Elmbrook Community Need to Know

35% of Elmbrook Students Not Proficient in English Language Arts

Elmbrook district wide proficiencies from Spring 2023 MAP tests show:

  • 35% of students are not proficient in English Language Arts (ELA)
  • 26% of students are not proficient in Math

Additionally, 25% of 8th grade students are not algebra ready.

Abbreviations used in the MAP results:

SwD = students with disabilities

Low SES = Low socioeconomic status

NWEA = the organization that creates the MAP test (Measure of Academic Progress)

ELA - English Language Arts (reading, writing, vocabulary, spelling)


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Elmbrook’s Cyber Security Breach Reaches Employee from Decades Prior

A former Elmbrook employee recently spoke with the Journal Sentinel on 4/10/23 about her surprise of being affected by Elmbrook’s cyber security breach, since she only worked for Elmbrook a few years in the 2000s. The cyber breach was first communicated to parents on 8/29/22, but this former employee did not learn about it until March of 2023.

The former employee is concerned about her financial well-being and said, “That was also very surprising that I hadn't worked for the school system for so long and still my information was breached. I don't know much about breaches, but that's a big one if they breach information that goes that far back. One can only imagine how far back information has been breached even though this was a breach done last year.”

A couple months after the cyber security breach, Elmbrook honored Capital Data on 11/15/22 with a Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB) award. Capital Data is a managed service provider that does data and network management. Per Elmbrook documents, the WASB awards “celebrate business partnerships that provide exceptional value-add to our students, schools and community over the past year.”

Just days before the start of 22-23 school year, Chris Thompson, Elmbrook's Chief Strategy Officer, emailed parents alerting them of a network attack requiring all student passwords to be changed. His communication said, "While our investigation is in its early stages, we have found no evidence of sensitive data being compromised."

That statement did not turn out to be correct. Vice Society, the hacker group, listed Elmbrook Schools and Twitter picked that up on 9/4/22. Mark Hansen, Superintendent, admitted that staff and student data was posted to the dark web on 9/8/22, which was covered by local news here.

On 9/29/22, law firm Cole & Van Note announced an investigation into Elmbrook over this data breach and encouraged individuals who had their data posted on the dark web to reach out to them.

Elmbrook Middle School Threat Magnifies Parental Concerns

A threat over the past weekend against Pilgrim Park Middle School brought increased police presence at school today which continues all week. The threat was made on social media, which was reported and has since been deleted.

Parents of Pilgrim Park students have shared that prior to this threat, the school was recently communicating with them about many non-acceptable behaviors by students. These behaviors prompted the principal to deploy stricter rules. Concerns from parents include kids swearing and laughing at teachers, vaping, teachers screaming and other classroom chaos.

While parents recognize the age of middle schoolers brings certain challenges, this is the second known security threat in less than five months in Elmbrook.

As covered in a previous update, a lockdown/emergency hold occurred at Swanson Elementary on 11/21/22 which resulted in police coming to the elementary school. Swanson parents shared that it was based on a threat made by a student, and two special education staff members at Swanson resigned shortly thereafter. According to community members, this event was the last straw for them.

Swanson leadership sent a follow up the next day saying this incident was a “prank.”

Emails regarding both incidents shown below.

UPDATE: A concerned parent spoke out at the 4/11/23 Board meeting (at 40:22) about the planned attack at Pilgrim Park, the bullying, disrespect and out of control negative environment and lack of communication and transparency regarding student safety.

Unapproved Textbooks Piloted in Elmbrook Classrooms

In the discussion at the 3/21/23 Board meeting on new English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum, it was noted that the Elmbrook district administration directed teachers to pilot unapproved resources - meaning textbooks and workbooks - in classrooms.

When reviewing the textbooks, Board member Linda Boucher pointed out multiple concerning topics in a middle school textbook - including body shaming and stories encouraging gender questioning. Linda, the only board member with teaching experience, commented that the district administration would not let her take the textbooks home to review further and turned her away when she arrived late to view a pilot session. Board member Kathy Lim pointed out that a social justice author was included in the textbooks and asked how these were reviewed to address sensitive topics.

A community member spoke and referenced state statute requiring curriculum (which includes resources) needing board approval and that there is no exception listed for piloting programs.

Superintendent Mark Hansen interjected (4:18:44) that “the team was following the process that we have used over a decade.”

Board member Linda Boucher added (4:20:14) “…to use our children in an educational setting for experimental trials, for results, prior to reviewing a program or curriculum could be considered irresponsible, not vigilant, regarding their best interest in mental, emotional and academic outcomes. That’s why there is a state statute that addresses this.”

We encourage all community members to listen to the presentation and eye-opening discussion (starting 2:20:23).

Board of Education Meeting: 3/21/23

Elmbrook Swiftly Changes Its Tune on "Assassination Classroom" After Media Coverage

Hours after national news covered community concerns over "Assassination Classroom, " Elmbrook swiftly changed their support of the book series. Previously, Elmbrook's Director of Library Services, Kay Koepsel-Benning said she believed it was appropriate for students.

Shortly after the news story was published, Elmbrook sent the following statement shown in this updated national news story:

"After applying our current book acquisition guidelines to this series we have decided to remove these books from our collection."

UPDATE: Elmbrook's removal of "Assassination Classroom" was also covered in this article published on 4/12/23.

Concerns Over Elmbrook's "Assassination Classroom" Reach National News

Community concerns over the "Assassination Classroom" series in Elmbrook schools reached national news.

One community member was quoted in the article saying, "Repeatedly parents are being told that public school employees know what’s best for their children. We keep finding alarming materials and public schools defend them."

"It’s clear there is a disconnect between community values and the values promoted by public schools. We’re not asking for schools to censor books, we’re asking for schools to offer materials that promote academic achievement and healthy psychological concepts. This series promotes content which undermines the fabric of our community."

Pictures from the books and links to excerpts are in this newsletter's previous update below.

Elmbrook Adds Book Series Where Students Attempt to Assassinate Their Teacher

Elmbrook librarians curated the addition of five books from the "Assassination Classroom" series to digital high school libraries in 21-22. This series revolves around students attempting to assassinate their teacher.

Pictures in the graphic novels are highly sexualized and include multiple pictures of students bringing guns into class.

See for yourself below.

Reviews with excerpts of these books are available via BookLooks.org:

Friends of Fairview South Rescues the Elmbrook Candidate Forum

The Elmbrook Parent Network (PN) and Elmbrook Parent Leadership Council (EPLC) quietly decided this year not to host a Board Candidate Forum. The Board Candidate Forum is an opportunity for the community to educate themselves about the people wishing to serve Elmbrook residents. Board candidates answer questions live and it is also recorded. It has historically been held the week before the primary election.

PN and EPLC’s unpublicized cessation of the Board Candidate Forum is, based on their feedback, due to them having to respond to questions and complaints regarding their process of hosting the forum in the past.

