December 21, 2009

Board approves update of Strategic Plan
Hamilton School Board members approved the updated Strategic Plan it their meeting Dec. 21. The document, which outlines the strategic initiatives that the district will undertake in the next five years or so, was created last year and updated at a Dec. 2 meeting of the strategic planning team.

Educational Services and Human Resources Director John Roubik, who is the Strategic Plan internal facilitator, presented a detailed report on progress action planning teams have made in the first six months of implementation.

Roubik characterized the plan as ambitious and sophisticated. He said its strength is the interconnection between the six strategies.

The strategies of the plan indicate that the district will:
• ensure rigorous, relevant curriculum and innovative instruction to support maximum achievement of each child;
• engage and empower students, differentiate instruction and ensure continuous progress for each child by implementing quality assessment practices;
• focus professional development on the knowledge and skills staff need as they educate students to thrive in an interconnected, global community;
• utilize effective communication practices to promote understanding, support and involvement of our families, community and staff;
• create learning environments that nurture social and emotional development and respect for our diverse world; and
• integrate and assess 21st century skills in the areas of financial literacy, employability skills and technological literacy.

All action plan committees reported that progress toward goals has been made and recommended that the strategies continue as stated in the original plan.

School Board member Gerald Schmidtz cautioned that the Strategic Plan will only be as good as what will be funded. He said that despite some tough economic times, previous Strategic Plans have been funded and he hopes the board will be able to continue to do so.

Noting the commitment the district has made toward the strategic planning process in the past and the success it has brought, School Board member James Long said the board must find a way to fund the initiatives.

District to keep mandatory student fees at current low level
Even though many surrounding school districts have higher student fees, School Board members decided against increasing them because any hikes could have a significant effect on families dealing with a tough economy. Business Services Assistant Superintendent Bryan Ruud said that in comparing district fees to other school districts, Hamilton is often in the bottom half. He said this year, however, the district slipped to the bottom third. He said he did not believe it would be a good time to raise fees for families.

Two fees that are considered discretionary – family athletic passes and student parking – will be reviewed later in the school year for possible action. High school students pay $90 a year for parking privileges while the average student parking fee among 25 other school districts is $128.75. Hamilton’s family athletic-activity pass allows all family members to attend an unlimited number of athletic events and activities. While many schools have individual student passes, no other school district offers a pass to an entire family.

State competitors recognized
Hamilton students who participated in state-level athletic competition were honored for their outstanding achievements. Cross country state champion Marcus Paulson was recognized for a long list of athletic achievements. Theresa Selestow, who was not able to attend the meeting, was recognized as well for placing 22nd in the state.

Swimming team members Briana Botros, Emily and Sarah Tighe and Grace Devine were recognized for qualifying at state as part of the Hamilton-Menomonee Falls Swim Co-op team. The team took 23rd place overall, and the girls took individual awards as well.

Athletic-Activities Director Michael Gosz said the athlete represented Hamilton well.

“These are outstanding students first, outstanding athletes, but more important, outstanding people,” Gosz said.

Grade 8 parents, students invited to Hamilton Orientation, Open House on Feb. 16

Hamilton High School will welcome incoming ninth-graders and their parents to Parent Orientation and Open House Feb. 16 beginning at 7 p.m. in the Hamilton Fine Arts Center, W220 N6151 Town Line Road, Sussex.

At the Orientation, a brief introduction to the high school and an overview of the registration process will be presented. Course catalogs and other registration materials will be distributed. Students and parents will receive further information about high school requirements and four-year planning.

Immediately following the Orientation will be the Open House. Representatives from various clubs and extracurricular activities will be on hand to answer questions, and tours will be conducted by the Hamilton High School National Honor Society.

Prior to the Orientation and Open House, there will be an informational meeting about Honors courses beginning at 6 p.m. in the Little Theater and a meeting for students participating in band at 6:30 p.m. in the Band Room.

Those unable to attend the Orientation and Open House or wanting more information about registration and opportunities available at Hamilton should contact the Guidance Department at (262) 246-6476 x1130. If you have questions regarding registration or opportunities available at Hamilton, please contact the appropriate high school counselor at (262) 246-6476.

