Lannon students, staff reach 1 million-minute milestone

Lannon Elementary School students and staff have “blown away” their goal of reading one million minutes this year, and Principal Dick Ladd will be sent away in a hot air balloon to signify the accomplishment.

Thanks to the generous donation from Balloons Unlimited of Wisconsin, the school is able to celebrate its impressive accomplishment with a spectacular hot air balloon launch. Ladd’s uplifting journey will begin at 6:30 p.m.  May 31 as an excited  crowd of  Lannon students, staff and families will give their principal a fitting send-off.

In conjunction with the balloon send-off, Lannon will also hold a Book Share from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. where families can select books for summer reading. Books for the event have been donated by Lannon families.

Lannon Elementary School is located at 7145 N. Lannon Road, Lannon.

Templeton raises money in St. Jude Math-a-Thon

Templeton Middle School students raised $1,800 this year for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to help young people with life-threatening illnesses. The Templeton “mathletes” asked sponsors to donate money based on the number of correct answers to skill-building math problems or to make a one-time donation.

The charity is near and dear to Templeton which has raised more than $40,000 through its yearly Math-a-Thon participation. Named the nation’s foremost cancer hospital in 2010-11 by U.S. News & World Report, St. Jude is known for leading research and providing outstanding childhood cancer treatment regardless of a family’s ability to pay. Through fundraisers like the Math-a-Thon, children across the country help other children receive important cancer treatment.

Hamilton DECA members take top awards at conference

Eight students and their faculty advisor represented Hamilton High School at the 46th Annual DECA International Career Development Conference Orlando. Hamilton marketing teacher and DECA advisor Skip Hay traveled with the following students who previously received medals and qualified to advance at the district and state conferences:

  • Brittany Paa,
  • Brooke Ihlefeld,
  • Clinton Lampshire,
  • Elizabeth Fricke,
  • Lauren Wirsbinski,
  • Riley Feldmann,
  • Sarah Bregant and
  • Vy Nguyen.

The Hamilton chapter was recognized at the opening session for receiving the Diamond Level Membership Award, and the Gold Level School-Based-Enterprise Certification. As a Gold Level Certified School-Based-Enterprise, the chapter was allowed to send three representatives to compete by presenting on a best practice of the Charger Corner School Store. Representing Hamilton were former store manager Lauren Wirsbinski and future managers Elizabeth Fricke and Brittany Paa. They presented on the successful “Elf” holiday promotion that the marketing class planned and executed in December.

Their presentation was chosen as one of the top 16 in the country — the highest level available in the competition. The three presenters were on stage for the final awards session and received medals and a beautiful plaque to hang in the Charger Corner School Store. Also at the conference, competing in a different category was former school store manager Sarah Bregant who worked with Lauren Wirsbinski to produce the 40-page recertification paper. This marked the fourth consecutive year that Hamilton DECA students were recognized on stage at the final awards session of the International Career Development Conference.

DECA is an association of marketing students. More than 15,000 delegates attended the international conference which featured competition in more than 50 categories of marketing, management, hospitality and finance.



May 16, 2011

2011-12 district budget drops by more than $2 million

The Hamilton School Board approved the 2011-12 budget that is 4.03 percent lower than the current year. The budget includes a 9.92 percent loss of state aid which is offset by $1.5 million in employee contributions to retirement and $1.7 million in reductions throughout the district. The district developed its budget in alignment with state-imposed revenue caps which reduced spending by $590 per pupil.

Most of the reductions were accomplished through restructuring of positions, attrition of retiring employees, reallocation of staff due to enrollment fluctuations and greater efficiencies. The district was able to reduce the equivalent of 6.5 full-time employees at a total cost-savings of more than $635,000. In addition, nearly $1.1 million will be shaved from the budget by reducing expenses for:

  • payroll – $450,000;
  • healthcare, prescription drug, dental – $241,376;
  • repair-capital items – $200,000;
  • extra pay, substitutes, overtime – $90,000;
  • middle and high school building budgets – $50,000.
  • technology – $30,000; and
  • parent transportation contracts – $30,000.

School Board members approved the budget which will be presented Aug. 15 at the district’s Annual Meeting. Voters will be asked to approve a $30 million levy to support a $48.16 million budget. Last year’s levy was $30.36 million and the overall budget was $50.19 million. State aid is projected to fall from $18.97 million in 2010-11 to $17.09 million in 2011-12.

District residents can expect a $10.17 mill rate when their tax bills arrive next December compared to last year’s rate of $10.18. Property values in the district are projected to drop one percent. The budget includes expenses associated with educating an additional 25 students over last year’s enrollment.

