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In My Classroom

October-November 2010

weac.org

volume 3 | issue 2

‘Refresh’-ing a science wing

Page 4

Rallying around public education T

he signs are there: A funding crisis is looming for our public schools.

We’ve seen it with massive layoffs of educators last spring. We see it with continued program cuts and the decline of course offerings. We see it with ever-increasing class sizes. We need to act now to support public education and call for a funding formula that works for our state and our schools. Supporting public education means many things. It is making sure students have the knowledge and support they need. It is keeping current on curriculum and expanding classroom skills. But it’s also sounding the alarm on funding flaws. And it’s electing to office friends of education you know have the interests of schools at heart. Our public schools need your help. Educators across the state are rallying around school funding reform. Join us in supporting quality public schools on October 16 at the State Capitol in Madison. You can be part of the voices Moving Wisconsin Forward to value strong schools and the essential services that make them possible (see page 12 for more details). You can also lend your support at the polls November 2, electing pro-public education candidates for state and federal offices (see pages 8-9 for WEAC-PAC recommended candidates). The signs are pointing the way: Now is the time for school funding reform. ■

insideandonline Taking stock of an opportunity

Convention time is near!

A lesson in service

Managing the market online

Adviser’s investment club helps fund school supplies

Join your colleagues for workshops, fun in Madison

Art teacher volunteers in Haiti for earthquake relief

In a tough time, taking investments into your own hands

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4 educators named Teachers of the Year This fall, four Wisconsin educators were named Teachers of the Year for the 2010-11 school year. As part of the honors, each educator will receive a $3,000 award from U.S. Senator Herb Kohl through his education foundation. The four teachers are: • Michael Brinen, a physical education teacher at Madison Elementary School in the Wauwatosa School District; • Maureen Look-Ainsworth, a seventhand eighth-grade science teacher at Horning Middle School in the Waukesha School District; • Claudia Felske, a ninth- through 12th-grade English teacher at East Troy High School in the East Troy Community School District; and • Peggy Wuenstel, a prekindergarten through fifth-grade speech and language pathologist at Washington Elementary School in the Whitewater School District. A panel of educators, parents, and community leaders selected the four Teachers of the Year from a pool of 86 Kohl Teacher Fellows named in the spring. ■

For more on the Teachers of the Year, visit weac.org/news

Mary Bell, President Betsy Kippers, Vice President David Harswick, Secretary-Treasurer Dan Burkhalter, Executive Director Kim Haas, Public Relations Director Bill Hurley, Editor Matthew Call, Assistant Editor Laura DeVries, Graphic Design Specialist Contributing writer: Bob Moeller

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Member Spotlight Kris Wrobel Economics teacher Black River Falls High School

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he stock market may not have been overly kind to most of us, but it’s been a boon to the Black River Falls Tiger Investment Club. Kris Wrobel, an economics teacher at Black River Falls High School and adviser to the investment club, helped guide high school students to reap enough dividends to purchase calculators, sports equipment and tech gadgets for the school as well as make contributions to fund drives.

The extra-curricular club began in 1996 with a $50,000 donation from the Black River Falls family of Milt and Lidy Lunda. During the last school year, students spent $8,000 on school supplies and began this school year again with $85,000 to invest.

The 15-year-old club, started with a donation and subsequent matching funds from a local family, has traditionally earned money every year to fund classroom supplies such as LCD projectors, food service equipment such as a salad bar screen, and sports gear such as a tennis ball launcher.

“The market is very consuming, just trying to stay on top of it,” Wrobel said. “And if it sounds like a lot of money, it is – trust me.” ■

The club meets during homeroom and sometimes after school, with Wrobel as its guide, and compares notes with other school clubs and brings in guest speakers such as investment advisers.

“The students do a lot of research about the stocks and spend a lot of time learning to invest,” said Wrobel, a special education teacher before becoming an economics educator.

To read more about Wrobel’s investment club and to nominate r someone for Membe g/ .or Spotlightvisitweac spotlight.

