Hamilton students work to protect healthcare employees’ ears

A Hamilton graduate and 13 members of the high school’s National Honor Society (NHS) are doing their part to help others by providing more than 400 extenders that will protect the ears of healthcare workers who must wear masks.


Project Protect the Ears was conceived and organized by Hamilton alumnus Ellie Sumiec to make homemade extenders that would relieve pressure of masks that have elastic straps. The extender is a ribbon onto which a button is sewn on each end. With a goal of creating 1,000 extenders, Sumiec enlisted the help of NHS members. She provided supply kits for each student with directions on how to create the extenders and a video on sewing techniques.

Sumiec distributed the extenders to Menomonee Falls and Elmbrook community hospitals and Froedtert’s cardiac unit in the Milwaukee area, and American Family Children’s Hospital and Meriter Hospital in Madison.

Along with the extenders, Hamilton teacher Misty Draeger use her 3-D printer to make 100 masks that Sumiec also distributed.


A chance for students, families to share advice

It’s been more than a month since Hamilton School District students have been learning from home. We know our students and families to be wise, so how about sharing your good advice?ShareIdeas

The district’s Public Information Office is looking for short video clips (less than 15 seconds) and photos with captions of students or their families passing along serious and fun tips for surviving during COVID-19. Students of all ages are encouraged to participate. We will choose and compile the best and share online. Send them to Denise Dorn Lindberg at lindde@hamilton.k12.wi.us.

Starter ideas

Here’s a list to get you started, but feel free to come up with your own based on what you have learned in this past month or so:

  • Setting up a good workspace
  • Proper handwashing
  • What social distancing means and what it does or does not look like
  • Good nutrition or fitness habits
  • Coping with being at home
  • Keeping proper posture
  • Studying efficiently
  • Keeping a positive mental attitude
  • Maintaining good relationships with your housemates
  • Helping others
  • Hobbies that have kept you occupied
  • How to help others

Hamilton named to America’s best high school list

For the sixth consecutive year, Hamilton High School was named to U.S. News & World Report “America’s Best High Schools” list The ranking highlights the best public high schools in the nation after reviewing data from more than 18,000 high schools to identify how well public schools serve all of their students in preparing them in basic skills and readiness for college-level work.

H-for-webSchools were rated on reading and math proficiency and performance (40%), college readiness (30%), college curriculum breadth (10%), underserved student performance (10%) and graduation rate (10%).

Hamilton is ranked 16th among 453 Wisconsin public high schools and 763rd among more than 18,000 U.S. public high schools – placing it in the top 5 percent of high schools in the state and country. Its state rank is the highest in the school’s history.

Hamilton Principal Becky Newcomer said Hamilton’s consistent improved ranking on the prestigious list is not only an achievement of high school students and educators, but of the entire district and community.

“We are fortunate to educate children in a community that has supportive families and a tradition of excellence from 4K through 12th grade,” Newcomer said. “All of those parents and educators have contributed to the accolades the high school receives.“

“We have students who are driven and motivated by achieving academic success, so this recognition shines a spotlight not only on the educators, but on many years of our students’ hard work,” Newcomer said.

Hamilton drama student wins Jerry Award

Hamilton High School senior Jadyn Grana was awarded the Jerry Spirit Award for this year’s musical “Tuck Everlasting” in a vote by her peers. Jerry Awards are the high school equivalent of Broadway’s Tony Awards.musicaltheater

Although performances of Hamilton’s “Tuck Everlasting” were suspended due to the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual performances will be eligible for all other traditional Jerry Award categories next year. The 2020 Jerry Awards show will be held virtually June 7 at 7 p.m. For more information, please visit https://www.overture.org/

Sarah Plamann, Maple Avenue and Silver Spring music teacher is the Hamilton theater and choir director.

April 20, 2020

Changes to grades K4-6 student progress reporting approved

The Hamilton School Board accepted the recommendation of a staff and parent committee to adjust how elementary and intermediate schools will report and communicate student progress.school board meeting_type

Beginning in the 2020-21 school year, teachers will:

  • continue Great Start Conferences with improvements suggested by parents and staff;
  • have fall and spring conferences based on parent preference for a phone, email or in-person session; 
  • issue semester report cards in January and June; and 
  • use the app Seesaw and rubrics regularly to communicate student progress.

Report cards will be aligned to standards with one descriptor key that matches rubric terminology of “beginning,” “developing,” “proficient” and “excelling” for grades K-6 standards and learning behaviors. No grades will be calculated for third and fourth grade content areas. Silver Spring students will have calculated grades in all content areas except science. Overall comments will be provided at the end rather than for each content area. Quarterlong classes at Silver Spring will receive a grade at the end of the quarter. Kindergarten may consider a 3-point scale for finite skills.

Two nights and one day have been allotted for conferences, but the 15-20 minute sessions can be scheduled any time in November or March.

Guidelines regarding the frequency of SeeSaw use will be developed and rubrics will be developed within the curriculum review cycle for each content area.

District moves to pilot with FastBridge

Another committee recommendation was accepted. After administrators, reading specialists, math support teachers, psychologists and special education teachers reviewed the alternatives, they recommended piloting FastBridge in 2020-21 at Hamilton, Silver Spring, Lannon, Marcy and Woodside for reading and math screeners, replacing MAP and PALS. All schools will use FastBridge progress monitoring probes.

Among its advantages, FastBridge will be a faster assessment and costs will be about $10,500 less than using the current system.

Board looks at first draft of 2020-21 budget

The Hamilton School Board took its first look at the 2020-21 budget at its regular meeting. The budget totals $63.4 million — a 2.61 percent increase over the current budget.

