All posts by Senn Brown

Parents love it, but Wisconsin’s open enrollment option puts school districts on edge during tough economic times

Appleton Post-Crescent:

Zachary Dupland was a kindergartner at Menasha’s Gegan Elementary School when his parents split up. His dad, Eric Dupland, moved to Appleton. His mom, Tauna Carson, moved to Neenah.
As part of their custody agreement, however, they opted to keep Zachary, now a third-grader, at a school in Menasha by applying for open enrollment.
His parents felt no reason existed to uproot him from his friends and teachers, at least until middle school.
“We wanted to avoid any more dramatic changes in his life,” Eric Dupland said.
“This option has been wonderful for us,” Carson said. “It has allowed us to do just what we need to do for Zachary.”

How Charter Schools Can Be Successful

*** Keep School on Dedicated Path in Meeting Goals
*** Get Teachers and Students to Know Each Other
*** Move All Students Toward Success
*** Have Strong School Leaders and Governing Boards
*** Support and Train Good Teachers
*** Create Small School for Connectedness and Community
*** Continually Measure Student Progress
*** Work to Create Parental Involvement
*** Get Around the Obstacles
A lot of the success in a school depends on intangibles, says Marcia Spector who heads Seeds of Health in Milwaukee. Energy, drive, a genuine commitment to high goals, working hard, and a street-smart sense of how to work with kids, how to work the bureaucracy, and how to run the school are all important. Yes, it is hard work, but it’s worth it. In fact, it’s actually fun, says Spector.

Green Schools National Conference

Dear Green Schools Advocates,
We have extended our Early Bird registration rate for the Green Schools National Conference to January 15th. We are encouraging everyone to register early as space is limited for this ground breaking green schools event.
Purchase Orders are now being accepted so you can lock in the lower rate now and pay later. Low rates are also being offered for groups of 4 or more from one school / organization.
Please go online to register at:
Registration Questions?
Email: or call 1.800.280.6218 between 9am-5pm Pacific Coast Time.
We have received exciting commitments from two of our featured speakers.
TOM FEEGEL, Author of “Green My Parents” and the mastermind behind “Earth Hour & Live Earth”. Tom is continuously making positive contributions for educators, students and parents in the green schools movement.
MICHAEL STONE, Author of “Smart By Nature: Schooling for Sustainability.” He is Senior Editor at the Center for Ecoliteracy. Michael coedited “Ecological Literacy” and was managing editor of “Whole Earth” magazine.
Plan to attend the GREEN SCHOOLS NATIONAL CONFERENCE on October 24-26, 2010 in Minneapolis, MN.

Schooling for Sustainability

SMART By NATURE: Schooling for Sustainability — a new book from the Center for Ecoliteracy. It describes the significance of the emerging green schools sector across the country.
Bringing Bioneers to Wisconsin
Green Schools National Conference
Tales From Planet Earth
Going GREEN?
Education / Evolving Disrupting Class
Network of EdVisions Schools
Audubon Center Charter Schools
Alliance for the Great Lakes
Collaborative for Sustainability Education
What’s NEXT?
Join the Green Charter Schools Network as an organization member and we’ll send you a FREE copy of SMART By NATURE. Click organization membership form.
“Smart by Nature is must reading for teachers, school administrators, parents, and the concerned public,” writes leading environmental educator David W. Orr. “It is an encyclopedia of good ideas, principles, and case studies of some of the most exciting developments in education.”
The Green Charter Schools Network and River Crossing Environmental Charter School are featured in Smart By Nature. “We’re all concerned about the environment and sustainability,” says Jim McGrath, GCSNet President. “That’s why we’re doing it — because, really, what could be more important than preparing young people for a sustainable future.”