WEAC in Print (ISSN#1531-6831)

e-mail: inprint@weac.org

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is published by the Wisconsin Education

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students or by WEAC affiliate associations

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Educator performance system: ‘Count us in’ Kickoff Kids kicks off another successful year WEAC’s partnership with University of Wisconsin Athletics kicked off another year this fall with the continuation of the Kickoff Kids promotion. WEAC is sending lucky kids and their teachers onto the field at UW Badgers home football games again this season to take part in pregame activities. Teachers nominated each of the students for their contribution to the school. ■

Read more about Kickoff Kids by visiting weac.org/kickoffkids.

collaborate on an educator performance In his annual State of Education system that improves student learning and address, State Superintendent Tony informs professional development. He Evers recently issued a challenge to warned that if the education community your union, district administrators and doesn’t work together, the resulting school boards across the state to work evaluation system will together to develop likely be “shallow, a model educator superficial, and performance system. A challenge to your politically motivated.” The response: “Count us in,” said There was a lot union and other public WEAC President to like about the Mary Bell. “We’re state superintendent’s school stakeholders: ready to roll up plan for the future. our sleeves and Work together to develop Educators already are get started, and we working on many of the are eager to have a model educator areas he mentioned – ownership in an fair funding for schools performance system evaluation system and initiatives that of our profession are proven to make a that really reflects difference in student our professionalism and our impact on learning among them. Evers called on students.” work to continue to close achievement In addition to proposing school funding reform and revamping of state student assessments, Evers urged stakeholders in our public schools to

gaps and strengthen standards. For more on Evers’ State of Education address, visit weac.org/news. ■

O n l i n e e x t r as | Get more from WEAC in Print on the Web Nominate an ESP for C.L.E.A.N. Awards

Partnering for quality schools

On weac.org’s Educators’ Bulletin Board, you can learn about the NEA’s C.L.E.A.N. Awards program, which recognizes the contributions that custodians make to public health in their schools, communities, and their profession.

Your union works in conjunction with several other organizations aligned for quality public education. Among current partnerships are:

The awards are presented to school custodians who demonstrate outstanding leadership in the field of school cleanliness, and who reflect the contributions that education support professionals (ESP) make to public health. ■

• School Finance Network, a coalition dedicated to finding a better way to fund Wisconsin’s public schools. • Wisconsin Way, a grassroots project that pulls together the support and resources of a wide variety of interests to find ways to build a stronger Wisconsin economy that can better support public services, including education. • The W3 Group, formed by the Wisconsin Association of School Boards, the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators and WEAC in 2007. Find out more at weac.org. ■

What’s your success story? Have an inspiring story to share about a project or student that has come to define success for you in the classroom? Visit weac.org and click on “Share Your Success Story” to let us know. ■

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In My Classroom

Contest helps ‘Refresh’ science wing K

With $50,000 won from a contest sponsored by Pepsi, this flexible classroom was installed in the science department of Racine’s Mitchell Middle School. The glass partitions (below) slide to open up the whole room or segment it into several size classrooms. A new office space for the faculty was installed with the grant, and new SMART Boards, chemistry science kitchen and computer lab/ digital media center are on the way.

im Wendt’s idea may have won $50,000 from a contest called “Refresh,” but the term “transformation” is more apt. By knocking down the walls separating three classrooms and building a new science wing at Mitchell Middle School in Racine, Wendt and her school created a learning space from the ground up. “The contest was exactly what we needed to give our students the engaging environment conducive to learning,” Wendt said. “It is unbelievable the amount of change that this money brought to our department.” Wendt, an eighth-grade science teacher at Mitchell, submitted her plan for a classroom makeover to the Pepsi Refresh Project, a monthly competition for grant money from the soda company open to individuals, businesses and non-profit groups. Wendt’s submission was part of voting this past April, coming in third and netting the proposal $50,000. To “redesign and revamp our science classrooms that were built in 1974,” as Wendt wrote on the application (refresheverything.com/ constructionforinstruction), the proposal pitched a scheme to remove three semipermanent walls that separate the four science department classrooms at Mitchell. With those walls gone, a 106-feet-by-40feet space would be re-designed with a new chemistry lab, office space and glass partitions that could be moved at will to mold the space into what was needed on a daily basis. The application process included photos, video and a big push for support from the

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Kim Wendt Science teacher Racine

district. “It’s a little more involved than simply filling out a general application,” Wendt said.

safe chemical storage, and shared office/ collaboration station for the four teachers in the department.

