July 2014

Wisconsin Council of Teachers of English                                                                                             July Board Meeting                                                                                                                            Friday, July 25th, 2014                                                                                                                     HotelRed, Madison, WI

Present: Loren Glassbrenner, Katie Herrmann, Shelly Moore, Dr. Tom Scott,  John Pruitt, Lynn Frick, Linda Barrington, Kelly Seefeldt, Jackie Mayvon, Erin Schwayne, Marianne Potter, Kathy Nelson, Jenn Fishman

Welcome and Introductions, 9:00am

I. Agenda changes (IX. c. change to Professional Issues) and approval of agenda

II. Approval of February’s spring board minutes w/the following changes/questions:

a)      spelling of Marianne Potter’s name

b)      board work session for 10/23/2014 discussed – leave it in the minutes, but Lynn Frick will send out an email w/clarification of the time

III. Treasure’s Report:

a)      Dr. Scott is concerned that total assets are dwindling (from $52, 000 – $35,000); we can’t continue to lose money at that rate and sustain ourselves. This seems to be a national trend.  Perhaps this is due to unsuccessful conventions in the past (we need to consider the location).  Also the suggestion to reconsider Conference on English Leadership (CEL) liaison program.

IV. DPI Liaison’s Report:

a)      Loren would like to add mention of DPI’s study team, which consists of coordinating CCSS implementation instruction w/English educator training programs.

b)      Jackie & Kathy elaborated on the status of the WI Core Camp (registration is currently full).

c)      Educator Effectiveness comments:

  1. software is constantly changing because it’s in need of improvement
  2. Are there any proposals for EE training at the WCTE convention?  -DPI is hiring an EE team – perhaps they could come out on that day.  Loren will contact Mark Miller to inquire about this idea.
  3. Shelly served on the EE committee and helped write the administrator EE program; she has volunteered to write a proposal to help coordinate this at the 10/23/2014 convention.  Suggestion to invite CESA 6 people to present.  Shelly will work with Denise Myers to put this on the WCTE Web site.

V. Committee Reports:

a)      Membership:

  1. approx.. 120 current paid members
  2. suggestion by Kathy to create a membership committee so it doesn’t always fall on Dr. Scott; she suggested we consider/observe what MN does w/a free open enrollment period (this will benefit the affiliate by giving us better access to contact numbers/email). Marianne, Tom, and John will also help with this.
  3. We’re trying to find a better way to raise awareness about WCTE – many English teachers currently unaware of its existence.  Is there a better way to advertise than sending out email blasts that may look like spam?
  4. Lynn suggests we need to make the benefits of membership more evident to potential members. 
  5. We are also concerned that we don’t have higher ed. represented in membership; district directors should consider contacting the English education departments of these schools.
  6. Loren suggests we also consider recruiting K-8 teachers.  The only conflict would be the Wisconsin State Reading Association, which is what many K-8 teachers already belong to.  Would this conflict w/our bylaws or would we need to change our constitution?
  7. Let’s consider changing enrollment to start w/the school-year in September (we must change the by-laws in order to do this).  Shelly volunteered to revise the by-laws).
  8. Lynn will contact David Roloff to see if he’s able to help us coordinate membership recruitment efforts for higher ed. institutions. 


b)      Intellectual Freedom:

  1. John has not been receiving emails from NCTE censorship committee, so does not have anything on that level.
  2. Events coming up (suggestion to create an email blast/send out tool kits):               

                                                              i.      Banned Books Week: 9/21-9/27

                                                            ii.      International Literacy Day: 9/8

                                                          iii.      Marianne suggested promoting National Punctuation Day: 9/24

  1. Winner of Intellectual Freedom Award: Caleb Piper


c)      Publications:

  1. No one from WI English Journal is here. Lynn is concerned that contact w/these people is not sufficient.  –Are we as a board okay w/this?  Are we to be reviewing these articles?
  2. Kelly suggested considering having a liaison for this position.  Loren volunteered to play this role; as the president, Lynn would like to contact them first.
  3. Linda was asked to review articles for the newsletter; her ideas include:

                                                              i.      keep message from president

                                                            ii.      suggestion for deadline for call for proposals: Aug. 15th

                                                          iii.      Intellectual freedom and teaching award announcements; Linda would like to get copies of nomination write-ups. Dr. Scott would like to see a better presentation of awards at the convention (Jackie will talk to David about this).