2009 Dates: October 16 (Friday Afternoon Pre-Conference) and October 17 (Saturday Conference)
CONFERENCE PROGRAM & REGISTRATION: Go to Green Charter School Conference Program & Registration Links at Northland College.
Connections Human & Natural: What Does It Mean To Be An Educated Person? by William Cronon, Professor of History, Geography, & Environmental Studies, U.W. – Madison
Revitalizing Public Education: Let Teachers Lead the Learning by Joe Graba, Founding Partner, Education / Evolving, forty year professional career in public education most recently as Dean of Hamline University’s Graduate School of Education
SMART By NATURE: Schooling for Sustainability is a new book from the Center for Ecoliteracy . It describes the significance of the emerging green schools sector across the country.
“Smart by Nature is must reading for teachers, school administrators, parents, and the concerned public,” writes leading environmental educator David W. Orr. “It is an encyclopedia of good ideas, principles, and case studies of some of the most exciting developments in education.”
The Green Charter Schools Network and River Crossing Environmental Charter School are featured in Smart By Nature. “We’re all concerned about the environment and sustainability,” says Jim McGrath, GCSNet President. “That’s why we’re doing it — because, really, what could be more important than preparing young people for a sustainable future.”
The book documents with firsthand accounts the success stories of green PK-12 schools in preparing students for future environmental challenges. Smart By Nature is 184 pages with 70 photos, charts and illustrations for $24.95 paper from UCPress.

A middle school for the artist

Jessica Jordan:

An educational dream pitched by three Hall County teachers takes flight Monday when 120 students and six teachers come together for the first day of school at the da Vinci Academy.
The pilot program provides innovative learning opportunities for gifted students with a penchant for the arts and sciences. But that’s only half of the reason it’s making a splash with educators across the Southeast. The program also will operate at about 60 percent to 70 percent of the cost per student compared to a traditional middle school, Hall County school Superintendent Will Schofield said.
Though states have made unprecedented cuts to public school funds, educators are trying to make the most of every penny while pushing programs that engage students and get results.
Schofield said the da Vinci Academy is a great example of how schools can do more with less.
“I think it truly is some Renaissance thinking is these difficult times,” he said. “It’s the exciting side of chaotic and difficult times.
That’s when you see the best in people and that’s when you see the worst in people, and I think what we’re seeing is the best in terms of innovative thinking, new ways of doing something that we’ve done the same way for a long time.

Minnesota Teachers Now Have New Opportunity to Start and Run District Schools

Teacher Partenerships:

eacher professional partnerships (TPPs) are formal entities, organized under law (partnerships, cooperatives, limited-liability corporations, etc.), that are formed and owned by teachers to provide educational services. TPPs may enter into contracts to manage entire schools, a portion of a school or to provide some other educational service. Teachers are in charge and they manage or arrange for the management of the schools and/or services provided. The school district is not managing the school; nor is a district-appointed single leader in charge (e.g. a principal).

Green School News

Learn at National Conference How to Create a Green Charter School
Developing Environmentally Literate Kids
Energy Fair Sparks Charter School Students (UT)
Environmental Extravaganza at Four Rivers Charter School (MA)
Education with Aloha at Kua O Ka La Charter School (HI)
Environmental and Place-Based Education at Proposed Discovery Charter School (IN) Learn Green. Live Green
Easy Being Green at Westlake Academy (TX)
Green Thinking at New Roots Charter School (NY)
US House Approves $6.4 Billion for Green Schools
Building students’ skills in complex scientific reasoning with BioKids program at Academy of the Americas (MI)
Stars Aligned for Charter Schools
Proposed Green School (AZ) Focused on Green Jobs
It’s Easy Being Green at Environmental Charter High School (CA)
The Urban Environment and Common Ground High School (CT — NY Times Story)
Relying on Nature to Teach Lessons at Green Woods Charter School (PA)
Eco-Education Links
Children and Nature Network
Earth Day Network’s Green Schools Campaign
NAAEE ( Environmental Education )
NEXT – Art+Design+Environment
Center for Ecoliteracy
Join the Green Charter Schools Network in supporting the development of schools with environment-focused educational programs and practices. “The Real Wealth of the Nation” by Tia Nelson, daughter of Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, describes the Network’s beginnings and mission. Please complete and return the GCSNet membership form.
Thank You !
Senn Brown, Executive Director *
Green Charter Schools Network
5426 Greening Lane, Madison, WI 53705
Tel: 608-238-7491 Email:
* Founding Executive Secretary (2000 – 2007), Wisconsin Charter Schools Association

