Hamilton one-act play awarded All State

The cast and crew of Hamilton High School’s one-act play, “Selfies” by Bradley Hayward, received an All State Award at the 2017 State High School Theater Festival hosted at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. The All State Award was one of nine awards earned by the team.Selfie cast

The entire cast was awarded Outstanding Ensemble and six cast members received Outstanding Acting Awards. They were Ariel Hoefler, Kayleigh Winston, Ashley Bissen, Jonathon Costa, Dorie Palmer and Joseph Davila. In addition, Linda Schuster Hake won an Outstanding Director Award.

The One-Act festival is part of the Wisconsin High School Forensics Association Theater Festival (WHSTF). The WHSTF provides students and teachers with an opportunity to learn from trained theater professionals and educators, to take the stage and to watch peers perform.

Woodside hosts “Cocoa & Cookies for a Cause”

Woodside Elementary School kindergartners in Peter Dargatz’s class are raising funds for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin by hosting “Cocoa & Cookies for a Cause” Dec. 2 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The hot chocolate stand will be located outside of Woodside Elementary School.Cocoa in cup-Web

The proceeds from this fundraiser will be added to the dollars students earn in their social studies unit which teaches the difference between wants and needs. It provides opportunities for students to earn tickets to get items they want or turn them in for real dollars to donate to Children’s Hospital.

The fundraiser will continue during January as a schoolwide project led by Dargatz’s kindergarten class. All Woodside students will be challenged to take on an extra responsibility at home to earn money and to turn one of their wants into a donation.

The drive will conclude with a special assembly when the school donation will be presented to a representative from the Children’s Hospital Foundation.

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

Wisconsin School Report Card: Hamilton highest performing K-12 district in Waukesha County, sixth highest in state

Wisconsin School Report Card data were released recently, and the Hamilton School District’s performance once again was among the highest in the state. Hamilton was the highest rated school district in Waukesha County and sixth highest among Wisconsin’s 367 K-12 school districts.Hamiltons-state-report-card-score

School Report Cards are based on four priority areas: student achievement in English language arts and mathematics; student growth; closing gaps between student populations; and measures of readiness for graduation and postsecondary success. Using all these measures, Hamilton ranked sixth among 368 Wisconsin school districts and was one of only 26 districts to earn the top designation of “significantly exceeds” expectations for performance.

Hamilton’s student achievement scores were most impressive. Among the 367 K-12 school districts in the state, Hamilton had the:

  • second highest student achievement score;
  • fourth highest mathematics score; and
  • fourth highest reading and language arts results.

In addition to the district earning the highest designation possible, Lannon, Maple Avenue, Marcy and Woodside elementary schools and Templeton Middle School also earned “significantly exceeds expectations” at the school level. Hamilton High School earned an “exceeds expectations” rating. All schools in the district had better scores than last year.

“Results of the latest State Report Card are a reflection of the deep commitment that students, staff and community have for education,” said Hamilton Superintendent Paul Mielke, Ph.D.

“Our success is possible because citizens have recognized that investing in education supports a vibrant community and high quality of life not just for students, but for all who live here,” Mielke said. “I am proud of the outstanding accomplishments of our schools.”

Wisconsin implemented a new educational accountability system five years ago with more rigorous benchmarks and a new way to report school progress. Each public school now has a School Report Card that lets people know how well it is preparing students for their futures. Because of strategic planning efforts and a track record of focusing on student achievement, schools in the Hamilton School District earned positive ratings under the new system.

The overall accountability score rates schools on a scale of 0 to 100 and places them in one of five categories: significantly exceeds expectations (83-100), exceeds expectations (73-82.9), meets expectations (63-72.9), meets few expectations (53-62.9) and fails to meet expectations (52.9 and below).

Hamilton School District 2016-17 School Report Card data

School Overall score  Student achievement  Reading/lang arts achvmt Math achievement Overall
Lannon 89.3 97  47.5 49.5 Signif. exceeds
Maple Ave. 89.9 97.1 47.7 49.4 Signif. exceeds
Marcy 96.2 99.4 49.4 50.0 Signif. exceeds
Woodside 90.4 96.6 47.2 49.4 Signif. exceeds
Templeton 85.5 91.6 48 43.6 Signif. exceeds
Hamilton  HS 77 83.2 41.6 41.6 Exceeds
District 88.1 94.5 47.5 47.1 Signif. exceeds

Among Waukesha County K-12 school districts, Hamilton was:
• first for the overall accountability score;
• first for overall student achievement;
• first for reading and language arts achievement;
• first for mathematics achievement.

