Hamilton students head to national drama competition

Two Hamilton High School students will advance to national competition after qualifying at the Wisconsin High School Theatre Festival. Both students qualified based on their musical theater solos. Junior Maggie Flynn performed “Life I Never Led” from “Sister Act,” and sophomore Nick Mitchell performed “Mr. Cellophane” from “Chicago.”

National competition will be in June.

In addition, the school’s one-act play, “I Never Saw Another Butterfly” earned an All-State Award. Outstanding actor awards went to Maggie Flynn for her role as Raja and Hayden Hotchkiss, junior, for his role as Honza. The play is about young people who were incarcerated in the Terezin concentration camp.Butterflies-One-Act-Play-Web

Community members are invited to a free performance of the one-act play Dec. 3 beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Hamilton Fine Arts Center, W220N6151 Town Line Road, Sussex. Following the performance, Eva Zaret, a holocaust survivor, will speak about her real-life experiences as a child in the Budapest Ghetto.

Sarah Plamann, a district music teacher, is the Hamilton drama director.

Hamilton bands present holiday events

Two holiday concerts, which are free and open to the public, will be held in the Hamilton Fine Arts Center.Candy-cane

  • Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. – Jazz Ensembles 1 and 2 will play a variety of classic big band repertoire mixed with holiday fun.
  • Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. – Wind Symphony and Symphonic Band will perform with Hamilton choirs in a concert that features timeless band and choral music.

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

Community invited to Dec. 12 holiday concert

The public is invited to attend a free Winter Holiday Concert Dec. 12 at 1 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. in the Hamilton Fine Arts Center (HFAC).Holiday-music

A total of 250 students who are members of Hamilton High School choirs and Templeton Middle School Eighth Grade Chorus will perform traditional holiday and winter-themed music. This event is an annual holiday tradition for senior citizens and community members.

Directors are Jaye Mier, Templeton chorus; and Marilyn Mascitti and Sarah Plamann, Hamilton choirs. The HFAC is located at W220 N6151 Town Line Road, Sussex.

Marcy to celebrate Blue Ribbon week Dec. 2-6

Marcy Elementary School has a week’s worth of activities to celebrate being named a Blue Ribbon school. The school learned in September that it was one of select schools in the nation recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School for 2019. Marcy Principal Michele Trawicki, First Grade Teacher Kim Zabel and Instructional Services Supervisor Katie Little traveled Nov. 14-15 to Washington D.C. to receive the award.Marcy-Blue-Ribbon-School-Award-Ceremony-in-WashDCWeb

Less than one-half of one percent of schools nationwide receive the award, which is given in recognition of the school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

In addition to raffle prizes and school announcements throughout the week, the celebration includes:

  • 2 – 5-minutes dance party at 3:30 p.m.
  • 3 – Everyone wears blue, popcorn treats delivered to classrooms, all school assembly at 1:30 p.m. with secret guest
  • 4 – Chair massages for staff, Blue Ribbon award and flag along with the school’s stuffed mascot Marcy the Eagle will travel to each classroom and photos will be taken
  • 5 – Principal Trawicki will deliver Blue Ribbon pencils to each student and a special gift for each classroom, pizza lunch for staff
  • 6 – Jar of blue jelly beans will travel to each classroom so that students can submit quantity guesses and potentially win the whole jar, students will get an extra afternoon recess.

Marcy is located at W180N4851 Marcy Road, Menomonee Falls.

Hamilton Junior Optimists “Pack the Van” for children

Members of Hamilton High School Junior Optimist Club, with help from the National Honor Society and Student Council, met in November to pack 60 shoe boxes with items that were shipped to children in South America and Africa.HHS-Jr-Optimist-2019-club-Web

Junior Optimist Ashley Velasquez, a junior, and Brooke Stanley, a freshman, spearheaded Hamilton’s involvement in Operation Christmas Child which provides children with shoe boxes filled with clothing, school supplies, hygiene products and toys. It is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international relief organization.

Teachers throughout the high school had large boxes in their classrooms for two weeks that students filled with donated items. Junior Optimists, National Honor Society and Student Council members then packed individual shoe boxes after school with a variety of items to be given to children affected by war, poverty, natural disaster, famine and disease.

In its second year, the Junior Optimists is associated with the adult Optimist Club of Sussex, Lisbon, Lannon and Butler. Optimist members Diane Matuszak, Rose Schwartz, Carl Trapp, Heidi Konrath, and Michele and Jerry Schmitz also helped pack the boxes and provided pizza to the volunteers. Hamilton communication arts teacher Debbie Figueroa is advisor to the club.

