Kindergarten students join for Carole Peterson concert

Hamilton School District’s five-year-old kindergarten classes from Lannon, Marcy, Maple Avenue and Woodside elementary schools will join with Willow Springs Learning Center four-year-old kindergartners Oct. 8 to enjoy a concert. “Macaroni Soup! Active Music for Kids” by Carole Peterson will be presented twice – one beginning at 9:30 a.m. and again at 1:15 p.m.

Each year, Willow Springs four-year-olds invite their older kindergarten counterparts from throughout the school district to enjoy a special concert with them. This year’s concert is made possible through a Hamilton Education Foundation fine arts grant, which was requested by Willow Spring kindergarten teacher Rita Forrester.

Willow Springs Learning Center is located at W220 N6660 Town Line Road, Menomonee Falls.

Templeton to host community book fair

Templeton Middle School will host a special Scholastic Book Fair Sept. 30 – Oct. 3 with the proceeds going to purchase essential classroom and library resources and support school projects. Parents, children, teachers and the community are invited to attend.

The book fair will be open each day during school hours and feature a wide range of books for young teens and adults, including mystery and adventure novels, fantasy trilogies, sports guides and the latest bestsellers from more than 150 publishers. The book fair will be open Oct. 2 from 3:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. during parent-teacher conferences. Book fair attendees can also help build classroom libraries by purchasing books for teachers through the Classroom Wish List program.

For more information, please contact Library Media Specialist Anita Paque at (262) 246-6477 x4157.

Feldmann accepted into People to People program

Hamilton High School freshman Riley Feldmann was selected to participate in the People to People Leadership Summit June 15 – 24, 2009 at Columbia University in New York City and George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Feldmann is among a selected group of students who were nominated and accepted for the honor based on outstanding scholastic merit, civic involvement and leadership potential.

Feldmann will work with outstanding student leaders from around the globe to focus on leadership, team building, community service, college admissions and professional aspirations. Students work on an action plan to make a difference in their communities, develop skills to help them lead tomorrow’s world and work on college entrance requirements, while earning academic or service-learning credit.

The program is coordinated by the People to People Ambassador Programs to fulfill the vision President Dwight D. Eisenhower had for fostering world citizenship when he founded it during his presidency in 1956.

PSAT offered Oct. 18 at Hamilton

The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) will be given on October 18 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 October 10. 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 15, 2008

Hamilton meeting goals of more rigor
If increasing the rigor of coursework that students take is the goal of recent initiatives, Hamilton High School appears to be hitting the mark. Hamilton Principal Candis Mongan described results of efforts designed to support increased student achievement.

Advanced Placement (AP) and ACT results released this summer show that Hamilton students performed at one of the highest levels in the school’s history.

Some 74.2 percent of Hamilton students received a score of 3 or higher on AP exams, which earn them credits that are recognized by many colleges and universities. It was the second highest pass rate in school history. Hamilton students earned college credits in biology, calculus, chemistry, English, statistics, studio art drawing, European history and U.S. government and politics.

Another indicator of the school’s performance came with results of the ACT, a test that indicates the extent of preparation for college-level work. With a composite score of 23.2, Hamilton students scored well above the statewide composite average of 22.3. The national ACT composite score was 21.1.

Mongan presented data to School Board members that indicate a significant increase in the number of students participating in both exams. The number of students enrolled in AP courses increased from 80 students in 2005-06 to 228 enrolled in the current school year. In addition, the number of AP exams taken more than doubled in the last two years going from 80 to 225 exams taken.

Similarly, the number of students who took the ACT exam went from 179 in 2005-06 to a school high of 216 students in 2008, which is the equivalent of 68 percent of the graduating senior class, according to Mongan.

“We are excited about the increase in the numbers and we anticipate them to grow,” Mongan said. She said she looks forward to sharing more data with the School Board later this year when the high school site plan is reviewed.

School Board member Gerald Schmitz complimented school staff.

“It has taken a while to get there, but it sure makes you feel good,” Schmitz said about the school’s progress.

CESA #1 requests operation of alternative school without charter status
After getting approval from the Hamilton School Board to charter an alternative middle school for at-risk students and operating it successfully for eight years, CESA #1 Executive Director Tim Gavigan recommended ending the school’s charter status.

CESA #1 first came to the district in 2000 requesting that it approve a charter for Passages Middle School because regulations would not allow a CESA to do so. While Hamilton School Board members approved and renewed the charter, CESA #1 staff members operated it, and the CESA Board of Control provided its governance. The school served students from 13 school districts and offered flexible learning opportunities for students.