THE REAL WEALTH OF THE NATION; Green Charter School Conference – Madison 11/7 – 11/8

Tia Nelson:

Wisconsin has long been an incubator for prescient ideas about the connection between human society and the natural environment.
John Muir’s boyhood in the backwoods near Portage, Wis., provided a foundation for his early leadership in a dawning environmental protection movement.
A Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold’s description of the area around his Sauk County, Wis., home, has inspired natural stewardship throughout the world and is required reading for anyone with an interest in conservation.
My father, the late U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson, launched the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, as an annual day of observance and nationwide teach-in about environmental issues because he recognized the significance of educating children and young adults about the natural world.
Today, as we reap the effects of pernicious economic activity, a failing energy policy and atmospheric warming, I find my father’s words both foreboding and reassuring:
“Forging and maintaining a sustainable society is The Challenge for this and all generations to come. At this point in history, no nation has managed to evolve into a sustainable society. We are all pursuing a self-destructive course of fueling our economies by drawing down our natural capital–that is to say, by degrading and depleting our resource base–and counting it on the income side of the ledger. … [T]he real wealth of a nation is its air, water, soil, forests, rivers, lakes, oceans, scenic beauty, wildlife habitats, and biodiversity.”
Papa often talked about the importance of raising the next generation with environmental ethics so they make informed decisions about the use of our natural resources, which are the authentic foundation of a healthy economy. Imagine a robust and equitable economy with clean and abundant energy resources, sustainably managed farms and forests, where innovation and green jobs give us healthy choices that can lead us to a better future.

Continue reading THE REAL WEALTH OF THE NATION; Green Charter School Conference – Madison 11/7 – 11/8

What Does it Mean to be an Educated Person?

New Roots to rethink old education model
Tina Nilsen-Hodges:

The State University of New York Board of Trustees approved the charter application last week for the New Roots Charter School, an innovative new high school that will be one of the first fully integrated models of education for sustainability at the secondary level in the nation. Students in my spring 2007 “Teaching Sustainability” course contributed to the development of the initial school concept paper, which provided the foundation for the charter application submitted in June.
Why this school, why here and why now? New Roots Charter School answers the call of the U.N. Decade for Education for Sustainable Development for the rethinking of education necessary to address the problems of the 21st century. Gov. David Paterson was quoted as saying, “Global warming presents each of us with a question. Do we continue with the status quo or are we ready to make significant cultural and lifestyle alterations?”
Consider our energy crisis, expanding poverty and the degradation of essential ecosystem services, and Paterson’s conclusion becomes even more urgent. “Future actions will require a fundamental change of philosophy in how we live our lives,” he said.

Green Charter Schools National Conference in Madison on November 7- 9
The Urban Environment:

HER giggling friends suddenly quiet down when Jamilka Carrasquillo, her large silver hoop earrings swinging, describes the day her class killed chickens.
“We actually had to go up to the woods to do it,” she says, perched on the back of a chair in a classroom at Common Ground High School in New Haven.
Each student who wanted one got a bird. Following a modified-kosher method (no rabbi), the students stunned the birds with an electric shock, hung them upside down and cut the jugular vein. They call the chickens “meat birds” to maintain emotional distance, but the experience can be difficult.
Jamilka cried; others, even teachers, did too. A lot emerged as vegetarians. Jamilka did not, but she says she came to understand that the pinkish slabs wrapped in plastic on the grocery shelf actually come from living animals. She pledged not to waste food.

You’re invited to attend the first national GREEN CHARTER SCHOOLS CONFERENCE November 7-9, 2008 in Madison, Wisconsin

The conference is presented by the Green Charter Schools Network, UW-Madison’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, and many partnering educational and environmental organizations.
Conference Keynoters:
William Cronon is UW-Madison Professor of History, Geography & Environmental Studies. His research seeks to understand the history of human interactions with the natural world and how we depend on the ecosystems around us to sustain our material lives, He is the author of several books, including Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature and Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West.
Morgan Brown — Assistant Commissioner Morgan Brown oversees charter school programs, special education policy, food and nutrition services, adult basic education, and American Indian education programs at the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). Previously, he served as the Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Office of Innovation & Improvement at the U.S. Department of Education.

