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 and beyond. Following is a summary of activities at each school.

  • Lannon Elementary School students, families and staff members contributed four 33-gallon bags of gently used clothing and boots and 273 cans of food to the Sussex Food Pantry. They also donated 90 new hats, gloves and mittens to the Parents Place in Waukesha.
  • Maple Avenue Elementary School fifth-graders , through their Uniting Kids and Community (UKC) program, sponsored a Warm and Fuzzy Drive that provided 444 outdoor winter items for Sussex Outreach Services. Students and families donated 128 coats, 108 hats, 35 scarves, 103 gloves and mittens, 26 pairs of boots and 44 snow pants. Buddy classes in first and third grades earned money by doing extra work at home and contributing the money at school. A total of $342.64 was raised and used to purchase items for children served by the Sussex Food Pantry. They contributed 76 items including 26 pairs of shoes, seven sports balls, 10 bubble baths, 12 packages of underwear, gloves and hats, lip gloss, nail polish, bath supplies, board games, card games. Maple Avenue staff members sponsored three families providing gifts, books, games, educational toys, clothing, gift cards, snacks, holiday décor and lotion for the family members.
  • Marcy Elementary School collected 15 to 20 bags of gift items for “The Second Giving” campaign that benefited Milwaukee area churches. Contributions included new or gently used items such as toys, games and personal items.
  • Woodside Elementary School Student Council organized a schoolwide effort to adopt three families for Christmas. Specific information about the family members’ needs were shared. Students provided generously for their adopted families. Student Council members met before school to wrap gifts that were delivered to the families in time for Christmas. In addition, Woodside fourth-graders adopted second-, third- and fourth-graders from Wind Lake Elementary School. Each student was given a wrapped gift from the Woodside students.
  • Willow Springs Learning Center students and their families contributed generously to the Sussex Food Pantry this holiday season. They participated in a service project, “Making Wishes Come True,” that resulted in more than 400 items of clothing or toys that will be distributed through the Sussex Food Pantry to local families.
  • The Templeton Middle School Student Council organized a annual Holiday Gift Drive in December that was a huge success. The school raised $7,300 to help those in need this holiday season. Donations are being made to the Porcupine Foundation to help disadvantaged youth attend summer camp, the Women’s Center of Waukesha to aid abused women and children, the Hebron House of Waukesha to assist those who are homeless, and the Sussex Food Pantry. Student Council members also purchased Christmas gifts for a Sussex area family.
  • Hamilton High School students contributed to various community groups during the holiday season. Students in the Freshman Seminar sponsored a little girl through the Christmas Clearing Council of Waukesha County. Working off of a wish list that the girl’s mother provided, the students signed up to provide gifts. They provided her with an assortment of gifts including clothes, picture books and art supplies. The school library’s Student Advisory Panel coordinated a “Snowflakes of Hope” campaign in which hats, mittens, gloves, scarves, socks, toiletries, slippers and other items were donated to the Women’s Center in Waukesha. The German Club also sponsored a sweater drive during winter. High school office staff members adopted two local families and provided gifts to brighten their holidays.
  • Staff members throughout the district adopted families in lieu of exchanging gifts with one another. They provided gifts of toys, games, clothing, food, personal items, household goods and gift certificates for numerous families in need of support.

Songs of Sinatra take the stage Jan. 24 at the HFAC

The Hamilton Fine Arts Center continues its performing arts season Jan. 24 with the songs and sounds of Frank Sinatra. “The Sinatra Tradition” starring Ed Franks will bring the songs of Frank Sinatra alive, complete with a 17-piece band. The “Sinatra Tradition” is a tribute not only to the legendary singer’s voice, but something else that sets Sinatra apart – class. Celebrate the legend Jan. 24 beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors (55+) and $8 for students.

Other upcoming events at the Hamilton Fine Arts Center include:

Light Up: A Tribute to Styx – Feb. 15
Styx was one of the biggest album-rock bands of the late ‘70s, producing monster hits with “Babe,” “Lady,” “Come Sail Away,” “Too Much Time on My Hands” and “Don’t Let It End.” Light Up is a Milwaukee-based group of musicians faithfully recreating the Styx catalogue from the 1970s through the ‘80s. Lead singer Bobby Rouse’s uncanny similarity to Dennis DeYoung’s signature voice provides a foundation for the band to build on. Light Up’s incredible sound and phenomenal light show create the “Grand Illusion” of a live Styx concert experience on Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m.. Reserved seating is $18. General seating is $12.

