Hamilton schools contribute to community during holidays

Hamilton School District students, staff and families showed appreciation for the needs of others during the holidays by contributing to charitable organizations and extending acts of kindness within the community.

  • Lannon Elementary School families provided a generous amount of nonperishable food items to the Sussex Food Pantry and Second Harvest as a result of the school’s winter musical programs. Families were encouraged to contribute food items as their “ticket” for several student performances. The school also conducted a successful winter outerwear drive for the Sussex Food Pantry that resulted in three large barrels of gently used coats, hats, mittens and scarves.
  • Maple Avenue Elementary School Home & School collected 617 nonperishable food items and a jar of money from families for the Sussex Food Pantry. The food drive began at the annual Harvest Dance and extended until Thanksgiving. The Home and School also conducted a Toys for Tots drive in which they collected two barrels of unwrapped new toys. In lieu of gift exchanges, the staff and some community members purchased gifts for four Maple Avenue families. More than 70 items were purchased, including coats, hats, mittens, Pick ’n Save gift certificates, books, candy and toys for families in need. An individual Maple Avenue family sponsored another Maple Avenue family and purchased 15 gifts for them.
  • Marcy Elementary School students collected items and money for numerous Waukesha Christmas Clearing Council families in lieu of student gift exchanges. Grade levels adopted families similar to the ages of their students. The grade levels collected items in a variety of ways. For example, some grades collected specific items and others requested money donations so that larger items could be purchased for the families. Certain classes involved students in wrapping the gifts, and others had students decide on the gifts that would be purchased. The school encouraged parents to have students earn money that would be contributed to make it more personal for students. The Parent-Teacher Association donated a $100 Pick ’n Save gift card for each family. In all, each family received at least $200 in gifts in addition to the PTA gift card.
  • Woodside Elementary School families contributed more than 3,050 items in a campaign organized by the Student Council for the Sussex Food Pantry. Student Council members also counted and sorted food items before delivering them to the Sussex Food Pantry. Second-graders participated in a monthlong reading incentive project, “Toys for Children at Christmas,” in which they earned pledge money from relatives and friends for every 15 minutes of reading. The students netted $650 for toys that were donated to the Sussex Food Pantry. In addition, several classrooms provided necessities and comfort for needy families. The Woodside staff sponsored two families and provided items to them.
  • Willow Springs Learning Center families collected more than 200 gifts that benefited the Sussex Food Pantry. Students and staff went to the Evergreen Fir Acres Tree Farm and requested a $1 donation from families for the field trip. Staff donations and the amount from the field trip request amounted to $624 that was donated to Sussex Area Outreach Services. Also, the two trees that were cut down during the field trip – one for the morning session and the other for the afternoon session – were donated to the Sussex Food Pantry.
  • Templeton Middle School Student Council raised more than $1,600 to buy gifts for families. The Student Council obtained 22 names from the Waukesha County Christmas Clearing Council. Students shopped for gifts, wrapped them and delivered them after school. Seventh and eighth grade German students made and decorated Christmas cards for senior citizens. All cards were written in German and delivered to St. John’s Nursing Home in Milwaukee.
  • Hamilton High School students contributed to various community groups during the holiday season. The Student Council conducted a successful food drive for the Sussex Food Pantry and collected toys for Children’s Hospital. Student Council members visited the LindenGrove-Menomonee Falls, served at a family Christmas party and sang songs. The Distributive Education Club of America (DECA) chapter adopted a classroom at Milwaukee’s LaFollette Elementary School and provided gift bags for each of the children. The Pep Club contributed to the family they adopted. The library staff organized a mitten and hat tree that generated warmth and comfort for needy individuals. The National Honor Society played bingo and awarded prizes they purchased for residents of the Arboretum Retirement Community in Menomonee Falls. The German Club organized its annual sweater-sweatshirt drive that netted a record number of 317 items for needy families in the area. The World Languages clubs distributed poinsettias to high school and district offices.
  • At the district offices, staff members adopted two district families and provided gifts, clothing, food certificates, furniture and food to make their holiday season special.

