Academic search shines light on students

Dozens of Hamilton School District students participated in the Midwest Academic Talent Search (MATS) by taking above-grade level tests to measure their intellectual abilities. Three middle school students who took the EXPLORE, ACT or SAT tests were recognized for exceptional performance among Wisconsin students, and one student was noted for her exceptional performance in the Midwest.

Students qualified for MATS based on their scores on the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam. Qualifying seventh and eighth grade students took the ACT or SAT, which are college entrance exams normally given to high school students. Fifth- and sixth-graders who qualified for MATS took EXPLORE, a test normally given to eighth grade students.

Templeton Middle School seventh-grader Corinne Olson will be honored May 17 at Northwestern University for her high ACT scores among eight Midwestern states. In addition, sixth-graders Brendan Schlaman and seventh-graders Elizabeth Schounard, along with Corinne Olson, were recognized April 26 by the Wisconsin Center for Academically Talented Youth for their high test scores among students in Wisconsin.

Other Templeton students who participated in MATS were: Katherine Bitz, Emily Blackwell, Miranda Brown, Brandon Bryant, Taylor Burns, Matthew Ciolkosz, Matt Coe, Alexandra Egan, Allison Ehlert, Riley Feldman, Jacob Fischer, Sarah Geier, Tara Garbe, Nathan Goecks, Holly Heckendorf, Emily Jansen, Jennifer Janusz, Hannah Jasinski, Brandon Joel, Anna Joll, Michael Johrendt, Zachary Kasun, Alison Kline, Annalise Kluender, Conner Ladwig, Morgan Land, Conner Last, Ashley Leblanc, Brandon Leet, Emily Lehner, Jacob Ludin, Alex Magoon, A.J. Mamerow, Andrew McClone, Lindsay Menting, Garrett Minor, Grace Modl, Joshua Mueller, Kurt Nejedlo, Brett Nevermann, Katlyn Pollari, Cameron Pothier, Jacob Raffel, Taylor Rapee, Lydia Salus, Miranda Simes, Michael Spankowski, Katrina Strait, Brianna Vandyke, Andrea Wall, Bethany Wandsnider, Kira Welcenbach, Tyler Wischnefski and Kyle Youngblood.

In recognition of their achievement, the Templeton Home and School invited each student to a May 9 breakfast buffet at school.

Fifth-graders from elementary schools who were invited to take the EXPLORE test were: Christopher (Nick) Jelden and Kira Lange, from Lannon; Brandon Fedie, Hannah Hubbell, Andrew Lien, Mackenzie Ludin and Brandon Pupp, from Maple Avenue; Lauren Anthony, Joyce Chen, Peter Herrmann, Amanda Melk-McCrary and Kelsey Schroeder, from Marcy; Allison Bitz, Conner Davidson, Katharine Dowlding, Tyler Gall, Samual Kivimaki, Matthew Kundert, Colleen O’Neill, Gabrielle Olson, Nicole Spence and Kyle Wischnefski, from Woodside;.

MATS is a program of Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development that offers testing for academically talented students in grades 3-9. MATS has been serving students in the Midwest and beyond since 1981. Nearly 31,000 students use MATS each year to help them understand their abilities and plan for their future. It is a well-researched and respected program model in gifted education.

Templeton Future Problem Solvers earn state award

Two sixth grade Templeton Middle School teams tied for second place among 50 teams that created banners at the Future Problem Solving (FPS) State Bowl competition. The event was held in April at Devil’s Head Resort in Merrimac.

The two Templeton teams created a banner, “TMS-FPS Checkmates Countries’ Debt – No Contest,” in response to the state bowl’s topic that dealt with debt in developing nations. One team consisted of Ethan Beaudry, Megan Hessler, Brad Schissel and Brendan Schlaman. Craig Bumgardner, Taylor Burns, Madison Czerwinski and Ryan Yates comprised the other team. Sixth-grade alternates Caitlin Kennedy and Alex Nernberger also completed individual competitions at the State Bowl.

Hamilton High School freshman Paula Myatt competed in the individual competition for students in grades 7-9 and earned first place. She will go to the International Bowl May 29-June 1 where she will compete against students from 41 states, Japan, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. In addition to her individual competition, Myatt helped coach Templeton teams after school each Tuesday.

