Summer Summit 2017 Resource Page

Here you will find videos, handouts, and brain storming notes from our sessions from this years summit. So if you weren’t able to join us, or if you didn’t make it to one of our sessions you are in the right place! Below you will find all our sessions with descriptions, panelists, and materials. (Some videos and materials are not yet added and will be up shortly.)


1a/1b- School Funding 101: Get the Facts

What do people mean when they say the funding formula is broken? How do private school vouchers impact public school budgets? What’s the difference between “instrumentality” and “non-instrumentality” charter schools? What are revenue caps, anyway? How can we simplify these complex issues when communicating with our communities? The experts from DPI will answer all your questions, and unpack the issues at the focus of the next biennial budget cycle, in this session. Novices and wonks alike are welcome!

Tom McCarthy, Communications Director; Jeff Pertl, Senior Policy Advisor, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Video Link:


2a- Make it Local: How to Create Positive Connections to Support Public Schools Where You Live.

Building positive relationships with everyone from parents and students to local decision makers is critical to successful local advocacy. But where you start and how you develop these relationships depends on your local situation and the members of your team. During this facilitated discussion with advocates from around the state, participants will have the opportunity to learn from and share with each other. The goal is for participants to come away with new strategies to promote public education where they live.

Carol Lenz, Fox Cities Advocates for Public Education; Shawn Rolland, Support Our Schools SOS-Wauwatosa and Wauwatosa School Board President; Gail Halmstad, Project 13, Eau Claire; Ann Muenster, Fox Cities Advocates for Public Education (moderator)



2b- Make it Local: Showing Your Community How State Level Funding Impacts Local Children.

Helping our communities understand the local impacts of state level policy, budget decision is essential. The South Milwaukee team, which has done an exemplary job in this area, will share tips for how to get the facts about state funding and policy so that you can “make it local” in a way that resonates with your home community.

Blaise Paul, Director of Business Services, South Milwaukee School District; and Doug Perry, South Milwaukee School Board



3a-Following the Money: The State of School Privatization

Through dozens of open records requests, the Center for Media and Democracy tracked more than $4 billion in federal tax dollars sent to states for redistribution to private and public charter schools. The government does little to account for what happens to the money once it mails the checks. Meanwhile, there is a growing grassroots resistance to charter school expansion. This session sorts out the players to help give us some idea of where all of this could be headed.

Dustin Beilke, Center for Media and Democracy and WEAC Region 6 Director

 3b- Connecting the Dots: School Privatization from Milwaukee, to Wisconsin, to Betsy Devos.

Award-winning journalist Barbara J. Miner has covered school privatization, in particular vouchers, for more than a quarter century. In this session, she connects the dots and helps us better understand the context and implications of school privatization.

Barbara J. Minor, journalist and author. 

4a-The Cost of Caring: Avoiding activism fatigue.

How to make time for advocacy when you’re already doing everything else. “I can’t believe we’re still protesting this crap” – activism fatigue – urgency Jenni H –How to pick your battles, how to avoid activism fatigue? How do you stay positive in the face of defeats? Trauma of advocacy, what students go through…trying to lift others?

Jenni Hofschulte, Parents for Public Schools-Milwaukee and Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools.

4b- Drop-In Roundtable: Going Public Beyond the Budget      

How do we keep the advocacy flames burning beyond the budget? What can and should we do next as a statewide Network? How can WPEN partners best work together to support local students and address state and local level challenges? What’s working and what isn’t? This guided discussion provides a structured opportunity for networking and brainstorming best practices and next steps. Note: Ideas and feedback collected in this and other sessions will be used to help create our strategic plan for the coming year. If you have suggestions but can’t attend this session, please share them at the Action Brainstorm Stations or in your event follow-up survey.                        

Chris Hambuch-Boyle, board president, Eau Claire Area School District; Nan Brien. GRUMPS (Grandparents United for Madison Public Schools)

5a/5b-Rural and Urban Connections.

While we often work in “silos” and feel like the challenges and opportunities in our own schools are unique to our regions, the issues facing urban and rural schools in Wisconsin are interconnected in deep and complicated ways. This session provides comparisons and analysis of districts around the state, and provides an explanation of why we need to support each other rather than be ruled by divideand-conquer or “us vs. them” thinking.

Kim Kaukl, Executive Director, Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance; Ingrid Walker-Henry, Milwaukee Teachers Education Association; Tony Chambers, Edgewood College.



6a/6b- Community Dis-Engagement & The Golden Lie

What happens when your community doesn’t want to include you? This workshop offers a wide ranging conversation about how to work in communities with growing diversity and shrinking tolerance. First Nations people have functioned in this environment for generations. What does our history tell us about how to deal with institutions that would rather not see you, hear what you say, let alone respond in any responsible way to meet your needs? We live in a polarized time and the gaps of educational achievement, economy and opportunity continue to widen. American Indians have lived this experience, most recently in the movement to remove race based mascots and logos in public schools. The program will ask you to think about the Golden Rule, and if it’s really working for your cause, or someone else. We will talk about both internal road blocks we face within our own communities and how those can be leveraged against you. This program won’t be just about problems, it’ll be about ideas to take home and put to work. Don’t be fooled, there are people that don’t want to work with you. This session will help you make them your best advocate. And they won’t even have to agree with you!

Marin (Mark) Webster Denning, educator, lecturer and curriculum specialist in American Indian history and culture

7a/7b- The Status Quo and the Common Good: Why Equity and Adequacy Matter. 

