now browsing by tag


WCTE Is Ready to Help

From Your President

From Kathy Nelson

Kathy Nelson

Kathy Nelson

I just finished writing the names of all my 165 students on index cards, which I use for various things throughout the semester, found my lunch bag with the protein bar from last spring skipped for a student senate picnic provided for teachers, and checked out my newly “deep-cleaned” classroom, so I guess I’m ready to go back to school.

Going back will be a little different this year. The state’s RtI initiative means big changes at our high school and hopefully at yours as well as we address students’ individual needs.  And again, the CCSS will necessitate a careful review and adjustments of our curriculum over this and the next few years.

As English teachers, we are in a great position to embrace these changes–especially students’ mastery of literacy skills, a responsibility now shared with other disciplines. While this will be a big stretch for some of our colleagues in the other disciplines, this is what we have been trained to do and have mastered.  Here’s an opportunity for English teachers to assume a leadership role within our schools doing our part assisting others with teaching these skills to enhance student learning.  I encourage you to avoid seeing this as additional work, rather as a way to share the responsibility for students’ success.

A big part of this will be facilitating close reading. NCTE leaders, Kylene  Beers and Bob Prost, have a new book out that might help.  Click on the links below to see their podcasts and learn more.
[learn_more caption=”Notice & Note Series – Kylene Beers and Robert Probst” state=”open”]

And for more hands-on learning, save the dates, October 11-12, to attend Literacy, Diversity and Reflection, WCTE’s state workshop and conference. Keynote speakers and session presenters will engage you in just what you need to know, and you will have an opportunity to exchange ideas, question, connect and network with experts and colleagues as well. I just completed my online registration. What are you waiting for?  Do it today!

Speaking of reflection, as I ready for the new school year, I must thank you, WCTE, for so enriching my summer and better preparing me for the school year ahead.

In mid-July past president, Lynn Aprill and I joined other NCTE affiliates’ leaders in St. Louis. We learned more of NCTE programs and resources while learning much from one another’s experiences as state leaders.  We came away with our own goals for WCTE and were able to share them with the board and district directors a few weeks later. NCTE’s own Millie Davis led us through a new perspective called appreciative inquiry to first examine our strengths and then to build upon those.  We applied Kaizen, Japanese for “improvement”, or “change for the better,” to both our WCTE affiliate as well as to our own practice. [See the fall WCTE Update for details.]

For your chance to dig in and benefit from this personal and professional development, attend our annual meeting following our conference or contact me for a way you, too, can be an active part of your professional organization.

And finally, I want to thank you for the opportunity to represent WCTE at the founding of a new statewide organization of leaders from teachers’ groups representing all disciplines. We came away learning from the different structures, offerings and  workings of one another’s professional organizations and looking forward to meeting again this fall. See the photo from our first meeting below.

Wisconsin Teaching Organization Leaders

Front row (seated, L-R): Kathy Nelson, Lisa Ulik, Jan Weinhold, Leyla Sanyer, Deana Zorko. Second row (standing): Joyce Uglow, Eric Brunsell, Steve Bower, Mike Scoville, Rhonda Watton, Dave Ebert, Mike Koren, Lisa Koenecke, Frank Juarez, Jim Scheuer, Lauren Rosen, Greg Groom, Doug Burge.

So as you start your school year, remember

  • Dr. Seuss: “I like nonsense; it wakes up the brain cells;”
  • kids give you a fresh start every day;
  • when you feel  isolated within your classroom or when the going gets tough or when you just want someone who understands to share your joy, know that WCTE provides a place for you to turn and be reminded you are not alone.