Summer 2017 Curriculum & Professional  Learning

June has been filled with summer curriculum work and professional learning for staff. Elementary staff’s focus has been Readers and Writers Workshop and Math enrichments that support the state math standards.
Middle school staff have been involved in working together to gain new insight regarding teaching in a 90 minute period for English Language Arts and Mathematics. Social Studies and Science teachers spent time working together on standards, lessons and units in two grade levels.
Middle school and high school teachers have been introduced to itslearning, our new curriculum online web-based platform that organizes curriculum and assessment for staff.
High School staff have been focused on Mathematics, College Algebra and the development of Integrated Math.   Other areas of summer professional development have involved Academy work, Insight Academy, FAB LAB development and History and Science.

Teachers New to the District

As of the end of June the District currently will welcome 9 new teachers across the District. We are excited for these teachers to join the Mauston teaching staff and we look forward to welcoming them at the Monday August 28 New Teacher and Community Breakfast at Mauston  High School at 7:30 AM.  We currently have three open teaching positions as of this date:  OMS
vocal music, OMS/MHS Spanish and Early Childhood Special Education at West Side.

New Teacher Workshop will be Monday, Tuesday August 14 and 15.

 Mauston Teachers Working Toward National Board  Certification

Created by teachers, for teachers, National Board Certification is the profession’s mark of accomplished teaching. Six of our teachers will be working toward their National Board Certification beginning this fall. Mallory Campbell, Mandi Brice, Ali Azarian, Peg Barton, Niki Briggs and Michelle Taylor will begin their commitment to earning a National Board Certification. The District will support these teachers during this time through Instructional Leadership Grants and CESA 5 cohort involvement.

National Board Standards come to life through four components of the certification process, content knowledge assessment; reflections on student work samples; classroom video and
analysis and documentation of the teacher’s impact as a teaching professional.  Congratulations
to these teachers on their journey ahead!

Round Two with Teacher Compensation

In the Spring of 2013, the Board of Education approved a teacher compensation model that involved several new compensation features such as 12.5 % equity compensation (placing additional pay from lost steps on base wage salaries), base wage credentialing (writing of PPG’s each year), degree and certification compensation (additional $2000 to $4000) on base wage salaries for the completion of Master’s degree, doctorate and National Board Certification, and other increases in teacher supplemental compensation in the area of Instructional Leadership Grants and various professional  development.
The Board of Education will be involved in discussing and reviewing Mauston’s teacher compensation to date at a Special Board Workshop on Wednesday July 12, 2017 @ 6:00 PM in the District Office Board Room.  A Phase II Teacher Compensation Work Group will begin in the fall 2017 to consider new developments in teacher compensation. School principals will select teachers from each level in the District and a work group will be formed in early September.

Community Track, Field and Grandstand Referendum Project

The field, track, and grandstand construction work is nearing its completion deadlines. Here are some highlights:
The preparation for seeding and soils is completed and the new underground irrigation system is working.
The field work is monitored and treated weekly by landscaping contractors and District building and grounds crew to maintain the foundation for new grass.
The access road will be paved in the month of July and latex track surfacing will be completed in July.
Fencing around the grandstand and track and the ramp for the grandstand will be installed in early July.
New press box interior (the finishing of the ceiling, framing of walls and electrical wiring is nearing  completion.
New sound system and lighting has been  installed.
It is important through the months of July and August to not have traffic on the field. The MSD Athletic Department in concert with administration, buildings and grounds and the landscape contractor will work together to determine approval and scheduling of any and all events on the field August through November. Our goal has been to play only varsity soccer and football events on the field, weather and field conditions dependent.

Upcoming Important Dates and Events in August

We will begin the new year with newly installed phones for all schools. More to come about that. Additional phone operation information will be provided by the Technology Department in August.
MSD Student Registration Day is Tuesday August 15 all day. Please check with your schools for your schedule on this day.
Community and Teachers New to the District Breakfast is Monday August 28 @ 7:30 AM in the Mauston High School Commons.
Teacher Float Days are August 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 28 and 31.

