Hamilton music department invites public to concerts

The Hamilton School District invites the public to attend several outstanding musical performances this winter. Upcoming performances include three free concerts.

  • The Winter Holiday Concert featuring the Templeton Middle School Eighth Grade Chorus and Hamilton Concert Choir will begin at 1 p.m. on Dec. 10. Senior citizens and community members are especially encouraged to attend this event.
  • The Hamilton Band and Choir Joint Winter Concert is a festive celebration of winter holiday music. The concert begins at 7 p.m. on Dec. 16. All are welcome.
  • The Winter Choral Concert will feature the Hamilton Concert Choir and the A Cappella Group – Music Over Matter. The concert begins at 7 p.m. on Jan. 15.

Hamilton choirs are under the direction of Marilyn Spiess, the Hamilton band director is Kathryn Tollefson and Leah Palmer, and Jaye Mier directs Templeton choirs.

All events will be held in the Hamilton Fine Arts Center, W220 N6151 Town Line Road, Sussex.

Senior citizens invited to holiday concert

The Hamilton High School Concert Choir and the Templeton Middle School Eighth Grade Chorus will perform a combined concert Dec. 10 at 1 p.m. for area senior citizens. The “Winter Holiday Concert” will feature traditional holiday standards as well as more contemporary holiday tunes. Each choir will perform several songs, culminating with two combined songs.

The concert will be presented in the Hamilton Fine Arts Center, W220 N6151 Town Line Road, Sussex. This free concert is open to all members of the community especially senior citizens.

Questions answered at financial aid session

People who have questions about postsecondary financial aid are encouraged to attend the annual financial aid information session Dec. 11 hosted by the Hamilton High School Guidance Department. The workshop, which begins at 7 p.m. in the high school Little Theater, was scheduled this year to coincide with parent-teacher conferences as a convenience to parents. Many aspects of financial aid – including application procedures, forms, eligibility, aid packages and deadlines – will be covered.

A representative from Carroll College’s Financial Aid Office will be the guest speaker. For more information, contact the high school Guidance Department at (262) 246-6471 x1134.

Hamilton High School is located at W220 N6151 Town Line Rd., Sussex.

November 17, 2008

Lannon site plan in second year
Lannon Elementary School Principal Richard Ladd reported on progress made in the second year of the school site plan. The school is focusing on developing communication and social skills and high-level thinking strategies in math and reading.

Among the school’s initiatives include development of language arts resource packet for each teacher in grades 3-5. The packets are designed to assist students think more comprehensively in language mechanics, paragraph analysis and construction and the writing process. Skill practices were used daily at the beginning of the school year to review material, vocabulary and structure found in many testing situations and the curriculum.

In addition, the “Fair Play” program was implemented in which fifth-graders are chosen to be playground facilitators based on their behavior, grades and teacher recommendation. During recess for students in grades K-2, facilitators help students play cooperatively incorporating good sportsmanship.

Also, the K-5 “Problem Solver” program was introduced last spring and implemented this fall to assist in the teaching of strategic problem solving.

Ladd reported the next steps for Lannon will be to:

  • Continue use of language review packets in grades 3-5;
  • Investigate the need for language materials in grades k-2;
  • Determine opportunities in which students are required to speak in front of their peers;
  • Display “Give Me 5” listening skills posters;
  • Continue the “Play Fair” program;
  • Post good manners posters;
  • Continue monitoring student progress in math through WCKE and MAP test scores and question analysis; and
  • Assess the effectiveness of the “Problem Solver” program.

School Board member Lynn Kristensen complimented the school for teaching students skills they will need for success in the 21st century.

District’s ethnicity diversifies
National demographic changes underscore the importance of multicultural education in the Hamilton School District. The majority of district students are white, but the student population is becoming more diverse. Some 89.4 percent of students are white while 4.4 percent are Asian or Pacific Islander, 3.2 percent are Black, 2.6 percent are Hispanic and .3 percent are American Indian or Alaskan. While the numbers may seem small, minority student enrollment has more than doubled since 1996.

Human Relations Specialist Erica Bova-Brown gave highlights of activities that included staff in-service opportunities and student activities that heighten cultural awareness. Staff members experienced a poverty simulation and in-services focused on Hmong culture and Muslim and Sikh religions. Students took part in many assemblies and presentations, but Bova-Brown described the interactive experience of the “Living Exhibit Celebrating Martin Luther King Day” has being especially powerful.

