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January/February 2017

School District of Whitefish Bay News


Welcome to the January/February


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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 sharing information on striving for healthy balance, the Thriving Disposition of Initiative - Entrepreneurialism, as well as a few of our most popular January Facebook posts.

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


Thank You,

Dr. John W. Thomsen
District Administrator


Finding Healthy Balance

The new year brings a natural opportunity for all to take a step back, reflect and consider ways to realize a "preferred life."  Managing stress and finding a healthy balance are common yet difficult targets to realize for ourselves as well as for our loved ones.

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In a recent conversation with my high school daughters both agreed that it was at their part-time jobs that they felt least stressed and pressured.   One daughter informed me that "cashiering at the grocery store" took her to a place of relaxation unlike all the other activities she experiences in her over-scheduled life.  That simply blew me away - my daughter has to go to work at a huge supermarket to de-stress from the craziness of adolescent life!  

6th science stressed outMany of our students report being stretched thin 
and being stressed out.  No study halls; focusing only on grades and not the learning; over-scheduling athletics, activities, work and social life; and the perceived pressure from parents, self and teachers to achieve at high levels in all areas all the time place some students in a vulnerable postion.  

How do we make the madness stop?  I am not exactly sure...I struggle to find HEALTHY work life balance as well as manage my own stress.  Yet, we must try and we should help our loved ones try as well.  

Here are few contrasting ideas for pause, consideration and reflection:
  1. High expectations are here to stay AND it is about the learning.
  2. Technology is a useful tool AND we need to unplug.
  3. Relationships are important AND it is good to find alone time.
  4. Building stamina and endurance is a priority AND so are healthy sleeping/resting/eating habits.
  5. It is good to be driven AND show forgiveness (self and others).

I know I don't have all the answers but I thnk it is important to be really intentional about how we spend the valuable resource of time. Planning for long term balance, sustainability and success is a good target for all.

Parents - You are being watched - more is caught than taught - model striving for balance for your children.

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Students - Think marathon and not a sprint - have a long vision, growth mindset and commit to daily one is perfect.
Educators - If you are not taking care of yourself you will be in no position to care for, nurture and challenge our students - work to keep your tank full- you will feel better.

I, along with many of you have work to do in the area of healthy balance.  My hope for all of us in 2017 is that we strike a healthy balance - Enjoy the journey....

The Seven Thriving Dispositions --
 Initiative and Entrepreneurialism


The Seven Thriving Dispositions  are qualities and ways of being that our students will need to possess if they are going to be successful in the 21st century.  This month we will highlight the Thriving Disposition Initiative and Entrepreneurialism.

Initiative/Entrepreneurialism - Employers today want to see their team members take more initiative and even be entrepreneurial in terms of the ways to seek out new opportunities, ideas and strategies for improvement.  

Initiative... 2Self-starters have an advantage but that is not enough. Self-starters also have to be problem-solvers, solution-designers and inventors. People who possess this potent combination will most certainly add value to the organization, improve services provided, and/or enhance existing products.

The following are key attributes and skills of Initiative/Entrepreneurialism:

Manage Goals and Time

  • Set goals with tangible and intangible success criteria;
  • Balance tactical (short-term) and strategic (long-term) goals;
  • Utilize time and manage workload efficiently.

Work Independently

  • Monitor, define, prioritize and complete tasks without direct oversight.

Be Self-directed Learners

  • Go beyond basic mastery of skills and/or curriculum to explore and expand one’s own learning and opportunities to gain expertise;
  • Demonstrate initiative to advance skill levels towards a professional level;
  • Demonstrate commitment to learning as a lifelong process;
  • Reflect critically on past experiences in order to inform future progress.HE3
Implications for Schools and Teachers- Now more that ever schools and teachers should intentionally design learning experiences that nurture the disposition of Initiative - Entrepreneurialism.
  • This Means Less: easily measure discrete knowledge; solitary seat-work; thinly covered, large amounts of information in all subjects; student passivity; teacher controlled decision-making, and simply getting to the answer.
  • and More: real-world, authentic problems and challenges encouragement of cumulative growth and student self-evaluation; social/collaborative activities w/ discussion and interaction; deep study of smaller number of topics; teacher as facilitator, coach, demonstrator; responsibility transferred to student; and conceptual exploration.
In order for this dispostion to be realized for our students their learning experiences will look different than what we were and they are used to.  This becomes some of the key work of our District, schools and teachers.  

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

Great Things are Happening Throughout our School Community

Check out some of our top Facebook post images from January.

School Crossing Guard Recognition Week
RI PTO Donated Books Cause Excitement!
MS Green Team Makes School Eco-Friendly
CU Knitting Club Beats the Cold
HS Bay Gives Back Toy Donation Drive
Rec. Dept. Fieldtrip to Milw. Public Museum
RI National Geography Bee
CU Proud Student Creates a Book
MS French Students Receive Pen Pal Letters

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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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Attention Alumni!

Do you have good news to share with the School District.  We would love to hear from you.  
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School District of Whitefish Bay
1200 E. Fairmount Avenue
Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin 53217

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