The grant funds a chemistry science kitchen, computer lab/digital media center, two smaller classrooms with SMART Boards, writing cafe, science library, multiple televisions mounted to the walls in varying locations for displaying student presentations and completed projects,

The transformation is about 85 percent complete, Wendt said. “We are awaiting some items still, but it is a drastic and complete makeover from what it used to be,” she added. ■

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Share Your Photos

To share photos of activities in your local association or school district, please e-mail photo files to InPrint@weac.org. weac.org/sharephotos

Help for parentteacher conferences What makes a good parent-teacher conference?

Monona Grove Education Association members attended a Board of Education meeting in September to protest a proposed cut to retirement benefits. They held up signs that read “Proud to Teach” and “Quality Benefits Return Quality Teachers” and held up a petition signed by 217 staffers. “We hope this sends a clear message to the board that our students and community depend on high-quality teachers in our schools. Continually disinvesting in the staff isn’t the way to continue our Monona Grove education tradition,” MGEA President Kristine Wollermann told the board. ■

NUE Barron teachers and support staff have had a Relay for Life team for nine years. The team raises money throughout the year by holding staff lunches, raffles, and silent auctions. This year they raised more than $7,000 and took top place at the Barron County Relay for Life. ■

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Now that school is in full swing, parent-teacher conferences are just around the corner. Parent engagement is key to student success, and Susan Wery – a member of WEAC and Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association – said she uses materials such as a hand-drawn visual of where each of her thirdgraders’ reading proficiency You can also see the is to give WEAC publication for parents families, Classroom an insight Connections, for help on into their engaging parents. Visit children’s weac.org/parents. education. “I make it very clear to my students and parents that I usually average 100% attendance at conferences and that I am confident this class and group of parents are certainly as dedicated and engaged as the previous classes I have had,” Wery said. “I also add that if they don’t come to see me then I will need to come to their home to see them. Most parents prefer coming to school.” Visit weac.org/teachers for more resources and tips on parent-teacher conferences. ■

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nson oore Joh Susan M r Peake Keynote S

Carol Grace Anderso n Closing Session Spe aker

Speakers Susan Moore Johnson and Carol Grace Anderson are just some of the features of WEAC Convention, coming to Madison October 28-29.

WEAC Convention comes to Madison Join your colleagues at WEAC Convention this October 28-29 in Madison for professional development workshops, informational seminars, inspiring speeches and fun networking opportunities. Register online at weac.org, where you can learn more about Convention’s features, including: Keynote speaker Susan Moore Johnson

Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association member Vicki Samolyk used part of her summer for adventure and service. A seasoned art teacher at Elm Creative Arts school, Vicki passed on the typical summer vacation and preparation activities, and instead traveled to Haiti for a week to help a community and teach art to children. Samolyk said she heard from a friend about the group Youthaiti – a local organization started by Gigi Pomerantz,

teachers about how best to advance the learning of students by enhancing the work of teachers. Professional development Supporting new teachers, closing achievement gaps, licensure support and education reform are just a few of the topics covered in Convention’s many workshops and sessions. For a full agenda, visit weac.org.

