Hamilton teacher selected for university’s outstanding science teacher award

The University of Minnesota has presented Hamilton High School science teacher Kimberly Leannais with its 2009 Outstanding Science Teacher Award. Leannais was one of eight recipients who was honored with the recognition after being nominated by a former student.

Hamilton High School 2009 graduate Zach Emberts nominated Leannais for the award because she instilled a passion for biology in him as a result of the Advanced Placement biology class that she taught.

“(Mrs. Leannais) spent many extra hours outside of the classroom to ensure that everyone of her students was prepared for both the placement exam and further education,” Emberts wrote in his nomination.

“The time she spent outside of school to prepare for the labs just amazed me,” Emberts wrote. “She did all this because of her passion for biology and teaching. Her passion passed on to me, which is why I am pursuing a major in biology today.”

In announcing the selection of Leannais as a 2009 Outstanding Science Teacher, Robert Elde, dean of the College of Biological Sciences, noted the impact that high school teachers have on the academic and personal success of their students.

“This award recognizes individuals whose teaching, mentoring and creativity have had significant impacts on their lives,” Elde stated.

Leannais has been invited to attend the annual College of Biological Sciences Recognition and Appreciation Dinner Oct. 15 at the McNamara Alumni Center on the University of Minnesota’s Minneapolis Campus. She will be recognized and presented with a certificate from the college.

Hamilton successful at Waukesha marching band contests

The Hamilton High School Marching Band had two successful showings Sept. 26 and 27 at Waukesha marching band competitions.

An evening of perfect weather was capped off Sept. 26 at Waukesha South High School’s Marchfest with the Hamilton band taking first place overall. Hamilton was also awarded first place among AAAA schools. In addition to the first place finish, the Hamilton band earned the Best Percussion Award and the Best Visual Performance Award for schools in AAA and AAAA divisions. Competing at the event were marching bands from Columbus, Wisconsin Lutheran, Whitnall, Mukwonago and Germantown high schools.

The next day, Hamilton competed in the Fox River Invitational at Waukesha West High School, taking second place among AAAA division schools. The band earned third place overall. Bands that competed in the event were from New Berlin Eisenhower, Stoughton, Wisconsin Lutheran, Fort Atkinson, Greendale and Oak Creek high schools.

Speakers


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Upcoming speakers Location

Gary Gregg, Psy.D – March 18 – 6 – 7:30 p.m.
“Have ‘The Talk’ With Your Teen”

Templeton Middle
School LGA
Kristin Hasbrook – April 22 – 6-7:30 p.m.
“Love and Logic”
Templeton Middle
School LGA
 

September 21, 2009

High school points to achievement
Hamilton High School continues to make progress in increasing student achievement. Principal Candis Mongan provided School Board members with an overview of work that has occurred and the promising results that have been attained at the school, pointing specifically to ACT and Advanced Placement achievement.

Four years ago 80 Hamilton students took 108 AP exams with 79.6 percent of those students earning a score of 3 or higher. Last year, 231 students were enrolled in AP classes and they took a total of 242 exams. At 88.8 percent, they earned the highest pass rate in the school’s history.

Accomplishments also can be seen in ACT test results. The number of students taking the college entrance exam increased from 179 students in 2005 to 225 in 2008. The average composite score increased from 22.9 for the class of 2007 to 23.2 for the class of 2009.

Mongan pointed to the site plan that has focused students and staff on higher-level thinking as a school improvement goal.

“Evidenced through increased test scores, decreased number of drop-outs and anecdotal feedback via surveys and discussion, this goal has positively impacted the way teachers deliver instruction and students perform,” Mongan reported.

She also identified numerous supportive opportunities for students to prepare students for success in their coursework and standardized tests.

Staff development has focused on: data workshops in which test data is analyzed and disaggregated; vertical teaming opportunities in communication arts, science and social studies; and monthly staff development meeting that address various themes throughout the year.

School Board Member Gerald Schmitz was impressed.

“The results are excellent,” he told Mongan. “Stay with it, don’t lose it, just keep going because this school is on the right track.”

Summer Opportunities reports success

School Board members also were happy with the news coming from the Summer Opportunities Director and Lannon Elementary School Principal Dick Ladd, who said 2009 was probably the smoothest operation to date.