Last names Counselor Extension #
A-Go William Drogemuller 1135
Gr-Me Patricia Mitchell 1134
Mi-S David Johnson 1133
T-Z Tricia Rigg 1124

Hamilton’s Get Connected offers talk on raising daughters

The Hamilton School District’s Get Connected Parent Network invites parents to hear from Pam Elgin, who will speak on “You Go Girl!” Jan. 12 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, Sussex

It is probably the most challenging time in our history to raise a confident, empowered and healthy young woman. This challenge is ours as parents, educators and support people. We need to know what robs our young women of their self-esteem, confidence and precious time. We must be adequately armed with information to battle this enemy.

Elgin has been a licensed professional counselor for more than 20 years. Her professional experience includes facilitating individual, couple, family and group therapy in outpatient counseling, hospital inpatient, day treatment and intensive outpatient counseling settings.

Her work has focused on adolescent and adult issues with depression, anxiety, personality problems, eating disorders, family and marital problems. She also has developed a cutting-edge hospital treatment program for eating disorders.

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.

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:
• Kayla Buchholz, family and consumer education;
• Elizabeth Dorsey, communication arts;
• Kelsy Ehr, science;
• Cory Farrell, social studies;
• David Gast, communication arts;
• Andrew Kerber, music;
• Megan Lemay, art;
• Michael Newman, world languages;
• Jenna Stathus, applies engineering and technology;
• Evan Thompson, mathematics;
• Frances Weiss, fitness education; and
• Aaron Zagorski, business education.

Students received a certificate and a pin for their accomplishment.

Get “In the Mood for Christmas” Dec. 22 with Glenn Miller Orchestra at HFAC

The Hamilton Fine Arts Center (HFAC) will be “In the Mood for Christmas” Dec. 22 as it hosts the world-famous Glenn Miller Orchestra. The concert begins at 7 p.m.

The Glenn Miller Orchestra is the most popular and sought-after big band in the world for concert and swing dance engagements. With its unique jazz sound, the Glenn Miller Orchestra is considered to be one of the greatest bands of all time. The present Glenn Miller Orchestra was formed in 1956, includes 19 band members and continues to play many of the original Glenn Miller arrangements. Join us as we tap our toes to the great songs of yesteryear, including “In the Mood,” “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” “Pennsylvania 6-5000,” and “The White Cliffs of Dover” as well as some Christmas favorites in the big-band style that made the Glenn Miller Orchestra famous. This show is sponsored by the HFAC and supported by the Milwaukee Marriott West Hotel. Tickets are for reserved seating. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors (55+) and $15 for students.

Don’t miss out on the other exciting shows in the HFAC’s performing arts season:

Daryl Stuermer – Genesis Rewired – Jan. 15 at 7:30 p.m.
Lead guitarist Daryl Stuermer has been a touring member of the super-group Genesis since 1978, performing for sold-out audiences all over the world. In between tours Stuermer has recorded eight solo albums of original music and covered his favorite Genesis tunes along the way. His new band, Daryl Stuermer-Genesis Rewired, is an exciting fusion of Stuermer’’s unique Genesis renditions and the soulful Collins-like voice of French-Canadian Martin Levac. Together they create an unforgettable evening that reinvents the Genesis experience. Destined to become this year’s most requested concert, this five-piece band with a sensational light show presents the music of Genesis with pure abundant authenticity. The concert is sponsored by the Hamilton Fine Arts Center. Tickets are for reserved seating. For more information, visit the Web site at Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors (55+) and $15 for students.

UW-Madison Varsity Band Show – Feb. 28 at 2 p.m.
Under the direction of legendary Michael Leckrone, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Varsity Band returns to the HFAC. Badger fans are treated to the familiar strains of “Varsity,” “On Wisconsin,” “Songs to Thee Wisconsin” and “You’ve Said it All” during their traditional Fifth Quarter, as well as this year’s themes of “Sounds of the Beach Boys,” “The Musical Legacy of Michael Jackson,” “The Legend of Benny Goodman” and “Miss Saigon.” The performance is sponsored by the HFAC and supported by the Hamilton High School Band Booster Club. Tickets are for reserved seating. Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors (55+) and $10 for students.

Special guest performances
The Hamilton Fine Arts Center is pleased to announce special guest performances by the Master Singers of Milwaukee and the Menomonee Falls Symphony Orchestra throughout the 2009-10 performing arts season. Both groups have made a commitment to collaborate with the students of the Hamilton School District to provide musical guidance and performance opportunities

Menomonee Falls Symphony Orchestra presents “Christmas Holiday Treats” – Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m.
Join the Menomonee Falls Symphony Orchestra as it rings in the Christmas season with some of the most festive and best-loved Christmas carols and holiday tunes. Tickets are for general seating. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors (55+) and $6 for students.

