September 18, 2017

Board gets report about district strategic tactics

Human Resources and Organizational Development Director John Roubik gave an update to the School Board on the priorities of the 2017-2020 Strategic Plan. Following are the four priority areas, their goals and tactics.StrategicPlanJumpTopWithEEACroppedTightWeb

Systems of learning & assessment — All students will be challenged and supported to maximize their learning and achievement.


  • Analyze current assessment practices
  • Develop common language and understanding of assessment practices districtwide
  • Align standards, learning targets, learning tasks and success criteria
  • Develop balanced assessments (utilizing a variety of assessments) aligned to learning targets across grade levels

Social & emotional wellness — All students will be supported to develop social and emotional wellness related to academic, career and life experiences.


  • Create a system that aligns expectations across the district regarding social and emotional wellness
  • Create a system to support student behavioral needs, similar to what has been created, to support student academic needs
  • Broaden the district definition of student success by incorporating success factors other than test scores

Workforce & organizational wellness –All staff will engage in continuous professional learning and be provided opportunities to improve personal wellness.


  • Align and increase professional development opportunities related to the Strategic Plan
  • Create an alternative option to the teacher evaluation process that develops teacher expertise
  • Support employee wellness in various areas such as general health, nutrition and active lifestyle

Facilities &  technology — The district will enhance student learning by providing adequate classroom learning space while maintaining existing buildings and infrastructure and optimal student access to technology.


  • Monitor enrollment and facility needs
  • Provide optimal student access to technology to support learning
  • Develop a sustainable technology and facilities plan to support student learning
  • Potential referendum this spring to address increased enrollment

Summer Opportunities reports on successful year

Summer Opportunities Coordinator and Lannon Principal Brian Balfany shared information about the highly popular program with School Board members. A total of 2,035 students in grades 4K to 11 enrolled in classes. Combined, 132 teachers were employed and more than half of them were Hamilton School District staff. In all, 243 employees were employed including three administrative assistants, 35 paraprofessionals, 63 student teaching assistants, one coordinator and two assistant coordinators.

New this year was online registration and scheduling through Infinite Campus. In addition, all classes were consolidated from four to two schools — Hamilton High School and Maple Avenue Elementary School.

Recommendations for next year include:

  • scheduling the summer program to be in session June 20 – July 18 with days off on July 4, 5 and 6;
  • allowing parents to prioritize class choices when registering;
  • training math instructors in Everyday Math strategies and reading teachers in Reader’s Workshop, as was done this year; and
  • exploring recovery credit make-up and credit acquisition opportunities.

Lannon site plan approved

Lannon Elementary School Principal Brian Balfany presented his school’s site plan update. He reported on the progress of last year’s tactics which stated students will meet or exceed literacy growth targets and Lannon will maintain a highly supportive and respectful environment. Both tactics will remain in effect for 2017-18. Lannon was recognized as a school that “significantly exceeds expectations” on the State Report Card and student achievement increased on the state Forward Exam last year.

High school continues progress

Hamilton High School Principal Candis Mongan provided School Board members with an update on achievement initiatives in the past year. The school continues to reach high levels of achievement and is recognized for its accomplishments. Achievements include:

Advanced Placement — Hamilton High School’s Advanced Placement pass rate remains high while an increasing number of students are taking the exam. In 2014-15, 358 students took 605 exams; those numbers shot up to 411 students taking 664 exams in 2016-17. The pass rate remained above 80 percent.

Challenge Index — AP pass rates and percentage of students taking the exams affect the school’s Challenge Index, a ratio that represents the availability of advanced coursework in the school’s curriculum. Because many more students are taking AP exams, the school’s Challenge Index score increased from 1.57 in 2015-16 to 1.90 in 2016-17. The 1.90 score represents the highest Challenge Index score in the school’s history.

ACT – Prior to 2015, students chose whether to take the exam. For the last two years, all juniors in Wisconsin are required to take it. Hamilton’s ACT composite score went from 24.5 in 2014-15 to 22.3 in 2015-16, but rose to 23 last year.

PISA – 67 Hamilton students were randomly chosen to participate in this international exam that measures applied knowledge and competencies in reading, mathematics and science of 15-year-olds. Hamilton’s mean score for 2016 was significantly above the mean scores of other U.S. schools and its performance was higher than in 2014, the last time Hamilton students took the exam.