Green Charter Schools Meeting

You’re invited to an important discussion about “green” public schools with environment-focused educational programs and practices.
Date: February 11, 2008 (Monday Afternoon)
Time: 1:30pm to 3:30pm
Site: U.W.- Madison Arboretum
Join this facilitated discussion among educators, students, environmental leaders, policymakers, green charter school friends, news media, school officials, and founding directors of the new Green Charter Schools Network.
Discussion & Reception
Facilitator: Doug Thomas, Director, EdVisions
Share your opinions about:
Green Charter School Choices in Public Education
Student Experiences at Green Charter Schools including River Crossing Charter School Students
What’s It Mean to Be an Educated Person?
Creating the Capacity for Change
Young People and the Environmental Legacies of:
Aldo Leopold
Gaylord Nelson
Sigurd Olson
Innovating with School and Schooling — “Innovating” linked at Education / Evolving
VICTORIA RYDBERG and STUDENTS from River Crossing Charter School will join us at the February 11 discussion along with TIA NELSON, Gaylord Nelson’s daughter; JEFF NANIA, Director, Wisconsin Waterfowl Association; SARA LAIMON, Teacher, Environmental Charter High School, L.A., California; JIM McGRATH, JULIE SPALDING, & JIM TANGEN-FOSTER, Educators & Founders of Green Charter Schools; STEFAN ANDERSON, Headmaster, Conserve School, and many other environmentalists and educators.
Please RSVP to or 608 238 7491

Have you read “HANDS ON, FEET WET,” a fascinating story about River Crossing Environmental Charter School and its students?

Jen McCoy:

They proclaim to hate textbooks, but River Crossing Environmental School students now have a soft spot for at least one, because they are featured in it.
The “Hands On, Feet Wet,” book chronicles the five-year history of the charter school through stories, photographs and a DVD. Publication was made possible through the Department of Public Instruction Charter Schools Dissemination Grant.
“I get very bored when I am sitting at a desk reading a textbook, but here I have something I can look forward to in the morning,” said Aaron Christensen, 12. “There is a different way of learning.”
The grant, $84,217, was used toward the book and the first phase of a math curriculum, according to Victoria Rydberg, River Crossing teacher. She submitted the grant in December 2005, and by this summer Rydberg was suffering from writer’s cramp.
“If I could do it again, I would definitely recruit more help for the DVD and writing. Many of the people who contributed writing did so on a very tight timeline,” Rydberg said. “It was a great experience, and I hope that next summer, I can get out on the river and kayak.”

Ask Victoria Rydberg, teacher / author, to send you a FREE copy:
Students Like River Crossing
Hands On, Feet Wet

Innovating School & Schooling

Center for Policy Studies and Hamline University:

  1. Traditional schooling is ‘torqued out’. We need to create radically different models of school/ing.
  2. Existing organizations don’t innovate well. Most different schools will have to be created new.
  3. The states’ charter laws make it possible now to create new and different schools.
  4. In redesigning schools we should focus on motivating the workers: both students and teachers.
  5. We can now customize student learning using today’s digital electronics.
  6. Without new models of school K-12 might not be sustainable economically

Six Myths About the Financial Impact of Charter Schools

Matthew Arkin and Bryan Hassel [2.33MB PDF]:

School districts across the country are having financial problems, and charter schools are increasingly getting blamed. Charters are accused of taking money from “the public schools,” although they are public schools themselves. Charters are even taking the blame for rising taxes. These assertions certainly paint a clear picture of some district administrators’ feelings about charter schools – but they don’t tell the full story.
In fact, high-quality public charter schools have positive financial impacts for communities that more than offset the obvious and immediate revenue losses to districts. Accurately measuring the financial impact of charters requires looking at not only the revenue shifts for the school district but also these benefits to the broader community.