What can Wisconsin public school advocates learn from our counterparts in other states? Learn more in this discussion of the successes and disappointments of the Ohio Coalition for Equity & Adequacy of School Funding to compel the state of Ohio to secure a constitutionally adequate and equitable, thorough and efficient system of public common schools. This session also covers their efforts to convince the public of the necessity of maintaining and improving the system and protecting it from privatization.

Bill Phillis, Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding; Todd Price, National Louis University



8a- Washington to Wisconsin How federal funding impacts our students and schools.

This session covers everything you need to know about what current federal funding proposals mean to Wisconsin students from Medicaid funding to ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act).

Joanne Juhnke, Wisconsin Family Ties;  Angie Mattes, Wisconsin PTA.



8b- What’s New with State Legislation: The good, the bad, and the budget.

Having a hard time keeping track and making sense of all the education news this year? Need an expert to tell you in plain terms what it all means to kids and public schools? This session cuts through the rhetoric and sums up what matters most to our schools right now – from pending legislation to the seemingly never-ending budget negotiations.

Chris Thiel,  Legislative Policy Manager, Milwaukee Public Schools



9a- Local Level Action: Getting Organized from Referenda to the Rest of It.

How are all of these advocacy teams across the state getting the ball rolling? What are their secrets and what challenges do they face? This panel unites three organizers whose groups started under different situations, and share their perspectives as a board member, a parent advocate, the leader of a local referenda group, – to share stories and strategies for understanding what your community needs and using your resources and people to support local schools. They’ll answer your questions and provide concrete tips for getting organized where you live.

Jim Bowman, Appleton School Board and Fox Cities Advocates for Public Education; Cynthia Ficenec, YES for Fort Schools; and Stacy Racine Lynch, Support Our Schools SOS-Wauwatosa



9b- 21st Century Advocacy: best practices and tips for using social media to organize, mobilize and more

This panel of experts discusses best practices and tips for using social media to organize, mobilize and keep your community engaged, informed, and connected.

Joe Brusky, Milwaukee Teachers Education Association; Joe Donovan, SOS-Wauwatosa; Aileen Smith, SOS-Wauwatosa

10a- Wisconsin’s Teacher Exodus: What is the crisis and what can we do about it?

What is the current situation and how dire is it really? What are the reasons underlying the current crisis? What can struggling districts do to be “competitive” in a post-Act 10 environment? What can we – as non-partisan advocates for strong, thriving public schools – do to support our educators in a divisive climate? This panel brings together some of the top thinkers in the state on this topic to help us assess what we can do to make a difference.

David DeGuire, Director of Teacher Education, Professional Development, and Licensing, DPI; Peter Goff, Professor Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, UW-Madison; Ronald Duff Martin, President, WEAC; Tim Slekar, Dean, School of Education, Edgewood College; Moderator/discussant; Julie Underwood, Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis and Law, UW-Madison.

10b- Community/Schools: Rethinking “Engagement”      

Ever worry you’re better at talking about engagement than actually engaging? This session takes an honest look at what works, what doesn’t, and what we can do together to make meaningful connections “beyond the classroom” to connect with parents, families and community. The presenters will share their experience with Community Schools and outreach projects around the state. You’ll walk away with concrete ideas for what you can do where you live to better engage and create community.                         

Ryan Hurley, Director, Milwaukee Community Schools Partnership; Ruth Anne Landsverk, Family Engagment Specialist, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction; Mary Ellen Havel-Lang, Sun Prairie Youth & Families Commission and Sun Prairie Community Schools.



11a- Culturally Relevant Advocacy: best practices for making sure every voice is at the table and every voice is heard.

How do we make sure our schools are preparing to addressing the needs of our changing communities? How do we create inclusive schools, and how do we avoid duplicating the status quo in our own advocacy efforts? This panel of experts tackles the tough questions from a variety of perspectives.

Laura Love, Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District



11b- Student Perspectives: What we need to know about bias in our schools 

Student Equity Coalition (SEC) is a student-led initiative aimed at achieving equity and promoting inclusivity in Middleton High School. Comprised of four separate social justice groups, SEC uses a multi-faceted approach to foster change in the student, faculty, and community populations. In this session, In this session, they share perspectives that will help us better understand how to advocate for schools where all students thrive and succeed.

Student Voice Union representatives, Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District; Ellen Lindgren, Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools and CAPE Middleton, moderator.

12a- Tales from the Heart and Confessions from the Field: Lessons learned from local experience with vouchers, privatization and the politicization of public education.

We are often so focused on getting the latest facts and figures that we forget to address the very the heart of our advocacy: how policy decisions impact our students, families, and communities. Telling these stories matters because it gives us a way to communicate more than just “what” we’re concerned about, but why we care, and why it matters to all of us. This session provides three great examples of stories of local level action and fighting privatization efforts, and an opportunity to workshop strategies for effectively communicating your own stories.

Earl Ingraham, Milwaukee radio host; Dennis McBride, Support Our Schools SOS-Wauwatosa; Melissa Prochaska, Watertown CAPS.

12b- Strategies for Building Coalitions  

Whether you’re trying to educate and motivate your community or start a local public education advocacy group, the key to bringing people together is making real connections that matter in your community. This session unpacks what’s new and what’s most important right now and gives concrete suggestions and examples of how to keep parents and community members informed and united, even in a politically divisive climate

John Forester, School Administrators Alliance; Pam Streich, Superintendent, Lake Mills Area School District; Diane Wilcenski, Wisconsin Retired Educators Association (WREA); Gina Pagel, Wauankee educator and member of Support Sun Prairie Schools and Sun Prairie Action Resource Coalition (SPARC)


About the author: Wisconsin Public Education Network

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