Hamilton schools get highest rating on 2019 Wisconsin School Report Card

For the first time in Hamilton School District history, all eligible schools received the highest 5-star “significantly exceeds expectations” designation on the 2019 Wisconsin School Report Card.Report-card-icon

What is not a first? The district as a whole earning the top rating. In fact, Hamilton has significantly exceeded expectations all six years Wisconsin School Report Cards have been produced. This year, Hamilton was the 10th highest rated district among Wisconsin’s 367 K-12 school districts and third highest in Waukesha County.

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. In addition, they measure chronic absenteeism and dropout rates. Using all these measures, Hamilton was one of only 25 K-12 districts to earn the top designation of “significantly exceeds” expectations for performance.

Hamilton’s student achievement scores were in the top 1-2% in the state. Among the 367 Wisconsin K-12 school districts, Hamilton had the:

  • second highest student achievement score;
  • third highest mathematics score;
  • third highest postsecondary readiness score; and
  • fifth highest reading and language arts results.

In addition to the district earning the highest designation possible, Lannon, Maple Avenue, Marcy and Woodside elementary schools, Templeton Middle School and Hamilton High School also earned “significantly exceeds expectations” at the school level. Hamilton High School’s achievement scores increased in every category and it earned the highest rating and its highest overall accountability score ever.

“This is a true accomplishment for our district,” said Hamilton Superintendent Paul Mielke, Ph.D. “This report is an important measure that reflects the performance of our schools and the district. Using the data from this report, we see our successes and know where to focus attention for future success.”

“The results we have attained are due to the hard work of students and staff who put a priority on learning, as well as the support and high expectations of our parents and community,” Mielke said.

Wisconsin implemented a new educational accountability system seven 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 2018-19 School Report Card data

School Overall score Student achievement Reading/lng arts


Math achievement Overall


Lannon 84.2 94.7 44.7 50.0 Signif. exceeds
Maple Ave. 86.0 95.6 45.6 50.0 Signif. exceeds
Marcy 93.6 99.6 49.6 50.0 Signif. exceeds
Woodside 89.1 94.8 45.0 49.8 Signif. exceeds
Templeton 85.3 87.7 44.8 42.6 Signif. exceeds
Hamilton High 83.5 85.3 42.8 42.5 Signif. exceeds
District 86.4 90.8 44.8 46.0 Signif. exceeds

Among Waukesha County’s 10 K-12 school districts, Hamilton was:

  • third for the overall accountability score;
  • first for overall student achievement;
  • first for reading and language arts achievement; and
  • second for mathematics achievement.

November 18, 2019

Hamilton’s overall 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.School-Board-Highlights

Human Resources Director John Roubik and Instructional Services Supervisor Katherine Little, Ph.D. presented district data and initiatives concerning “Closing the Achievement Gap.” Hamilton students in disaggregated groups outperform their state counterparts on the Forward Exam.

Key findings of the report are:

  • Hamilton’s closing-gaps score on the 2018-19 State Report Card is 8.4 points higher than the state average for 2018-19.
  • All district student groups score higher on state and local assessments than the state average. The English language arts achievement gap of Hamilton’s socioeconomically disadvantaged, special education and English learner populations and their majority counterparts are greater than the state average. The mathematics achievement gap between special education and English learner students and their majority counterparts is greater than the state average. These larger discrepancies may be attributed to the high achievement levels of the district’s comparison groups. However, work is being done with individual students to increase the overall achievement for these populations.
  • When compared to the state, all Hamilton student groups had higher ACT composite scores. In all instances, achievement discrepancies are seen between the majority and their counterparts.
  • Black, special education and English learner students are underrepresented or not represented in Advanced Placement course testing data.

