Get Connected offers talk on motivating children

The Get Connected Parent Network invites parents to hear from Peter Graskamp, Ph.D., who will speak on “How to Motivate Your Child” Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. The presentation will be at Marcy Elementary School, W180 N4851 Marcy Road, Menomonee Falls. It is free and open to the public, and free babysitting is available.

Graskamp is a licensed professional counselor with a doctorate in clinical psychology. He actively involves his audience in problem-solving and provides strategies that parents can apply at home. Parents of all school-age children are encouraged to attend this session.

The Get Connected Parent Network helps parents navigate children through their school years by providing:

  • age-appropriate information;
  • networking with other parents;
  • presentations from professionals; and
  • guidance and support.

Get Connected is sponsored by the Parent and Community Triangle, a partnership between the Hamilton School District, Sussex-area Outreach Services and community parents. Funding and support provided by United Way of Waukesha County “Helping Kids Succeed” initiative.

For more information, please contact Get Connected Coordinator Kristin Hasbrook at (262) 246-1973 x1128.

Hamilton students named NMSC semifinalists

Two Hamilton High School students learned recently that they were named semifinalists in the 2008 National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) competition. Seniors Calley Galarowicz and Angela Zeng were among approximately 16,000 semifinalists throughout the nation who were recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Galarowicz and Zeng will continue in the 2008 competition for Merit Scholarship awards. Eligibility for the distinction is based on results of the 2006 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

The nationwide pool of semifinalists, which represents less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. To become a finalist, a semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by the school principal and earn SAT scores that confirm the students’ earlier test performance. The semifinalist and a school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, which includes the student’s self-descriptive essay and information about participation and leadership in school and community activities. 2008 Merit Scholarship winners will be announced next spring.

PSAT offered Oct. 20 at Hamilton

The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) will be given Oct. 20 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Hamilton High School. This test provides an opportunity for college-bound sophomores and juniors to experience and practice taking a shortened version of the SAT Reasoning Test. (The SAT may be used for the University of Wisconsin System admission although the ACT is preferred.)

For juniors, the PSAT is the only route of entry into the National Merit Scholarship Competition (NMSC) and may be required for some other scholarships. Sophomores who are interested in entering the NMSC next year are encouraged to take the PSAT this year as practice.

Interested students must register in the high school guidance office by Oct. 12. The $14 test fee is payable at the time of registration. Juniors enrolled in the free or reduced lunch program are eligible for a fee-waiver. Please contact the school Guidance Department for more information.

September 17, 2007

High school initiatives support students
Hamilton High School has focused on increased achievement through its site plan, and Principal Candis Mongan outlined some successes and initiatives that are underway at the school. Mongan reported that the high school has experienced a significant increase in the number of students participating in Advanced Placement (AP) and ACT exams. The school has also seen a jump in the number of AP courses offered.

Students taking rigorous coursework require appropriate support, according to Mongan. The focus at Hamilton continues to be on developing higher-level thinking skills and increasing academic success. Additional achievement strategies include:

Vertical teaming which draws middle and high school staff together in department meetings to identify what students need to know on the AP test and determine when they will learn it.

  • AP Student Support in which students are contracted to participate in morning study sessions facilitated by the AP teacher.
  • Gearing Up sessions will provide preparatory AP test practice facilitated by the AP teacher one month before the exams.
  • Senior Survey – Seniors will complete an ACT intent survey which will help guidance counselors prepare students who plan to take the test. The survey will allow counselors to proactively identify students who need more preparation to be successful on the exam.
  • ACT Exposure – Beginning this year, all juniors will take the ACT practice exam during the school day. Two mandatory advisement sessions will focus on strategies to use when taking the test and individual results with suggestions for improvement. All Hamilton freshmen take the EXPLORE, and all sophomores take the PLAN.
  • Administrative Mentoring – Each high school administrator will select five students who do not traditionally take challenging coursework and assist them in their endeavor to be successful.

School Board members complimented Mongan on the planned initiatives. Lynn Christensen predicted students will have greater success on AP exams because of the extra support.

Deborah Briggs said she was glad the whole staff was involved with creating the initiatives.

Summer Opportunities has another successful year
If the Summer Opportunities Program were a school, it would have the largest enrollment in the district. Summer Opportunities Coordinator Dick Ladd reported that 1,692 students participated in the program in 2007, and 258 sections were scheduled. The majority of students who participated were elementary and middle school students in enrichment classes.

A total of 352 students participated in invitational programs to provide academic support in reading, math and study skills. All 13 Templeton students who participated in the promotional program to master content and organizational skills met the expectations of the program and were promoted to the next grade level.