Gavigan said CESA #1 plans to continue operating the school, but it no longer wanted to operate it as a charter school. Initially the charter status provided the agency with federal planning and implementation funds.

“Unfortunately, there has been a drastic decrease in federal funding and a drastic increase in federal regulations,” Gavigan said.

New regulations would require that the school have its own board of directors and supply additional paperwork.

“So we want to continue the program and continue the success, but no longer continue the charter status,” Gavigan said.

School Board members approved Gavigan’s request to operate the alternative middle school through CESA #1 without renewing the charter school contract.

Summer Opportunities has successful year
Enrollment in the Summer Opportunities Program grew by 31 to 1,723 students. Summer Opportunities Coordinator Dick Ladd reported that the program remains highly popular among students and parents.

The majority of students who participated were elementary and middle school students in enrichment classes. Other components of summer school include the invitational program for struggling students who need additional practice in math or reading, and the promotional program for middle and high school students who need to earn credits.

Ladd recommended that next year’s program be scheduled from June 22 to July 17 with Friday, July 3 off in celebration of the Independence Day holiday weekend. Changes recommended were to implement an online registration process and incorporate a $100 registration fee for non-district students.

Board members accepted these and other recommendations suggested by Ladd. They complimented him and Summer Opportunities staff members for conducting a highly successful program.

New strategic planning process to begin
A new strategic planning process will begin this fall. Educational Services and Human Resources Director John Roubik updated School Board members on the timeline and participants involved in developing new strategies that will guide the district for the next five years.

The new plan will focus on preparing students for the rigor necessary to be competitive in the 21st Century. A Business Forum is planned for Oct. 21 to get input from businesses regarding skills needed in the workforce. A Board Study Session is slated Oct. 22 for School Board members, administrators and strategic planning team members. More than three dozen community members, staff, students, parents and business representatives will convene Dec. 3 and 4 to create new strategies.

Applied engineering & technology curriculum approved
School Board members approved the applied engineering and technology curriculum. Formerly known as technology education, the name reflects changes made in recent years.

The middle school program begins in seventh grade with a required 9-week exploratory course, “Introduction to Engineering Design.” Then “Technology and Engineering” is a yearlong eighth grade elective. Both middle school classes are part of Project Lead The Way (PLTW), a national education program that involves secondary-level students in rigorous education needed to develop science and engineering careers.

High school applied engineering and technology course are in autos, construction, graphics, manufacturing and PLTW.

Personnel business
In personnel business, the School Board appointed Karen Ludin as a Willow Springs paraprofessional, Phyllis Frittitta as a Lannon paraprofessional, Mike Strobl as a Hamilton student supervisor, William Hahn as a Maple custodian, Jeff Polansky as a Marcy part-time cleaner, Daniel Diedrick as a Hamilton cleaner, Steve Pelzman as a Templeton cleaner, Amanda Pinnow as a Hamilton special services paraprofessional, and Traci Ellis as a Lannon special education replacement teacher.

2008 Hamilton Homecoming Week activities set

With a “Hollywood” theme, Hamilton High School is gearing up for six days of fun, activities and athletic events during Homecoming Week Sept. 29 – Oct. 4.

Athletic events are at home until otherwise noted.

Monday, Sept. 29: Theme – Malibu Monday, Lunch game – hula hoop contest

  • Football – Freshman B vs. Marquette – 4:15 p.m.; varsity reserve at Arrowhead,
    7 p.m.
  • Volleyball – Girls’ JV at Bay View Invite, 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 30: Theme – Movie Star Look-Alike, lunch game – Oscar awards

  • Soccer – Boys’ JV, varsity soccer at Brookfield Central, 5 p.m., 7 p.m.
  • Volleyball – Girls’ JV, freshman and varsity vs. Menomonee Falls, 5:30 p.m., 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 1: Theme – Red Carpet Disaster, lunch game – bubble gum pie

  • Tennis – Girls’ varsity Greater Metro Conference meet round 1 at Brookfield, 3 p.m.
  • Powder Puff Football:
    • Freshmen vs. juniors – 5 p.m., sophomores vs. seniors – 6 p.m.,
    • Consolation game – 7 p.m., Championship game – 8 p.m.

  • Bonfire and fireworks – 9 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 2: Theme – Rock Star, lunch game – Hamilton Idol

  • Football – freshman vs. West Allis Central, 4:15 p.m., JV at West Allis Central, 6:45 p.m.