A total of 1,763 students were enrolled in the program – 40 more than last year. Staff totaled 198 which included 128 teachers, 39 paraprofessionals, three administrative assistants, 43 student teaching assistants, three assistant coordinators and one coordinator.

Ladd said they will modify the online registration process to better accommodate the initial rush of registrations. In its first year of offering the on-line option, the system bogged down because it received so many simultaneous hits the first evening. A software program will be purchased that can simulate thousands of hits to be sure the technology can handle the demand.

An alternative pick-up pattern at the high school will be considered for next year with possible police support to handle traffic at the south entrance on Town Line Road during drop off.

School Board Member James Long asked Ladd to congratulate the Summer Opportunities staff for another successful program.

“It was wonderful as usual and it just gets bigger and better every year,” Long said.

Next year’s program is scheduled to occur June 21 to July 16, with July 5 off in celebration of the July 4th holiday.

2009-10 goals set for board and superintendent
School Board members approved five goals with numerous success indicator for the board and superintendent to achieve in 2009-10. The goals are:

  • Develop resources and implement strategies and initiatives to enhance student achievement;
  • Implement the district’s Strategic Plan;
  • Monitor status of the state of Wisconsin’s funding of public education for preparation of the district’s 2010-11 budget;
  • Monitor district enrollments and community growth; and
  • Update board policies and position descriptions.

In personnel news, the School Board appointed Daniel O’Connell has a half-time replacement band teacher at the high school.

27 Hamilton graduates, students named AP Scholars

A record-breaking 27 Hamilton High School students – 23 who graduated in 2009 and four current students – earned designation as AP Scholar by the College Board in recognition of their exceptional achievement on the college-level Advanced Placement Program (AP) Exams. About 18 percent of the more than 1.7 million high school students worldwide who took AP Exams performed at a sufficiently high level to merit the recognition of AP Scholar.

The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program offers students the opportunity to take challenging college-level courses while still in high school, and to receive college credit, advanced placement or both for successful performance on the AP Exams. Hamilton High School currently offers AP courses in biology, chemistry, calculus AB/BC, English, government and politics, European history, statistics, U.S. history and studio art – drawing.

Students took AP Exams in May 2009 after completing challenging college-level courses at Hamilton High School. The College Board recognizes several levels of achievement based on student performance on AP exams.

Three students qualified for the AP Scholar with Distinction Award by earning an average grade of at least 3.5 on all AP Exams taken, and grades of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams. These students are Darcie Adams, Kathryn Klein (current senior) and Miles Whitt.

Ten students qualified for the AP Scholar with Honor Award by earning an average grade of at least 3.25 on all AP Exams taken, and grades of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams. These students are Mary Biron, Kristin Cox, Halley Greeneway, Andrew Kristensen (current senior), Radoslav Radinov, Liane Rakow, Katie Ruh, Andrea Salus, Yoana Taseva and Chinou Vang.

Another 14 students qualified for the AP Scholar Award by completing three or more AP Exams, with grades of 3 or higher. The AP Scholars are Jose Cornejo, John Decker, Stephanie Englert, David Ferrell, Kate Jackson, Kimberly Jobke, Alexandra Koebl, Anthony Lee (current senior), Betty Liang, Andrew Michalski, Ian Read, Andrew Taavola, Amanda Wagner (current senior) and Steven Wright.

Most of the nation’s colleges and universities award credit, advanced placement or both based on successful performance on the AP Exams. More than 1,400 institutions award a full year’s credit (sophomore standing) to students presenting a sufficient number of qualifying grades.

PSAT offered Oct. 14 at Hamilton

The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) will be given on October 14 from 7:20 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Hamilton High School. This voluntary 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 Sept. 28. 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.

Charger band gears up for marching season

The Hamilton High School Charger Marching Band is preparing for a busy season of competitions and performances this fall. The band performs at half-time of all home football games and special marching band competitions. The competitions are at:
– Waukesha North High School – Sept. 19 at 7 p.m.;
– Waukesha South High School – Sept. 26 at 7 p.m.;
– Waukesha West High School – Sept. 27 at 1 p.m.;
– Greendale High School – Oct. 3 at 7 p.m.; and
– State Marching Band Championship at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater – Oct. 17 at 8 p.m.