‘Get Fired Up’ Johnson, a Convention’s closing professor at the session features Carol Harvard Graduate Grace Anderson, a School of Education former psychology and director of re mo t ou teacher and author Find the Project on the at weac.org of “Get Fired Up Next Generation Without Burning Out.” of Teachers, has Her dynamic and been studying entertaining programs keep audiences teachers’ work for more than 30 years. on the edge of their seats. Johnson has written four books about And be sure to stay during the teachers and their work. Recently, she closing session for a chance to win a co-authored “Redesigning Teacher Door County getaway, Apple iPad, and Pay,” in which she proposes a new ■ more prizes. career-based plan for compensating teachers. A former high school teacher and administrator, Johnson advises policymakers, administrators and 6

A lesson in service

a nurse practitioner in Milwaukee – that focuses on improving health and sanitation practices as a way of improving quality of life in and around the town of Duchity. In addition to rebuilding, Samolyk led youth in art lessons. “I got to teach an art class to 40 kids, ages 3 to 13. They drew with crayons and markers, and also painted. I brought all of the materials with me, which were donated,” she said. “I also did impromptu ‘art on our front porch’ activities with kids who always seemed to gather there. We made ‘Gods Eyes’ with sticks and yarn, animal sculptures with pipe cleaners and yarn, and more drawing. Most children have no art supplies at home and very little of that in school so they were always interested to engage creatively with materials.” For more on Samolyk and her service trip to Haiti, visit weac.org/news. ■ October-November 2010

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Focus on ... World Language Teaching Kiley Bohen, a Spanish teacher at Monona Grove High School, says students are learning a foreign language “to communicate, not just memorize certain words.”

Culture

infuses today’s language lessons

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tudents in today’s world language classes get more than just a list of words to memorize. They get a dose of current events, classic literature and sometimes philosophy to broaden their knowledge of not only a language but also the culture of its origin. “Language comes from culture, not the other way around,” said Cathy Etheridge, a 32-year educator who teaches Spanish at Appleton East High School. “Sometimes, the way things are pronounced have to do with views on life and death.” World language curriculum too often in the past focused on words and not people, said Marge Draheim, a former German and Spanish teacher in Appleton who is now a member of WEAC-Retired. Draheim, who currently is serving as president of the Wisconsin Association For Language Teachers, said the way in which language is presented – such as points of view – is a crucial component to teaching the language alongside verb conjugation. Comparing and contrasting students’ native language and outlook on life with that of the culture whose language they are

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October-November 2010

studying helps students connect with the foreign language, Draheim said. “It’s impossible to teach the language devoid of culture,” Draheim added. “You can’t separate the two.” That’s why educators who teach world languages have been focusing on the values and beliefs of the speakers behind the languages they’re teaching.

“Language comes from culture, not the other way around.” Cathy Etheridge, Spanish teacher at Appleton East High School Etheridge’s teaching incorporates degrees of formality in conversation as well as what kinds of art or literature a culture celebrates. Jackie Dove, who teaches middle and high school French in the School District of Elmbrook, has

her students put their conversation skills to work in real-life examples talking to students in France. “My students certainly learn verb conjugations, but then they apply them in meaningful, culturally appropriate settings,” Dove said. “For example, if they learn ‘to be,’ they learn to describe themselves and others and use that information to write letters and/or chat via instant messaging to their pen pals in our sister school in France.” Kiley Bohen, a Spanish teacher at Monona Grove High School, uses online news articles in her classes. Bohen has her students underline verb tenses as a language exercise, but she also has them talk about the meaning of the news event. “In a way, it’s as if I’m an English teacher, asking them ‘What is the idea here,’” Bohen said. “With teaching Spanish, I’m teaching so much else – geography, literature. “Teachers are using culture to practice the language and not just use translations,” Bohen added. “Why are students learning the language? To communicate, not just memorize certain words.” ■ 7


Election 2010

Building strength, advancing an agenda Y

ou might look at election season, see the lawn signs and TV ads and then wonder what politicians have to do with your school or your classroom. What does the governor or a legislator matter to you, really? Well, think about it this way: As a public employee, every decision that impacts you is a political one. Your salary, your health care benefits, your work calendar, your curriculum, the resources you have to do your job on a daily basis – all of that is determined by elected officials: school board members, those in the state Legislature and the governor. The people in these offices will set the tone for public discourse about your profession – they’ll drive an agenda that will impact you as a public education professional. Your views on public education matter. When you head to the voting booth on November 2, when you engage your colleagues, friends and family members in discussions about what values you hold for public education – you bring yourself into the election process. When you vote for candidates who stand for the interests you hold as an educator (protecting public schools, respecting fair bargaining rights) – you bring yourself into the election process. But it doesn’t end there. Yes, it’s our responsibility to elect those who are willing to stand up for our schools and our profession (for a list of WEACPAC recommended candidates, see the next page or visit the Issues & Advocacy section of weac.org). In many ways, the election is the first step. The next step is to follow through. That means working to introduce new

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What does this election mean to you?