State budget to affect district
In her report, Superintendent Kathleen Cooke, Ph.D., said the district will continue to monitor the state budget situation. State officials have predicted that there will be a $5 billion deficit. Cooke said the state budget is likely to have an impact on district finances because state aid funds 50 percent of the budget.

Personnel matters
In personnel business, the School Board accepted the resignations of Hamilton High School Special Services paraprofessional Amanda Pinnow and Woodside Special Services paraprofessional Kathryn Wissing.

Hamilton announces October students of the month

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

  • Olukemi Ajibola, mathematics;
  • Ashley Bembenek, family and consumer education;
  • Emily Blackwell, fitness education;
  • Andrew Cronin, science;
  • Kristin Fidler, world languages;
  • Kyle Fischer, mathematics;
  • Katherine Gielow; art;
  • Tammi Litza, applied engineering and technology;
  • Jonelle Ludin, music;
  • Eric Reimer, communication arts;
  • Katie Speckin, business education; and
  • Amy Walsh, social studies.

Students received a certificate and a pin for their accomplishment.

Students visit Holocaust exhibit

A dozen Hamilton High School students and two advisors from Club Action and RAY Club attended an exhibit Saturday, Nov. 8 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus that depicted Nazi persecution of individuals from 1933 to 1945. Some 250 reproductions of photographs, documents and artwork comprise the exhibit that examines the rationale, means and impact of the Nazi regime’s attempt to eradicate homosexuality in Germany.

“It’s hard to believe that human beings could treat others the way they did,” one student said in reaction to the exhibit.

In addition to viewing the exhibit, students visited the Dane County farmer’s market on the Capitol Square. All vendors are local to Madison and many use sustainable or organic agricultural practices.

RAY Club believes that everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity and feel safe. Club Action is focused on raising awareness of issues that are important to its members such as human rights violations, animal rights issues and environmental concerns.

Hamilton students move on to state competition

Hamilton High School one-act play performers will move on to state competition after advancing in both district and sectional competitions. Students will compete Nov. 21 and 22 at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse campus.

Students performed the one-act play “If It Don’t Hurt, It Ain’t Love” by John R. Carroll. It is about a bright young girl who is dying of terminal cancer. A gallant, touching and unexpectedly humorous play, it is timeless with a universal appeal

Students who perform in the production are:

  • Erin Swierczek
  • Kyle Florence
  • Michael Guzman
  • Stephanie Keller
  • Elizabeth Fricke
  • Elizabeth Voss
  • Hanna Lutynski
  • Lauren Wirsbinski
  • Kevin Schweiss
  • Leanna Vannarom
  • Zachary Emberts

Sarah Buck is the director and is assisted by Hamilton theater teacher Erin Brigham.

Woodside plans November music events

Woodside Elementary School students will be involved in numerous musical activities during November.

Veteran’s Day Program – Nov. 11 at 9 a.m. in the Gym
All Woodside students will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “America” and “Taps.” The guest conductor for “The Star-Spangled Banner” will be Hamilton School Board member Deborah Briggs.
First-graders will be the featured performers at the program with a parade entry and additional songs and poems.
Veterans in attendance will be asked to stand when the song representing their branch of the service is played.
Performers and students in the audience will be wearing red, white and blue to honor the veterans.

ACE performance for second-graders – Nov. 17 at 2:15 p.m. in the Large Group Area
Three musicians from the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, known as the MSO Chromatic Trio, will give an interactive presentation to second-graders. The presentation will focus on detecting the relationship between music and color.
Woodside is one of 22 schools in the area participating in the Arts in Community Education (ACE) program, in partnership with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

ACE performance for kindergartners – Nov. 19 at 2 p.m. Large Group Area
The resident conductor from the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Stuart Chafetz, will give an interactive presentation to kindergartners. The students will discover what decisions a conductor makes about how to perform the music. They will also practice their own conducting movements, first as a group, and then with selected students leading.

Heather Cheslock is the music teacher at Woodside, which is located at W236 N7465 Woodside Road, Sussex.

November 4, 2008

Hamilton has opportunities through CESA #1
The Hamilton School District’s partnership with the Cooperative Educational Service Agency (CESA) #1 has generated significant resources and opportunities that might not otherwise be available, according to CESA #1 Executive Director Tim Gavigan, Ph.D. School Board members listened to Gavigan as he provided an overview of the agency’s initiatives.

Established by state statute, CESA #1 has served southeastern Wisconsin for more than 40 years. The agency serves 44 other school districts by offering staffing, programs, purchasing and services that individual schools district would find cost prohibitive. These include: cost-effective services for low-incident, high-cost students; technical and consultant support; large-scale cooperative technology purchases; and access to regional, state and national professional development, resources and expertise.

