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November 2016

School District of Whitefish Bay News


Welcome to the November E-Newsletter


Thomsen 5

My name is John Thomsen and it is a pleasure to serve as the District Administrator for the School District of Whitefish Bay. 
In this e-newsletter we will be updating you on our school Veteran Day Celebrations,  our results of new Department of Public Instruction School and District Report Cards, the Second Thriving Disposition Agility and Adaptability, as well as the recent Bay Gives Back Food Drive .  

On behalf of our students and team members thank you for your ongoing support.


Thank You,

Dr. John W. Thomsen
District Administrator


Our Veteran's Day Celebrations

Several of our schools held Veteran's Day celebrations to honor those who have served and made great personal sacrifices on our behalf.  

High School 
 HS Vet Day 5 2 
The assembly was a huge success! Eleven veteran guests attended, all with ties to WFBHS students or staff members across all four branches of the Department of Defense.

The celebration opened with an amazing rendition of our national anthem sung by Junior Kayla Lever followed by our speaker.  The guest speaker was Captain Betsy Palm of the Wisconsin National Guard, who spoke on the history of veterans day, and how Wisconsin soldiers have played a role in our nation's defense.  
HS Vet Day 4Included were multiple musical performances; the Wind Ensemble played the "Black Horse Troop March" and the Choir performed "Seeds Grow to Plants."  They also later did a joint piece titled "Hymn to the Fallen" which they did in conjunction to a video playing while they performed.  It was very moving! 

Amongst our 11 Veteran guests was Colonel Michael Brennan, father to freshman Kate Brennan.  Colonel Brennan is currently deployed with the Marine Corps and was able to arrive home on leave just the night before.  We were prepared to honor Mrs. Brennan and Kate as family members of a deployed service member, but instead we were able to honor the entire family and the sacrifices that were made not only by the service member, but by the family as well. 

HS Vet Day 1From staff member Billy Krause (gunner's first mate, serving in the Navy/Navy Reserve for 15 years), "To me personally, the biggest highlight of the assembly was when we were able to enlist senior Arianna Graham as she took her Oath of Enlistment into the US Army."
*H.S. photos credit: Alex Cantu Soto

Middle School‚ÄčVeteran's Day 3 MS cropped 3
Whitefish Bay Middle School celebrated their 5th annual 
Veteran's Day assembly.  The event featured over 10 veteran guests from various eras of service to include World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf.  We welcomed veterans from our community as well as 
the Zablocki VA Medical Center in 

The  keynote speaker USMC Corporal Jacob A. Krieg shared a message about virtues, setting goals and persevering to achieve them and this was well received by our students, staff and guests.
 Veteran's Day MS cropped 3 Veteran's Day 4 MS 3The program featured student speakers and musical performances by our band, orchestra and choir ensembles. The  guests were invited to attend a student council sponsored breakfast and enjoyed the opportunity to socialize with some of our students, staff members and each other.  

                         Veteran's Day 2 MS cropped 3


WFB Schools Continue to Excel on School and District Report Cards

The Department of Public Instruction recently released School and District Report Cards for the 2015-16 school year.  See our local information release from Director of Teaching Services - Maria Kucharski.  LINK

All Whitefish Bay Schools as well as the District earned the "5-Star Rating" of "Significantly Exceeds Expectations". This is a measure to be proud of, but our Students, Schools and District are "more than a score."

This fall I listened to Dr. David Schuler, the 2015-16 American Association of School Administrators President at a meeting in Madison, WI as he spoke about the importance of ensuring students are college and career ready by high school graduation.  
Schuler reminded us that so much attention is paid to high-stakes testing that we often forget that our students are "more than a score."

In the School District of Whitefish Bay academic achievement is a priority, as well as the development of the whole child.  In the classroom, on the stage, in the arena of athletic competition or when providing community service our students are "more than a score."
 HS Building 2 
There are many, many amazing students, families and staff highly committed to chasing deep learning and finding personal passion in the School District of Whitefish Bay.  Now more that ever our students need to develop and secure the 21st century skills that will best equip them to be successful in a team-based, collaborative, problem-solving world of learning and work. These skills are  NOT easily measured on a computer-based or paper and pencil state assessment of compliance. Yet, as a District we are committed to fostering these
vital transferable skills for our students as well. 

Congratulations to students, parents, staff, schools and the District for the high levels of achievement as revealed by the DPI School and District Report Cards.  Thank you for your ongoing support and commitment to Public Education in Whitefish Bay where our Students, Schools and District are "more than a score."

The Seven Thriving Dispositions & Agility and Adaptability


The Seven Thriving Dispositions (view here) are qualities and ways of being that our students will need to possess if they are going to be successful in the 21st century.

Agility and Adaptability is the 2nd of the Seven Thriving Dispositions we are learning more about as a District and will use to enhance learning in our classrooms.

In a world where change appears to be the only constant we believe it is paramount our students are able to anticipate, demonstrate flexibility and adapt effectively to change. Those best able to adapt may be best prepared for their future.

Thriving Disposition #2 - Agility and Adaptability - The shift from hierarchical authority that tells you what to do to a team-based environment has been both rapid and profound.  Similarly, the intensifying rate of change, the overwhelming amount of data, and the increasing complexity of problems that individuals and teams face every day in their work are dramatic new challenges for everyone.
Adapt to Change
  • Adapt to varied roles, jobs responsibilities, schedules and context
  • Work effectively in a climate of ambiguity and changing priorities
Be Flexible
  • Incorporate feedback effectively
  • Deal positively with praise, setbacks and criticism
  • Understand, negotiate and balance diverse views and beliefs to reach workable solutions, particularly in multi-cultural environments (Wagner, 2008).

Stay tuned for the next e-newsletter as Curiosity and Imagination will be the featured disposition.

Resources/Excerpts from:

Wagner, T., (2008) The Global Achievement Gap, Basic Books, New York, NY.

Wisconsin's Guiding Principles for Teaching and Learning, (2016). Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

WFB District Seven Thriving Dispositions Document

Bay Gives Back

Our students and schools are continuously engaged in giving back to their greater community.  Whole student development involves having our students think and act beyond themselves.

Bay Gives Back, a Whitefish Bay High School student service organization, wrapped up a another hugely successful food drive!  From group adviser Anna Schmidt, "We collected over 9,000 items from 1,000 households  and delivered the largest single food drive donation in history to the Riverwest Food Pantry (We collected just over 6,000 last year)."

Fox6 News covered the students at




*Photos courtesy of Fox6 News


Way to go Students - you are more than a score!!!!

What do you think?

This e-newsletter is one of several ways the district works toward comprehensive  communications with the community. 

We would love your feedback!  Please email us to tell us what you think about this issue.


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School District of Whitefish Bay
1200 E. Fairmount Avenue
Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin 53217

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