The Annual Meeting typically is held in June, but the uncertainty at the state level prevented school officials from presenting solid budget projections sooner. Residents can learn more about the Hamilton School District budget Aug. 15 beginning at 6:15 p.m. with the Budget Hearing in the Hamilton Fine Arts Center, W220 N6151 Town Line  Road, Sussex. The Annual Meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. Residents vote on the tax levy at the Annual Meeting.

More than 20 employees retire

More than 20 Hamilton School District employees whose combined service to Wisconsin public education equals 600-plus years will retire this year. Hamilton School Board members honored each with a commendation, comments  from supervisors and colleagues, and a retirement gift. 

Those attending the recognition were: Hamilton special education teacher Susan Blackford, Lannon fourth grade teacher Nancy Collopy, Hamilton fitness-health teacher Christine Dolphin, Hamilton guidance counselor Bill Drogemuller, elementary school head cook Sandy Dziubek, Hamilton Spanish teacher Ann Ferguson, Marcy fourth grade teacher Barb Gogan, Hamilton fitness-health teacher Thomas Konkol, Templeton seventh grade communication arts teacher Diane Krause, Hamilton technical education teacher James Lawinger, Hamilton guidance counselor Patricia Mitchell, Hamilton custodian Michael Oswald, Woodside fitness and district driver education teacher Jackie Rottler, Templeton special education teacher Alexa Smith and Woodside fourth grade teacher Kathy Theis.

 Those unable to attend were Woodside special education teacher Anne Gavigan, Templeton special education teacher James Lesperance, Marcy art teacher Suzan Markham, Lannon cleaner Janet Muehlbauer, Hamilton special education teacher Mary Ripple and Hamilton German teacher Robin Tessereau.                                                                              

Board recognizes officers who reorganized HEF

The district’s Community Service Award was presented to Hamilton Education Foundation officers Ann Ubert, Peggy Youngblood, George Semrad, Darlene Barbian and Tammy Ristow who provided leadership for the organization following the retirement of the former executive director.

Hamilton junior paid tribute as student rep

Hamilton junior Lydia Salus was recognized for her service to the School Board as the student representative during the 2010-11 school year.

Staff plan calls for four fewer FTEs

The district expects to reduce four full-time equivalency positions (FTE) next year despite projecting a 25-student enrollment increase. The reductions will come from:

  • elementary schools – one FTE due to an elementary section reduction from an enrollment shift and one-half of a FTE due to an elementary special schedule adjustment;
  • middle school – one FTE because of special services enrollment shift and one-half from reduction of transition counselor; and
  • high school – one-half FTE from reduction of transition counselor and one-half FTE because of enrollment shift including increases in science and communication arts and decreases in applied engineering, math, art and fitness education.

 School Board approves raising some fees

Families will see an increase in middle and high school fees to keep pace with costs of providing services. The maximum athletic fee will go from $60 to $80 at Templeton Middle School and from $90 to $120 at Hamilton High School. The Family Athletic-Activity pass will increase from $45 to $60. In addition, the cost to provide a school transcript for current students increased from $2.55 to $5

 School Board members noted that even with the increased prices on some items, district fees are below average compared to area school districts. Also, the fee increases affected activities that are considered discretionary, and basic school fees remained unchanged.

 Extended learning opportunities reviewed

Hamilton High School Associate Principal Pete Ferge presented an Extended Learning Opportunity program report that provided information about work-based learning opportunities. In addition to a detailed written report, Ferge highlighted three areas of greater district participation.

  • The Healthcare Career Academy provides an opportunity for up to eight students entering their junior or senior year to spend three weeks during the summer in 12 different departments.
  • The Manufacturing Career Expo is an opportunity for students in Applied Engineering and Technology classes to visit with local manufacturers to learn about the industry and job opportunities. It is sponsored by three area chambers of commerce.
  • Reality Check offered a financial planning simulation for Business Education students.

 Maple Avenue site plan updated

Despite dealing with a higher mobility rate among families, Maple Avenue Elementary School students are seeing success, especially at the higher grades.

 Principal Kristin Koeper-Hamblin noted that the school’s emphasis on providing interventions to students who come to Maple Avenue often with needs for academic support seems to be paying off. The school’s Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam scores were at the top of the county in several subject areas in fourth and fifth grades.

 “We have seen high scores at (higher grade levels) which show that interventions at the early levels are effective.” Koeper-Hamblin said.

Tactics of the Maple Avenue Site state:

  • Students will develop their communication skills to effectively and purposefully interact with others.
  • Students will be engaged in meaningful and active learning to support maximum achievement for each child.
  • Teachers will implement quality assessment practices and assist students in monitoring their own progress to ensure continuous learning.

High school seeks nominees for Distinguished Alumnus

Community members are invited to nominate Hamilton High School graduates for the 2011 Distinguished Alumnus Award which will be presented at the June 11 high school graduation ceremony.