Hamilton teacher pass rigorous certification process

Two Hamilton High School teachers are the first in the district to become National Board Certified Teachers. Mathematics teacher Steven Akin and communication arts teacher Debra Figueroa are among 70 Wisconsin teachers who earned the profession’s top honor this year through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).

Both Hamilton teachers earned their certifications in adolescence and young adulthood – Akin in mathematics and Figueroa in English language arts.

“We are excited and proud that Ms. Figueroa and Mr. Akin received their national teaching certification.” Hamilton Principal David Furrer said. “This program emphasizes the connection of teacher knowledge and abilities to student learning. The commitment and dedication of these two teachers serve as a model for all of us.”

The national board certification process requires intense self-reflection and measures a teacher’s practice against high and rigorous standards. Offered on a voluntary basis and valid for 10 years, the advanced system of national board certification complements, but does not replace, state licensing.

The process is unique because it assesses teachers’ knowledge and their ability to apply skills and professional judgment in the classroom. Candidates must critically analyze their practice and demonstrate how effectively they act on their insights.

Because there is a direct connection between what teachers know and what students learn, NBPTS-certified teachers are expected to possess deep subject knowledge and the ability to teach in ways that help students learn.

Assessments consist of portfolio entries and assessment center exercises. Teachers prepare their portfolios by videotaping their teaching, gathering student learning products and other teaching examples, and providing detailed analyses of their practice. The portfolio is designed to capture teaching in real-time, real-life settings, allowing trained assessors to examine how teachers translate knowledge and theory into practice.

At the assessment center, teachers write answers to questions that relate to their fields. These exercises validate the knowledge and skills exhibited in the portfolio and give candidates an opportunity to demonstrate knowledge and skills not sampled in the portfolio.

Seven Hamilton graduates named AP Scholars

The College Board named seven 2003 Hamilton High School graduates Advanced Placement (AP) Scholars because of their exceptional achievement on the college-level exams. More than one million high school students in more than 14,000 secondary schools worldwide took the AP exams, but the Hamilton students were among the top 15 percent who performed at a sufficiently high level to merit AP Scholar recognition.

Students took AP Exams in May 2003 after completing challenging college-level courses at their high schools. The College Board recognizes several levels of achievement.

Heather Olson was recognized as an AP Scholar with Distinction by earning an average grade of 3.5 on all AP Exams taken, and grades of 3 or higher on five or more exams. Laura Barnard, Nathan Hoeppner and Evan Woodington qualified for the AP Scholar with Honor award by earning an average grade of at least 3.25 on all AP exams, and grades of 3 or higher on four or more exams.

Adric Bulkes, Kelly Giese and Kimberly Lukas qualified for the AP Scholar Award by completing three or more AP exams, with grades of 3 or higher.

Hamilton High School offers AP courses in Biology, Calculus AB and BC, Computer Science A, Government & Politics-United States, Studio Art-Drawing and U.S. History. In addition, students may participate in advanced independent study projects.

Principal David Furrer praised the students for their hard work and dedication to their education. He noted that the number of AP exams taken has increased a dramatic 60 percent and the pass rate — that saw significant improvement previously — has held steady more recently.

Parents can learn about children’s opportunities

Looking for children’s activities this winter or spring? Need help planning for the summer? Parent Advocates of Gifted Education (PAGE) can help. PAGE is sponsoring “Cool Stuff to Do for Kids of All Ages- Summer and Beyond” Jan. 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Greenfield High School.

This opportunity fair will provide information from a variety of camps, University for Youth programs, music and theater groups, museums and nature centers in southeast Wisconsin.

Parents can talk to representatives from many well-known organizations and institutions that offer programs for students of all ages. The best part – it’s free and open to the public.

Greenfield High School is located at 4800 S. 60th St. Greenfield, WI. For an informational brochure, please call Mary Zgonc, Hamilton School District elementary gifted and talented resource teacher, at 246-1973 ext. 1351.