Popularity of the high school Sci-Fi Book Club required an additional section to accommodate the 17 students who enrolled. Some 52 incoming freshman enrolled in a one-day class called “Everything You Wanted to Know About High School But Was Afraid to Ask.” High school coaching staff supervised 180 students who participated in “Speed, Agility and Strength.”

The only note of regret in Ladd’s report was the announcement that long-time summer school assistant Marlene Helinski announced her retirement. School Board members encouraged Helinski to reconsider her decision and remain with the program. Ladd said she agreed to be an “advisor.”

Staff members have busy summer
Instructional Services Supervisor Dee Bauman presented the 2007 Summer Workshop Report. The summer provided extended time for district staff to participate in curriculum and professional development which included revision of:

  • elementary reading and mathematics benchmark assessments;
  • elementary report card;
  • family and consumer education curriculum; and
  • social studies curriculum to include projects that integrate information-technology literacy standards.

School-based curriculum projects included:

  • Maple Avenue site plan writing and intervention tactics;
  • Willow Springs curriculum mapping and alignment to early childhood learning standards;
  • Templeton enriched science and communication arts curriculum and alignment of eighth grade communication arts to new resources;
  • Hamilton alignment of environmental science, biology and 20th century U.S. history to new resources, revision of junior and senior communication arts, stained glass curriculum and special education reading curriculum, and alignment of business education courses to WCTC curriculum.

Personnel matters
In personnel business, the School Board:

  • adjusted the Special Services administrative assistant position to a confidential support staff member and increased the pay by $4,500 per year. The move was made because of increasing demands in the Special Services Office involving federal and state audits, high-cost student reports, Medicaid and other reports. Special Services is using new software and the administrative assistant was instrumental in training all special education staff.
  • appointed Sally Thompson as a Woodside paraprofessional, Cheryl Chounard Pease as a high school Special Services paraprofessional, Kurt Leapley as a Maple Avenue Special Services paraprofessional and Jennifer Walter as a Hamilton Learning Center paraprofessional.

Vehicles visit Woodside kindergartners

Parents and Village of Sussex employees will help Woodside Elementary School kindergartners wrap up their unit on transportation when they park an assortment of vehicles in front of the school. The annual Vehicle Visit will take place Sept. 21 beginning at 9 a.m. at the school, located at W236 N7465 Woodside Road, Sussex.

Students will see cars, convertibles, semi-trucks and various Village of Sussex vehicles. They will have the opportunity to climb in some of them. Owners will stand by their vehicles to field questions students may have.

It promises to be an exciting event for students and adults.

Lannon kicks off Red Ribbon Week with magician

Lannon Elementary School students will kick off Red Ribbon Week Oct. 22 at 9 a.m. with a magic show performed by magician and illusionist Kirk Patrick. His show will have a “Just Say NO to Drugs” theme.

Lannon families are welcome to attend this presentation which was provided through the generosity of the Lannon Home & School parent group.

Lannon Elementary School is located at 7145 N. Lannon Road, Lannon.

Crafters needed for Oct. 13 CEC Craft Fair

The Hamilton High School Adult and Student Cultural Exchange Clubs (CEC) are gearing up for their ever popular fundraising event that draws people from throughout the region. Many crafters will sell handcrafted arts and crafts at the 2007 CEC Craft Fair set for Oct. 13 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Hamilton High School, W220 N6151 Town Line Rd., Sussex. Admission and parking are free.

A candy raffle with opportunities to win donated crafts will be offered and booths will once again have special make-it-and-take-it activities for children. Breakfast, lunch and an assortment of snacks will be available.

Booths are still available. For additional information, call Penny at (262) 628-8859 or email a message to

The Hamilton High School Cultural Exchange Club was formed to promote cross-cultural education and appreciation for diversity. Through the annual craft fair fundraiser, the club is able to support study abroad for students, provide scholarships and subsidize cultural outings for club members.

Get Connected offers talk on positive parenting

The Get Connected Parent Network invites parents to hear from motivational speaker Bill Collar who will speak on “Positive Parenting For Success in School” Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. The presentation will be in the Hamilton Fine Arts Center, W220 N6151 Town Line Road, Sussex. There is no admission and free babysitting is available.

Collar is a unique speaker who combines a rich treasure of motivational principles with common sense and humorous anecdotes. Parents of all school-age children are encouraged to hear his time-tested tips on parenting based on 35 years as a distinguished teacher and coach. Through the use of historical images and lessons, a meaningful story unfolds as Collar relates the process necessary for personal success.