Transcripted credit – Students are able to take classes in business, mathematics, applied engineering and technology, social studies and family and consumer education for which they can earn transcripted credits through Waukesha County Technical College. In 2015-16, students enrolled in 702 courses with a 90 percent successful completion rate. In the previous two years, nearly 100 fewer students were enrolled in transcripted-credit courses.

Mongan indicated that next steps for Hamilton include:

  • building an integrated and personalized staff development program that incorporates focused literacy, assessment and social emotional wellness support;
  • examining profile data, standardized test scores and survey data to measure progress and continue targeting underserved populations
  • requiring Student Learning Objectives link with disciplinary literacy;
  • gathering and analyzing department plan assessment data;
  • introducing academic and career planning through advisement curriculum
  • developing structures that meet the needs of all student by embedding personalized learning and assessment strategies in the classroom; and
  • assisting students transfer literacy and social-emotional skills independently beyond the classroom.

Board sets annual goals

The School Board established five 2017-18 goals for the superintendent and school board. They include:

  • developing resources and implement strategies and initiatives to enhance student achievement;
  • implementing strategic vision-tactical planning model;
  • implementing communication to promote understanding of district initiatives and accomplishments;
  • monitoring district enrollments and community growth; and
  • updating School Board policies and positions descriptions.

Public invited to free music performance and ceremony

Officials from the Lord Mayor of London’s office will visit Sussex Sept. 19 at 2 p.m. to present the Hamilton High School Marching Band and Choir with an official invitation to participate in London’s New Year’s Day Parade (LNYDP) and Festival.bandWeb

Hamilton’s music groups will participate in the 2019 parade and festival providing students with opportunities for musical performance development.

The public is invited to witness the official invitation from the Lord Mayor of London’s office and enjoy musical performances from the Hamilton band and choir. Hamilton Superintendent Paul Mielke, Ph.D., and Hamilton High School Principal Candis Mongan will accept the official invitation from Councillor Robert Davis, an international ambassador for the United Kingdom’s financial and professional services sector.

London has hosted LNYDP for the past 30 years. The parade begins at noon Jan. 1 and follows one of the city’s most famous thoroughfares that travels through Piccadilly, Piccadilly Circus, Lower Regent Street, Waterloo Place, Pall Mall, Cockspur Street, Trafalgar Square, Whitehall and Parliament Street. Along with the parade is the LNYDP concert series and the Grand Finale of the London International Choral Festival performed in internationally acclaimed music venues across the city.

Acceptance of the official invitation and student musical performances will be held in the Hamilton Fine Arts Center, W220 N6151 Town Line Road, Sussex. The event is free and open to the public.

2017 Hamilton Homecoming Week activities set

Hamilton High School is getting ready for six days of fun, activities and athletic events Sept. 25 – 30 during Hamilton’s Road Trip Homecoming Week.

HHS Horse

Monday, Sept. 25: Theme – Maui Monday – Beach Day, lunch game – Hula Hoop Contest

Tuesday, Sept. 26: Theme – Texas Tuesday – Western Day, lunch game – Wheel Barrow Race

Wednesday, Sept. 27: Theme – USA Wednesday – American Pride Day, lunch game – state trivia

  • Powder puff football:
  • Freshmen vs. seniors – 6 p.m.
  • Sophomores vs. juniors – 7 p.m.
  • Championship game – 8 p.m.
  • Fireworks – 9 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 28: Theme – Times Square Thursday – Fashion or Preppy Day, lunch game – Lip Sync Competition

Friday, Sept. 29: Theme – Finally Home Friday – Charger Pride Day, lunch game – Most Spirited Charger

  • Football – Hamilton vs. Wauwatosa East, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 30:

  • Dance – 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Hamilton High School, W220 N6151 Town Line Rd., Sussex.

Students may purchase tickets for the dance Sept. 25-28 during lunches for $15 per person. Tickets may be purchased at the door for $20 the night of the dance until 8 p.m.

Bring items to free recycling event Sept. 23

Cimco Recycling Milwaukee will set up Sept. 23 from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the Hamilton Fine Arts Center parking lot to accept recyclable metals and other items from community members. The event is hosted by Hamilton High School Robotics Team 537.recycle

It’s a great time to clean out your home and garage and dispose of items, free of charge. Bring your aluminum, stainless steel, brass, cast iron, sheet iron, copper items and more. Please check out the Cimco Recycling list of items that can be recycled.