The band’s competitive field show is “Eternal Stories – Music From Scheherazade” and features the music of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. It is arranged by Jair Klarfeld with percussion by Hamilton graduate John Okruhlica. The music evokes images of exotic locales and high adventure and lush beauty. Early reports are enthusiastic from audiences and performers

Hamilton Band Director Jon Waite returned after a one-year hiatus in which he taught, conducted and played in Europe. He said he is happy to be back working with the program again and is looking forward to a great year.

“The community’s support of the band program is most welcome at any of our events,” Waite said.

September 1, 2009

District technology plan moves ahead
Information Technology staff members worked throughout the summer making progress on items in the Technology and Literacy Plan. Instructional Technology and Assessment Coordinator Katherine Little provided School Board members with an update on actions taken which included:

  • 2009-2012 Information & Technology Literacy Plan received Department of Public Instruction certification – The plan combines the district’s technology and library-media program initiatives.
  • District network migrated from Novell to Microsoft – The change included a new domain name of www.hamilton.k12.wi.us, use of Active Directory and network back-up software of Symantec Backup Exec.
  • Computer and equipment replaced – 241 computers were replaced in the spring-summer season and 219 computers after July 1. All district machines were reimaged, 15 notebooks replaced, 16 laptops added, 13 printers replaced, six stand-alone projected replaced, seven document cameras added and a 15-machine Computer on Wheels station was added to support high school Advanced Placement students and the library-media center.
  • SMART boards installed throughout the district – With the installation of 28 new SMART boards, the district now has 30 permanently placed boards.
  • Numerous Classroom Web Pages training sessions were offered – A total of 137 staff members have received Level 1 training and 25 have been participated in Level 2 training which includes use of discussion forums.
  • Hamilton and Menomonee Falls districts hold joint training venture – The 2009 Technology & Learning Academy filled 151 seats. Courses were about integrating technology, interactive whiteboards, Web, and other software training.

ERE report given
Instructional Services Supervisor Robert Scott, Ph.D., reported on a program that has been in place in the district since 1994. The Early Reading Empowerment (ERE) Program is an early intervention program for first grade students who read below the average level of their peers. First grade teachers assess students at the beginning of the year to identify students in need of reading support. Students then work with an ERE-trained teacher for individual or small-group instruction four days a week.

In 2008-09, 95 students – or 31 percent of first-graders – were served. ERE was also part of the invitational summer school program with 43 students who participated this year.

Scott presented longitudinal achievement data from 2008-09 Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exams that showed the performance of students who had been provided ERE services as first-graders. He said the data show that ERE not only intervenes to help students when they received the services, but reading instruction continues to support students as they move further from the program.

No students admitted into kindergarten early
No students were admitted early into full-day kindergarten last year, according to a report presented by Special Services Supervisor Mardi Freeman. Last year four students were granted early admission, but typically one or two students each year were granted early admission kindergarten since 2001. Initially, two parents requested information, but no children participated in screening. There were no requests for early admission into first grade. Freeman said she believes a change the School Board made last year to allow principals to meet with parents prior to screening contributed to zero participation in screening.

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.

Mentor program supports new employees
Students of a new teacher who has had two years of quality mentoring demonstrate comparable growth as teachers with four years experience without an induction program. That data is a critical reason to offer the Mentor-New Teacher Program to staff in the district, according to Scott.

In addition, teachers involved in a quality induction program remain in the profession significantly longer than those who are not involved, and new teachers and mentors in such programs frequently evolve into leadership roles.

Evaluation results from those who participated last year indicate that the program has been successful in acclimating new staff to district and school strategic plans, school culture, curriculum, instructional and assessment expectations and school operations. To a lesser extent, participants said they were provided with feedback about their classroom instruction.

Scott reported that a new steering committee will be formed this year to review current practices and make recommendations to enhance the program. In addition, the district will continue to participate in the Southeastern Wisconsin New Teacher Project (SEWNTP), which will hold its five afterschool seminars at Hamilton. The cost of the stipends for mentors and SEWNTP fees and registrations was $16,175 in 2008-09.

Personnel business
In personnel matters, the School Board:

  • accepted the resignation of part-time Hamilton instrumental music teacher Justin Olson, who was only hired in August. He was assessed a fee for breaking his contract with the district;
  • appointed Jenny Inwood as Maple Avenue paraprofessional and Melissa Heckman as a Woodside paraprofessional.