Hamilton announces November students of the month

Hamilton High School students representing 11 curriculum areas were selected November’s students of the month. They are:

  • Joseph Bartolone, mathematics;
  • Brian Bialobrzeski, physical education;
  • Alison Fero, communication arts;
  • Amanda Franzen, music;
  • Theresa Henninger, art;
  • Rebecca Hintz, world languages;
  • Joshua Kapelke, technology education;
  • Tyler Kowalchuk, business education;
  • Sara Lee and Katherine Stern, social studies;
  • Amy Olson, family & consumer education; and
  • Kelsie Tripp, science.

December 2, 2003

It was an evening to note academic achievement gains and school accomplishments at the Hamilton School Board meeting. School staff members presented several reports containing data that demonstrate success over time in specific schools and throughout the district.

High school NCA accreditation, site planning reported

Hamilton High School Principal David Furrer reported on two activities that focused on school improvement — one involving accreditation through the North Central Association (NCA) and the other describing results of site planning. Both processes involve creating a 5-year plan to improve student learning and achievement through data analysis and development of action steps.

“Both the district and NCA processes are compatible with one another and have melded together to create a clear focus on student learning and achievement in the classroom,” Furrer wrote in his report.

Furrer walked Board Members through data collected through the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam and the ACT test that show considerable improvement in the past five years.

School site planners studied the data, reviewed information about educational trends and examined greatest threats and opportunities facing the school. They identified one tactic that the school will work on in the next five years that states, “Students will demonstrate higher-level thinking skills across the curriculum.”

Furrer said having a single tactic will create more focus with greater impact in the classroom. Next steps include creating a planning timeline to identify interventions and staff development programs in the next year.

School Board members whose children attended school in the district in the past commented on the improvement they witnessed in the district recently.

Deborah Briggs described staff members’ attitudes toward increasing rigor at the school as “wonderful.”

Dawn Van Aacken said the improvement she witnessed as her daughters attended the high school was “phenomenal.”

The NCA accreditation process involved a 3-person peer review team to evaluate whether the school is meeting success. The team recommended that Hamilton receive full accreditation.

Templeton to enact site plan

After celebrating the success of its site plan last January, Templeton staff, parents and students developed a new site plan. In reviewing the progress of the previous plan, Templeton Principal Patricia Polczynski noted that curricular experiences for students have become increasingly rigorous and challenging. She also reported that standardized test scores have increased in all content areas and many academic interventions were developed and implemented. The interventions support struggling students and provide both enrichment opportunities and academic coursework for advanced students, Polczynski reported.

Tactics of the new site plan specify that students will:

  • increase writing skills that demonstrate understanding of curricular concepts;
  • demonstrate increased engagement and progress in differentiated needs; and
  • experience social and emotional growth through relevant, focused and developmental opportunities to ensure maximum achievement.

Polczynski said the next step in the site planning process is to develop action steps to accomplish the tactics.

Superintendent Kathleen Cooke complimented Polczynski and school staff for their accomplishments. She said the school was using data in a sophisticated manner to make even greater gains in student achievement.

District achievements highlighted in 2003 Annual Report

District administrators highlighted the accomplishments noted in the district’s 2003 Annual Report. Educational Services Assistant Superintendent Dean Schultz described significant accomplishments that occurred in the district because of strategic initiatives.

Instructional Services Supervisor Dee Bauman, Ph.D., described the district gains in the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam, Third Grade Reading Test, ACT test, Advanced Placement pass rates, drop out and graduation rates.

Business Services Director Bryan Ruud summarized spending, enrollment and property value trends.

Contract signed for low-incidence services

The district will continue to contract with the Elmbrook School District to provide services for low-incidence disabled students. Hamilton is one of 25 districts that purchases services from Elmbrook according to specific usage. Among the services offered are audiology and assistive listening devices, cognitive disabilities and multihandicapped, deaf and hard of hearing, leadership, severe emotional disabilities, vision-orientation and mobility.

Personnel matters approved

In personnel matters, the School Board:
accepted the resignation of Woodside teacher aide Kathy Schiedemeyer effective Nov. 26.