The district supports high quality instruction and assessment practices to ensure the success of all students including the following:

  • Title I services are allocated for direct instruction at targeted schools.
  • School site plans include articulated action steps using building-level student data to differentiate instruction and to inform intervention use for students with larger gaps.
  • A Response to Intervention model is in place across the district. Interventions are matched with student needs to ensure greatest academic gains.
  • A team of district interventionists meets regularly to discuss the effectiveness of current interventions and to expand the district’s menu of intervention options.
  • Training for effective use of the Comprehensive Intention Model, strategy-based interventions for reading and writing continues this year. The focus is on the Interactive Writing and Writing Aloud components of the intervention.
  • EduClimber, the district’s data visualization and progress monitoring tool is used more extensively across the district. This fall all teachers were trained in data wall creation to view student achievement trends for classrooms and individual students.
  • Additional intervention programming is offered at each school to meet students’ needs. The following are examples. The listing is not exhaustive:
    • Hamilton High School
      • Advisement curriculum (ACT test prep, financial literacy, college and career readiness planning)
      • Guided Academic Practice
      • Portable Assisted Study Sequence
      • Reading Resource
      • Club Success
    • Templeton Middle School
      • Advisement restructure that allows for the delivery of targeted interventions
      • Content Mastery
      • Study Center
      • Individual Student Achievement Plans
      • Success Club
    • Elementary schools
      • Intervention blocks
      • Writing support
      • Targeted individual and small group learning and practice sessions
  • Professional development opportunities for teaching staff focus on designing strategies and learning environments to meet the needs of all learners. Summaries of specific offerings are provided to the Board on a regular basis.

Personnel matters

In personnel business, the School Board:

  • accepted the resignations of Templeton associate kitchen employee Jennifer Bartelme, effective Nov. 7, Marcy literacy interventionist Amanda Lindstedt, effective Dec. 19, Woodside paraprofessional Beth Lueck, effective Nov. 15, Woodside paraprofessional Lisa Hauser, effective Nov. 18, Woodside paraprofessional Greg Winston, effective Nov. 18; and
  • appointed Jennifer Bartelme as a Templeton paraprofessional, effective Nov. 7, Crystal Mazur as a Maple Avenue special services paraprofessional, effective Nov. 11, Ryan Miller as Information Technology manager effective Nov. 25, Lisa Hauser as Lannon special education teacher, effective Nov. 25, Greg Winston as Woodside literacy interventionist, effective Nov. 19, Heidi Rakowski as Woodside paraprofessional, effective Nov. 25.
  • Added the equivalent of a full-time elementary school special education teaching position. At the beginning of the school year Lannon was allotted a total of 1.5 full-time equivalency (FTE) special education teaching positions and Marcy was allotted 2.5 FTEs based on special education enrollments. One of the teachers traveled between the two schools providing half-time service at each school. Since then more students with special needs were identified or moved into those schools. Lannon will hire another full-time special education teacher, and the teacher who traveled between the two schools will now work full-time at Marcy.

Open Enrollment recommendations for 2020-21

The district is unlikely to make new seats available for Open Enrollment students. Human Resources Director John Roubik reported that based on Open Enrollment policies regarding class size, enrollment projections and space calculations for the 2020-21 school year, no additional spaces will be available for Open Enrollment in the 2020-21 school year.

School Board election calendar released

The schedule for the 2020 spring election was released. Terms are up for School Board members Jay Jones, who holds the Lannon seat, and Michael Hyland, who is in the at-large seat.

The election schedule includes:

  • Jan. 7 – deadline for candidacy declaration and nominations papers;
  • Feb. 18 – primary election if needed;
  • April 7 – spring election; and
  • April 27 – taking of office.

Timeline established for 2020-21 budget

The School Board approved the district’s 2020-21 budget timeline that includes:

  • Dec. 4 – Employee forum to solicit input prior to development of the budget;
  • Feb. 7 – Administrators submit budgets;
  • March 16 and April 20 – Opportunity for community to provide input on the budget prior to School Board meetings;
  • May 18 – School Board approves final draft of the budget; and
  • July 20 – Annual meeting where citizens approve tax levy.

Athletic-activities report presented

Hamilton Athletic and Activities Director Michael Gosz presented the annual Co-Curricular Activities Report. He noted that 96 coaches and 82 activity advisors lead 69 interscholastic sports teams and 50 student activities. Some 42% of the coaches and 79% of the activity advisors are district faculty members.

In his report, Gosz recommended that the district:

  • work with the HABC to construct a new concession stand on Grove Field when fundraising efforts reach approximately $750,000;
  • replace the existing backstop on the baseball field and add additional netting;
  • explore adding synthetic turf to the baseball infield to prevent rain-outs now that baseball is a spring sport. Cost is expected to be about $220,000 based on a study that the Rettler Corporation conducted and presented at a School Board meeting last year; and
  • monitor athlete specialization and off-season programs as we are starting to see an overall decrease in participation in athletics and activities.

