Board meeting highlights
Marcy site plan presented
Marcy Principal Michele Trawicki reported on her school’s site planning process. Using an approach that was initiated last year, all four of the district’s elementary schools gathered to share updates on their current plan, new data and ideas to design their own unique plan. A team of elementary staff from throughout the district met Aug. 15 to review the district’s new tactical plan and then looked at their own building data to craft site plans for the rest of the year.
Marcy’s plan focused on literacy and mathematics goals. Tactics for the new year indicate that Marcy staff will:
- use flexible grouping and a variety of resources during intervention block to maximize learning opportunities; and
- continue to hold mathematics instruction to a high standard.
Trawicki credited her staff with the successful results achieved in the past year, including high achievement on standardized tests.
Summer Opportunities reports on successful year
Summer Opportunities Coordinator and Lannon Principal Dick Ladd shared information about the highly popular program with School Board members. A total of 2,057 students in grades 4K to 11 enrolled in classes. Combined, 138 teachers were employed and more than half of them were Hamilton School District staff. In all, 266 employees were employed including four administrative assistants, 35 paraprofessionals, 83 student teaching assistants, one coordinator and five assistant coordinators.
Faced with construction of the Hamilton Athletic Center and possible roadwork in front of the high school, staff came up with a new way to safely transport 1,500 students to the high school. Free shuttles from a Sussex park and three elementary schools alleviated congestion at the high school – a solution so well received that many parents asked the district offer the service in the future even though construction at the high school will be completed.
Another success was an increase in the number of students who accepted summer school invitations to strengthen academic skills. The percentage of students who attended summer school after recommendations from school staff increased from about 40 to 48 percent.
High school continues progress
Hamilton High School Principal Candis Mongan provided School Board members with an update on achievement initiatives in the past year. The school continues to reach historically high levels of achievement and is recognized for its accomplishments. The high school was named to Newsweek Magazine’s “America’s Best High Schools” list for three consecutive years as well as The Daily Beast’s best high schools list, placing it in the top 10 high schools in Wisconsin and among the top 700 high schools in the country. For the second year, the school achieved “significantly exceeds expectations” rating on the Wisconsin School Report card. Other achievements include:
- Advanced Placement -- Hamilton High School’s Advanced Placement pass rate remains high, but what has people taking notice is the significant increase of students taking the exam. In the past five years, the number of Hamilton students taking AP exams increased from 203 to 322 – an increase of nearly 59 percent and a historic high. During this time, the pass rate remained above 80 percent, the most recent being 82.3 percent.
- Challenge Index -- AP pass rates and percentage of students taking the exams affect the school’s Challenge Index, a ratio that represents the availability of advanced coursework in the school’s curriculum. Because many more students are taking AP exams, the school’s Challenge Index score increased from 1.2 in 2013 to 1.53 in 2014. The 1.53 score represents the highest Challenge Index score in the school’s history.
- ACT -- With an average composite score of 24.1, Hamilton High School’s 2014 score was the highest in the school’s history. The last time the school reached this pinnacle was in 2010 when 229 students took the exam compared to 266 test-takers in 2014. Hamilton’s composite score increased from 23.6 in 2013 to 24.1 in 2014. Like AP exam participation, the number of students taking the ACT exam is the highest in the school’s history.
- PISA – Hamilton was one of 14 Wisconsin high schools that participated in the PISA test which measures reading, mathematics and science of 15-year-olds. Hamilton’s participation will allow its results to be compared to international results.
School Board members congratulated the high school for the progress it has made in the past few years.
Board sets annual goals
The School Board established seven 2014-15 goals for the superintendent and school board. They include:
- develop resources and implement strategies and initiatives to enhance student achievement;
- implement strategic vision-tactical planning model;
- monitor and update technology to support student achievement;
- implement communication to promote understanding of district initiatives and accomplishments;
- develop and implement plans for district facility needs;
- monitor external political and demographic factors and identify potential implications and proactive positions for the district; and
- update School Board policies and positions descriptions.
In personnel matters, the School Board:
- approved the retirement request of Marcy head custodian Steve Katona, effective Jan. 15;
- accepted the resignation of Templeton paraprofessional Megan Sykes;
- appointed Cody Curtis as a Woodside custodian and Anna Zorn as a Templeton special services paraprofessional; and
- agreed to hire an additional instructional-supervisory paraprofessional to help at Templeton Middle School where student enrollment is up. At five hours per day during the school year, the position is a 63 percent position.
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