The Hamilton Fine Arts Center is located at W220 N6151 Town Line Road, Sussex.

Foundation presents awards, grants to Hamilton staff

The Hamilton Education Foundation (HEF) recognized Hamilton School District staff members who received grants at the Back-to-School Breakfast.

HEF granted more than $58,000 throughout the district to support technology, learning and language labs at several schools, growing theatre and the arts in the district, educational and leadership trips for students and professional development in reading and writing for elementary school teachers.

Cooke-NH-grant recipients

Cooke New Horizons grants: (Front row) Michelle Prei, Archana Rajappa, Bronwyn Phillips, Jodi Schossow, Trenette Fowler, Ashley Pfeifer (back row) Jen Knapp, Katie Foy, Trisha Hanrahan, Rhonda Watton, Rebeccah Derks, Mary Caucutt, Tim Cunningham, Brenda Peterson   (not pictured Chuck DuFrane)

Elementary-Make-a-Difference recipients

Make a Difference: Whitney Roth, Callie Lauer, Kathi Mueller, Amy Yellin, Julie Greenwald, Michele Trawicki, Elizabeth Lodl, Colleen Casper, Michelle Schultz, Amber Schroeder (not pictured Robyn Hassani, Sarah Plamann, Amber Skaros)

Secondary-Make-a-Difference recipients

Make a Difference: (Front row) Steffanie Sheikh, Jessica Ronk, Amanda Fields, Patricia Sankey, Ashley Pfeifer (back row) Andrew Kougl, Joseph Premo, Deb Figueroa, Jen Knapp, Mary Caucutt

September 5, 2017

Enrollment tops projections

School officials projected enrollment would increase about 70 students annually for the next five years, but enrollment will likely top those estimates for the 2017-18 school year. As part of a study of community growth and facility needs last spring, enrollments were projected through the next five years. Based on the number of students who were enrolled one week before school started, however, the district will likely see more than 100 additional students when enrollment is officially reported to the state instead of the projected 70. More information about enrollment will be available after the third Friday in September – the date school districts use when reporting enrollment to the state.

Watton presented with state teaching award

Templeton Middle School eighth grade social studies teacher Rhonda Watton was recognized at the Sept. 5 School Board meeting for being named the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History 2017 Wisconsin History Teacher of the Year.RhondaWattonDPIconsultant

The award highlights the crucial importance of history education by honoring exceptional American history teachers throughout the United States.

Department of Public Instruction social studies consultant and the Gilder Lerman state award facilitator Kristen McDaniel presented the award to Watton at the School Board meeting.

Along with recognition at a state award ceremony, Watton is the recipient of a $1,000 honorarium and Templeton will receive a core archive of American history books and educational materials. Watton will also receive an invitation to a 2018 Gilder Lehrman weeklong seminar that offers teachers daily discussions with eminent historians, visits to historic sites and hands-on work with primary sources.

Two school site plans presented

Marcy Elementary School Principal Michele Trawicki and Assistant Principal Katie Ritchie reported on their school’s site planning process. Trawicki highlighted work of the past year and noted the school’s achievements including being recognized as a school that “significantly exceeds expectations” on the state report card. Very few Marcy students perform below the 40th percentile on standardized tests and those who do typically did not start at Marcy, but enrolled after attending another school, according to Trawicki.

“Overall, we are very pleased with our test scores, which continue to remain stable or increase,” Trawicki noted in her report. “Our action plans reflect the work our staff is doing to continually improve instruction.”

Ritchie described future work that Marcy staff will address. Again, Marcy’s tactics will focus on literacy and mathematics goals. Literacy action steps identify that teaching staff will:

  • use Reader’s Workshop and Writer’s Workshop to continue best practices in balanced literacy instruction; and
  • explore formative feedback using conferring, rubrics, anecdotal notes and informal practices.

To address the school’s mathematics goals, the staff will:

  • continue quarterly math fact assessments at each grade level;
  • focus on at-home resources and understanding of why math fact fluency is crucial to mathematical success;
  • develop a deeper understanding of math vocabulary through exposure, understanding and application;
  • implement common problem-solving procedures, strategies and vocabulary through purposeful instruction, visible resources and application in multiple content areas; and
  • explore formative feedback rubrics for problem solving.

Both tactics include deepening the definition of student success to include positive habits of mind such as disposition, grit, perseverance, and student ownership of learning and behaviors.