Ko-Thi Dancers and Master Singers of Milwaukee – March 6 at 7:30 p.m.
Brilliant, colorful African dancing and drumming meet the traditional Latin Mass in an unforgettable work from the Congo entitled MISSA LUBA. With stunning choral pieces by Bobby McFerrin and irresistible, ultra-rhythmic ensemble works for dancers in traditional costume, this world-class production has its premiere at the HFAC! You won’t want to miss it. Tickets are for general seating. Tickets are $18 for adults, $15 for seniors (55+) and $10 for students. For more information, view the website at

Menomonee Falls Symphony Orchestra presents “National Treasures” – May 8 at 7:30 p.m.
Featuring Dvorak’s “New World Symphony.” Tickets are for general seating. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors (55+) and $6 for students.

Tickets may be purchased online at or by visiting the HFAC box office on Wednesdays from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. The Hamilton Fine Arts Center is located at W220 N6151 Townline Road, Sussex. No phone orders accepted, please.

Marcy provides comforts to military in Iraq

Marcy Elementary School students completed a community service project that was designed to make the holiday season more comfortable for the men and women serving in the military in Iraq and Afghanistan. They collected candy, scarves, mittens, socks, hand sanitizers, lotion, shampoo, deodorant and powder. They then decorated cards and wrote letters to send to the troops. Some families provided cash to defray shipping expenses.

In all, students made about 500 handmade cards and letters, collected many items for the soldiers and raised more than $220 to help ship the donations to the troops.

December 1, 2009

Templeton students, staff show use of Web 2.0 tools
Templeton Middle School students are using new Web. 2.0 tools to spice up their book reports. Library-media specialist Anita Paque and social studies teacher Rhonda Watton, along with students Molly Mattheisen, Bailee Bobert and Bret Harvestin, demonstrated to School Board members how two Web-based tools make the job of giving a book report an exciting prospect.

Students use to bring their book’s protagonists to life by creating avatars, which are graphic images that represent characters. Students choose specific traits, appearance, clothes, voice and background. Another program, Animoto, allows students to create 30-second trailers that tell the book’s story using images, text and royalty-free music. The goal of the trailer is to encourage other students to read the book.

Students reported that they enjoyed using the technology to convey information about the books they read.

Two site plans approved
School Board members approved site plans from two schools that represent the district’s oldest and youngest students.

Hamilton’s single goal focuses on 21st century skills
Hamilton High School’s site planning process incorporates the AdvancEd – formerly known as North Central Accreditation (NCA) – school improvement planning and the district’s strategic planning processes in developing its site plan. The plan has one goal that states: “Students will apply 21st century learning to maximize their potential in the global community.” Two interventions address the goal. They are development of communication skills of reading, writing, interdisciplinary connections and multimedia experiences and social responsibility aspects such as motivation, adaptability, “Habits of Mind” and employability skills.

Hamilton Principal Candis Mongan presented a report on the high school’s progress in the past year which included the following accomplishments:

  • Postsecondary plans – 63.3 percent of Hamilton students indicated last year that they would attend a four-year college compared to 55.1 percent in 2006;
  • Classroom assessments – the vast majority of students and teachers agreed that classroom assessment information is used to revise instruction and reading strategies are taught, indicating that staff are aligning classroom practices with formative assessment and reading strategies intervention initiatives;
  • Walk-through observations – the numbers increased for many departments;
  • Interventions – additional programming for students requiring further support is implemented each year;
  • ACT – The composite score continue to rise or remain consistent when comparing the past three years of data;
  • Advanced Placement – the percentage of students earning a pass rate to get college-level credit and the number of students taking AP course is at an all-time high;
  • Embedded professional development – departments have the responsibility for continued school improvement through goal-setting and demonstrating professional development with their peers.

Future site plan steps are to

  • integrate staff development to incorporate the site plan goal and two interventions;
  • modify the curriculum and instruction base don local and standardized assessment results;
  • examine profile data, test scores and survey data to measure progress;
  • complete and evaluate results of the 21st Century Model of Learning self-assessment tool; and
  • develop action plans that include triangulation of data, research of best practices, staff development and measurement tools.

School Board members Gerald Schmitz and Lynn Kristensen praised Mongan and the staff at Hamilton for the accomplishments of the school.

“This school is moving in the right direction,” Schmitz concluded at the end of Mongan’s report.

“This is an exciting place to be,” Kristensen said. “I love it that my kids love to be here.”