The Parent Network has ties to two current candidates. Area 3 candidate Preetha Kurudiyara is the Director of Communications and Andrea Wheeler, wife of Area 1 candidate Scott Wheeler, is the Director of Hospitality. Some community members were surprised that a current candidate in a role as Director of Communications of Parent Network did not appear to communicate the cessation of the Board Candidate Forum.

Friends of Fairview South believes the Board Candidate Forum is the primary method for many in the community to learn about the candidates and feel it is an essential service to Elmbrook. Given that, Friends of Fairview South stepped in to do the heavy lifting needed to make this event happen on schedule.

Friends of Fairview South represents stakeholders for Fairview South, a facility that educates and cares for the District’s most vulnerable students. The long-term fate of this facility has been questioned publicly and recently the Board heard in Citizens’ Forum on 1/17/23 (at 56:35) concerns about maintenance at Fairview South since mouse traps are visible in the hallways. (Additional info on Fairview South in earlier updates.)

A playback of the 2023 Board Candidate Forum is available here.

Elmbrook's "Fun Home" Reaches Local Media

The community’s exposure of explicit materials reached local media on 1/19/23, detailing additional things in “Fun Home” such as a father grooming young children and child nudity.

Superintendent Mark Hansen did not act when a parent raised concerns publicly. Only upon Mark receiving notice of media attention did he take swift action to remove the book for review. First Mark said that the book would be reviewed by a (mostly internal) reconsideration committee per policy. Upon further pushback, Mark changed his story to say the book acquisition did not follow procedure and a committee will not be used.

Almost all Elmbrook Board members have ignored parent cries about inappropriate books. The Board must be emailed by the community instructing them to hold individuals accountable for repeated inappropriate materials brought into libraries. Superintendent Mark Hansen continues to deflect taking responsibility for his administration’s actions and most Board members allow it.

Without documentation of complaints by the community, the majority of Board members will continue to bury their heads in the sand. Unfortunately the community and its children are paying the price.

Another Adult Book Found in Elmbrook's Online Library

“Fun Home - A Family Tragicomic” by Alison Bechdel was added to the Elmbrook digital library last year and has illustrations of oral sex and a nude male autopsy. This is available to all high schoolers in the district.

Attendees of a GTPAO meeting on 1/17/23 about “Helping Your Advanced Reader Choose Age-Appropriate Books” heard Kay Benning, Director of Library Services, talk about how they “curate each book” that is in Sora, one of Elmbrook’s online libraries. Kay admitted that high school is considered adult level for reading.

Comments in Citizens’ Forum at the 1/17/23 Board meeting from a GTPAO meeting attendee voice frustrations with Elmbrook continuing to bring in sexually explicit books that do not match the community values Superintendent Mark Hansen claims to be upholding.

Kay Benning receives a $93k+ annual salary from Elmbrook taxpayers based on DPI records and has complained about Elmbrook’s “restrictive” library policy. Pictures of what Elmbrook’s “restrictive” policy allows are below.

When will our Director of Library Services be held accountable for the content she admits to “curating” for the district?

Additional explicit books discovered by the community, concerns about Sora and the administration’s complaints about the burden to review these books are detailed in previous updates.

The Appointment of an Elmbrook Board Member

As more community members are paying attention to school board elections, it’s important to be reminded of the initial appointment, not election, of a current board member, which was made by a false majority expressed by Board President Scott Wheeler. That mistake spurred a lawsuit against Scott Wheeler and Vice President Jean Lambert which is ongoing.

The appointment of Mushir Hassan on 5/12/2020 was based on Scott Wheeler announcing Mushir as having a false majority of votes. Votes were cast via email. Based on district documents, the correct vote was actually a tie. Somewhat presciently, during an earlier vote on 5/12/2020 Glen Allgaier joked (at 2:09:20) “are you having trouble with single digit addition there Scott?”

After Scott Wheeler announced the false majority (at 2:34:15), Jean Lambert motioned to appoint Mushir Hassan to the board. The district went ahead the same evening of this mistake and announced Mushir Hassan as the appointed Board member, as reported in local news in January 2021.

Based on what Scott told a community member recently, he claims that he was unaware of his mistake until a lawsuit came through against him and Board Vice President Jean Lambert in December 2020. Once he was aware of that, he said that a decision was made to let voters work things out in the next election cycle.

Unfortunately for the Elmbrook community, that assertion is highly questionable. Scott heard in the 10/27/2020 Citizens’ Forum (at 24:45) serious concerns from a community member about this process and how the Board approved amended 5/12/2020 meeting minutes on 9/28/2020 that list “preferences” not “votes.”

The lawsuit against board members Scott Wheeler and Jean Lambert - case 2020CV001745 - is currently in the Court of Appeals as of December 2022.

Scott is currently running unopposed for the Area 1 seat.

Elmbrook's Online Library, Sora, Raises Red Flags with Parents

Since at least July 2021, community members have come forward voicing concerns with Sora, Elmbrook’s online library app. Notably, on 7/13/21, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) stepped in on behalf of Elmbrook parents when sexually explicit content was found on Sora that was available to elementary students. (Additional details in previous updates.)

Concerns with Sora are not limited to Elmbrook. Nationwide, parents are seeing issues and speaking out. As an op-ed from 12/16/22 pointed out, Sora can circumvent curriculum restrictions and can easily allow explicit content. This op-ed continued:

“Sora is mostly free content so no one can complain. It makes its money off your children. It hyperlinks them to outside sources like adult dating sites after teaching them how to engage in explicit sex. It hyperlinks them to all sorts of unwanted and unknown sources. It then uses an algorithm to show them more of the same content once they have looked. It’s collecting data the entire time. Eventually, they are advertising specifically to your children to change their attitudes.

Kay Benning, Elmbrook’s Director of Library Services, was interviewed for a May 2022 publication by OverDrive, the company that makes the Sora app. The publication notes that Elmbrook engages in “reading data tracking (including time spent reading) to keep students engaged and accountable.”

The publication also says “Sora has played an important role as Elmbrook diversifies its collection. Recently, the district rolled out a ‘Books for All’ project, providing a core set of books for each classroom and grade level across the district with a diversity, equity and inclusion lens. To augment this collection and support virtual learners, the district also made sure to curate digital book collections in Sora.”

On 12/13/22, Sora circulation was listed as a benchmark for success in Burleigh’s $896k library remodel discussion. A board member asked why digital book usage would be a benchmark for a physical library remodel. Responses start at 3:03:45 from both Kay Benning and Chris Thompson, which includes Kay saying technology in libraries is used to model how to checkout digital items and at 3:05:15 “reading spurs reading.”

District senior leadership does not appear to want to address Sora, so parents have taken matters into their own hands. Parents have already successfully had Sora removed from their childrens’ devices. To do so, contact:

Dan Scott

Director of Technology

262-781-3030 x11166


UPDATE: A video was shared with us showing exactly how hyperlinks in books in Sora take kids to outside websites.

