June 19, 2006

Citizens approve levy at Annual Meeting
More than a dozen residents at the Hamilton School District Annual Meeting approved a levy of $24.1 million that will support a $42.3 million budget for 2006-07. The budget increased 4.75 percent, in part to educate an additional 60 students who are expected to enroll next fall. The budget also includes five new positions in the English Language Learners, Advanced Placement and Early Mathematics Empowerment programs.

The tax levy, which includes debt from previous referendums, is up 7.59 percent, but the mil rate will remain at the 2005-06 rate of $9.50 per $1,000 of property value. School officials estimated property value in the district to grow about 7.6 percent – a conservative estimate. If growth is greater, the mil rate will be less that the predicted $9.50.

Citizens also approved a $30 annual raise for School Board members, increasing the salary to $3,800. The original motion had been to keep the salary at the current rate of $3,770, but community member Joseph Marchese, who complimented board members for their accomplishments and leadership, said it would be an insult to keep the pay the same. He recommended amending the original motion to increase School Board pay by $30 per year. The amended motion carried with one School Board member abstaining from the vote.

While 13 residents attended and passed five resolutions at the meeting, they were outnumbered by Alverno College education students, school employees, the school attorney and a newspaper reporter who came to the meeting only to work at or observe the proceedings.

Personnel issues decided at regular meeting
Following the Annual Meeting, a regular School Board meeting was held. In personnel business, the School Board:

  • Approved a 3-year total salary and benefit compensation package for paraprofessionals that includes insurance concessions and salary increases of 5.72 percent in 2006-07, 4.9 percent in 2007-08 and 3.92 percent in 2008-09;
  • Approved a 2-year contract with the district administrator that increased her salary by 2.3 percent;
  • Accepted the resignations of Marcy special service paraprofessional Anna Rauter, Woodside associate kitchen employee Cheryl Kau, and Woodside and Maple half-time music teacher Renee Kealey;
  • Approved lay-off notices for Willow Springs paraprofessionals Patricia Koll and Karen Ludin, and Marcy paraprofessional Shirley Hall; and
  • Appointed Peter Dargatz as Woodside fourth grade teacher, Matthew Reischauer as Hamilton part-time social studies teacher, Jill Wozniak as Maple Avenue speech and language specialist, Jennifer Hetzel and Woodside fifth grade replacement teacher, Laura Kasper as Maple Avenue part-time speech and language specialist, Erin Pandya as Marcy fifth grade teacher and Jennifer Knapp as Marcy part-time speech and language.

Services available for students with disabilities

The Hamilton School District is committed to providing students with disabilities a free, appropriate public education. Special education and related services for students with disabilities are provided in each school in accordance with state and federal law.

If you have or know of a child between the ages of three and 21 whom you believe may have a cognitive disability, hearing impairment, speech or language impairment, visual impairment, emotional disturbance, orthopedic impairment, autism, traumatic brain injury, other health impairment or learning disability that requires special education and related services, please contact the district’s Special Services Office at (262) 246-1973 ext. 1184 to obtain the necessary evaluation referral form or to receive additional information about the process.

If the child attends a school in the Hamilton School District, referral information is available from the school principal or guidance office.

Any resident interested in receiving a copy of the district’s special education plan should contact the Special Services Office at (262) 246-1973 ext. 1183.

Hamilton announces May students of the month

Hamilton High School students representing 11 curriculum areas were selected students of the month for May. They are:

  • Valerie Becker, communication arts;
  • Elizabeth Blewett, fitness education;
  • Ashley Bulgrin and Margaret VanReenan, mathematics;
  • Daniel Burgos, science;
  • Jennifer Fidler, music;
  • Angela Mews, family and consumer education;
  • Sonya Ruminski, business education;
  • Joseph Schroeder, applied engineering and technology;
  • Sarah Tomke, art;
  • Natalie Tripp, world languages; and
  • Pakou Vang, social studies.

School staff to interview parents

Nearly two dozen Hamilton School District staff members will participate in a summer project designed to learn more about the perceptions and expectations parents have for their children’s schools.

School staff will contact 100 randomly-selected parents and ask them to participate in a Learning Environment Review – a face-to-face interview in which parents are able to discuss the learning environment at their children’s schools.

The process is being used to gather data for one of the Strategic Plan strategies that indicates the district will “foster learning environments that nurture social and emotional development and ensure maximum achievement for each child.”

The Learning Environment Review is fashioned after the Quality Interviews that were used in the district in the mid-1990s to determine parent expectations and monitor progress on a wide range of issues. The review was altered this year to focus on the learning environment.

School staff will be contacting selected parents in June and July to set up interviews at a school location. For more information about the Learning Environment Reviews, please contact Public Information Coordinator Denise Dorn Lindberg, at (262) 246-1973 ext. 1106.

Ferge chosen as high school associate principal

The Hamilton School Board appointed Peter Ferge as the new Hamilton High School associate principal and extended learning opportunities coordinator at its June 6 meeting. Ferge, who has been communication arts teacher at Hamilton for the past six years, will begin his new post effective July 1. He replaces Candis Mongan, who will become principal.

“Mr. Ferge is an outstanding educator who has strong rapport with students and parents,” said Superintendent Kathleen Cooke, Ph.D. “Having been a part of the high school team, he will be in a position to help guide the school into the future.”