The district expects to see a slight increase of 0.12 in state aid. The tax rate will be $9.38 per $1,000 of equalized property value, a 2.74 percent increase. The impact for local taxpayers will be a $25 increase for each $100,000 of property owned.

The budget was created with the assumption that property values in the district will increase by 2.5 percent and enrollment will increase by 70 students. The tax rate could be affected if the projections do not match up in October with actual numbers. Increased property values and student enrollment would result in a lower tax rate, and less-than-expected property valuation and enrollment will cause an increase.

The School Board will vote in May on the final budget that will be presented at the July 20 Annual Meeting.

AET, music curriculum changes adopted

Curriculum documents for applied engineering and technology (AET) and music were approved. AET added “Digital Electronics” and “Automation” to course offerings beginning in 2020. Content in other classes were adjusted within course strands to better reflect learning progression. “AP Music Theory” and “Intermediate Music Theory” courses were added for the 2020-21 school year.

Curriculum resources approved

The School Board approved the purchase of $26,975 for curriculum resources that include new “AP Biology” textbooks, an online spelling resource for Silver Spring and the paid version of Seesaw for grades K-6 student progress communication.

Students make early credit requests

A total of 26 high school students requested admission to the Early College Credit Program (ECCP) that will allow them to take classes next semester at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee/Waukesha and Carroll University. In addition, 16 students’ requests to take Waukesha County Technical College courses through Start College Now were also approved. Both programs were formerly part of the Youth Options Program. Hamilton Principal Rebecca Newcomer noted in a report to the School Board that students are not always able to take the courses because of scheduling conflicts or full classes.

ECCP and Start College Now are programs mandated by the state that allow students who have completed tenth grade, are in good academic standing and have no disciplinary problems to attend a technical college or university if the high school does not offer comparable courses.

The programs are budgeted through the high school. The state Department of Workforce Development funds 25 percent of the ECCP program. If a student has met all graduation requirements, Hamilton may require students taking courses through the ECCP program to pay 25 percent of the course cost. For both programs the family is required to pay the full cost if a student fails, withdraws or drops the course and transportation is the family’s responsibility.

Other business

In other business, the School Board:

  • heard reports about the district’s strategic-tactical plan and Information Technology initiatives;
  • extended the dairy contract with Kemps Dairy for 2020-21;
  • did not increase lunch prices and student fees for 2020-21;
  • approved the boys’ swimming and girls’ hockey co-ops; and
  • accepted the resignations of Silver Spring Intermediate School special education teacher Kelleah Lewis, effective at the end of the 2019‐20 school year; Public Information Office administrative assistant Jessica Coon, effective April 7; Hamilton Special Services paraprofessional Sarah Braunschweig, effective April 6; and Maple Avenue associate kitchen employee Kelly Adams‐Fant, effective June 11.

Baldwin named state basketball player of the year

Hamilton student-athlete Patrick Baldwin, Jr. was named Wisconsin Boys Basketball Player of the Year by the Gatorade Company. Baldwin is the first Hamilton boys basketball player to earn this recognition. The junior guard led the Chargers to a 21-3 record and the Division 1 sectional semifinals at the time of his selection.H-for-web

The award recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character both on and off the court. Baldwin has maintained a 3.62 GPA and has volunteered on behalf of a local elementary school reading initiative and with youth basketball programs.

Baldwin in now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade® National Boys Basketball Player of the Year award. For more information, visit http://playeroftheyear.gatorade.com/

Marcy earns state recognition for achievement

Marcy Elementary School is among 11 high-achieving schools in the state recognized through the Wisconsin Title I Schools of Recognition awards program. In addition to recognizing high-achieving schools, the state program honors schools for high-progress and beating the odds. Combined, a total of 107 Wisconsin schools were recognized in one of the three categories.Marcy staff

As a high-achieving school, Marcy demonstrated high achievement at the school level and had achievement gaps less than three points between student groups or showed evidence of reducing gap. Data used to determine the awards are from the 2018-19 school year.

Principal Michele Trawicki credited a dedicated staff and the school community for Marcy’s success.

“Marcy educators are committed to creating a nurturing sense of belonging for each student, and our families stand with us,” Trawicki said. “Together we do whatever it takes to help students succeed.”

DPI cancelled the 2019-20 Schools of Recognition Ceremony which had been set for May. Awards will be mailed directly to recipients.

Wisconsin Title I School of Recognition awards highlight schools that have demonstrated success in educating students from low-income families. To be eligible, schools must receive federal Title I funding to provide services for economically disadvantaged children.2019-2020 School of Recognition logo 477

Hamilton students accepted to State Honors Project

Hamilton High School juniors Maja Pechanach, Ashley Velasquez, Cynthia Yan and Ian Markano and sophomore Aayush Iyengar qualified to participate in the Wisconsin School Music Association (WSMA) High School State Honors Orchestra, Band and Jazz Ensemble for the 2020-21 school year. Junior Mia Traverse was named as a high priority alternate. These students were among 426 students chosen to participate from more than 1,600 auditions throughout the state.State_Honors_Logo_2color

The orchestra will be under the direction of internationally renowned conductor Thomas Dickey, Ph.D., from Oklahoma State University and the band  under the direction of Pamela Bustos, Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin-Superior. The Jazz Ensemble will be conducted by Michael Dease of Michigan State University. Students will attend a week-long summer music camp with their clinicians.

The WSMA State Honors Music Project provides musically talented students with an opportunity to rehearse and perform with the nation’s finest conductors in a professional, highly disciplined setting. Selected through a rigorous audition process, students are challenged to perform at their musical best throughout the short rehearsal period, which culminates with a performance at the Overture Center in Madison at the Wisconsin State Music Conference held in October.