                                                          iv.      We’d like to have in each issue a “Meet the District Director.”  Jackie nominated Kelly for this role.

                                                            v.      DPI Report: Linda likes to include something concrete that teachers can use in class – if you have a suggestion, let her know.  Erin suggested a Fisher and Frey article on group work.

                                                          vi.      Linda would like to include a photo and a blurb of each person here today who suggested a book he/she is currently reading.

                                                        vii.      Linda’s new ideas from reading others’ newsletters:

  1. “Popular Tweets”
  2. “Creating Better Writers through Coaching”
  3. a report on each writing project in their state
  4. a report on the new JEA who have created a 14-strand curriculum developed in modules w/lesson plans tied together
  5. “Gringot’s Vault”
  6. WI Fellowship of Poets
  7. Read-On Wisconsin
  8. ad for WI authors map
  9. “Question of the Issue” w/responses
  10. Chicago is opening a new museum of American authors
  11. Can we feature a mentor text?  Loren will inaugurate this.

d)     Convention:

  1. John has roughly 23 proposals
  2. Last year we had nine breakouts running simultaneously, but that was way too many.  Note that we only have the space until 5pm, however.
  3. Ideally we’d love to have 350 attendees.  Realistically, we should probably expect 150.
  4. We should try to push the pre-convention on Thursday, as it helps tremendously with money.
  5. Shelley noted that sessions on the Common Core and Educator Effectiveness would pique the interest of administrators.
  6. Dr. Scott suggested 5-6 sessions per time period.  John will propose a schedule and Linda and Shelly proof it.  Linda needs info. as you get it so she can begin working on it.
  7. Loren suggested attaching the EE domain numbers to the sessions so that people who are on improvement plans can attend those specific sessions.  He also suggested a conversation table for new teachers and/or pre-service members.  Kelly & Jenn suggested a relatively new teacher lead/facilitate this, and Kelly offered to assist with this.  Maybe the first-year teacher of the year award winners?  Jackie will contact them.
  8. Printed postcards already cost us $529, but still need postage.


e)      District Directors:

  1. Lynn Aprill sent an email w/details of disseminating convention blast info.
  2. Lynn thinks district directors have done a very good job communicating so far.
  3. The purpose of the district director position was to try to coordinate area events w/in the district, specifically face-to-face connections.  Dr. Scott says there is a handbook.  There is also a budget for district directors who want to sponsor events.
  4. Loren was wondering if we’ve ever had the district directors introduce themselves at the conventions.  Dr. Scott suggested doing it at the luncheon on Friday.


f)       Awards:

  1. Jackie has all of the names for the following awards: New Teacher, Student Teacher, Intellectual Freedom, and NCTE Teacher of Excellence (Blaire Perzentka, Madison).  These will be presented via a Prezi during the luncheon.


g)      Pooley-Award:

  1. There are no plans for awarding this in 2014, but Kathy Nelson is in charge of this committee.  She’d like to plan to another meeting before school starts in Sept.


h)      WELA:

  1. Wisconsin Educational Leaders Alliance is a program that brings people w/in different disciplines, and functions as a networking opportunity.  It has been difficult to coordinate; Kathy is still involved with this program, but hasn’t heard anything lately. 


VIII. Officer Reports:

a)      Second Vice President – Denise Meyer: not present

b)      First Vice President – John Pruitt: no news

c)      President – Lynn Frick:

  1. Stronger commitment to attending board meetings is necessary. In the past, attendance has been tentative, and causes money loss due to cancellations.


d)     Affiliate Meeting – John Pruitt, Kathy Nelson:

  1. In order to bring coherence to our meetings, some of the boards meet together once a month online (for executive members only).  All agree that this is a good idea.
  2. Term limits for officer positions should be revisited on the next agenda.