Charger Robotics FLL has success at regional

Three teams of students from Templeton Middle and Silver Spring Intermediate schools competed Nov. 9 at the FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) Franklin Regional.FLL-Cyber-Turtles-Web

Final standings for the teams were:

  • Cyber Turtles won the Champions Award, finished second place in the robot games and will advance to sectionals;
  • Flashbotz finished third place in the robot games, won the Project Innovation Award and was chosen as an alternate to sectionals; and
  • Radioactive Pyros finished fourth place in the robot games, won the Core Values Award and will advance to sectionals.

FLL challenges kids to think like scientists and engineers. This year, teams chose and solved problems related to making our cities more sustainable. The challenge was to identify a problem with a building or public space and design a solution.

Cyber Turtles chose to address the No. 1 cause of water pollution in fresh water bodies which is cigarette butts. Their solution involved a pocket-size shredder where shavings would be turned in for money. Flashbotz attempted to create a solid and durable road to withstand Wisconsin weather using cellulose, plastic and rubber. Radioactive Pyros wanted to reduce harmful ground-level ozone with a three-part filter placed on a factory smokestack system.

In addition to the problems, the teams also built, tested and programmed an autonomous robot to solve a set of missions in the Robot Games. Throughout their experience, teams are encouraged to operate under the FIRST core values that include celebrating discovery, teamwork and gracious professionalism.

Kathy Betters is the advisor and Kelly Mallinger, Jason Fuhr, Deepak Babu, Brian Nagai and Matt Zank also coach the Charger Robotics FLL Program. Hamilton High School student mentors include Emilie Fuhr, who won the coach-mentor award at the competition, Tate Hutchinson, Akash Deepak, Nikki Nair and Anvita Bansai. The next FLL competition will be Dec. 14 at the Mukwonago Sectional.

Hamilton Drama Society invites community to free play performance, talk by Holocaust survivor

Hamilton High School’s Drama Society invites the community to “Butterflies and Budapest: Two Stories of Children in the Holocaust.” Students will perform their state-qualifying one-act play, “I Never Saw Another Butterfly,” by Celeste Raspanti. They have invited Eva Zaret, a holocaust survivor, to speak afterwards about her real-life experiences as a child in the Budapest Ghetto.Butterflies-One-Act-Play-Web

The event is free of charge and begins at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 3 in the Hamilton Fine Arts Center, W220N6151 Town Line Road, Sussex.

“I Never Saw Another Butterfly” is a collection of works of art and poetry by Jewish children who lived in the Terezin concentration camp. The title comes from a poem written by a young man who was incarcerated in Terezin and later killed at Auschwitz.

The book was later turned into full-length and one-act plays. The play centers on Raja, one of the children who survived Terezin, and her family, friends and classmates. She shares her story of living in the concentration camp, while retaining a world filled with butterflies and flowers with other children in the camp.

Eva Zaret, born Eva Klein in Budapest, Hungary in 1936 lived through the Holocaust in the Budapest Ghetto. After the war she regained her health in the Carpathian Mountains with family. On a trip into the city her family was caught in the outbreak of the Hungarian Revolution, which she and her husband escaped on foot, eventually coming to the United States. She now volunteers on the speakers’ bureau for the Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center, a program of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation.

Sarah Plamann, Hamilton School District music teacher and high school drama director, said the cast had been working with the Jewish Holocaust group as they prepared for one-act play competition.

“When students realized there were survivors in the area, they wanted to hear from one to better understand the story they were telling,” Plamann said. “Being able to put things together in this powerful way seemed the best way to tell these stories.”

Templeton students travel to Washington, D.C.

A total of 86 Templeton Middle School students and eight teacher-chaperones traveled Oct. 26-29 on an extended field trip to Washington, D.C. and Charlottesville, Va. TMS-DC-trip-group-Web

The school group visited Mount Vernon, U.S. Capitol, Library of Congress, Holocaust Museum, several Smithsonian museums, Arlington Cemetery, White House, U. S. Supreme Court and the Lincoln, Jefferson, Martin Luther King, Jr., Korean and Vietnam war memorials. In Charlottesville, the group toured Monticello, home to Thomas Jefferson.

A highlight of the trip was the visit to Arlington National Cemetery where students witnessed the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Templeton students, Cash Campbell, Kayla Dwyer, Samuel Maurer and Peyton Toepfer participated in the wreath-laying ceremony.