Elmbrook Elementary Emergency Spurs Two Staff Resignations

An emergency hold occurred at Swanson Elementary on 11/21/22. Police were called, and parents of Swanson students report that it was based on a threat made from a child.

Two special education staff members at Swanson resigned shortly thereafter; this event was the last straw for them according to community members.

Swanson leadership sent a follow up the next day saying this incident was a “prank.” Yet, if this was a simple prank, why would it prompt two special education staff members to resign? Why were police presence and a lockdown necessary?

In contrast to the incident at Swanson, in January 2022 Superintendent Mark Hansen publicized a video that was made off campus by students and was posted on social media. This video contained an alleged “racist” act. Mark Hansen said he was “disturbed by its content” and created his own video response.

Community members have heard that this incident with high schoolers involved friends making jokes in poor taste. Mark Hansen said that “those responsible will be held accountable" and community members have heard one student was expelled.

Will District senior leadership investigate the “prank” that impacted elementary students and involved police presence in the same way they did with the social media content? Will they hold those responsible accountable? Will they investigate why this incident was so impactful that two staff members resigned shortly thereafter? As of right now, it appears not.

Big picture

Elmbrook Senior Leadership Looks at Creating a Task Force to Spend More Taxpayer Money

On 12/5/22, a meeting occurred at Pilgrim Park attended by the full Board and all members of senior leadership.

Referendum debt payments are expected to roll off for taxpayers in 2028 (see page 59), and instead of returning those savings to the taxpayers, senior leadership wants another referendum to continue spending.

Senior leadership talked about investing in Pilgrim Park, but when questioned about what exactly is needed, they had few specifics and simply spoke of addressing gaps in facility standards across the district. So, instead of identifying a problem and finding a solution, they seem to be approaching it as they are looking for more money and once received they will find things to spend it on.

Take notice of how often Elmbrook touts its fiscal management and the $10M set aside for Hillside Elementary, yet it spent ~$500k in summer 2022 for a library refresh at Brookfield Elementary for things like better sight lines and rolling bookshelves (details covered in a previous story below). This initial spend opened the door for senior leadership to say all elementary libraries need remodeling. On 11/17/22, the next library remodel at Burleigh was discussed by Finance & Operations Committee members Jian Sun, Jen Roskopf and Jean Lambert. The price tag for Burleigh's library refresh? $896k.

The community has no problem supporting upgrades when needed, but it appears our highly compensated senior leadership team who continually use the slogan “become what’s next” don’t have a vision of what that "next" is for Pilgrim Park. (Mark Hansen $213k salary, Chris Thompson $149k salary in 21-22, Tanya Fredrich $147k salary in 21-22).

At the meeting on 12/5/22, Elmbrook senior leadership talked about creating a task force to generate ideas on how to spend taxpayer money. Recent task forces have a less than pleasant history.

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Workgroup in the fall of 2020 caused an uproar in the community when it tried to put equity, not equality in the District Strategic Map. This added to work already done by ICS for Equity and materials discovered in classrooms (see previous updates). Note the Critical Race Theory (CRT) themes of labeling identities clearly shown here and here, yet Chris Thompson told the Journal Sentinel on 5/28/21 via email, "We do not teach Critical Race Theory to our students nor train our staff on its tenets." In the 5/25/21 Listening Session (at 31:55), the Board heard that CRT was directly referenced on 11/23/20 DEI Workgroup notes (which have now been made private). Board members Scott Wheeler and Mushir Hassan were a part of the DEI workgroup.

The School Reopening Task Force in the summer of 2020 showcased non-inclusive and double standards of senior leadership when criticism from one member got her booted from the group. She used the word pussy to criticize some in her same profession. Mark Hansen said "It was a violation of community values" and "I also notified her that we would be removing her from the Task Force for violating our code of conduct expectations."

Pussy is used 15 times in "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl" a book available in print to 14 year olds in Elmbrook. That book also contains 79 fucks, 51 shits and 11 dicks. Here's a video of a Dad discussing this book in another district.

We recently learned that "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl" has been in libraries since 2013 (note: Mark Hansen became Superintendent in 2012), with an additional copy being ordered in the 21-22 school year. It appears Elmbrook finds language suitable for 14 year olds to read unacceptable for adults.

The Spotlight Returns to Special Education in Elmbrook

Two impassioned parents spoke out at the 11/15/22 Board meeting with concerns about special education. One parent noted a high volume of special education staff resignations over the last year - almost all of them leaving Elmbrook, and only one retiring. Another parent raised concerns with Fairview South, a facility that serves Elmbrook's most vulnerable students, where another district was told students cannot be placed at Fairview South because it is closing.

Fairview South is a facility dedicated to children that do not thrive in the traditional classroom, but can be life-changing for the families and children that are able to use it. Fairview South serves children that are medically fragile, have significant intellectual disabilities or with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The Elmbrook community welcomes and supports these children, but it is unclear if senior leadership feels the same way.

Closing Fairview South and not valuing special education staff seems to align with recommendations Elmbrook received in September 2013 from Elise Frattura, who is the co-founder of ICS for Equity. (Elmbrook worked with ICS for Equity from 2012 - 2021; find out more about ICS here.) Frattura's executive summary of her report on special education says "Elmbrook will make a strong effort to serve all students in the schools and classroom they would attend if they did not have a disability." (Excerpt below.) This is the ugly application of seemingly positive terms like equity & inclusion in schools; it means putting kids in general education even if that is not their best learning environment.

These recommendations were affirmed when Tanya Fredrich (Assistant Superintendent for Teaching & Learning) was interviewed for The Inclusion Podcast on 3/8/2019 where she discussed “equitable systems” and implementing inclusion in Elmbrook.

For teachers that may disagree with 100% inclusion for 100% of the kids with IEPs in our district, Tanya states that the conversation with the teacher involves telling the teacher that (at 24:17) ”it might be time for them to think about envisioning their future differently.”

Adding to that, we previously pointed out Glassdoor reviews, especially for special education staff, that echo frustrations. (Pictures below.)

Not only that, graduation rates for children with IEPs have plummeted - going from 95.77% in 2010 to 67.35% in 2019, which is the most recent data from DPI.

These concerns are in stark contrast to the District's stated mission "to educate and inspire every student, to think, to learn and to succeed." Every student means every student. But does senior leadership feel the same? And will Board members actually hold senior leadership accountable?

Elmbrook Academics - Changing Data & Problems in Middle Schools

Declining academics, which were occurring from at least the 2015-2016 school year, were made public in the 2021 and 2022 Board elections. The latest data shows mixed progress, with changes to what data is looked at and how it is evaluated.

MAP data was highlighted previously, and over the past year community members have noticed a change in what data is reported. Most recently, on 8/3/22, we can see Tanya Fredrich (Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning), suggesting moving away from some MAP scores. This makes apples to apples comparisons harder. Also notable is a large focus on ranking, not raw scores. So, if Elmbrook’s benchmarks are all declining, but Elmbrook is declining less, it will appear as an improvement.