People are asked to include the nominee’s name, address and phone number, along with a 50- to 75-word description of why the nominee is worthy of the award. This information may be submitted through the district Web site at on the Hamilton High School alumni page or delivered to Candis Mongan, Hamilton High School, W220 N6151 Town Line Rd., Sussex, WI 53089.

High school faculty members will review nominations and recommend a finalist.

The nomination deadline is May 13. For further information, contact Mongan at (262) 246-6471 x1104.

Maple Avenue students launch “Hearts for Humanity Drive”

Maple Avenue Elementary School fifth-graders, through their Uniting Kids and Community (UKC) program, launched their second global service project called, “Hearts for Humanity Drive.”

The goal of the project is to support American Red Cross relief efforts to help those affected by the Japanese earthquake and Pacific tsunami. Students will raise money for their cause by selling and applying temporary heart tattoos, holding grade-level raffles for Japanese Iwako erasers and collecting donations. Prior to the fundraising, fifth-graders will present in each classroom to help fellow students understand the need to support the American Red Cross’ efforts.

The goal of Maple Avenue’s UKC program is to engage and empower fifth-graders to make connections with their school as well as local and global communities. This is done through the coordination and implementation of service projects in which students play an active role throughout the year in planning, coordinating, promoting and carrying out service projects. Maple Avenue fifth grade teachers hope that students learn the value of civic responsibility and problem solving as they work toward completing diverse service projects.

Maple Avenue Elementary School is located at W240 N6059 Maple Ave.

Templeton teacher’s service to country cited for third time

For the third consecutive year, Templeton seventh grade communication arts teacher Patricia Fry was honored with the President’s Volunteer Service Silver Medal Award  for volunteering 250-499 hours with Marine Parents, Inc. The award is presented by the U.S. president in acknowledgement of service to the country.

Fry received the award first from former President George Bush and then last year from President Barack Obama. She received another certificate signed by President Obama this year for the additional hours she has contributed to her country. The recognition is from the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation, in conjunction with the Corporation for National & Community Service and the USA Freedom Corps. is a Web site that offers message boards and chat rooms that support families who have a loved one in the Marines. Fry, who has a son in the Marines, has served as a chat room moderator since 2006 spending hundreds of hours each year in chat rooms that provide information and encouragement for Marine families.

Hamilton welcomes students from Germany

A group of 22 German students and three chaperones from Altdorf near Nuernberg in Bavaria have been busy in the last few weeks getting to know more about American culture through their visit to Hamilton High School in Sussex. The students are participating in the German American Partnership Program (GAPP). They attend Leibniz-Gymnasium, a college-preparatory, secondary school specializing in the study of world languages, mathematics and science.

The GAPP exchange opportunity was initiated in 2000 by former Hamilton German teacher Robin Tessereau, and has since become a strong bond of friendship between Leibniz and Hamilton students, their families and staff on both sides of the Atlantic.

With Tessereau’s retirement last year, Hamilton German teacher Laurel Schenkoske took over organizing and coordinating this year’s GAPP exchange.

“I knew they were big shoes to fill,” Schenkoske said.

With the support of fellow Hamilton world languages teachers Sarah Adkins and Lindsey Klein, Schenkoske has added yet again another great chapter to the successful GAPP exchange.

German teacher-chaperones Henning Bartels and Dagmar Wennmacher are especially grateful to Schenkoske and Hamilton Principal Candis Mongan who made it possible to have a Leibniz student in a wheelchair participate in the GAPP exchange.

“The German participants are absolutely thrilled about all the new experiences they have made at Hamilton and in their host families,” Wennmacher said. “We feel so very much at home and welcome here among our new moms, dads, siblings and pets.”

Friendship between the two schools in Sussex and Altdorf has become a vital aspect in the past 11 years. Hamilton fitness education teacher Jerry Cibulka stayed with Bartels and his family in 2007 when a Hamilton contingent visited Germany. It was a particular pleasure for Cibulka to teach German students the rules of baseball prior to their Brewers’ Baseball game at Miller Park during spring break.


May 3, 2011

New gifted, talented delivery gets high marks

 The move to a new way to deliver gifted and talented services to elementary school students has been a success, according to Educational Services and Human Resources Director John Roubik. School Board members received an update on the change that uses a more integrated team approach at the building level and eliminated having a single resource teacher who served students in four schools.

The new model, which was implemented this year, reallocated resources so that a team at each school oversees gifted and talented referrals and determines the most appropriate programming for identified students. Programming could include in-class differentiation, small pull-outs, and in some cases, a differentiated education plan. Classroom teachers work with resource specialists in reading, mathematics, library and writing to regularly monitor progress and modify services as appropriate.