  • Golf – Girls’ varsity at regionals
  • Tennis – Girls’ varsity Greater Metro Conference meet round 2 at Brookfield, 4 p.m.
  • Soccer – Boys’ JV, varsity vs. Germantown, 5 p.m., 7 p.m.
  • Swimming – Girls’ JV, varsity vs. Divine Savior Holy Angels, 6 p.m.
  • Volleyball – Girls’ freshman, JV and varsity vs. Kettle Moraine Lutheran, 5:30 p.m., 7 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 3: Theme – Charger Pride Day

  • Pep Rally – 10:40 a.m.
  • Friday is a half-day early release for students. Pep Club, Student Council and Court members will decorate for the dance beginning at noon.
  • Football – Varsity vs. West Allis Central – 7 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 4:

  • Cross Country – Boys’ and girls’ JV and varsity at Racine Case Invite
  • Soccer – Boys’ JV, varsity vs. Waukesha South, 11 a.m.
  • Grand March – 6:30 p.m., gym
  • Dance – 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., Hamilton High School, W220 N6151 Town Line Rd., Sussex.

Students may purchase tickets for the dance Sept. 29 to Oct. 3 during lunches for $15 per person. The first 500 people to purchase their tickets will receive a free t-shirt. Parents are invited to watch the announcement of Homecoming Court at the Grand March. Tickets may be purchased at the door for $1.

September 2, 2008

Reading revisions approved
The Hamilton School Board approved revisions in the reading curriculum based on the recommendation of the 33-member K-12 Reading Committee. Instructional Services Supervisor Dee Bauman, Ph.D., presented the revised reading curriculum that teachers from all grade levels and content areas reviewed and revised over the past year.

Bauman reported that the most significant changes in the document include:

  • “Reading Beliefs,” a summary of reading research and a description of instructional practices to define how research is applied in the classroom;
  • a four-year-old kindergarten literacy component based on the state’s Early Childhood Standards for Literacy Development;
  • revision of grade level reading expectations to reflect current reading research and to more fully define what students will know and be able to do at each grade level;
  • a “Reading in the Content Area” section that identifies the instructional expectations for grades 6-12 teachers as they work with students on reading tasks related to their content; and
  • an electronic reading resource guide located on a shared drive for middle and high school teachers that contains templates, strategies and activities that reflect best practice in reading instruction.

Bauman noted that professional development will be a key in the curriculum development process. Reading specialists and other committee members will present the revised curriculum to staff this fall.

“We have outstanding reading specialists in this district,” Bauman said. “They are instrumental in making this happen.”

Technology plan making progress
Information Technology staff members have been busy working on technology initiatives. Information Technology Services Assessment Coordinator Katherine Little reported on a wide range of actions that were completed or are in progress. Among the items she noted were:

  • replacement of 255 5-year-old computers throughout the district and installation of 30 new computers for Templeton’s Project Lead the Way and Family and Consumer Education lab;
  • expansion of the InterChange project for selected Advanced Placement classes that provides an online content management tool;
  • participation of 12 teachers in the “Integrating Technology into Existing Curriculum” in-service which was taught by two district teachers; and
  • offering all teachers three workshops that focus on classroom assessment.

Four students admitted into kindergarten early
Four students were admitted early into full-day kindergarten last year, according to a report presented by Special Services Supervisor Mardi Freeman. Typically, one or two students were granted early admission kindergarten in each of the past seven years. Initially, nine parents requested information, but only six children participated in screening. There were no requests for early admission into first grade.

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.

Summer workshop status given
Bauman presented the 2008 Summer Workshop Report. The summer provided extended time for district staff to participate in curriculum and professional development. The business education, applied engineering and technology and reading curricula were revised as part of the ongoing five-year curriculum cycle. A host of other curriculum projects and professional development opportunities were described.

Personnel business
In personnel matters, the School Board:

  • accepted the resignation of Lannon paraprofessional June Prestin and Lannon special education teacher Kristine Wetherall;
  • appointed Stacie Benson as Maple Avenue paraprofessional, Crystal Hoffmann as Marcy special services paraprofessional, John Hervert as Templeton part-time physical education teacher and Alicia Ide as Maple Avenue replacement fourth grade teacher;
  • modified the contract of Templeton speech-language specialist Kristin Netzel-Muehlenbach from 50 to 60 percent.