The Teaching & Learning Committee chair is Jen Roskopf. In their latest meeting on 11/9/22, academics was reviewed. 8th grade shows both math and reading is declining - and this is even based on ranking, not raw scores. Meanwhile, a community member found that “The Poet X” was added in print last year to middle school libraries. This book contains a poem about masturbation - a picture is posted below.

In the 11/9/22 meeting, the benchmarks that Elmbrook ranks itself against came up. It was noted that the Slinger school district outperforms Elmbrook in some metrics, and some individuals said it should be removed from the benchmark list. Their reasoning was that it was significantly smaller than Elmbrook.

When Superintendent Mark Hansen’s contract was renewed on 6/14/22, Board President Scott Wheeler said (1:00:35) that this year there was a significant amount tied to performance that they want the Superintendent to focus on - such as 3rd grade reading, 8th grade math, ELA (English Language Arts) & ACT scores, et cetera. It begs the question, what was his performance measured on before?

Most recently, Scott in his 10/25/22 Board President report (3:16:58) was “grateful to Mark Hansen and his team” when they created the Urgency Team in early 2022 to address 1st grade reading. Yet this action was almost a year after problems were being raised.

On 3/3/21 in a Teaching and Learning Committee meeting, the administration noted that virtual learners outperformed in person and COVID mitigation was listed as a potential root cause of achievement levels staying flat.

In 5/11/21, community members loudly pushed back against senior leadership’s decision on mandatory masking and their approach to COVID. Parents, community members and even students stepped forward and spoke of the myriad of negative effects from these protocols.

It is not a surprise to community members that kids who were in mandatory masks potentially all of their Kindergarten year, and could have been in mask-required classrooms in 1st grade, struggled to with reading and speech development.

But the dots don’t seem to be connecting for all Board members.

Elmbrook Senior Leadership Once Again Avoids Addressing Sexually Explicit Books

On the heels of a parent coming forward on 10/25/22 to talk about her 6 year-old having access to Crank, a book that discusses drug use and describes a girl getting raped in graphic detail, Elmbrook's Chris Thompson cooperated with the Journal Sentinel to once again paint objections to explicit books as either banning books, bigoted, or driven by outside the community. This is false, and this response is a known pattern by Elmbrook senior leadership.

Crank is currently available to 14 year olds in Elmbrook. It was first brought to their attention in August of 2021 and has been removed from other Districts nationwide. Here's an excerpt being read, and pages are posted below.

Elmbrook Partnered With Professor Now Suggesting “Pandemic Amnesty”

Superintendent Mark Hansen worked with Professor Emily Oster to share Elmbrook COVID data for her COVID dashboard. Emily’s own tweets (shown below) show she was in favor of fear-based vaccine motivation, vaccine mandates, and vaccinating children despite being aware of their low risk of serious illness.

Now that it is acknowledged that the vaccines were never tested on preventing transmission, they do not prevent illness and can have serious, even fatal, side effects, Emily Oster is trying to walk away from her behavior and ask for amnesty.

How much did this relationship with Emily Oster affect Elmbrook’s actions? Community members at Board meetings since 2020 have brought up concerns including: negative effects of and mistreatment of students with COVID protocols, concerns about pushes for vaccination on staff and students, concerns about Elmbrook’s vaccine provider, and more. These all fell on deaf ears.

As a reminder, we previously shared that Elmbrook’s vaccine provider is on the Board at the Elmbrook Education Foundation, received awards from Elmbrook here and here, and settled a Medicare/Medicaid fraud lawsuit.

There are many rebuttals to Emily Oster’s suggestion of amnesty - we find this one to be notable.

Yet Another Explicit Book Added in Print to Elmbrook High Schools

Read for yourself the content that Elmbrook’s revised library policy allows.

Another copy of "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl" was added in 21-22 in print for high schoolers.

This book has been in Elmbrook libraries since 2013.

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Elmbrook Adds an Explicit Book to High Schools Removed From Other Public Schools

Community members found a book added in the 21-22 year to Elmbrook high schools that reviews point out as pornographic and has been removed from other public schools. Meanwhile, an article was published 10/12/22 that shows communication between Elmbrook’s Chris Thompson and a reporter which (once again) paints parent objection to sexually explicit books as bigoted. Also on 10/12/22, Chris gave a follow up to library changes stemming from the awareness of explicit books that talks about the burden placed on the administration.

Members of the gay community have been pushing back against many things, including explicit books with gay characters nationwide since they groom children for abuse or trafficking.

It appears well intentioned administration members, in the interest of inclusivity, may be blind to the fact that providing books with pornographic content to minors actually sets these minors up as targets for predators and trafficking.

The Elmbrook Parent Network has a Human Trafficking info event on 10/26/22, but it appears Elmbrook has not connected the fact that sexually explicit books in libraries undermine efforts to prevent trafficking.

We encourage community members to review the 6,700 books purchased last year and raise any concerns.

What the EEF? A look at the Elmbrook Education Foundation

The Elmbrook Education Foundation (EEF) - whose purpose is to provide scholarships to Elmbrook students and grants to Elmbrook educators and schools - has been brought to our attention. Does the EEF serve students, educators and schools or do they sometimes serve the administration or certain board members?

Some things that have been brought to our attention include:

Elmbrook Superintendent Fails to Provide Accountability Framework

As defined by Policy 9115, Elmbrook Superintendent Mark Hansen was to provide Reporting and Accountability Framework at the Community and Legislative Engagement (CLE) meeting prior to the start of the school year. That CLE meeting was 8/24/22, and not only was this accountability framework not on the agenda, Mark Hansen was not even in attendance for this meeting.

A community member brought copies of this policy to the meeting, and when a Board member questioned Chris Thompson from the administration on the oversight, the response appeared to be dismissive, as if nothing had changed and it could simply be discussed in October.

Accountability has been a repeated ask from Elmbrook residents given issues the community has discovered. This incident could be another example where the District administration disregards approved Board policy.

Why does the District have this framework? Per their own policy:

"The District employs a comprehensive evaluation and accountability system to:

  • spur continuous improvement of outcomes for students, staff, schools, departments, programs, taxpayers and the entire community,
  • ensure the effective use of resources to achieve the District’s mission, vision, values and goals,
  • facilitate effective fact-based decision making, and
  • hold students, staff, schools, departments, programs and the District accountable for their contributions to the achievement of these aims."

This policy was last reviewed May 10, 2022 so it would be hard to make the case that it wasn’t known about.

Update: Policy 9115 was added last minute to the CLE 9/28/22 agenda. Community members in attendance reported that the administration admitted they have not been following this policy as written for several years. The meeting agenda puts forward that the administration's update of the District Strategy Map fulfilled this policy.