Appleton’s Charter Schools have Developed A “Wow Factor”

Kathy Walsh Nufer:

Appleton’s Board of Education hopes to maintain momentum — or what one member calls the “wow factor” — the school district has built in attracting outsiders, especially in an increasingly competitive landscape.
In tight budget times, the district’s financial health and survival depends on it.
John Mielke said the school cannot rest on its laurels.
“I think the charter schools have developed a ‘wow factor,'” Mielke said at the annual school board retreat recently. “We are a leader in the charter school movement and I think people look at what we’ve done with charters and think: ‘Other things must be interesting in that district.’ Our challenge is what’s the next ‘wow factor.’ You can’t exist on just the wow factor of charter schools. What’s the next step up?”
During the June 25-26 retreat, he and other board members learned that while many larger Wisconsin districts are losing students, Appleton, the sixth largest in the state, is an “aberration,” owed in large part to the draw of its charter schools to outsiders.
Last school year 879 students, or 6 percent of the district’s total enrollment of 15,228, open enrolled to Appleton from outside the district. A total of 617, or 70 percent who came into the district attended charter schools.
Charter schools are public schools that are allowed to waive state regulations to deliver their programs. Appleton offered 13 charter schools last school year, offering families choices for students interested in everything from the environment and fine arts to engineering and such approaches as Montessori, Core Knowledge and online virtual education.
By contrast, 160 students open enrolled out of the district.

Are YOU interested in fostering the creation of environment-focused public schools?

You’re invited to connect with educators, environmentalists, parents, school leaders and others who are creating and operating environmental charter schools throughout the country. Here are examples of more than 40 “green” charter schools.
Wisconsin’s former U.S. Senator and Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson often stressed the importance of education for sustainable living and young people learning about their environment. We must pass on the conservation legacy to the next generation, he said. See “Green Charter Schools in Wisconsin”.
Led by a group of Upper Midwest public school friends, a GREEN CHARTER SCHOOLS NETWORK has emerged to foster the creation and sustainability of high performance public schools with environment-focused programs. We intend to facilitate sharing and networking among educators, students, environmentalists, policymakers and others through electronic communications, a national conference, regional workshops, state-based green school groups, and online connections.

Wisconsin Charter School Update

2007 Wisconsin Charter Schools Conference WEBCAST
Support for Construction Careers-Focused Charter School & Successful Evolution of RENAISSANCE School for the Arts and ODYSSEY-MAGELLAN Charter School
Links to 40+ Green Charter Schools
Green Charter Schools in Wisconsin
New Financing Helps Milwaukee Charter School Expand
HOWARD FULLER, President of the Institute for the Transformation of Learning, Marquette University, has been inducted into the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools’ Hall of Fame. Howard and TED KOLDERIE, Senior Associate, Education / Evolving, were among an inaugural group of 4 charter school pioneers inducted into the Hall of Fame
Project Change Charter Recovery School
Number of Small High Schools Multiplying in Milwaukee

Sheboygan Oks 7 Charter Schools — DPI grants info webcast on Friday

Continue reading Sheboygan Oks 7 Charter Schools — DPI grants info webcast on Friday

Wisconsin Charter School News

Appleton’s Odyssey – Magellan Charter School captures state MathCounts championship
Environment-Focused Charter School Meetings at Stevens Point (March 30), Madison (May 2) and Oshkosh (May 10)
Appleton Superintendent & WCSA President TOM SCULLEN Honored
Lake Country Academy Wants Charter School Status
Portage Charter School & Aldo Leopold
Green Lake Charters Course for School
Coulee Montessori Charter School in La Crosse
D.C. Everest Exploring Charter School Options
Learn more about public charter schools at the 2007 WISCONSIN CHARTER SCHOOLS CONFERENCE, co-sponsored by WCSA & DPI, on April 15-17 at Waukesha.
See conference program: WCSA Conference Schedule & Sessions (PDF) Speakers
Learn about planning, authorizing and operating public charter schools. Why Charter Schools?
Conference Registration Info. Join the WCSA now for member registration rate.