Salary, health care, work calendar, curriculum. Every decision that impacts you is a political one. state bills, testifying on why they’re important, and making sure they’re signed into law. Deciding on particular candidates isn’t the only way to look at an election. It’s about beginning a process to advance a common agenda. It’s about creating circles of influence with various legislators who reflect the values and priorities of your profession, your work site and your union. Remember, as a public employee, every decision that impacts you is a political one. That guides much of the process you and your colleagues took across the state to recommend candidates for office. If we don’t have a seat at the table, decisions will be made for us without our input. Get involved, stay involved and give yourself a voice! This is an 11.29 communication with WEAC members, Federal Statute CFR 100.8 (b) (4). ■

We the People sheds light on election Your union is one of the sponsors of the nation’s oldest civic journalism project: We the People/Wisconsin. This election season, We the People/Wisconsin has been shedding light on pressing questions and concerns surrounding the candidates. Questions such as “What does Scott Walker want to do with BadgerCare?” are answered on the We the People/Wisconsin website, wtpeople.com, through partnerships with the Wisconsin State Journal, Wisconsin Public Television, Wisconsin Public Radio, WISC-TV, Wood Communications Group and WisPolitics.com. We the People/Wisconsin is a multimedia partnership aiming to reconnect citizens with public life through town hall meetings, candidate and issue forums and citizen-based reporting. The project began in 1992 and has since sponsored more than 30 live, televised forums, four statewide conferences and more than four dozen town hall meetings across the state. ■

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This November, support those who support public education P

rotecting our schools from more severe budget cuts during difficult economic times, providing emergency stimulus funding aimed at getting educators back in the classroom, championing the needs of students and their education – pro-public education

advocates in office at the state and federal level took these steps to keep our schools strong in a tumultuous time. It’s critical we keep up that work in the months and years ahead.

Here are select WEAC recommended candidates up for election on November 2. For a list of all recommended candidates, visit the Issues & Advocacy section of weac.org.

Congress

S e n at o r R u s s F e i n g o l d “Students deserve better than a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to education – I strongly support maintaining local control over decisions that affect our children’s day-to-day classroom experiences, and am committed to ensuring that the federal dollars spent on education meet the needs of local school districts.”

Tom Barrett for Governor “Education has never been more important than it is today. As governor, I will fight for a strong public K-12 school system in Wisconsin to make sure that every child has access to quality schools that prepare students for the future.”

S tat e S e n at o r J o h n L e h m a n “As chairman of the Senate Education Committee, it has been a tremendous asset to work with classroom teachers and WEAC professionals who know first-hand what works in the classroom. I’m committed to ensuring that our students receive the quality education they deserve.”

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■ Senator Russ Feingold Kagen ■ Representative Steve d

■ Representative Ron Kin ■ Julie Lassa

Governor ■ Tom Barrett

Legislature

(Senate District 5) ■ Senator Jim Sullivan trict 15) ■ Tim Cullen (Senate Dis

(Senate District 21) ■ Senator John Lehman (Senate District 23) ■ Senator Pat Kreitlow ehout (Senate District 31) ■ Senator Kathleen Vin munt ■ Representative Ted Zig (Assembly District 2) rk (Assembly ■ Representative Fred Cla District 42) xson ■ Representative Kim Hi (Assembly District 43) ly District 45) ■ Roger Anclam (Assemb ly District 47) ■ Trish O’Neil (Assemb mbly District 51) ■ John Simonson (Asse Bernard Schaber ■ Representative Penny (Assembly District 57) n Dexter (Assembly ■ Representative Kriste District 68) ly District 75) ■ Steve Perala (Assemb mbly District 80) ■ Janis Ringhand (Asse Radcliffe (Assembly ■ Representative Mark District 92) 9