An interesting admission is that the renewal of the Strategy Map was done only by a discussion with Mark Hansen, Superintendent and Scott Wheeler, Board President and Jean Lambert, Board Vice President. A couple CLE members expressed their disapproval with this not being brought to the full Board or the CLE committee as listed in the policy.

Below: Mark Hansen Reviewing Requests to Speak from the Community at the 7-12-22 Board Meeting

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Another Elmbrook Community Win! Additional Transparency for Property Sales

Once again, thanks to this community's engagement, Elmbrook as a whole achieved another win on 8/9/22 - this time regarding property sales and transparency.

Future property sales will now appear on Board agendas for discussion to allow community input, and if community input is significant, it could trigger a Town Hall style forum, similar to what happened when the District tried to implement equity, not equality in May 2021. The District also created a website with information on their properties which will also list any properties for sale.

We must specifically highlight the work of both veteran Board member Linda Boucher and the newest Board member Kathy Lim. On 6/14/22 when discussing Policy 3270 regarding the sale of property owned by the District, Linda stated (3:01:41) that “The School District doesn’t own that property solely. The taxpayers of the School District own that property as well as the entire School District.”

Linda Boucher has continuously advocated for notifying the community in a clearer manner that the District is looking at selling a property to allow for discussion and feedback with the community. Kathy Lim astutely pointed out on 8/9/22 (49:10) that "we are elected officials [...] and if you were to build a task force, which is two people, that is lesser representation. I think it's just the right thing to do."

Notably, Finance & Operations (F&O) committee members - Jian Sun, Jean Lambert and Jennifer Roskopf - did not seem to support additional transparency based on their comments in the June and August Board meetings.

Despite transparency being once of Elmbrook's core values, community members have felt that has been lacking in general from the Elmbrook District administration. Lack of transparency/disclosure was even referenced in Citizens' Forum comments on 8/9/22.

Public Comment at Elmbrook Board Meetings Protected

Thanks to community pushback, Elmbrook voted on 7/12/22 to keep Citizens’ Forum (public comment) at Board meetings and modified language to give community members more time to speak. We are grateful to all the community members whose engagement and feedback helped make this happen.

Changes to Citizens’ Forum have been in discussion since 8/3/21 and a community member shared with us that during the 10/19/21 Community and Legislative Engagement meeting Jean Lambert advocated for ending public comment at Board meetings.

In the 4/12/22 Board meeting, Citizens’ Forum at Board meetings was up for discussion again. Community members spoke out:

(1:31) “Part of your role as a Board member is to represent the interests of our community. How can you do that without really hearing from the community? Limiting time for Citizens’ Forum does not support that objective.”

(1:33) “Many of our kids are fine, but there are kids that are struggling, and parents reaching out to the administration and board members are being ignored and disregarded. Some Board members and administration routinely dismiss parental concerns as partisan issues. However, most parents, regardless of their political affiliation, would agree that education is important. Using law enforcement as a means to silence parents through intimidation [and] using media to promote character attacks against parents has also been used as a tactic by Elmbrook to stifle free speech.”

Elmbrook Attorneys Silence Parent Criticism

Using a playbook community members have noticed before, another instance of Elmbrook using their attorneys to silence parent criticism has come to light.

January through May 2022, Elmbrook has paid over $93k in attorney fees to Buelow Vetter. Buelow Vetter recently used the same tactic to try to silence an Oconomowoc parent for criticizing explicit books. Oconomowoc subsequently dropped the legal threat when the parent would not back down.

Elmbrook Board Member Promotes His New Charter School

While Elmbrook social media comments remain turned off - which a community member pointed out in Citizens' Forum in August 2021 - Board member Jian Sun has been actively promoting and responding on social media for his new charter school, WIA.

Community members have reached out to us with concerns such as:

  • What motivation does Jian have to ensure excellence in Elmbrook when negative outcomes at Elmbrook boost enrollment at WIA?

  • Is Jian responding to emails as an Elmbrook Board member just as promptly as these messages for WIA?

  • Is Jian following the Code of Conduct and Ethics for Board members? The Code states things such as "[I] will do my best to protect and preserve [Elmbrook] and to advance its progress."

We have seen requests already for Jian's resignation due to conflicts of interest.

As previously communicated, the founding members of WIA are Jian Sun and former Elmbrook Superintendent Matt Gibson. In March, Matt Gibson requested Elmbrook parent and student directory information for grades 4K-5 through an open records request. He subsequently withdrew that request in April. Why was our former Superintendent, who is working with a current Board member on a new school, looking for this information?

One more Board member with ties to charter schools is our Board President, Scott Wheeler. Community members have told us that he sends his two youngest children to a charter school providing classical education in Lake Country. Why does our Board President speak of Elmbrook excellence, yet he enrolls two of his kids elsewhere?

Elmbrook Renews Superintendent Contract; His Base Pay Increases to $213,718

The Board voted (6-1) on 6/14/22 for a new Superintendent contract - which puts Superintendent Hansen's pay to $213,178. Prior year contracts are 2021-2023 and 2020-2022.

Board President Scott Wheeler (1:04:00) apologized to Mark Hansen about his total compensation, "Sorry. You're not #1." On the other hand, if you look at DPI pay data, Mark's current base salary is currently the 9th highest in the state if you sort by code 05 - District Administration.

Thank you to the community members who spoke out, emailed and shared the DPI link with us.

Smiles Return to Elmbrook Homepage

One year after masks became optional for students, Elmbrook updated its website so full faces are on display in lead photos - studying, collaborating and most importantly... smiling.

As one community member has said, “Smiles are contagious and we should continue to see them from staff, students, and parents in Elmbrook. 😁”

DEI in the Elmbrook Employee Handbook

A reminder that the community must continue to stay vigilant was brought to our attention. In the 5/10 Board meeting, the 2022 - 2023 Employee Handbook was discussed. On page 1, it says "We develop teams and inclusive environments that embrace ideas and people with attention to diversity and equity."

Details Continue to Emerge on Elmbrook's Rushed Vote for ~$500,000 Library Spend

At the 3/8/22 Board meeting, in a 5-2 vote, Elmbrook voted to spend ~$500,000 of taxpayer money on cosmetic updates at one of the District's newer libraries - Brookfield Elementary (est. 2000). The administration indicated plans to continue this spending for library updates at three more elementary schools for a total of $2M of taxpayer money potentially on the line.

Board President Scott Wheeler admitted (1:49:04) “this is a new approach, or it’s a different approach in terms of getting it to the Board for construction season. Normally we would have had a discussion on this. We would have a month to visit the space [and] think about it.”

In support of this spend, Board member Jen Roskopf said (1:39:39) “We know scientifically and statistically that if kids are engaged extracurricularly, they perform better academically." A community member did a records request to find out what research, studies, reports or articles informed the Board that support Jen’s assertion. The District responded: “There are no records responsive to your request. Jen Roskopf, who as an individual Board member does not speak on behalf of the Board, made the comment based on her own personal knowledge/research.”