Innovation in the Madison Public Schools

Scott Milfred:

The Madison School District just went through a successful school building referendum. Yet a key argument by opponents resonated with the public. The critics asked: Why not close an East Side school with falling enrollment to help pay for construction of a school on the far West Side where the number of students is increasing?
Enter a core of enthusiastic East Side parents pitching an idea they believe could fill Emerson at little cost and ease the pressure to construct yet another school elsewhere. If the parents are right, their proposal for turning Emerson into a charter school just might be the only way to save it from closing.
Charter schools are free from certain state rules and strive to innovate. The Emerson parents are proposing a “Studio School” that would emphasize the arts and technology. The charter school would start with two combined kindergarten-first grades next fall. It would feature more hands-on group projects driven by student interests. Yet core subjects such as reading, writing and arithmetic would still be incorporated throughout school activities.
Madison’s stubborn teachers union has long been suspicious of charter schools. The union has taken a defensive position that presumes the very suggestion of a charter school implies that traditional schools are somehow inadequate.
The union shouldn’t feel insecure. Our traditional Wisconsin public schools do many great things in the face of daunting challenges. Yet public education can and must get better and try new things — even if some attempts fail.

Madison Studio School Public Hearing Today @ 5:00p.m.

Will you have an opportunity to register SUPPORT for The STUDIO SCHOOL at today’s (5:00pm) public hearing by the Madison School Board?
With the approval of the school board, the public charter school of arts and technology would open next fall in Madison. See more about The STUDIO SCHOOL (SIS Links) here:

Please contact school board members to voice your support for creating this new educational opportunity, within the public school system, for children in Madison. Thank you.

Exploring Alternatives to the Traditional High School


The Wisconsin Charter Schools Association, headquartered in Madison, is seeking an Executive Director to assume the leadership role with the statewide organization.
See Responsibilities of the Executive Director, Qualifications, and Application Information
To be considered in the initial application review process, a cover letter and resume must be submitted by December 15, 2006 to:
Barbara Horton, Chair
Executive Director Search Committee
Wisconsin Charter Schools Association
PO Box 1704
Madison, WI 53701 – 1704
WCSA Website

If Chartering is the Answer, What was the Question?

Ted Kolderie and Joe Graba, charter school leaders at Education/Evolving urge legislators to expand Wisconsin’s charter school law:

“The Importance of Innovation in Chartering”
Remarks to the Legislative Study Committee on Charter Schools
By Ted Kolderie and Joe Graba, Education/Evolving
October 17, 2006
Let me try to set the context for the Legislature’s use of the chartering strategy. The ‘Why?’ of anything is important to legislators. It is fair to ask: “If ‘chartering’ is the answer, what was the question?”
The question is: How do we make schooling different enough to motivate the kids who have never learned well in conventional school?
Paul Houston, the head of AASA, has been pointing out how dramatically the signals have been switched for public education. Forever, their charge was access and equity: take everybody; give everybody the opportunity to participate and to learn. Now suddenly the charge is proficiency: The districts are required to see that all children learn.
This is a huge change. The current model of schooling was not built for this. The districts were not built for this. Success with this very different assignment requires major readjustment in the institution.

Continue reading If Chartering is the Answer, What was the Question?

Wisconsin CHARTER SCHOOL NEWS: Week of August 21

DPI Awards $4 Million in Charter School Grants
WCSA’s New Office — The WCSA is now located in a new office in downtown Madison. The WCSA’s new address, phone, fax and email is — Wisconsin Charter Schools Association, P.O. Box 1704, Madison, WI 53703 & Tel: 608-661-6946 & Fax: 608-258-3413 & Email: WCSA website:
WCSA’s New Directors & Officers — The WCSA Board of Directors has elected its officers for 2006-07 — President Tom Scullen, Appleton; Vice-President Barbara Horton, Milwaukee; Secretary Sandra Mills, Menasha; and Treasurer Jim Morgan, Madison. The WCSA is governed by a 12-member Board of Directors
State Legislature’s Special Study Committee on Charter Schools schedules initial meeting on September 26 —
Charter School to Focus on Health Science & Technology