Woodside Elementary School Principal James Edmond, Jr., Ph.D., and Assistant Principal Linda Hake updated the School Board on Woodside’s site plan that reflect the priorities of the district’s Strategic Plan.

Edmond reported that the school continues to make steady academic gains and was recognized as a school that “significantly exceeds expectations” the past two years that a state report card was issued. Test data show more than 40 percent of Woodside students perform above the 80th percentile in literacy and mathematics and less than 10 percent of Woodside students are below the 30th percentile.

In action steps developed to address systems of learning and assessment goals, staff will:

  • align curricular standards and implement common assessments at each grade level;
  • use formative assessment tools to monitor student understanding and provide timely feedback to students;
  • identify strategies and a common language to empower students;
  • personalize learning to include learning styles inventories, class and individual goal-setting and student conferencing;
  • focus on instructional planning and student data analysis at team meetings.
  • experience best practices modeling from reading and mathematics specialists; and
  • deliver consistent instruction and intervention through use of Benchmark Literacy, Being a Writer and Everyday Mathematics.

To tackle social and emotional wellness goals, staff will:

  • use all tiers of Positive Behaviors Intervention and Supports (PBIS) and analyze behavior data to provide interventions;
  • focus behavioral instruction on being a respectful, responsible, safe and friendly school citizen;
  • explore science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics topics;
  • implement a behavioral screener to identify social and emotional strengths and areas of need; and
  • continue behavioral planning and student data analysis at team meeting.

To achieve workforce and organizational wellness goals, staff plan to:

  • personalize professional development that aligns with the district strategic plan and best practices;
  • use teacher release time to observe instructional practices in district; and
  • connect with other staff routinely recognize accomplishments.

One student admitted into kindergarten early

One student was admitted early into kindergarten for 5-year-olds last year, according to a report presented by Special Services Supervisor John Peterson. Two students participated in the early admission 5K screening process. No parents requested early admissions for 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.

Other reports presented

In other reports, the School Board learned that:

  • Curriculum areas that will be reviewed in 2017-18 are applied engineering and technology, business education and elementary science.
  • After many years of state assessment changes for school districts, the testing schedules appears to be settled with no major disruptions announced in the last two years. The testing schedule includes: PALS early literacy screener for grades K4-2; ACCESS for English language learners; ACT with writing and WorkKeys for juniors; ACT Aspire for freshmen and sophomores; Dynamic Learning Maps – English language arts and mathematics in grades 3-11, science in grades 4 and 8-11, and social studies grades 4, 8 and 10; and Forward Exams – English-language arts in grades 3-8, science in grades 4 and 8, and social studies in grades 4, 8, 10.
  • Summer professional development included Skyward training for business office staff, Hamilton edCamp hosted by Marcy teachers, elementary Next Generation Science Standards workshop, Microsoft Office certification for high school business education teachers, eduClimber data visualization tool training for administrators and interventionists, assessment workshop for administrators, instructional leaders and other interested staff, disciplinary literacy review, new teacher orientation and crisis training.
  • Summer curriculum and instruction projects included middle school mathematics resources training and curriculum development in applied engineering and technology, elementary science, business education and freshman fitness.
  • More than half of all certified staff collaborated with instructional and literacy coaches last year, according to a report from Instructional Services Supervisor Katherine Little, Ph.D. Reading specialists’ roles changed to include literacy coaches. Half of their time is used to serve the most needy students as interventionists and the other half provides literacy coaching to staff. Little noted in her report that the coaches have found it challenging to find a balance between the two roles, but they creatively work to establish a schedule that meets the need of students and teachers.

Personnel action

In personnel business, the School Board

  • accepted the resignations of Templeton clerical paraprofessional Mary Beth Wilichowski and Hamilton social studies teacher Eric Ebert; and
  • appointed Michelle Mattheis as a Templeton special education paraprofessional, Jamie Brzezinski as Maple Avenue cook, Kara Duehring as a Maple Avenue physical education teacher, Jennie White as a Lannon associate kitchen employee, Kimberley Seher as a Maple Avenue Title I paraprofessional, Lisa Fleisner as a Woodside special education paraprofessional, Diane Jakubowski as a Templeton special education paraprofessional, Molly Zajac as a Maple Avenue Title I paraprofessional, Annamaria Fuhr as a Templeton clerical and supervision paraprofessional; Brian Groth as a Hamilton social studies replacement teacher; and Ryan Dow as a part-time Templeton custodian.