What will the taxpayers be getting when they spend ~$500,000 on the Brookfield Elementary library? Rolling bookshelves, a feature that Glen Allgaier (1:25:10) said “the librarian [from Brookfield East] did tell me that the movability, they were not taking, the high school again I talked about this a little bit, they were not taking advantage of the fact that all the bookshelves were movable, reconfigurable, um, what makes you f-, and that is part of the plan here, right?”

The school will also will be able to move the $40,000 in stadium seating furniture (pictured below) the PTO bought in 2020 in order to reduce distraction from the hallway. The administration also spoke about better sight lines and some technology updates.

A community member in attendance spoke out against this spending - citing that 33 part-time learning assistants could be hired for an entire year with $500,000. She also mentioned that her kids, who attend that school, love the library and refuted rationales brought up for the spending.

Board member Linda Boucher was a voice of reason when discussing this and voted against it. Scott Wheeler joined her in that no vote.

After the vote, a community member shared with us a link between Superintendent Mark Hansen and CJ & Associates, who is the vendor being used for all $153,000 of furniture in the updates. Mark and Kim Hastings, President of CJ & Associates were on the Waukesha County Business Alliance for the 2021-2022 year.

Elmbrook's 20th Century History Resource Pushes CRT and Equity Concepts

Thank you - once again - to all the community members who reviewed the Social Studies resources for high school students on short notice in April.

In a resource for 20th Century History, the CRT concept of systemic racism and equity concept of personal identities are discussed.

One excerpt: "But by the 2010s, some 50 years after the achievements of the civil rights movement [...], it remained true that African Americans still had not achieved full equality with white people."

Read more excerpts yourself in the pictures below.

As a reminder, the burden was been placed on the community to review these books despite the fact that the taxpayers pay the administration's salaries - many of them in the six figures.

What's At Stake, Elmbrook

We are grateful for continued media coverage of the issues the community has been bringing to light in Elmbrook. Excerpts from this 3/29/22 article are below:

"Elmbrook parents have had to fight schools for a hyper-sexualized curriculum. Students there have been given access to instruction on how to use sex apps, along with explicit illustrations, as well as sex surveys, asking about the number of sexual partners and substance use during sex. The district has failed to keep in place filters for explicit material on iPads, allowing Kindergarteners access to explicit materials.


The district is pursuing an agenda to shift to a CRT curriculum that 'prioritizes marginalized communities’ and 'de-centers whiteness.’ The Superintendent of course assured parents that CRT was not being taught in the district despite direct evidence that it was. When these Equity Principles – a plan to treat students differently based on their race – met with opposition, teachers were told that the district would rename the plan and move forward."

Elmbrook Senior Leadership Attempts to Access Private Student Health Records Without Consent

As additional details emerge from the discrimination complaint that led Tanya Fredrich (Assistant Superintendent for Teaching & Learning) to put in writing that since a student was part of a “majority” class they could not be discriminated against, we have found out that Elmbrook senior leadership also tried to access private medical records of this student.

According to this report:

“The child in question was suffering from depression and her parents were working with doctors to address her health concerns, the mother who filed the complaint told the DCNF [Daily Caller News Foundation] on the condition of anonymity. The parents discovered their daughter was failing, but said they had no idea and administrators would not communicate with them unless they gave the school access to the student’s personal healthcare information and open dialogue with her healthcare professionals.

The student’s mother started going to board meetings and Elmbrook’s Teaching and Learning Committee meetings, which she said seemed to focus entirely on helping low-income and non-white students, often advocating for the use of many of the accommodations that she claimed the district was refusing her daughter.”

The parent, in an interview on 3/24/22 (starts 21:25) disclosed that Elmbrook went ahead and tried to access their child's private medical records. The provider denied them, but alerted the family of Elmbrook's attempt.

As a reminder, on 3/9/22, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty sent the District this letter reminding them that "All people are protected by federal and state nondiscrimination laws." Elmbrook responded on 3/10/22 with a defensive and divisive denial of any wrongdoing.

Additional news coverage on this issue here.

Inclusion for Elmbrook Senior Leadership Means Our Way or the Highway

A community member at the 3/8/22 board meeting pointed out that Tanya Fredrich (Assistant Superintendent for Teaching & Learning) was interviewed for The Inclusion Podcast on 3/8/2019 where she discussed “equitable systems” and implementing inclusion in Elmbrook.

For teachers that may disagree with 100% inclusion for 100% of the kids with IEPs (Individualized Education Programs) in our district, Tanya states that the conversation with the teacher involves telling the teacher that (at 24:17) ”it might be time for them to think about envisioning their future differently.”

This is a concerning viewpoint to community members who think that teachers that may speak up for their students are not being supported or welcomed by the administration.

Some reviews of Elmbrook from Glassdoor (pictured below) echo concerns as well about the administration.

As a reminder, in the 1/18/22 Board meeting, Linda Boucher was the only board member to vote against approving blanket contract renewals for members of the senior leadership team. All other Board members present (Jen Roskopf, Scott Wheeler, Jean Lambert & Glen Allgaier) approved bulk renewals of Senior Leadership employment contracts.

Elmbrook's Response to Criticism; Attack the Messenger

The Elmbrook administration continues to show their known pattern of behavior when facing criticism; attack the messenger. The most recent example occurred with a concerned parent and an issue at Wisconsin Hills Middle School.

The parent became aware that in January, a male teacher invited two female students to his classroom for “lunch bunch.” The parent didn’t know his daughter was involved in this club until she came home describing the explicit music that the male teacher played for her and a friend. When the parent brought this up to the Principal, Matt Schroeder, he received a dismissive response.

Therefore, the parent spoke about this issue during the public comment section (known as Citizens' Forum) at the March Board meeting - reciting some of the lyrics played for his daughter. This finally prompted a response from the District. Unfortunately, the response wasn’t against the teacher, but against the parent by threatening to charge him with disorderly conduct.

Previous examples of Elmbrook attacking the messenger include:

  • Issuing an official denial about a 5K student accessing porn on their iPad, when in fact, the District later admitted inappropriate access did happen

  • Board member Jean Lambert trying to remove public comment from Board meetings after excerpts from explicit books were read to get the Board's attention to remove them

  • Censoring/cessation of comments on the official Elmbrook Schools Facebook page in 2021 after the community became aware of explicit books available to children in 3rd grade and above

The Latest Scores Show That Elmbrook Academic Proficiencies Continue Their Decline

The last two Teaching and Learning Committee meetings shared the latest MAP (Measure of Academic Progress) scores for Math and English Language Arts, and those academic proficiencies continue their decline. The administration removed the original Math presentation linked above and now the new presentation removes spring proficiencies that we show below. Also, note that the latest English Language Arts scores were completely left OFF the pages of the presentation that compared them to 2018-2019. This is the opposite of the transparency the administration preaches.