As part of the restructured Spectrum Program, mathematics support teachers saw their roles expand to provide enrichment to students along with existing intervention responsibilities. Resources were reallocated to provide additional hours for mathematics support teachers and mathematics paraprofessional support at three schools.

Roubik said parent and staff feedback after the first year of implementation has been positive.

“Our goal was to make it a more integrated, seamless program, and we have had a very successful year,” Roubik said.

Classroom teachers have indicated that they feel more supported this year, he said. For the most part, parents have been happy with the changes that provided programming options to serve student needs rather than being a program that a child was in or not.

School Board member Lynn Kristensen agreed. She said rather than pulling kids out of the classroom, services were more fluid.

District meets AYP requirements

The district once again passed the federal performance measures as determined in the No Child Left Behind legislation, but what the future holds is uncertain.

Instructional Technology and Assessment Coordinator Katherine Little, Ph.D., provided information about the district’s Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) status. School districts nationwide must meet AYP objectives established as part of the federal No Child Left Behind legislation.

Each year, school districts must have an 85 percent graduation or attendance rate, 95 percent test participation and reading and mathematics proficiency. Benchmarks were established beginning in the 2001-02 school year with expected reading proficiency at 61 percent and mathematics proficiency at 37 percent. This year the benchmark rose to 80.5 percent in reading and 68.5 percent in mathematics.

By 2013-14, 100 percent of students are expected to be proficient in the two subject areas. Subgroups within a district based on minority, disability, socioeconomic and English Language Learning status are also required to meet the proficiency benchmarks. School Board members expressed concern that as the targets increase it could become difficult for a subgroup of students, such as those with special education needs, to meet the benchmarks.

Little noted that while the district is still in good shape, changes in how graduation rate is calculated could affect AYP status for schools. State officials notified school districts that it will calculate graduation rates based on the number of students who graduate in four years, despite the fact that federal mandates determine that some special education students are entitled to an education until age 21. Schools that serve a high number of special education students until age 21 could see their graduation rates drop as a result.

Hamilton offers a wide range of opportunities to support student learning and success on the state standardized tests. Little provided a written report on those measures that include: a freshman seminar course to improve reading, writing, organization and study skills; specialized high school advisements to meet identified student needs; the Read 180 program for special education students who are two reading levels below their grade; summer school invitational classes for students with disabilities; elementary reading and mathematics resources for students who struggle; professional development that focuses on differentiation and classroom reading and mathematics strategies; and “double doses” of reading and mathematics instruction for elementary students.

New EAP program working well

School Board members are happy with the switch to a new employee assistance program (EAP) plan. The district had used EAP services provided by the National Employees Assistance Service (NEAS) since 2004. The service came with a $7,000 to $8,000 price tag with limited employee usage of the plan. Last year the School Board voted to use services offered by the district’s long-term disability, National Insurance Services. The program offered similar services at no cost to the district. Services include 24-hour, toll-free telephone access to EAP, telephone assessment and counseling, referral to counseling or treatment, liaison with treatment facilities and agencies, dependent care information and specialized consultation for legal and financial concerns.

Consortium participation approved

Participation in two regional consortiums was approved. Pete Ferge, Hamilton associate principal and extended learning opportunities coordinator, recommended continued involvement in the:

  • Carl Perkins consortium offered through CESA #1 which provides the district with grant funding that totaled $13,509 this year; and
  • Waukesha County School-to-Work consortium which assists district in education for employment and strategic planning. The consortium provides districts with grant funding to support co-ops, youth apprenticeships, work experience programs and K-12 career-related initiatives.

Both consortiums provide services at no cost to school districts.

Board officers chosen

School Board members elected the following officers: Gabe Kolesari, president; James Long, vice-president; Michael Hyland, treasurer; and Dawn Van Aacken, clerk.

High school students recognized for financial literacy

High school students in Brenda Savic’s Personal Finance course were recognized for outstanding results in the National Financial Literacy Challenge. The challenge was developed by the Department of Treasury in consultation with economists and the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, Junior Achievement USA, the National Council on Economic Education and the National Endowment for Financial Education.

Sophomore Emily Nettesheim had a perfect score on the 40-question financial knowledge test. In addition to Nettesheim, Hamilton students who received certificates from the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Hamilton School Board in honor of their accomplishment were Adam Brown, Jake Grenier, Wade Heckendorf, Corey Last, Ty-Asia Love, Corey Lozano, Tanner Mickler,  Courtney Vaughan, Theodore Wiesneski and Jasmine Williams.

Personnel matters

In personnel matters, the School Board:

  • accepted the retirement request of high school custodian Michael Oswald effective Aug. 5; and
  • appointed Amy Langlois as Maple Avenue head cook effective July 5.