November 20, 2017

Athletic-activities report presented

Hamilton Athletic and Activities Director Michael Gosz presented the annual Co-Curricular Activities Report. He noted that 91 coaches and 67 activity advisors lead 60 interscholastic sports teams and 42 student activities. More than half the coaches and 88 percent of the activity advisors are district faculty members.

In his report, Gosz recommended that the district:

  • work with the Hamilton Athletic Booster Club to construct a new concession stand on Grove field;
  • replace existing baseball field backstop and netting;
  • resurface and reline the track on Grove Field;
  • explore the possibility of adding synthetic turf to baseball infield to prevent rainouts as baseball will become a spring sport in 2019;
  • install a scoreboard for the softball field;
  • resurface the tennis courts;
  • monitor athletic specialization and off-season programs;
  • replace pole vault pits that are more than 15 years old; and
  • consider coach and advisory salaries that have not been adjusted in more than 15 years.

IT Department lays out future work

At his last School Board meeting as Information Technology Manager, Ryan McMillan updated the School Board on hardware and software updates, networking initiatives, assessments and testing, student information system news and operation of the HelpDesk ticketing system. McMillan submitted his resignation at the last School Board meeting to take a new position outside of education. Joining McMillan to present the report was Ben Hawley, who was hired as McMillan’s replacement.

Future initiatives include a network switching and firewall project, plan to increase bandwidth, more network security training, streamlining printers and copiers, replacing smartboard and projectors as needed and developing a plan for state funding that matches $125 per device for ninth-graders beginning in July.

3 classes under development for HHS Course Catalog

Three new classes are under development to be included in the 2018-19 Hamilton High School Course Catalog. They are:

  • Oral and Interpersonal Communication – focused on developing public speaking, interpersonal and nonverbal communication skills through individual presentations, group activities and other projects;
  • Drama in Literature and Production – a class that explores the world of theater beyond acting. Students will gain skills in set design, construction, lighting design, sound reinforcement and design, costume design, make up and theater management; and
  • Performance Conditioning – a course in the Fitness Education Department designed to increase performance in all aspects of fitness. Students will be exposed to various methods to improve overall health with opportunities to increase muscle strength, endurance, flexibility, speed ability and core strength. The curriculum will balance exercise, nutrition and leadership skills.

Hamilton’s achievement higher, but gaps exist

Achievement discrepancy between majority and minority students, students of low economic status, special education and English learners exists in education. While the Hamilton School District sees this to a lesser extent than state and national averages, gaps among the various student groups exist.

Human Resources Director John Roubik, Instructional Services Supervisor Katherine Little, Ph.D., and Special Services Supervisor John Peterson presented district data and initiatives concerning “Closing the Achievement Gap.” In all areas except English learners, Hamilton students in disaggregated groups outperform their state counterparts on the Forward Exam. While Hamilton special education student performance is higher than the state, the district’s achievement gap between special education students and their peers is greater than the state level gap.

Action steps to ensure the success of all students include:

  • allocating Title I services for direct instruction at  targeted school;
  • differentiating instruction to providing interventions for students with larger gaps;
  • matching Response to Intervention actions with student needs to ensure greatest academic gains;
  • meeting of district interventionists to review effectiveness of current interventions and expand intervention options;
  • implementing EduClimber software to monitor student progress and identify interventions;
  • using Oasys EIP software to monitor annual IEP goals for students with disabilities;
  • offering specific intervention programming at each school to meet students’ needs;
  • implementing learner profiles and student goal-setting strategies to support personalization of student learning; and
  • training staff on designing strategies and learning environments to meets the needs of all learners.

Bid documents to be prepared

The School Board voted to allow development of bid documents for referendum projects that will be on the ballot Feb. 20. Business Services Assistant Superintendent Bryan Ruud explained that work on the projects needs to begin immediately in the spring in order for classrooms to be occupied in the fall of 2019.

Timeline established for 2018-19 budget

The School Board approved the district’s 2018-19 budget timeline that includes:

  • Dec. 6 – Employee forum to solicit input prior to development of the budget;
  • Feb. 9 – Administrators submit budgets;
  • March 19 and April 16 – Opportunity for community to provide input on the budget prior to School Board meetings;
  • May 21 – School Board approves final draft of the budget; and
  • July 16 – Annual meeting where citizens approve tax levy.

Special education teacher hired

A dozen students with disabilities transferred into Maple Avenue and Marcy elementary schools since the start of the school year, and additional special education referrals are pending at both schools. To accommodate increased special education enrollments, the School Board approved hiring one special education teacher who will be assigned equally to both schools.