Comedy Sportz – March 8
Comedy Sportz is competitive improv – two teams doing faced-paced improvisational comedy games and scenes based on audience suggestions and participations. The audience provides the suggestions, the referee keeps everyone in line. This show is appropriate for all ages, and the games begin at 7 p.m. on March 5. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors. Children 5-11 years are only $5.

University of Wisconsin Varsity Band – April 8
The famous Badger band will perform April 8 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors (55+) and $8 for students.

Tickets may be purchased online at www.HamiltonFineArtsCenter.com or by visiting the HFAC box office, located at W220 N6151 Town Line Road, Sussex on Wednesdays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. (closed Dec. 26 and Jan. 2). No phone orders accepted, please.

The Hamilton Education Foundation provided funding to support some programming of the HFAC’s 2007-08 performing arts season.

Hamilton’s kindergarten registration begins in January

Kindergarten registration for children in the Hamilton School District is set to begin in January. There are several kindergarten options for 4- and 5-year-olds. An optional half-day program for 4-year-olds is available to children who turn four years old on or before Sept. 1, 2008. The district offers parents the option of choosing full- or half-day programming for children who will be five years old on or before Sept. 1, 2008.

Required at registration are the child’s original birth certificate and immunization record. Proof of residency is required when the first child in a family registers in the district. Forms may be downloaded from the district Web site at www.hamilton.k12.wi.us/district/enrollment.

Also suggested is a list of emergency phone numbers and information if a child will be picked up or dropped off at a location other than home. Children are welcome to attend, but the child’s attendance is not necessary.

Following are three ways to register children for kindergarten in the Hamilton School District.

  • 4K program – Registration is at Willow Springs Learning Center where the program is offered. Willow Springs registration hours are 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Jan. 28-Feb. 1, with extended hours until 7 p.m. on Jan. 30.
  • 5K program for children currently enrolled in the Willow Springs 4K program – Registration forms containing child’s current information will be sent home the week of Feb. 4. Parents will update information on the forms and choose half- or full-day kindergarten for 2008-09. Parents of current Willow Springs 4-year-old kindergartners are not required to complete registration at their home school.
  • 5K program for children who are not enrolled in the Willow Springs 4K program – Registration is at the school the child will attend in 2008-09. Registration at Lannon, Maple Avenue, Marcy and Woodside elementary schools will be 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Feb. 4-8 with extended hours from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. on Feb. 6.

Following are locations and phone numbers for each school.

  • Willow Springs, W220 N6660 Town Line Rd., Menomonee Falls (262) 255-6190;
  • Lannon, 7145 N. Lannon Rd., Lannon (262) 255-6106;
  • Maple Avenue, W240 N6049 Maple Ave., Sussex (262) 246-4220;
  • Marcy, W180 N4851 Marcy Rd., Menomonee Falls (262) 781-8283; and
  • Woodside, W236 N7465 Woodside Rd., Sussex (262) 820-1530.

Hamilton announces November students of the month

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

  • Jason Berger and Halley Greeneway, communication arts;
  • Bess Farley, world languages;
  • Daniel Hausman, applied engineering and technology;
  • Kirsten Kozik, music;
  • Heather Leskinen, social studies;
  • Albert Mills, family and consumer education;
  • Katelyn Putz, mathematics;
  • Sara Shaffer, art;
  • Virginia Thern, business education;
  • Amanda Wagner, science; and
  • Talon Zarling, fitness education.

Students received a certificate and a pin for their accomplishment.

Woodside to kick off science celebration

Woodside Elementary School will kick off a celebration of science Jan. 23 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the gymnasium. The kick-off features a unique, inflatable planetarium that first- through fifth-graders will visit.

The astronomy demonstration provides students and staff with a glimpse of the science excitement that school will experience during the Science Fair 2008, which is slated March 10-13.

Woodside is located at W236 N7465 Woodside Rd., Sussex.

Marcy principal to retire

The Hamilton School Board accepted the retirement request of Marcy Elementary School Principal Donald Behrens, Ph.D., effective June 30, 2008.

“To say that I will miss the children, parents and staff of Marcy would be an understatement,” Behrens wrote to Marcy parents. “I consider it a real honor to have had the opportunity to work with everyone associated with Marcy School.”

Hamilton Superintendent Kathleen Cooke, Ph.D., said Behrens has been an important leader at Marcy and in the district.

“Dr. Behrens has been an exceptional leader and instrumental in helping the district move forward to meet the needs of our students,” Cooke said. “He will be greatly missed by the students, parents and faculty at Marcy, and also staff throughout the entire district.”