The Get Connected Parent Network helps parents navigate children through their school years by providing:

  • age-appropriate information;
  • networking with other parents;
  • presentations from professionals; and
  • guidance and support.

Get Connected is sponsored by the Parent and Community Triangle, a partnership between the Hamilton School District, Sussex-area Outreach Services and community parents. Funding and support provided by United Way of Waukesha County “Helping Kids Succeed” initiative.

For more information, please contact Get Connected Coordinator Kristin Hasbrook at (246) 1973 x1128.

Hamilton Bowling Club offers fish fry on Sept. 21

Hamilton High School’s Bowling Club is hoping to help fans gear up for Sept. 21 football game by offering a fish fry before the game. The Bowling Club will sponsor the fundraiser from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the school cafeteria.

The meal, which will be prepared on school premises by Schwai’s Country Store and Pub from West Bend, includes two or three pieces of fish, French fries, cole slaw, tartar sauce, rye bread and milk or coffee. Tickets will be $8 for a two-piece meal and $9 for a three-piece meal, with take-out orders costing an additional 50 cents. Tickets may be purchased in advance in Office A or at the door.

The Bowling Club invites community members to come for the fish fry and stay for the Hamilton vs. Marquette game. Kick-off is at 7 p.m. at the school’s Grove Field. Hamilton High School is located at W220 N6151 Town Line Rd., Sussex.

September 4, 2007

Board approves 403(b) Plan Document
The Hamilton School Board took action that will give the district a leg up on new Internal Revenue Service requirements by approving its 403(b) Plan Document.

IRS rules changed to require the school district to have its own plan documents in place describing how tax-deferred employee savings plans will be implemented. In the private sector, these plans are known as 401(k) accounts. While employers of 401(k) plans were required to have their own plan documents, not so of the public sector’s 403(b) plans. The new IRS requirements will go into effect next year.

Employees are not likely to note a change due to the plan adoption unless vendors they use for 403(b) plans choose not to sign hold harmless agreements required in the district’s plan document. The agreements state that the investment companies will follow the new IRS rules for 403(b) account administration.

Business Services Director Bryan Ruud will hold voluntary meetings with school staff Sept. 11 at 2:45 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. in the Hamilton Fine Arts Center to review the new IRS regulations and the district plan.

Board accepts renegotiated tower agreement
In other financial matters, the School Board agreed to renegotiated terms of a cellular tower lease that will shave $1,500 in annual revenue from the district. The tower, located at Willow Springs Learning Center, was originally erected by Cingular which recently merged with AT&T.

Halfway into the five-year, $12,000 Cingular contract, the district was asked to reduce the contract to $9,500 and accept 30-day termination rights. Ruud convinced AT&T to up the contract to $10,500 and remove termination rights.

School Board member Gerald Schmitz questioned why the district was accepting a lower rate than the original contract. Ruud explained that AT&T is claiming it has excess capacity since its merger and may need to rid itself of some towers. Ruud said he was looking to establish an arrangement that will continue to provide long-term revenue to the district.

Two students admitted into kindergarten early
Two students were admitted early into full-day kindergarten last year, according to a report presented by Special Services Supervisor Mardi Freeman. Initially, seven parents requested information, but only four children participated in screening. One student each at Marcy and Woodside elementary schools was granted early admission. A request for early admission into first grade was received, but the parents withdrew their child from the screening process.

District policy indicates children must be four, five or six years old by Sept. 1 to enter four-year-old kindergarten, regular kindergarten or first grade, respectively. While procedures exist for early admission to regular kindergarten and first grade, no early admission is granted for four-year-old kindergarten.

Staff members write e-mail disclaimer
Superintendent Kathleen Cooke thanked Educational Services Assistant Superintendent Dean Schultz and Instructional Technology Coordinator Katie Little for their work on the district’s new e-mail disclaimer. A message automatically appears at the end of each e-mail sent out of the district that indicates the message should not be considered confidential because it may be archived or subject to Wisconsin Open Records Law. It also states the e-mail represents the author’s, not the district’s, opinions and should not be distributed, copied or disclosed.

Personnel business
In personnel matters, the School Board:

  • accepted the resignations of paraprofessionals Rita Suelflow from Woodside, Matthew Pagel from Hamilton, and Kim Ebenhoch from Hamilton;
  • appointed Ann Myrold as a Marcy special services paraprofessional; and
  • modified Templeton speech and language specialist Jennifer Kryscio’s contract to 20 percent.