February 19, 2001

Some 21 Hamilton High School students were approved for early graduation in January 2002, but School Board members have differing views on whether that’s a good thing. The students who applied for early graduation met the requirements of district policy, but School Board President Gerald Schmitz suggested changing the policy to encourage more students to remain in high school for second semester their senior year.

Board member Deborah Briggs disagreed. She said if students are ready to move beyond high school, they should be allowed to pursue their interests.

Hamilton Principal David Furrer noted that 60 percent of the students requesting early graduation are pursuing postsecondary education. Another group will work full-time to save money for college. Only 10 percent plan to enter the work world without plans for additional schooling.

Lannon’s Site Plan updated

Principal Richard Ladd updated the board on Lannon’s Site Plan. The plan includes tactics that focus on:

  • a school-wide writing program;
  • weekly parent communication; and
  • staff planning.

Lannon’s writing scores in the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam and the district’s Third and Fifth Grade Writing Assessments have improved. All third- through fifth-graders entered a Black History Month writing contest.

All Lannon staff members use a weekly newsletter reporting academic activities to parents. Parents report that the newsletters help them prepare their children for tests and provide support for weak academic areas.

More than two-thirds of the staff is involved in study groups regarding teaching strategies and practices.

Future steps for Lannon include developing new writing assessments, surveying parents about the effectiveness of the weekly newsletters and expanding staff planning opportunities for cross grade planning.

County consortium to create new plan

The Waukesha County School-to-Work Consortium has agreed to create a new strategic plan that will replace the original one created in 1993. The consortium identified standardized tests, curriculum alignment to state standards and new teacher licensure procedures as initiatives that the new plan must encompass. The 12 Waukesha County school districts and Waukesha County Technical College comprise the consortium.

Survey volunteers recognized

Public Information Coordinator Denise Dorn Lindberg thanked 41 students and six parents who volunteered last November to help the district conduct its Community Survey. She noted that without the help of the volunteers, the district would not be able conduct the survey that asks 525 randomly selected community members about their expectations and perceptions of the district. Results of the survey will be reported in March.

Security software approved

The School Board authorized administrators to purchase up to $10,500 of additional security software for the computer network. The district is planning to go to on-line report cards, attendance and other functions that will create greater accessibility to the district computer system. The new software will maintain current and provide additional security levels.

Personnel changes approved

In personnel business, the School Board approved the:

  • resignation request of Hamilton social studies teacher Kathleen Glusick at the end of the 2000-2001 school year;
  • appointment of Susan Schritz as a Willow Spring Learning Center Special Education teacher aide; and
  • increase of speech and language specialist Michelle Underkofler’s contract by an additional .5 full-time equivalency position.

February 6, 2001

Changes are in store for Templeton Middle School students as a result of a proposal approved Feb. 6 by the Hamilton School Board. The board accepted a 15-point recommendation from the Middle School Analysis Committee that studied the school’s structure and developed a proposal to support increased student achievement.

Among the changes recommended by the committee of two administrators, 14 teachers and one parent will be to:

  • lengthen class periods from 42 to 46 minutes;
  • eliminate the 25-minute homeroom period;
  • begin first hour at 7:25 a.m. instead of 7:30 a.m. with the extra five minutes used to take attendance and lunch count;
  • require reading at grade 6 and 7 instead of Content Enhancement and at grade 8 for those who have not demonstrated reading proficiency;
  • continue Content Enhancement for eighth-graders who are proficient in reading and incorporate the district Learning Strategies Curriculum to extend and expand curriculum in other academic areas;
  • cluster students across all houses to support a challenging curriculum for all students;
    offer enhanced science and communication arts courses and continue accelerated mathematics courses beginning in fall of 2002 to prepare designated students for high school honors courses;
  • require Content Mastery as an eighth grade elective for students who have prior academic failure and for sixth and seventh grade students in lieu of the world language program if they are not proficient in reading and communication arts;
  • offer some semesterlong electives beginning in 2002 for eighth-graders; and
  • offer Study Center for eighth-graders based on certain criteria.

Most of the changes will be effective next fall.

Templeton Principal Patricia Polczynski, responding to School Board member questions, said the committee did not rule out moving to a 7-period day in the future, but recommended retaining the 8-period day because it allowed more exploratory classes to be offered.

Hamilton’s Summer School Program will also undergo changes this year. The School Board accepted a recommendation presented by Summer School Coordinator Dick Ladd to offer a 4-week enrichment and invitational class session for five days a week instead of four days each week. Also, promotional and credit make-up classes will be five days a week for six weeks instead of four weeks.

Summer School will begin June 18. The enrichment and invitational session will go until July 13. The promotional and credit make-up classes will end July 27.

Hamilton science teacher John Budish, three students and a GE Medical Systems (GEMS) engineer described their work on the FIRST National High School Robotics Competition. The Hamilton team, supported by GEMS engineers, is creating a robot that will compete April 7 at Epcot Center in Orlando against 339 other teams. Students, faculty advisors and GEMS engineers began building their robot Jan. 6 and must ship it by Feb. 22 for the competition.

Joe and Marilynn Marchese were recognized for “being a friend to education.” Hamilton Principal David Furrer recognized the couple for hosting the high school Senior Awards Banquet at the dance hall free of charge for the past 21 years.

Educational Services and Human Resources Director Dean Schultz updated board members on additional steps to be taken to implement the district’s Strategic Plan. The School Board approved:

  • delivering a focused message that Hamilton is a comprehensive high school and highlighting accomplishments and expectations of all district schools;
  • reconvening Strategy #4 action team to develop and communicate the role of parents increasing student achievement;
  • directing the administration to gather additional information about post high school apprenticeship programs;
  • clarifying for teachers the collection of data regarding rubric use;
  • writing a letter to the Kettl Commission expressing the importance of local control; and
  • requiring that 10th-graders take the PLAN test and 8th-graders take the EXPLORE test.

Two new objectives were approved that indicate Hamilton students will score in the top third among Waukesha County school districts in the ACT test and AP test.
Hamilton High School Principal David Furrer presented the co-curricular activities report that highlighted accomplishments and presented recommendations.

Maple Avenue Elementary School’s site plan was presented. The plan includes three tactics that focus on reading and writing, technology integration, and intervention and enrichment opportunities.

Templeton’s site plan tactics include: active, innovative, creative and rigorous learning experiences; collaboration; and alternative programming for students who are disengaged or facing academic difficulty.

Instructional Services Supervisor Margaret Bauman reported that in the past two years the district has aligned its core academic areas of communication arts, mathematics, science and social studies with state curriculum standards. Family and consumer education will be presented to the School Board in the summer and business education and art in the fall.

Bauman also reported on upcoming textbook pilots in mathematics and science. The district adopted new mathematics textbooks for the elementary level two years ago. Secondary level teachers have chosen two mathematics programs to pilot during second semester and will meet in May to review the pilots. A recommendation will go to the School Board in June and mathematics teachers will attend a summer workshop to become familiar with the new materials they will implement in the fall of 2001.

Elementary and secondary science teachers will review potential science programs this summer and select two to pilot during the 2001-2002 school year.