IX. New Business:

a)      Convention Committee:

  1. We’ve got a good one established for this year already.
  2. Lynn suggested that we stop moving around the state and instead pick a place and continue there so people develop a familiarity w/it.
  3. There was a suggestion to have local universities host in order to save money.
  4. Shelly suggested that people from rural areas are more likely to attend if in Madison or Milwaukee.
  5. Convention could be more successful w/more student helpers or linkage w/area schools
  6. This report can be moved out of new business and into a regular committee report for future meetings.  Convention chair should appoint committee members.


b)      Secretary Position:

  1. The current secretary is wondering if she should resign due to personal issues. Katie Herrmann can fill in when she’s not here. 


c)      Professional Issues:

  1. Dr. Scott talked to Dr. Pasternak; she is interested in this position if we made it a voting position on the board.  –She didn’t want to represent the board if she had no voice.  Jackie made a motion to establish Dr. Pasternak as a voting member of the board.  Motion approved.


  1. Kathy Nelson invited Jenn Fishman here today b/c she’s interested in organizing a student affiliate; we could also have this student on the board.


d)     Interim District Directors At-Large:

  1. Lynn is going to email Denise about clarification on the following positions:

                                                              i.      Shelly (dist 11)

                                                            ii.      Katie (dist 6)

                                                          iii.      Jenn (dist7)

                                                          iv.      Kelly (director at large: dist 3)

  1. Motion to vote Kelly and Jenn in as district directors; motion approved.


e)      Budgeting:

  1. Lynn suggest we be more fiscally responsible by doing the following:

                                                              i.      keep the convention at a consistent place and date (be aware of Jewish holiday, however)

                                                            ii.      Can we save money at our board meetings by getting a different venue? One day rather than two.  School or library vs. hotel.

                                                          iii.      Marianne suggested requesting that people pay a fee if they don’t show up for a meeting they’ve RSVP’d for.

                                                          iv.      Kathy suggested that board members put together a raffle basket to earn money for the organization.  Kelly volunteered to head this up for the convention in October. 

                                                            v.      Kelly wondered whether we have any data on the return rate on direct mailings.  Jenn suggested putting the journal behind a pay-wall so people have to log-in to read it. Maybe a survey/QR code is needed to determine this.

                                                          vi.      Marti Matyska should find a venue in Madison or Milwaukee for the next convention as soon as possible

                                                        vii.      Lynn would like to consider bringing in a tech-communication expert who would be willing to be on the board.  John would like to have a group of tech-savvy people look at our Web site and see what it can do.  Kelly and Shelly will sit down and make a list.  It’d nice to have:

  1. a Twitter feed
  2. a blog
  3. a convention’s highlight on the Web site
  4. highlight specific education feeds

                                                      viii.      Project ESTRELLA (Excellent Schools, Teaching, and Research for English Language Learners Association):

  1. John was contacted by UW-Osh Kosh professor about involvement in this (hosting a joint conference).  Erin wonders what percentage of our members work w/significant numbers of ELL students.  Lynn suggests having them as a presence (or a strand) at our convention.

f)       Other:

  1. Jenn Fishman, a professor at Marquette, would like to formulate some sort of partnership w/pre-service students and WCTE.  The board sees merit in supporting this kind of relationship.  The issue of sustaining this once it gets going is the challenge.  Could district director money be used to cover these expenses?  Maybe if students came and worked at the convention, we could give them a discounted attendance?  Offer than half price if they work?  A motion was made by Loren that students coming from a university will be charged $20 if they volunteer time to work; they can apply for a scholarship to cover the rest of the fee (with a cap of 20 students).  Motion approved.  Students could do the following, but Marty could compile a list of the most important duties, such as:

                                                              i.      hand out brochures

                                                            ii.      host the sessions

                                                          iii.      Tweet out about the sessions

X. Adjournment, 3:15pm.

Respectfully submitted by Katie Herrmann (katie.herrmann@huhs.org)


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