Along with the two sixth grade teams that qualified for the State Bowl, Templeton had two other FPS teams of seventh- and eighth-graders. In addition to the State Bowl topic, students studied the topics of body enhancement, simulation technology and neurotechnology. The teams researched the topics, were given a future scene in which current trends are projected into the future, and found 16 problems related to the future scene. The teams focused on one major underlying problem to solve. The teams then wrote up 16 possible solutions, decided upon five criteria questions that to help them evaluate their eight best solutions and finally wrote an action plan for the best solution — all in less than two hours.

Hamilton students take first at state music event

Two Hamilton High School choral students took first place at state competition April 26 at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. Kirsten Kozik and Madeleine Kuenn each earned first place finishes for their Class A solos.

To qualify for state, Kozik and Kuenn were among a group of Hamilton High School choral students who competed March 15 in the Wisconsin School Music Association’s (WSMA) District Solo and Ensemble Festival at Whitefish Bay High School. Students performed music in events ranging from solos to duets to large concert groups and were critiqued on their performances. Students who receive an excellent-starred rating in Class A events qualified for state competition.

Other Hamilton students who competed at the March 15 district event were:
Class A ensembles

  • Kirsten Kozik and Stephanie Klees – excellent rating;
  • Anisha Kuhl and Amanda Frievalt – very good rating;

Class A solos

  • Stephanie Klees, Anisha Kuhl and Amanda Rockwell – excellent ratings;
  • Melissa Brook, Jessica Henzig and Megan Menzel – very good ratings;
  • Katie Ruh – good rating;

Class B ensembles

  • Paige Schuenke and Alexandra Dylla – excellent rating;
  • Madeleine Kuenn, Robin Figarino and Ashley Herrmann; Amanda Frievalt, Elizabeth Prasser and Samantha Schlegel – very good ratings;

Class B solos

  • Ashley Herrmann – excellent rating;
  • Lindsey Mork – very good rating.

Hamilton students place at international conference

Eight students represented Hamilton High School at the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) International Career Development Conference in Atlanta.

The team of Halley Greeneway and Holly Rindfleish took third place overall in the Travel and Tourism Management Team Decision-Making category. They are the first competitors ever from Hamilton to finish in the top three at DECA international competition.

Other Hamilton students who competed were Kyle McClone, Chris McCormick, Cody Ellis, Ryan Zahn, Emily Rindfleisch and Sonya Ruminski.

Hamilton DECA was also recognized at DECA internationals with the School Based Enterprise – Gold Level Re-certification Award and the Diamond Level Membership Award. The team was recognized as well for raising $3,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Templeton violinist honored

Templeton Middle School eighth grader Stephanie Petersen was honored for her participation in the Wisconsin School Music Association State Music Festival held April 26 at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.

Performing on violin, Stephanie received a “very good” rating for her solo performance. The rating was achieved by receiving “excellent” or “very good” marks in the categories of tone, music interpretation, intonation, expression and articulation. Petersen qualified for the state festival by receiving the highest rating possible at a district music festival held in early April that featured student soloists and ensembles from throughout southeastern Wisconsin.

Intergenerational pen pals meet at Marcy

Generations came together May 2 at Marcy Elementary School’s annual Pen Pal Party. Fourth grade students from the classes of Beth Schaefer, Barb Gogan and Pam Biron met their senior citizen pen pals at this special event. The seniors and students have been corresponding since the fall of the school year.

The pen pal project is a collaborative effort between the Hamilton School District and the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) of Waukesha County. The goal of the project is to provide the students letter-writing experience while learning about life in the past through stories shared with their pen pals.

The celebration began with a short musical performance by the students and an old-fashioned sing-along led by Marcy music specialist Rod Loren, Ph.D. The event continued with a photo session of the students and seniors, a keepsake craft project, a tour of the school and refreshments. A highlight of the afternoon was presentation of a check to the RSVP program from the students. Fourth grade students were responsible for each aspect of the party. To cover the cost of the event, students held an ice cream sale as part of an economics unit, using the profits to pay for party supplies and the RSVP donation.

May 6, 2008

Vertical teaming successful
Two years into its vertical teaming initiative, the district has two groups well into the process and another one set to begin in the fall.

Instructional Services Supervisor Dee Bauman, Ph.D., reported that teachers are working in grades 6-12 in communication arts and social studies to identify essential skills and concepts in their areas. They then ensure that the skills and concepts are taught sequentially across the grade levels. Each of the teams met three times with a facilitator during the year and will meet three more times next year. An additional vertical team will be launched in science next fall.