Trust to insure more Wisconsin public employees T

he WEA Trust, which has insured Wisconsin public school districts for the past 40 years, recently received approval to offer health and dental insurance to public employees and retirees in eastern Wisconsin covered by the State Group Health Insurance Program, commonly called the State Plan. “We are delighted with the opportunity to be a choice for state employees in eastern Wisconsin,’’ said WEA Trust President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Moody. “Our commitment to public schools is not affected by our decision to participate in the State Plan. This move is designed to strengthen the Trust so that we can continue to provide excellent service and benefits to WEAC members well into the future.” The Wisconsin Group Insurance Board approved the Trust as a Tier 1 plan. The Tier 1 designation means the Trust plan is costeffective and available to state employees for the lowest contribution level. “This shows we

For the 2011 State Plan, the WEA Trust is available in 24 eastern Wisconsin counties (service area shaded in dark green).

deliver our exceptional customer service at a competitive price,” Moody said. What it means for schools This move isn’t an endorsement by the Trust for public school employees to switch to the State Plan. Rather, this move gives the Trust more flexibility with a larger potential market. It also gives the Trust experience working with the State Plan in case future legislation forces schools to join it. Whether or not a school district chooses to join the State Plan is a decision best evaluated by the collective bargaining groups and the school district. WEAC members: Spread the word! A successful entry into the State Plan will be good for the Trust, good for school employees, and allow more public employees to experience the Trust’s quality service. If you know a friend or family member in one of the 24 counties (see map) that is covered by

Online financial seminars. Slippers optional. You don’t have to get dressed up or even leave the comfort of your home to participate in a financial seminar. That’s the beauty of the live, online educational seminars offered through WEA Trust Member Benefits using Cisco’s WebEx technology. Participate in select financial seminars from home or anywhere there is internet access. This interactive learning experience is the ultimate in convenience.

the State Plan, encourage them to consider switching to the Trust. Let them know what many of you have experienced – that there really is a Trust Difference. The state enrollment period for 2011 ends October 29. The 24 counties the WEA Trust will be offered as an option for state plan participants include: Brown, Calumet, Door, Florence, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Kenosha, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Marinette, Marquette, Milwaukee, Oconto, Outagamie, Ozaukee, Racine, Shawano, Sheboygan, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha, Waupaca, Waushara, and Winnebago. To learn more, visit weatrust.com/state. ■

“I love being able to take these seminars from my own home. I don’t live in the same town that I teach so staying later after school for a seminar is hard. I hope there are many more to come,” said member Aimee J. Sound financial decisions are based on knowledge. Take advantage of free learning opportunities to build money management skills, understand the Wisconsin Retirement system, and plan for retirement. Go to weabenefits.com/calendar for a complete list of offerings (traditional and online). Look for the WebEx icon for online seminar dates.

O U R PA RT N E R S

CHECK IT OUT at weabenefits.com

• Minimize your temptation to text while driving. • Learn the pros and cons of annuitizing. Online • Tempted by A cash incentives in ND print! to retire early?

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weatrust.com

800.279.4000

Celebrating 40 Years

of serving Wisconsin public school employees! October-November 2010

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By Bob Moeller – WEAC Member Benefits Take control of your personal finances