Make your summer great!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Field, Track, and Bleacher Referendum Project Update

In the spring of 2015, the Greater Mauston community supported the opportunity for the School District of Mauston to issue general obligation bonds not to exceed $2,500,000 to pay for a district-wide facility improvement program that would consist of:

  • Roof Replacements on Grayside and West Side Elementary Schools
  • Security and Intercom Safety Upgrades in all buildings
  • Restroom improvements at Olson Middle School District of Mauston
  • HVAC Automation system improvements at Mauston High School
  • Replacement of outdoor bleachers to meet current safety codes
  • Track replacement for safety improvements
  • Athletic/Community Field re-grading, irrigation and lighting safety improvements

As of November 30, 2016 here is the progress to date on these projects:
  • Roofs at Grayside and West Side Elementary Schools have been replaced.
  • Security and intercom safety alarms have been installed in all District schools along with camera replacements.
  • Restroom construction is completed in four student bathrooms at Olson Middle School
  • HVAC automation system parts have been replaced at Mauston High School
  • Bleachers have been ordered and a concrete bleacher pad has been poured to support the bleachers that will be installed in Spring 2017
  • The athletic/community field has been re-graded, drainage and irrigation infrastructure has been installed and field soil prepared for grass growth to begin in Spring 2017
  • The old running track has been removed and new track will be installed in Spring 2017
  • New light poles will be installed in Spring 2017
  • A new sound system will be installed in Spring 2017 compliments of the Golden Eagle Athletic Booster Club
We are thankful to the Greater School District of Mauston community for its support in the referendum and the opportunity to make these safety improvements in our schools and grounds.

We are PROUD of these improvements and delighted to say that all of these safety needs would not have been met without the support of our community. Thank you!

We will continue to keep the community and district staff informed of all progress related improvements either through the Superintendent Blog or the District web page. Please feel free to call Superintendent Christine Weymouth with any questions or comments you may have at 608-847-5451.

Friday, October 28, 2016

We Continue to Learn From Carol Dweck's 'Growth Mindset'

By now most of us have read Carol Dweck’s book Mindset:  The New Psychology of Success.  It is a very influential book and one that I think is a foundation of our human interaction.  I recently came across an Education Week article that Dr. Dweck wrote in September 2015 about her original book. 

Since Dr. Dweck’s book grew in popularity some have criticized her for what they see as an overuse of praise for students in their learning.  In the Education Week article Dr. Dweck clarifies that the growth mindset was intended to close achievement gaps in students, not hide them.  It is about telling the truth about a student’s current achievement and then, together, doing something about it.  She goes on to say that she fears that the mindset work is sometimes used by professionals to justify why some students are not learning: “Oh, he has a fixed mindset.”  In other words, blaming the child’s environment or ability. 

Dr. Dweck goes on to say, “Must it always come back to finding a reason why some children just can’t learn, as opposed to finding a way to help them learn.”

As the Superintendent of Mauston Schools, I am proud to say that I work alongside teachers and support staff who understand the power of growth mindset and they do all that they can to unlock the learning for their students.  I encourage all of us to continue to watch out for our fixed-mindset triggers when we face challenges each day with our students.  We all have fixed mindsets from time to time and our ongoing challenge is to work through our feelings and defenses so that our students learn to grow and adapt.  Our work is complex, not simple and I applaud all educators for seeing that we hold the most important role in applying our mindsets.   

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Welcome Back to School - Year 2016-2017!!

There is no doubt that one of the most amazing things about being in education is that every one of us has the opportunity each new school year to begin anew and to start fresh.  We communicate this sentiment to our students as well.  We tell them, “Every year is a new opportunity to be your best”. 

This is why education is the best profession ever.  We get to influence and change the lives of young people.  This year approximately 250 School District of Mauston staff (teachers, support staff, administration and substitute staff) will embark on a new year with the opportunity to build on the success and accomplishments of the last school year.  We get to embrace 1495 students when they walk through our school doors filled with anxious expectations and enthusiasm to see you.  Truly, in my opinion, I am not sure what is better than this. 

With all of our flaws and imperfections we each represent the core values of our school district.  We know that it is important to be what we teach our students: to be respectful, to demonstrate responsibility and to have courage and compassion with others.  I am proud to say that I get the opportunity to work alongside all of you.  I hope that my contributions to our school district reflect these characteristics.  And I wish the same for you.  WE are the faces of courage and respect to our students. 