Continue reading Wisconsin CHARTER SCHOOL NEWS: Week of August 21

Create public ARTS school in Madison

Please help to make  THE STUDIO SCHOOL  —  an option for parents and children within the public school district.
You’re invited to attend a planning meeting of local parents, educators, community leaders and others:   
Date:    July 19 ( Wednesday )
Time:    6:00 – 8:00 pm 
Site:     MADISON Library – Sequoya Branch
513 South Midvalle Blvd. [Map]  — 
See the summary description of the proposed school  —   executive summary
BRYAN GRAU, co-founder of Nuestro Mundo Community (charter) School in Madison, has been invited to the July 19 meeting to discuss the charter school authorization and implementation process.
Here’s additional background info for your review …..  
Creating a Charter School  — 
DPI – Charter Schools in Wisconsin — 
Academy of Fine Arts  — 
Reggio Emilia-based Schools  — 
The Growing Place  — 
The Arts & Technology Academy  — 
PreSchool of the Arts  — 
Elements of Effective Charter Schools  — 
Please RSVP to:
Wisconsin Charter Schools Association
P.O. Box 628243
Middleton, WI 53562
  Tel: 608-238-7491   Fax: 608-663-5262
  Email:   Web:

Charter Schools in Wisconsin

Madison School Board OK’s charter school of arts applying for DPI planning grant.  See The Studio School Website
Converting to Healthy Living Charter School
Governor Proclaims May 1 – 6, 2006 as Charter Schools Week in Wisconsin
Charter Schools about Social Justice, says Fuller
What is Chartering and Where Did It Come From?
DPI’s NEW 2005-06 Charter Schools Directory   (Under “Charter School Information” on right side of page, click “2005–06 Directory” (pdf)

Continue reading Charter Schools in Wisconsin

Madison School Board to Vote on a Proposed Charter Elementary School of Arts & Technology

The Madison Board of Education is scheduled to act on Monday evening (4/24) on a request relating to a proposed charter elementary school of arts and technology.
The Board will vote on whether or not to support a grant application to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction for funds to support planning of The Studio School by a group of educators, parents and others. See info about The Studio School, including the proposed planning grant application at: .
The Board’s meeting, which begins at 5:00 pm, will be held in the McDaniel’s Auditorium at the district offices at 545 West Dayton Street. [map]

Ruling Supports Virtual School

A circuit court judge ruled on Friday (3/17/06) that a virtual charter school in Wisconsin did NOT violate state law by allowing parents to assume some duties of state-certificated teachers. See the Wis. Coalition of Virtual School Families’ Press Release. Andrew Rotherham has more.
Charter Schools Strive to Expand
DPI Charter School Grant Info Meetings on March 22 & 23
Explore Websites of 30 “Green” Charter Schools
Sign up for NAPCS’ E-Newsletter (National Alliance for Public Charter Schools)

Wisconsin Charter School News

You’re invited to the WISCONSIN CHARTER SCHOOLS FAIR. The FAIR is a FREE public event in Appleton on April 2, Sunday afternoon (1:00 to 4:30 pm). HURRY APRIL !
Learn about the Performance of Public Charter Schools in Wisconsin from UW-Madison Professor John Witte. View 20 charter school displays and visit with students and teachers from several charter schools. The FREE FAIR will be held at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel in downtown Appleton —
The FAIR precedes the 2006 Wisconsin Charter Schools Conference, co-sponsored by the WCSA & DPI, on April 3 & 4 in Appleton.
Conference Overview (program, registration, hotel, etc.)
Schedule & 40+ Concurrent Sessions (i.e. seminars):
You can TOUR charter schools in Appleton

Charter Schools And Healthful Foods

Help Create a Public Charter School of Arts and Technology – in Madison

Are you interested in helping to create a public charter school of arts and technology in Madison?
You’re invited to attend a planning meeting of local parents, educators and others at:
Date: January 18 ( Wednesday )
Time: 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Site: MADISON Library – Sequoya Branch
513 South Midvalle Blvd. [map]
Please help to make THE STUDIO SCHOOL a reality within the public school district.