Managing the market online

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ast month I gave a presentation to a group of retired members. The theme was “Investing in Tough Times.” Tough times? Well, yes. The stock market is below its level 10 years ago, and bank CDs are paying next to nothing. Yet, investments were not my first subject. In order to take advantage of most of the good investments today you have to open and use a good discount brokerage account where you make the decisions yourself using research available free from the broker. You make the trades yourself on the Internet, saving a large commission cost. I suggested they consider buying some shares of their own utility company. In this case that company is the old Wisconsin Public Service, now known as Integrys with the symbol TEG. I suggest they use a good discount broker like Fidelity (others are Vanguard, E-Trade, Ameritrade, Scottrade). Here is how it works: I went to fidelity.com. At the top is a button labeled “Open an Account.” I can open it in 15 minutes on the Internet, put in my bank checking info and transfer at least the minimum amount to open an account (which is only $2,500). I can immediately use the research features which I proceed to do under “research” then “stocks.” A screen pops up and I put in the symbol TEG. I can review basics, dividend info, what various analysts think of TEG (and read their reports if I wish). I can’t order until Fidelity has my money transfer, of course. So I glance at the analyst summaries and find most of them are positive or neutral. But I am more interested in the income. How reliable is it?

Free Financial Seminars Nov. 3: Green Bay, 800-472-5582 Nov. 4: Burlington, 888-225-7583 Nov. 9: Kenosha, 800-236-2127 Nov. 11: Brookfield, 800-354-7816 Nov. 16: Brookfield, 800-354-7816 Pre-registration is required. What is the rate? I get that info by opening the Standard & Poor’s report there. It turns out that this utility, which has served everyone in my audience for possibly 50 years, pays a dividend yield of 5.2% each year (at the 9/27/10 price). Indeed, TEG has raised the dividend amount every year for the last 50 years. It has never missed paying a dividend since 1940. If I decide this sounds OK, I can put in an Internet order which states the highest price I am willing to pay for a share. I can order one share (not recommended) to 1,000 shares or more. My total cost, no matter how many shares, will be $7.95. I will pay no annual fees like in mutual fund investing. In other words I keep the entire 5.2%. I can sell anytime I wish (at market price of course). If I buy 100 shares, I will invest $5,200 plus a $7.95 commission. Fidelity will hold the stock for me (no account charges). I will get a dividend every three months of 68 cents per share or $68.

That is a return of 5.2% per year. The dividend will be automatically deposited into a cash type account at Fidelity on which I can get blank checks if I wish to make withdrawals. Or, I can direct that each dividend be reinvested in more TEG (no commissions). I will get clear statements monthly. I can access my account whenever I want over the Internet. (My 89-year-old mother-in-law has no hesitation doing this kind of thing). Can the stock go down? Yes it can. And it can go up. Is the dividend likely to go down? I don’t think so, but it could. Is there a single bank in the state of Wisconsin that pays a higher CD rate? I don’t even have to answer that do I? Of course, you don’t put all your money in any one company or even in common stock in general. You consider other possibilities such as Madison Gas & Electric, which has never missed a dividend for the last 100 years, paying about 3.8%, and has raised the dividend each year for the last 60-plus years. Or AT&T, paying 5.8%, and has raised the dividend amount every year for the last 26 years. Or you look at long-term bonds available through Fidelity. For example, General Electric has an AA-rated 28-year bond yielding 5.8% to maturity which is available at Fidelity today. Fidelity is also offering a Wachovia Bank 27-year bond rated AA yielding 5.6% to maturity. But the only logical way to do this is through a good discount brokerage account via the Internet. Then you pay low, low commissions and virtually no fees. This article is for informational purposes only. ■

Leave a comment at the Dollars & Sense blog at weac.org/dollars.

NEA Members get 5% off plus FREE Shipping Use promo code NEAMGT at www.neamb.com under Professional Resources www.weac.org

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Moving

Wisconsin

33 Nob Hill Road, P.O. Box 8003 Madison, WI 53708-8003 800-362-8034 www.weac.org

ForWard Forward

Let your voice be heard Saturday, October 16, 2010 • 11a.m. - 1p.m. State Capitol, Madison (State Street Entrance)

Details, Directions at www.weac.org

join us in supporting quality public schools. Wisconsinites value the great quality of life that makes our state special. Strong schools, first-class safety services, reliable infrastructure, and access to health care are all part of the Wisconsin tradition. Join us and rally to show support for investing in the public services and structures that improve the quality of life for all families and keep our communities strong.


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