In other personnel news, the School Board:

  • accepted the resignation of Hamilton Guidance Office administrative assistant Donna Goetsch effective Dec. 15; and
  • appointed Kelly Huegel as a Lannon part-time special education paraprofessional  and Paul Westwood as a Templeton kitchen employee.









Students to perform at Middle School Honors Band Festival

Ten Templeton Middle School students were nominated and selected to participate in the 51st annual University of Wisconsin (UW)-Milwaukee Middle School Honors Band Festival.

UWM-Honors-Band-students photo

The students are eighth-graders Elizabeth Fischer, Sarah Kidd, Aayush Iyengar, Spencer Margolis, Emily Nielsen, Kayla Olson, Nicholas Peterson, Kate Powell, Conner Simchick, and Connor Tohulka. They will be among 300 Wisconsin students selected to participate.

The festival provides the region’s most motivated and accomplished middle school instrumentalists an opportunity to work together and with nationally-known conductors.

Students will participate Nov. 17-19 in master classes with UW-Milwaukee Department of Music performance faculty and hear performances by UW-Milwaukee ensembles. A final concert will be held Nov. 19 in the Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts.



Hamilton announces October students of the month

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

Students Of The Month Oct photo

They are:

  • Christopher Lawrence, applied engineering and technology;
  • Ariel Hoefler, business education;
  • Jonathan Lucero and Tycen Schauer, communication arts;
  • Jenna Dalzin, family and consumer sciences;
  • Connor Gordon, fitness education;
  • Mia Traverse, mathematics;
  • Matthew Bettwy, music;
  • Rachel Passow, science;
  • Ethan Vesely, social studies; and
  • Lisa Nuelk, world languages.

Students received a certificate and a pin for their accomplishment.

November 13, 2017

Hamilton School Board members took the final steps Monday to complete the legal process of placing a referendum on the Feb. 20 primary election.Growing-Logo-271

With a unanimous vote of all seven School Board members, three resolutions passed that:

  • authorized general obligation bonds of $57.4 million for three facilities projects;
  • established the amount of $1.5 million for recurring operational expenses; and
  • approved a referendum election for two questions — one for facilities projects and the other to exceed state revenue limits for recurring costs.

Last week, the School Board accepted a report and recommendations from the Community Facilities Advisory Committee (CFAC) to hold a referendum Feb. 20 seeking voter approval for a new intermediate school, high school classroom renovation and addition projects and associated operational costs.

The 50-member CFAC began meeting last January to study issues related to housing growth in the community, its impact on school enrollment and the capacity of schools to serve more students. It also reviewed community and parent survey results that indicated community support for the projects.

For more information about the findings of the CFAC, please visit www.HamiltonGrows.com.

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. 17 at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater campus.One Act "Selfie" cast

Students performed the one-act play “Selfies” by Bradley Hayward. It is about eight high school seniors’ journey through their senior year learning about life, death, love, hatred, fitting in, standing out, accepting others and themselves. Through it all they document their metamorphosis with an abundance of selfies.

Students who perform in the production are: Kayleigh Winston, Ariel Hoefler, Ashley Bissen, Jonathan Costa, Dorothy Palmer, Kayla Kidman, Joseph Davila and Ashlin Hickling.

The team also consists of a technical crew managing close to 200 technical cues. They are: Jasmyn Ware, Linsey Blattner, Krystal Fedie, Briana Taylor and Morgan Waldenberger. Linda Schuster Hake is the director and is assisted by technical director John Washbush.

The One-Act festival is part of the Wisconsin High School Forensics Association Theater Festival (WHSTF). The WHSTF provides students and teachers with an opportunity to learn from trained theater professionals and educators, to take the stage and to watch peers perform.


November 7, 2017

CFAC’s recommendation for referendum accepted

The Hamilton School Board accepted recommendations of the Community Facilities Advisory Committee (CFAC) to hold a referendum Feb. 20 seeking voter approval for a new intermediate school, high school classroom renovation- addition projects and associated operational costs. The vote was 6-1 in favor with School Board members Dawn Van Aacken, Jennifer Waltz, Deborah Briggs, Brian Schneider, Jay Jones and Gabe Kolesari voting yes and Mike Hyland voting no.School-board-web

Sandi Blackwell and Jamie Schounard, members of the committee, presented the recommendations that corresponded with the latest results from community, parent and employee surveys in which a majority of respondents supported the district’s proposal to increase property taxes for added classrooms to address increasing enrollments and update the high school Applied Engineering and Technology (AET) Program.