Behrens has been Marcy principal since 1997. Before joining the Hamilton School District, he had been principal of Glen Hills Middle School in Glendale and coordinator of fine arts in the Fond du Lac School District. He began his teaching career in 1972 at Fond du Lac’s Sabish Junior High School where he taught music for 13 years.

Behrens earned his bachelor’s degree in music from Lawrence University in Appleton. He received his master’s degree in music in 1976 and his doctorate in educational administration in 1991 — both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The position for a new principal will be posted. The School Board is expected to fill the position this spring.

December 17, 2007

PLTW sees success
Introduction of Project Lead The Way (PLTW) has been so successful in the district that the School Board can expect to see a future request for more staffing.

Assistant Superintendent Dean Schultz updated the board on the national program developed by professional engineers that introduces students to engineering fields at middle and high school. Templeton Middle School is in the second year of implementation. All seventh-graders take the Gateway to Technology and Engineering course, and eighth-graders may take Technology and Engineering as an elective. Eighth-graders also have the PLTW unit of machines, work and energy in science.

The program began at the high school this year, which will offer three sections of Introduction to Engineering Design to the 80 students who enrolled for the class. Classroom renovation and expansion for the new course was part of a high school construction project that was completed during the summer.

The district was awarded a three-year, $42,000 grant from the Kern Family Foundation to offset some of the start-up costs of the program.

Schultz reported that increased demand for the courses drive the need for an additional full-time teaching position to be shared between the high school and middle school. He said the request will be part of the 2008-09 overall staffing plan.

Strategic plan update gets OK
The district’s Strategic Plan update was approved with the planning team’s recommendations for minor adjustments to the objectives. Other recommendations that were accepted are to continue to work on strategies to address underachieving students, focus on higher-level thinking skills and extend the plan through 2009.

The planning team met Nov. 29 and reviewed progress of the four strategies and methods used to measure the objectives. The strategies, which will remain the same, are to:

  • foster learning environments that nurture social and emotional development to ensure maximum achievement for each child;
  • ensure that professional development improves student learning;
  • use the results of student assessments and other performance-related data to ensure continuous progress for each child; and
  • enhance our communication plan to promote understanding, support and involvement of families, the community and staff in fulfilling our mission.

Superintendent reports on award, HFAC shells
In her Superintendent’s Report, Kathleen Cooke, Ph.D., reported that the district was presented with the Sussex Area Chamber of Commerce’s Partnership Award at its annual awards banquet. The district’s contributions to the chamber were mentioned including Spring Fest, school-to-work initiatives and the Valuing Diversity Committee.

Cooke also reported that the district will look into the purchase of acoustical shells for the Hamilton Fine Arts Center (HFAC). As the district attracts larger, more professional groups to perform, it experiences greater need for the acoustical shells that direct sound toward the audience. The HFAC’s full-fly stage, designed to allow scene changes, causes sound to be lost when large musical groups that fill the entire stage perform.

Included in the HFAC’s original construction bids, the shells were cut due to budget constraints. The cost for an entire shell system would be about $170,000. Cooke said the district is exploring fundraising options that could make the shells a reality.

Two site plans approved
School Board members approved two school site plans and extended praise to the staff who contributed to the schools’ accomplishments.

Principal Linda Jorgensen reported on progress noted in Woodside Elementary School’s site plan review. She noted that the school experienced:

  • overall strong standardized test score with tremendous growth in mathematics;
  • increases in advanced proficiency ratings;
  • teamwork among staff;
  • improved and more consistent parent communication; and
  • use of data to assign interventions for struggling students.

Woodside will focus on two tactics in which students will:

  • experience social and emotional growth leading to academic success through strong and nurturing relationships between students, staff and families; and
  • demonstrate confidence and academic success through instructional best practices, and struggling students will achieve success through differentiated instruction and interventions.

Willow Springs’ site planning team decided to keep the school’s single tactics that states: “The student will be enriched in a unique, well-defined and articulated four-year-old kindergarten program.”

The tactic focuses on organizing the curriculum to align with the Wisconsin model of Early Learning Standards and development of the Transition to Success Program for student entry into school.

Willow Springs Principal Margaret Tackes, Ed.D., described work of the faculty in the past year to:

  • standardize curriculum language;
  • develop statements about the social and emotional experience at the school’
    Identify areas of social-emotional curriculum to develop and teach which resulted in assessment of skills;
  • participate in in-service and CESA workshop regarding social-emotional development and play of 4-year-olds;
  • read, discuss and share information with families in a Professional Learning Community to validate the social-emotional curriculum; and
  • update the school profile to use with students teachers and personnel from visiting school districts that are studying four-year-old kindergarten programming.