“These value-added services have enabled the Hamilton School District to provide your students with cost-effective services for special needs and at-risk students,” Gavigan stated in a written report. “In addition, therapy services have been provided in a very cost-effective manner through shared services.”

Accompanying Gavigan was Bruce Connolly, former Brown Deer School District superintendent and current director of CESA’s Center for Education Innovation and Regional Economic Development. Connolly outlined the focus of the center which is a 21st century learning initiative, accelerated solutions lab, assessment center and professional development.

When asked about priorities for the future, Gavigan said he would like CESA to provide school districts with: a research, data and analysis center; facilitation as they go from good to great; and a regional initiative to address the growing number of disadvantaged students.

ELL enrollment tapers off
After experiencing several years in which the district’s English Language Learners (ELL) enrollment increased by double-digit percentages, the district expects to see a decrease this year. From 2002 to 2007, the district’s ELL enrollment nearly tripled from 39 to 115 students. Last year, the enrollment remained at 115, and this year it is expected to be 108 students. Staff members will administer the ACCESS test to identified students to determine their language needs in December, but they are not expecting significant changes in the enrollment projection.

The goal of the ELL Program is to support students as they become proficient in English and successfully complete the district’s educational program. Two part-time teachers work with classroom teachers across the district to deliver services to ELL students. Last year, Seniors and Students volunteers began working to support the program as well.

Some 21 different languages are spoken in the homes of the students including Hungarian, Mandarin and Punjabi.

Templeton’s first site plan update presented
Templeton Principal Patricia Polczynski gave the first update of the school’s new site plan created last fall after the previous plan was retired.

The plan’s three tactics that staff members have begun to address state that students will:

  • Increase literacy skills and competencies across all content areas;
  • Develop critical thinking, problem solving and creativity skills to become productive citizens in a global society; and
  • Increase their emotional intelligence and individual resiliency skills to be successful young adults.

Polczynski provided data including longitudinal state standardized test results, school enrollment and demographics, and survey results from staff, students and parents.

The school was one of a select few recognized two consecutive years as a “middle school of excellence” by the state Department of Public Instruction and the Association of Wisconsin School Administrators based on reading and mathematics scores. Templeton had the highest percentage of students scoring proficient and advanced in mathematics on the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam in grades 6, 7 and 8 and in reading in grades 7 and 8 among Waukesha County’s 11 K-12 school districts. In addition, sixth-graders were second highest in reading in the county.

One area of concern that will be addressed by adding an intervention to the first tactic is eighth-graders’ low proficiency in language arts, which Polczynski said the school finds perplexing.

“Despite our numerous academic successes that we are very proud of, we still have work ahead of us,” Polczynski said.

School Board Member Deborah Briggs said she was not surprised that the school already has plans to address the area of concern.

“I have no doubt that we will get there,” Briggs said.

Board members intend to run again
The terms of the three School Board members – Deborah Briggs who represents Butler, Lynn Kristensen, who represents Menomonee Falls, and Dawn Van Aacken, who represents Lisbon – are up in 2009. All three have indicated they plan to run for re-election. The election schedule includes:

  • Jan. 6 – deadline for candidacy declaration and nominations papers;
  • Feb. 17 – primary election if needed;
  • April 7 – spring election; and
  • April 27 – taking of office.

Personnel business
In personnel business, the School Board approved the appointments of Templeton Special Services paraprofessional Nicole Kruschel and Woodside and Hamilton cleaner James Johnson.

Hamilton’s Get Connected offers talk on cyberbullying

The Hamilton School District’s Get Connected Parent Network invites parents to hear from John Jordan, Ph.D., who will speak on “Cyberbullying: What It Is and Why It Happens” Nov. 13 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The presentation, which is free and open to the public, will be at Templeton Middle School, N59 W22490 Silver Spring Drive, Sussex.

Attend this presentation to learn about the relatively new phenomenon of cyberbullying, including why it has arisen so quickly and violently among teen populations. Hear about strategies for parents and teens to help protect themselves from cyberbullying, and tips for using the Internet more safely and enjoyably.

Jordan is an associate professor of communication at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. His award-winning research addresses how modern communication technologies, like the Internet, have an impact on everyday personal and communal lives. His work focuses in particular on promoting a greater understanding of how communication processes can improve our ability to navigate the complex and confounding problems often encountered in cyberspace, both online and offline.

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.