The administration is also significantly reducing the information they share compared to only a year ago - take a look at what they previously shared in Winter 2021 MAP scores. These scores show declines starting from the 2015-2016 school year, so while the administration may try to spin this decline as COVID related, the bigger picture tells a different story.

As you review, acronyms used are:

SwD = students with disabilities

Low SES = Low socioeconomic status

NWEA = the organization that creates the MAP test (Measure of Academic Progress)

ELA - English Language Arts (reading, writing, vocabulary, spelling)

Elmbrook Settles Another Lawsuit; Taxpayers Pay for the District Administration's Lawlessness

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Elmbrook has settled a lawsuit regarding open records where the District was non-compliant and non-transparent. Elmbrook taxpayers will be paying $19,000 for the administration's missteps.

The community member behind the lawsuit said, "I am grateful for [my attorney's] time, effort and expertise in explaining the law, holding the district accountable for non-compliance, and advocating for truth and transparency. These undertakings are crucial to our system of checks and balances, and absent them, our government would cease to be of the people, by the people and for the people."

In previous reporting on this case, the community member's attorney, Tom Kamenick, said, “The Court of Appeals applied the law exactly as written. Elmbrook was trying to stretch exceptions in the law far broader than they were intended to go.”

Superintendent Mark Hansen's Mask Theater

Board meetings: mask on

Real life: mask off

Bonus pic: Glen Allgaier, Mushir Hassan and the rest of the Medical Advisory Board mask free while all Elmbrook students were still required to wear masks.

Elmbrook's COVID Injection Provider Pays $2 Million to Settle a Medicare/Medicaid Fraud Lawsuit

In May 2021, Elmbrook provided Hayat Pharmacy with an Excellence in a Community Partnership award. In November 2021, Elmbrook honored Hayat Pharmacy again with a Wisconsin Association of School Boards 2021 Business Honor Roll award. Our question is, who did the due diligence on Hayat before they became Elmbrook's community partner, and who chose them to get these awards?

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is now reporting that Hayat Pharmacy is paying $2 Million to settle a fraud lawsuit:

"According to federal prosecutors, Hayat Pharmacy operated a two-part scheme: 'dispense and submit claims for exorbitantly priced drugs that nobody needs and/or that nobody prescribed.'"

Community members in Citizens' Forum brought up concerns previously, and the Board ignored them. Where is the accountability in the Elmbrook School District?

Graduation Rates Plummet for Students Receiving Special Education Services

Elmbrook talks a lot about excellence, but when community members have been looking at the numbers, it is far from. Graduation rates for kids with IEPs (Individualized Education Programs) have gone from 95.77% in 2010 to 67.35% in 2019 (which is the most recent data from DPI).

A community member raised this to the Board on 1/18. At that meeting, Linda Boucher was the only Board member who tried to hold the administration accountable for declines in academic performance by not automatically renewing 2-year contracts for certain members of the District administration.

Glen Allgaier, Jean Lambert, Scott Wheeler and Jen Roskopf all voted to keep the same people in charge that are the architects of the academic proficiency declines for all students (see MAP data in previous post) and declining graduation rates for students with special education services. (Board members Jian Sun and Mushir Hassan were absent.)

Superintendent Mark Hansen brought in ICS for Equity in 2012 and ICS’ Special Education review in 2013 said "Elmbrook will make a strong effort to serve all students in the schools and classroom they would attend if they did not have a disability." Their intent was to close achievement gaps, and it ended ability grouping. (Further info on ICS in previous posts.)

Seeing the results, why has the administration not reversed course?

Elmbrook’s ~$950,000 Incentive to Put CDC Recommendations Before Parent Choice

Parents and community members have wondered why Elmbrook continues to push and follow CDC recommendations, despite the CDC’s loss of credibility for many Americans. As it turns out, follow the money.

As of January 6th, Elmbrook has received $945,960 in ESSR III (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) funds. ESSR III funds are tied to schools following CDC guidance.

From the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) website: “LEAs (Local Educational Agencies) must submit an ESSER III plan to DPI describing the following:

  1. How funds will be used to implement prevention and mitigation strategies that are, to the greatest extent practicable, consistent with the most recent CDC guidelines on reopening schools, in order to continuously and safely open and operate schools for in person learning”

Instead of listening to and respecting the community they serve, Superintendent Mark Hansen and his administration have chosen to get “free” money with strings attached that burdens children, parents, teachers and the community.

ESSR Funds Shown in 1/18/22 Board Meeting, Agenda Item 5C

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Elmbrook Ignores Approved COVID Thresholds

Elmbrook's first communication to parents in 2022 was the District alerting them to changes to COVID procedures.

Were these changes in line with the COVID Indicators and Thresholds the Board approved in September? No, since kids were on winter break, no absence levels could have been breached to trigger changes. Are these changes putting the focus back on education to fix multi-year declines in academic proficiencies? No.

This is a prime example of the Elmbrook administration - led by Superintendent Mark Hansen - acting contrary to what the Board has instructed them to do and not being focused on education.

Elmbrook's Response About 5 Year Old Accessing Porn: That Didn't Happen

Elmbrook has hit national news again with more inappropriate content - this time stemming around filters not being installed on iPads sent home with Kindergarteners and 1st Graders allowing access to porn sites.

What is Chris Thompson from Elmbrook's response? Nope, that didn't happen, and by the way, you should pay more attention to your kids on technology.

This is very similar response to how the District handled the concerns raised by the Wisconsin Institute of Law & Liberty (WILL) in July about Elementary students accessing inappropriate books online - deny any inappropriate access occurred, despite parents having shown evidence to WILL of such access.

UPDATE: On 12/22, in the Superintendent Update email, Elmbrook admitted inappropriate content was accessed. While we appreciate the correction, they should have been honest from the start.

Additional news coverage on this issue here.

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The New Buzzword for Equity: "All In For All"

The District is aware parents do not support what they have been pushing via "equity" and the Board voted against it due to community outcry. Instead of respecting those wishes, the administration continues to push equity - now called "all in for all." This picture is from the 12/14/21 Board meeting.
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Elmbrook Says They Protect Against Child Sex Trafficking While Introducing a K5 Book With Concerning Images

The Elmbrook administration continues to show their focus on image instead of being serious about doing their jobs.

At the 12/14/21 Board meeting they voted on recommendations from WASB (Wisconsin Association of School Boards) to protect children from child sex trafficking. While in the same evening, they voted on new Social Studies curriculum, where a K5 book has an adult saying “yummy” when looking at a young child in a fashion show! All books were pulled off from the vote due to community objection, but they will be coming back at a later date. The Elmbrook administration strongly supports their choice and use of this book in Social Studies curriculum.

Other explicit books brought to the Board's attention - which remain in print and digital libraries - normalize sexual behavior at young ages. This, unfortunately, grooms children for sex traffickers - the exact opposite of what Elmbrook is saying they want to protect against.