Thank you to all staff for committing to teach in our District!!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Welcome to Brian Bauer, New Olson Middle School Principal

Good Afternoon Everyone:

It is with pleasure that I let you know that the Board of Education officially approved a two year contract for the new Olson Middle School Principal, Brian Bauer.  

Brian comes to Mauston from the Baraboo School District.  Brian was a Mathematics and Health teacher at Jack Young Middle School in Baraboo for the past two years and prior to that a grade five teacher for seven years.  Brian has held a number of leadership positions in his teacher role that have prepared him for this new role.  He has a Master's Degree from Saint Mary's University of Minnesota and a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point.  Along with his principal's license he also holds a Director of Instruction license and various teaching licenses.  

Brian has been in the District several times over the past two weeks and took part in the National Leadership Social Justice Institute that many of our staff attended on June 6, 7 and 8.  We very much look forward to Brian being in the District as he starts with us officially on July 1.  

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Improvement Projects Happening this Summer and Fall

In a previous blog, I highlighted the referendum and non-referendum improvement projects that the District is undertaking over the next year.  Here is a summary of what is happening in the District this summer and fall. 

West Side Elementary Roof

The entire roof at West Side Elementary School will be replaced this summer.  Construction on the roof will begin immediately once school is dismissed in June.  Although staff will be able to enter the school while the roof is being replaced, we have suspended any outside groups from using the facility.  It will be safe to enter the building but we ask that individuals pay close attention to safety instructions that are posted as workers work.  The West Side roof replacement is being paid for by referendum money.

Grayside Elementary Roof

The entire roof at Grayside Elementary School will be replaced this summer as well.  As part of the roofing improvements, there will be inside-the-school construction going on as reinforcing steel joists will be placed just above the ceilings at various areas around the building.  The reinforcing joist construction will take place the first week in June and will continue for 4-7 weeks this summer. 

The roof replacement construction will begin in early August (maybe earlier) and continue through the month of September.  It is common to do roof construction while school is in session and we are told that it has a minimal sound disruption but we are also hoping to move the roof replacement date sooner than August. The Grayside roof and joist construction is being paid for by referendum money.

As a result of this construction at Grayside, Summer School in June and July will be held at Mauston High School.  There will also be no other outside community activity happening at Grayside.  Staff may enter the building, but like West Side, we ask that you follow all safety precautions while in the building.  Because of the joist work that is happening inside the building in June and July we ask that staff do not spend any amount of time inside the building.

Olson Middle School HVAC System Replacement

Olympic Builders have been inside OMS for a couple of weeks now organizing the space to replace the old HVAC system that is there.  Asbestos removal will begin on Monday June 6 and all other HVAC work will begin in intensity on June 6.  There are small amounts of asbestos in the furnace area in the basement at OMS and in the upstairs boys and girls bathrooms.  The asbestos removal will be highly contained and will take about one week to be removed.  OMS is not open to the general public and we ask teachers to not spend any amount of time in the building due to the construction.  The main office will remain open over the summer however.  The pool is closed beginning Monday June 6 and will reopen in early September.

Track and Field Improvements in Late Fall

Once the football season is over in mid to later October, the construction on the field and track will begin.  My March 10 blog highlights the construction work that will be happening.  The old bleachers will be removed (not exactly sure whether they will be removed in late October or early Spring) and new grandstand bleachers will be put up. 

The District has a working committee entitled Campus Field Advisory Committee made up of staff, school board and community.  This committee is oversight to this project and other future field/outdoor space projects.  It meets generally about once every two weeks and will continue to meet and advise the full school board on campus field improvements. The Board of Education will spend time at its June Regular Board meeting discussing the pending approval of the new grandstand project.  The track, field and grandstand projects are being paid for by referendum dollars, one-time Fund 10 dollars and donations from the Golden Eagle Athletic Booster Club.  I will continue to keep the District informed as to the progress of this work. 

It will be a busy summer for improvement projects.  If you have any questions about any of these projects please feel free to contact me personally.