In his new role, Ferge will coordinate extended learning opportunities for students, the school’s accreditation planning process and applied engineering curriculum improvements. He will also supervise several departments, standardized testing, student attendance and disciplinary matters.

Ferge coached the Hamilton girls’ freshman basketball team four years before joining the teaching staff. He started his education career as an English teacher at Campbellsport and Milwaukee Pius XI high schools. He earned his bachelor’s degree in English education and broadcast/electronic communication in 1997 from Marquette University and his master’s degree in educational leadership from Marian College in 2004.

Hamilton High School serves 1,214 students in grades 9-12 and is located at W220 N6151 Town Line Road., Sussex.

June 6, 2006

Board appoints Ferge as new high school associate principal
The Hamilton School Board appointed Peter Ferge as the new Hamilton High School associate principal and extended learning opportunities coordinator at its June 6 meeting. Ferge, who has been a communication arts teacher at Hamilton for the past six years, will begin his new post effective July 1. He replaces Candis Mongan, who will become principal.

“Mr. Ferge is an outstanding educator who has strong rapport with students and parents,” said Superintendent Kathleen Cooke, Ph.D. “Having been a part of the high school team, he will be in a position to help guide the school into the future.”

In his new role, Ferge will coordinate extended learning opportunities for students, the school’s accreditation planning process and applied engineering curriculum improvements. He will also supervise several departments, standardized testing, student attendance and disciplinary matters.

Ferge coached the Hamilton girls’ freshman basketball team four years before joining the teaching staff. He started his education career as an English teacher at Campbellsport and Milwaukee Pius XI high schools. He earned his bachelor’s degree in English education and broadcast/electronic communication in 1997 from Marquette University and his master’s degree in educational leadership from Marian College in 2004.

Students able to self-report violations
Hamilton High School students who self-report a violation of alcohol, tobacco and other drug (ATOD) rules could cut in half the consequence of their first-time infraction. The School Board approved changes to the Co-Curricular Handbook that allows students to self-report a violation prior to an investigation from high school administration and receive a 15-percent penalty from athletic competition or four hours of community service for those involved in noncompetitive activities. Restriction from competition or performances for a first-time offense is normally 30 percent of the season or eight hours of community service.

Hamilton Athletic Director Mike Gosz said students members of the committee that recommended changes to the handbook thought the option to self-report was a good idea because it would encourage students to come forward on their own.

In addition, students who have a first-time ATOD offense will not be eligible to serve in a leadership role for one calendar year from the date of suspension. The handbook previously stated student-athletes with an ATOD infraction would be barred from being a captain for their entire high school career. Second violation of the code would mean removal as a captain for their career.

School Board member Deborah Briggs said she liked the change because it allowed students to redeem themselves if they make a mistake early in high school.

The hours of community service for those involved in non-competitive athletics and activities went from 16 to 8 hours for first-time violations and 32 to 16 hours for second offenses. Gosz said the change was suggested because noncompetitive participants were serving nearly twice as many hours of restriction as competitive athletic players.

Technology plan approved
The School Board approved the 2006-09 Information and Technology Literacy Plan that focuses on staff training, technology proficiency development for students and expansion of parent access to a student-teacher grade book.

No new funds were requested because the initiatives detailed in the plan will be funded through existing technology funds and supported with professional development resources. Among the initiatives that were highlighted were use of a help desk ticketing system to increase the speed and efficiency of network and desktop repairs, implementation of a technology proficiency assessment for students and staff, and integration of a uniform electronic card catalog system for school library collections accessible by students and staff within the district and from their homes.

In other technology business, the School Board extended the contract for the district’s technical support company, MPC Solutions Sales until 2009.

Students recognized
The School Board recognized two student groups for their outstanding accomplishments. Members of the Hamilton FIRST Robotic Club were honored. Hamilton Principal David Furrer said advisors John Budish and Lori Hinytz were responsible for the club’s success.

Templeton Middle School Student Council members were honored for their efforts during the 2005-06 school year. Superintendent Kathleen Cooke, Ph.D., credited their advisor Arlyn Clarksen for the guidance that he provided.

Personnel business
In personnel business the School Board:

  • accepted the retirement request of Templeton custodian Nancy Sommer effective Sept. 1;
  • accepted the resignations of Templeton administrative assistant Natalie Levanetz, Marcy Special Services paraprofessional Monica Dorsey, Marcy third grade teacher Steven Brooks, district maintenance staff member Colin Casey and Woodside fifth grade teacher Robert Heider;
  • appointed Al Johnson as Maple Avenue custodian, Tricia Rigg as the Templeton and Hamilton guidance-transitions counselor, Alyssa DeKarske as Woodside fifth grade teacher, Tiffany Campbell as an elementary teacher, William Hahn as a Templeton cleaner, Richard Adams as a Hamilton custodian and Keith Griebler as a Hamilton afternoon cleaner;
  • appointed Murrene Payton and Bob Blessington as summer school assistant coordinators;
  • hired Jaclyn Mauer and Jeanna Tinus as half-time English as a Second Language teachers; and
  • modified the contract of Maple Avenue Early Mathematics Empowerment teacher Donna Uselmann from 40 to 60 percent.