Continue reading Help Create a Public Charter School of Arts and Technology – in Madison

Wisconsin Charter Bill Passes the Assembly

Earlier this afternoon, the Wisconsin Assembly passed the following two legislative bills which would expand the Wisconsin charter school law:
AB 698 proposes to amend current law to raise the student enrollment cap from 400 to 480 for the elementary charter school (21st Century Preparatory School) sponsored by UW-Parkside. The vote on the passage motion was 62-Ayes and 29-Noes.
AB 730 proposes to amend current law to allow 5 UW-System 4-year universities, in addition to UW-Milwaukee and UW-Parkside, to each sponsor not more than 5 charter schools. The vote on the passage motion was 56-Ayes and 36-Noes. In a related development earlier this week, the Senate Higher Education and Tourism Committee recommended passage of Senate Bill 96 (i.e. Senate companion / identical bill to AB 730) on a vote of 4-Ayes (Senators Harsdorf, Kedzie, Kapanke and Plale) and 1-No (Senator Breske).
Both Assembly bills (AB 698 and AB 730) were messaged to the Senate.
A new ECS Issue Brief entitled “A State Policymaker’s Guide to Alternative Authorizers of Charter Schools” provides good info about the rationale for multiple-authorizers. You’ll find the ECS Issue Brief at the Education Commission of the State’s website —
The State Legislature’s current floorperiod ends today. The next two-week floorperiod is scheduled for December 6 – 15, 2005. Then, the legislature will recess through the holidays … and resume floorsessions in the new year.
This was a good day at the Capitol for charter school friends. If you have an opportunity, please communicate special thanks to Representative Leah Vukmir and Senator Alberta Darling who are the lead authors of AB 730 and SB 96 (i.e. companion / identical bills to allow 5 UW System universities to sponsor charter schools); and thank Rep. Vos and Senator Stepp who are the lead authors of AB 698. Enjoy the moment!

Charter School Bills Advance

The state Assembly Committee on Education Reform acted today (11/2/05) to recommend passage of three bills to expand charter school authorizing in Wisconsin. The bills may be scheduled for a vote next week by the entire State Assembly.
On a vote of 7-Ayes (Reps. Vukmir, Nass, Towns, Wood, Nischke, Pridemore & A. Williams) and 2-Noes (Reps. Sinicki & Lehman), the committee recommended Assembly Bill 730 (AB 730) which proposes to allow five UW System 4-year universities, in addition to UW-Milwaukee and UW-Racine, to each authorize (i.e. sponsor) up to 5 charter schools.
AB 698, which would raise the student enrollment cap from 400 to 480 on a charter elementary school sponsored by UW-Parkside, was recommended on a vote of 8-Ayes and 1-No (Rep. Sinicki). Two Democrats, Rep. Lehman and A. Williams, joined all Republicans in supporting the bill.

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Testing Time and Parent Power

See “Will Testing Be Right Answer for Schools?” in today’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel . The interesting story is about NCLB and testing time throughout Wisconsin. Coming Monday in the Journal Sentinel is a follow-up story about testing special ed students.
You may be interested, also, in reading “Cheating Our Kids — How Politics and Greed Ruin Education,” by Joe Williams, who writes about education for “The New York Daily News.” Joe is a former education writer for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel . According to a reviewer, Joe Williams shows how parents can use consumer power to put children first, shining light on the special interests controlling our schools, where politics and pork infuse everything and our children’s education is compromised, . He argues that increased accountability and choice are necessary, and shows how the people can take back the education system, enhancing responsibility inherent in democracy. The solution is a new brand of hardball politics that demands competence from school leaders and shifts the power away from bureaucrats and union leaders to the people who have a the greatest reason to put kids first: concerned parents. With practical steps and uplifting examples of success, this is a manifesto to action.