School Board member Deborah Briggs commended Willow Springs and pointed out the many positive comments parents make in the school survey.

“I am reading what the parents have written and it’s just positive, after positive, after positive comment,” Briggs said.

Robb recognized
School Board members recognized Cindy Robb, executive assistant for instructional technology and assessment, for her contributions to the district. Robb was responsible for the district’s compliance with the state’s ICES student identification system. She worked many evening and weekend hours to ensure the accuracy of the information. In addition to knowledge about software and hardware and willingness to help people technology issues, Robb was commended for helping staff with projects like posting photos from the German Club’s travels and compiling photos and newspaper clips for the football team.

Female swimmers honored
Four members of the girls’ swim team were recognized for their outstanding athletic and academic accomplishments. Athletic-Activities Director Michael Gosz noted the high grade point averages of state-qualifying swimmers senior Sarah Warzon, sophomore Briana Botros, senior Jessica Bley and freshman Sarah Tighe.

Personnel business
In personnel news, the School Board:
Accepted the early retirement request of Marcy Elementary School Principal Donald Behrens, Ph.D., and the resignation request of Hamilton paraprofessional Theresa Dixon.

Hamilton choir invites public to concerts

Excitement is building at Hamilton High School where the Hamilton Concert Choir is preparing for several public concerts. With a new director, a new schedule and 30 strong female voices, the choir invites the public to attend its performances.

Hamilton’s new choir director, Marilyn Spiess, hopes to see the community at the upcoming concerts.

“Performance is a big part of what we do as musicians, but it’s hard to perform without an audience,” Spiess said. “Come join us for some good choral music.”

Upcoming performances include three concerts.

  • A winter holiday concert will be performed Dec. 19 at 12:30 p.m. at the Sussex Community Center, W240 N5765 Maple Avenue, Sussex.
  • The choir will perform another holiday concert with the Templeton Middle School Eighth Grade Show Choir Dec. 20 at 1:15 p.m. in the Hamilton Fine Arts Center, W220 N6151 Town Line Road, Sussex.
  • The choir’s final concert for first semester will be Jan., 19 at 7 p.m. in the Hamilton Fine Arts Center.

This fall proved to be a busy one for the choir as members worked hard at clinics and performances. They traveled in November to Carthage College where they participated in the Lakeside Choral Festival. They performed four pieces at the festival and had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be critiqued by accomplished American music educator and conductor Weston Noble.

Senior Melissa Brook and freshman Kate Brzozowski sang in November with the Women’s Choir in the statewide “Singing in Wisconsin” Festival at Muskego High School. The Hamilton choir also performed for Senior Citizens’ Day during American Education Week in the Hamilton Fine Arts Center, and weathered the snow Dec. 1 for the Sussex Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.

Templeton students selected for Honors Band

Three Templeton Middle School eighth grade band members were honored by being selected for the 41th Annual Honors Band Festival. They participated Nov. 30 and Dec. 2 in the festival at the University of Wisconsin (UW) – Milwaukee. Students selected for the festival were:

  • Kirsten Fischer, clarinet;
  • Daniel Smith, percussion; and
  • Riley Feldmann, tuba.

Students were selected from approximately 700 nominations from across Wisconsin and Illinois. They participated in all-day rehearsals and instrument master classes on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. The festival concluded on Dec. 2 with a concert at the Helene Zelazo Center For The Performing Arts on the UW-Milwaukee campus.

Students in the festival were divided into three performance bands that were directed by renowned music educators from Wisconsin, Florida and Georgia.

Maple Avenue fifth-graders donate to panda fund

Students in Christina Garley’s fifth grade classroom at Maple Avenue Elementary School have been reading books for a cause as part of their “Buck a Book” program. The reading incentive program encourages students to read on their own time and raise money for a cause they deem important.

For each book students complete and record in their reading log, they bring in $1 from home. Once $50 is collected, the class decides where to donate the money. The class chose Pandas International for their first $50 donation because the needs of animals are sometimes overlooked during the holidays.

Pandas International supports panda nature reserves in their native China through medical research, breeding programs, veterinary care, medicine and medical equipment. Pandas International also focuses on habitat preservation and education programs to increase public awareness of the panda as a highly endangered species.

The activity runs throughout the school year in Maple Avenue fifth grade classes. Maple Avenue Elementary School is located at W240 N6059 Maple Ave. in Sussex.