School Board member Lynn Kristensen said she was impressed with vertical teaming because it created efficiency of learning.

“You are giving children the gift of efficiency,” Kristensen said, adding that the groundwork for the vertical teams was well planned.

Students involved in work-based learning
More than one-quarter of Hamilton juniors and seniors participate in work-based learning programs at the high school. Hamilton Associated Principal Peter Ferge updated School Board members on the Extended Learning Opportunities Program that he coordinates. Some 27 percent of juniors and seniors are involved in work-based programs that include Youth Apprenticeship, co-op, work experience, job shadowing and academic assistantship.

Ferge also reported that 94 percent of the 194 students who take transcripted credit courses successfully complete them. Transcripted credit agreements provide students the opportunity to take Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) courses in high school. They earn WCTC and high school credit. Hamilton’s completion rate is above the county average.

Tech initiatives described
Various technology initiatives have gotten attention in the past year. Information Technology (IT) Services Coordinator Katherine Little updated School Board members on those projects which include:

  • Computer and networking hardware replacement – approximately 255 computers have reached their 5-year lifespan and will be replaced along with 30 additional new computers for the Project Lead the Way and Family & Consumer Education lab at Templeton. The 5-year replacement cycle eliminates movement of machines during their lifespans and supports stable budgeting for computers
  • HelpDesk – All buildings are using the web-based help desk ticketing system that allows employees to report technology difficulties that require support from the IT team.
  • eFunds – The program that allows parents to pay school fees online now includes a link to Lunch Box, an automated lunch program. Funds can be deposited into individual student Lunch Box accounts. Some schools use eFunds during the registration process and for field trip payments.
  • GradeCheck – Hamilton and Templeton students and their parents can use the online system to track student grades.
  • TechLiterary assessment – The assessment will measure technology proficiency of fifth- and eighth-graders and employees. The assessment will also satisfy a No Child Left Behind reporting requirement. Eighth-graders were tested in January and fifth-graders in April. More than 87 percent tested proficient.
  • InterChange – The online teacher content management tool was piloted with Hamilton Advanced Placement teachers and students. It is being used for threaded discussions and a place to access supplemental course materials. In addition, students in multiple-section classrooms are teamed with students across sections to broaden communication and knowledge.
  • Technology in-services – Staff members participated in various staff development opportunities focused on technology.
  • Information and Technology Literacy (ITL) standards – ITL standards will be integrated into curricular areas to improve students learning. Staff members have been working on a research project that includes a standardized research format and mini lessons.
  • Destiny – The union catalog that centralizes all district libraries under one system was implemented at all buildings. Students and staff are using it and have improved access, increased efficiency, greater student learning and less district-level technology support.
  • Storage Area Network (SAN) data recovery solution – Installation of the back-up system – designed to provide data recovery, greater network resiliency and lower hardware costs – is complete.
  • Staff resources – The district Web site provides a convenient place where staff members can access GroupWise e-mail, token access, Hamilton Matters intranet and NetStorage.

Computer purchases approved
In related technology matters, the School Board approved the replacement purchase of 253 computers throughout the district and 30 new machines for the PLTW/FACE lab at Templeton. The board accepted the low bid of $846 per computer from Dell Computer. In addition, other computer purchases that were approved were 13 graphic arts MacIntosh computers at a cost of $1,284 per unit, 10 Dell replacement notebooks at $1,1106 each, one PLTW Dell notebook for $1,241, 50 nComputing workstations for elementary areas at $299 each and a router for the high school Applied Engineering Department for $22,910. Total cost for the hardware purchases was $308,271.

DECA students recognized
School Board members recognized members of the high school Distributive Education Club of America (DECA) Chapter who competed at the international DECA conference based on their success at state competition. The students who were honored were Cody Ellis, Halley Greeneway, Kyle McClone, Chris McCormick, Emily Rindfleisch, Holly Rindfleisch, Sonya Ruminski and Ryan Zahn. They also honored Alex Woodington, who took first place in the state for an online marketing program.

Personnel business
In personnel matters, the School Board:

  • approved a leave of absence for Hamilton band director Jon Waite for the 2008-09 school year;
  • appointed Sherri Morrill as the Lannon library-media specialist; and
  • increased Ryan Otten’s Hamilton fitness education-health contract from half- to full-time.