The District has a ~$100,000,000 budget annually that mostly comes from Elmbrook taxpayers - it is time for them to do their jobs.

Elmbrook Plays Doctor and Ignores Explicit Library Books

Elmbrook recently hosted a clinic for 5-11 year olds to receive the COVID injection. What they failed to do is get their facts correct.

Their email says that the injection is CDC approved. This is blatantly false.

The CDC does not approve anything; they can only recommend. The FDA is the entity that approves drugs and treatments. Further, the FDA did not give the COVID injection for ages 5-11 a standard approval. It was given Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

Speakers in multiple Citizens’ Forums have brought up safety concerns and conflicts of interest with the push for the COVID injection. When it comes to children in Elmbrook's care, shouldn't we be extra careful to do no harm?

While Elmbrook plays Doctor, they claim they don’t have the resources to remove explicit books from the library. Not only have they not removed explicit books brought to their attention months ago, additional titles from the author of Crank (which included a bloody rape scene) have shown up in Sora.

Update: In November 2022, it was reported that one of the titles added - "Traffick" - was removed from the collection.

We respect the right of everyone to make their own medical decisions.

If you are interested in more information regarding adverse reactions reported from the COVID injection, scan the QR code below.

Elmbrook’s Gem at Fairview South: Parents Want to Keep It Shining

A less known resource in the Elmbrook community is Fairview South - a facility dedicated to children that do not thrive in the traditional classroom, but are able to learn meaningful life skills at Fairview thanks to the incredible staff. Fairview serves children that are medically fragile, have significant intellectual disabilities or with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The actions of the Elmbrook administration give some community members concern - recently they emailed that they would send individuals to be COVID tested at Fairview. Community members immediately recognized that sending potentially ill individuals to the same facility as medically fragile students did not make sense. Elmbrook has since moved its testing site.

Parents of students at Fairview have noticed dwindling numbers and are concerned that the District will close the facility. Changes to programming at Fairview have not been discussed with parents or the community before being implemented.

Are dwindling numbers due to the recommendations Elmbrook received in September 2013 from Elise Frattura, who is the co-founder of ICS for Equity? Frattura's executive summary says "Elmbrook will make a strong effort to serve all students in the schools and classroom they would attend if they did not have a disability."

UPDATE: Thanks to parental outcry and the community's involvement, Elmbrook is renewing Fairview South through the 2023-2024 school year.

Does ICS for Equity Teach Critical Race Theory (CRT)? Yes.

With references to specific pages in the ICS for Equity handbook, this article is a great resource to educate yourself about this company who worked with Elmbrook from 2012 -2021.


  1. Email all Board members saying and audit should be performed to remove all ICS teachings. One option to replace them is using FAIR (Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism) which works to create an inclusive community, but does not dehumanize one group in order to elevate another.

  2. Sign this petition to voice your support for Elmbrook to return to academics based on science not activism, and remove the CRT embedded in the curriculum via ICS.

At Last... An Apology for Inappropriate Library Books

In the 9/14/21 Board meeting, President Scott Wheeler finally apologized for inappropriate books. As he said, "some of the descriptions in these books are graphic, have no educational value and do not belong in any Elmbrook library."

Elmbrook made national news in July with sexually explicit material from print and digital libraries. These books instruct underage children how to get on hookup apps, discuss masturbation, oral & anal sex, and more.

On 7/13/21, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty served Superintendent Mark Hansen this letter. REDACTED SCREENSHOTS FROM BOOKS IN QUESTION ON PAGES 5-13 OF THE LETTER.

Elmbrook's initial response in July, which they have since removed from their website, and emails to parents from Superintendent Mark Hansen acknowledged that the books in the WILL letter were removed from the collection. A response from Board members Scott Wheeler and Jean Lambert here claims that books were only available to middle school and up, despite parents of a 3rd grader reporting access. Superintendent Mark Hansen tried to infer that objections to these books were anti-LGBTQ. This sort of deflection of the issue and sowing division is exactly the sort of behavior we have seen repeatedly from senior members of the administration.

In the August Board meeting, additional inappropriate content was raised which included drug abuse and bloody rape.

Also: In early 2021, Elmbrook was caught exposing students to unapproved sex discussions without parental consent.

In January 2022, an Elmbrook teacher linked in her email to an LGBT site which had a link to a sex toy site. The story was also covered here.

Additional coverage in March 2022 about Elmbrook's explicit material is included here.

Update: In November 2022, the community was made aware that "The Infinite Moment of Us" was removed based on this article.

The ICS for Equity Playbook: Subversion and Lies

Two parents who have seen the results of ICS for Equity in their Districts recently did a podcast that exposes how ICS recommends circumventing laws, being dishonest with parents and viewing the Board as a rubber stamp. These are yet more reasons that we need ICS' teachings out of Elmbrook.

The MacIver Institute

MacIver Newsmakers: Integrated Comprehensive Systems for Equity by The MacIver Institute

Elmbrook Speaks Out

If you haven't already, we encourage you to watch and listen to the comments during the Citizens' Forum and prior to the Return to Learn plan from the 8/10/21 Board of Education meeting.

Items raised included, but were not limited to:

  • 26:57 - Censoring/cessation of comments on the official Elmbrook Schools Facebook page

  • 18:30 - The Board complaining about public comments/emails and bullying from the administration

  • 54:17 - The hypocrisy with the mask lawsuit and their legal filing that the pandemic is over and they will not mandate masks again (contrary to what their plan said)

  • 1:03:04 - Discrimination against people of color with teacher testing and visitor masking as a roadblock to transparency in schools

Equity Not Equality Push from the Administration

Everyone in Elmbrook is on board with EQUALITY. Unfortunately, the administration has been implementing EQUITY (partly through the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Workgroup), which is equal outcomes despite effort, not EQUALITY, which is equal opportunities.

Under the equity umbrella, the administration has ushered in divisive and racist teachings (often referred to as Critical Race Theory or CRT) through its partnership with ICS.

Chris Thompson, Chief Strategy Officer for Elmbrook, told the Journal Sentinel on 5/28/21 via email, "We do not teach Critical Race Theory to our students nor train our staff on its tenets."

Yet, in the May 2021 Listening Session, the Board heard that CRT was referenced on 11/23/20 DEI Workgroup notes (which have now been made private) and the community has continued to notice examples of CRT in the schools and Board documents, often disguised under "Equity."

Shown in the 7/22/21 Finance and Operations meeting, the District paid $5,000 for Part 2 of professional development on April 30th, 2021 by ICS Equity Institute. Transaction is viewable on page 6 on the May 2021 check register.

In March 2022, Elmbrook was highlighted nationally with a dive into our DEI Workgroup, teacher training and other district documents relating to equity.

Elmbrook Featured in the Federalist

We are incredibly grateful and thankful to the Federalist for their article on 8/4/21 detailing our efforts to return Elmbrook to academic excellence.
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