Willow Springs reorganizes tactics
Willow Springs Learning Center Principal Margaret Tackes, Ed.D., described work of the faculty in the past year. Staff members have participated in various professional development regarding social and problem-solving skills for students and Response to Intervention methods. A team attended the Wisconsin Model of Early Learning (WMEL) standards workshop. Faculty also developed and piloted a new report card, and teachers will work on a teacher rubric for more standard guidelines regarding its use. Four books regarding the social-emotional development of children were read as part of a book study group, and staff continued development of the handwriting and preschool options programs.

At its recent site plan update, Willow Springs reorganized its tactics into three components that focus on the social and emotional aspect of the curriculum, transition from 4K to K5 and problem-solving as a part of 21st century skills.

The school will continue to work on the three tactics and anticipates that staff will:

  • review and implement WMEL standards;
  • work with elementary schools to develop better communication processes; and
  • study the skill of problem-solving to determine appropriate knowledge, skills and dispositions appropriate for the young learner.

Superintendent Kathleen Cooke, Ph.D., commented on the high level of child advocacy that existed at Willow and asked Tackes to thank the staff for their good work.

Technology plan making progress
The Instructional Technology & Literacy Plan continues to be addressed. Instructional Technology and Assessment Coordinator Katherine Little provided a written report with highlights of progress being made.

Under the goal of improving teacher proficiency and technology integration in instructional practices, the report noted that 98 percent of teachers have received Level 1 training in use of Moodle classroom Web pages and 13 staff members who were trained as facilitators are now training their colleagues. In addition, teachers who have interactive whiteboards in their classrooms were provided training in various forms.

Another goal, integration of the Information and Technology Literacy (ITL) standards into the curriculum, is being accomplished through the revision cycle and the ITL curriculum is being revised to reflect 21st century technology skills. In addition, library-media specialists created a presentation for faculty members regarding copyright information.

Personnel news
In personnel business, the School Board:

  • appointed Tammy Ferrell as the Templeton paraprofessional-bookkeeper for four hours a day;
  • added one additional hour each day to the scheduled work day of Templeton paraprofessionals Renee Perlberg and Ann Kraemer who will provide extra lunchroom supervision; and
  • accepted the retirement request of Templeton special services paraprofessional Jane Gutmann.

Woodside Chess Club does well at tournament

Woodside Chess Club members recently participated in a chess tournament at Holy Trinity Lutheran School in Okauchee. Participants in the kindergarten through third grade category – Hunter Slaats, Hunter Dow and Cassidy Osesek – claimed the second place team trophy. The kindergarten through fifth grade team of Jonah Greenwood, Colton Heisdorf, Ariana King, Christopher Lawrence, Connor Rhodes and Traye Bentz took home the third place trophy. As an individual, Connor Rhodes took second place in the grades K-5 division.
The Woodside Chess Club will host a tournament Jan. 16 at Woodside, which will be open to teams and individuals. Register through the Wisconsin Scholastic Chess Federation Web site at For more information, contact Jeanne Rhodes at (262) 246-4564 or

Community invited to combined holiday concert

The Hamilton High School Concert Choir and Templeton Middle School Eighth Grade Chorus will perform a combined concert Dec. 9 at 1 p.m. for community members, family and friends. The “Holiday Concert” will feature holiday season classics and contemporary music.

There is no charge to attend this performance, so choir members hope to see many people there.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to share the joy of music with the community and welcome the holiday season in,” said Marilyn Spiess, Hamilton choral director.

The concert will be presented in the Hamilton Fine Arts Center, W220 N6151 Town Line Road, Sussex.

Woodside to hold Recycling Rummage

In support of its goal to become a Green and Healthy School, Woodside Elementary School will host its first annual Recycling Rummage Dec. 10 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the school gymnasium. Woodside Student Council is organizing the event and will donate proceeds to local charities.

“Our purpose is to help raise funds to directly support the community while teaching our students about the importance of charity and reusing materials,” said Peter Dargatz, Woodside fourth grade teacher and Student Council advisor.

Gently used items such as toys, games, puzzles, books and athletic equipment have been donated by Woodside families for the Recycling Rummage. Students and their families will be encouraged to attend the event and purchase items to give as gifts. Non-perishable food items will be collected as the entrance fee and donated to the Sussex Food Pantry. Proceeds from the sale and remaining items will be donated to local charities.

The Wisconsin Green and Healthy School Program is designed to support and encourage schools in their quest for a healthy, safe and environmentally-friendly learning environment. It is sponsored by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

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