The 50-member CFAC began meeting last January to study issues related to housing growth in the community, its impact on school enrollment and the capacity of schools to serve more students. During its study, CFAC concluded that:

  • A potential for significant residential growth in the next five years exists.
  • Enrollment increases of 70+ students per year were projected in March. Actual enrollment increased 144 student in 2017-18. The increased enrollment is creating space issues at all grade levels and all buildings.
  • School building classroom space is being used to near capacity.
  • The high school applied engineering area has not been updated since the school opened in 1962 and equipment is obsolete.

In March committee members presented an interim report in which they recommended that the School Board delay a referendum decision until after another survey could be conducted. Surveys conducted last February indicated many community members and parents were not aware of the pressing need for classrooms districtwide. The committee endorsed reaching out to the community with information about the impact of growth on the schools.

After community outreach, surveys were conducted in October that revealed levels of support increased 5.7 percent (52 to 57.7) among community members and 16.1 percent (57 to 73.1) among parents. Employee support was overwhelmingly high (85+ percent) in both February and October surveys.

After reviewing October survey results, CFAC recommended that the district hold a referendum on the Feb. 20 primary election with two questions. One question would be for $57.4 million of facilities projects that includes:

  • A new $42.9 million intermediate school for all students in grades 5-6. Space would be created at the elementary and middle schools by relocating grade 5 students from all four elementary schools and grade 6 from Templeton Middle School to a new school building.
  • A $9.6 million high school classroom addition to alleviate capacity issues at the high school for the foreseeable future.
  • A $4.9 million renovation of outdated applied engineering classrooms and equipment that are original to the high school when it was built in 1962.

Hyland said he was voting against the committee’s recommendation because he disagreed with having all three facilities projects in one question and wanted voters to be able to choose which projects to approve.

In her presentation, Blackwell said the committee felt the proposal only worked as a package. The Applied Engineering and Technology (AET) project takes three existing classrooms to expand the area. The high school already has nine teachers working from carts who do not have dedicated classrooms. Approval of the AET renovation without the other classroom addition project would create a greater classroom shortage at the high school.

School Board member Deborah Briggs said dividing the questions would be confusing and people may simply vote for the least expensive project “without looking at the big picture.”

The second question would be for $1.5 million of reoccurring operational costs to operate the new intermediate school. While increased enrollment brings in additional state aid that pays for new teachers, additional costs of a new school are not covered. The referendum’s operational costs would fund utilities, insurance, custodians, paraprofessionals, administration, guidance counselor, psychologist, social worker, office staff and health room.

The total cost for the projects and operational costs in the proposal would add $1.37 to the tax rate. Because the Hamilton School District tax rate went down 37 cents this year, the net effect would have been a $1 increase in the tax rate if the costs of the proposal would have been added to 2017 taxes. For the owner of a $300,000 home, taxes would have increased $300.

AODA measures in place to help students, families

Student Assistance Program and AODA Coordinator Kristin Hasbrook presented an annual report to School Board members about efforts to keep students from getting involved in alcohol and other drugs. Providing initial screening and AODA referral services, helping families find appropriate community services and conducting activities in the schools comprised 2016-17 activities.

Middle and high school activities included ongoing individual student support and presentations to students about drugs and alcohol, depression and body image. In addition, selected students received peer trainer instruction for peer depression presentations. “It’s Your Choice” pre-prom presentation was organized for juniors. Districtwide activities involved coordination of the parent network Hamilton Connects and other parent support. Hasbrook completed training for suicide intervention and “Motivational Interviewing” crisis intervention. She also continued to engage with REDgen, an organization that offers training and support to help reduce student suicide and mental health issues.

No space to take Open Enrollment students

School administrators calculated that the district will not have enough classroom space to take additional Open Enrollment students for the 2018-19 school year due to projected resident enrollment. Open Enrollment is a statewide program that allows students to attend public schools outside of their districts if space is available.

School Board election calendar released

The schedule for the 2018 spring election was released. Terms are up for School Board members Dawn Van Aacken, who holds the Lisbon seat, Deborah Briggs, who is in the Butler seat, and Brian Schneider, who holds the Menomonee Falls seat.

The election schedule includes:

  • Jan. 2 – deadline for candidacy declaration and nominations papers;
  • Feb. 20 – primary election if needed;
  • April 3 – spring election; and
  • April 23 – taking of office.

In personnel matters, the School Board:

  • accepted the resignations of district Information Technology (IT) Manager Ryan McMillan, Hamilton special education teacher James Trost and Hamilton cook Mary Lange; and
  • appointed district network-client support technician Ben Hawley as IT manager, effective Nov. 27.