May 18, 2020

2020 summer school program will have different look

It may not look like Summer Opportunities of years past, but the Hamilton School District will offer summer school this year. The district’s normal program was canceled due to the pandemic, but seven weeks of live virtual instruction is planned for students needing intervention and all students who want continued engagement. Classes will be held three days a week between 8:30-11:30 a.m. In addition, other high school credit-recovery and transition courses will be offered.school board meeting_type

Students will be mailed hard-copy packets and their teachers will engage with them through email and virtual Zoom or Google meetings. The K-8 program will be June 23 – August 7 and will include invitational literature and mathematics camps, general literature and mathematics K-8 camps, visual arts, theater-drama and karate. In addition, 4K and 5K in-person transition offerings may be considered for late July and early August dependent on state guidelines for gatherings.

The high school program will be June 22 – July 17 in morning and afternoon sessions and will include a ninth grade transition course encouraged for all graduating eighth-graders, health, history, biology, algebra, communication arts and civics and economics.

There will be no cost to families, but the district may incur up to $50,000 of expenses that may be reimbursed by the state.

Registration will be May 26-29.

Board OKs budget that will be presented at postponed Annual Meeting

The Hamilton School Board gave its approval for the 2020-21 budget that will be presented to voters at a postponed Aug. 17 Annual Meeting.

The budget totals $63.4 million, which is 2.61 percent more than the current budget. The tax rate is projected to be $9.38 per $1,000 of equalized property value – a 2.74% increase. For each $100,000 of property owned, citizens will pay $938 to support local school taxes.

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 moved the Annual Meeting from July 20 to Aug. 17 due to economic uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More reliable budget information will be available from the state which will allow the district to have the most current and accurate data to share with the community in advance of the Annual Meeting.

Seniors & Students continues success

Public Information and Volunteer Program Coordinator Denise Dorn Lindberg updated the School Board on the Seniors & Students Program. She credited Jen Galang, Seniors & Students Program support, with the continued success of the program through outstanding recruitment, training and support of volunteers. A total of 268 volunteers participate in the program providing in-person assistance or as pen pals.

New this year was the addition of Time to Learn and Connect (TLC) at Marcy Elementary School where volunteers meeting with students during lunch to read books or play games. Maple Avenue and Lannon elementary schools have similar programs. In addition, five senior volunteers are at the new Silver Spring Intermediate School, with volunteers at all schools in the district except the high school.

The COVID-19 pandemic cut program participation short this year, but volunteer still contributed nearly 6,000 hours to the program. In the 22 years since the program has been in place, senior volunteers contributed more than 135,000 hours to the district at a value of nearly $2.9 million.

Staffing plan for 2020-21 presented

The district is planning to have a nearly status-quo staffing plan for 2020-21 because of uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All schools will have the same staffing levels as 2019-20 except the high school which will add an 83% part-time fitness education position.

Chapter 220 enrollment dwindling

For the first time since the district has been involved in the program, no elementary students are involved in the Chapter 220 voluntary integration program. The program began being phased out about five years ago when the state Legislature cut funding and restructured the program. This year 29 continuing students from Silver Spring, Templeton and Hamilton High are participating. State law does not allow any new seats to be opened for students.

Chapter 220 is a state-funded voluntary integration program that brings Milwaukee Public Schools students to suburban districts. Before Legislators phased out the program, as many 110 Milwaukee students attended the district.

CESA contract approved

The district will contract in 2020-21 with the regional CESA #1 cooperative for nearly $283,000 and grant allocations to provide programming, training, lending libraries and networks related to areas such as college and career readiness, early childhood, district administration, federal funding, personalized learning, occupational and speech & language, alternative education.

Personnel matters

In personnel business the School Board:

  • appointed Catherine Drago as Instructional Services supervisor and Meghan Goldner as Hamilton High School administrative assistant, both effective July 1; and
  • accepted the retirement request of Templeton Special Service paraprofessional Kelly Jurasovich, effective at the end of the school year.

Hamilton Band students shine in WSMA Virtual Solo Festival

Eleven Hamilton Band students received the highest rating of 1* on the most difficult Class A music in the Wisconsin School Music Association (WSMA) Virtual Solo Festival which replaced the in-person district festival this year. WSMA-Logo-Registered_SMALL_WEB

The following students qualified for state competition:

  • Ella Chevalier, horn;
  • Elisabeth Fischer, clarinet;
  • Will Hartman, trumpet;
  • Matthew Lehner, violin;
  • Spencer Margolis, horn;
  • Maja Pechanach, clarinet;
  • Nicholas Peterson, drum set;
  • Brooke Tlachac, flute and violin;
  • Mia Traverse, alto saxophone;
  • Ashley Velasquez, clarinet; and
  • Cynthia Yan, flute;

In addition, the following students participated and received a rating of:

  • 1 on Class A – Maya Bell, alto saxophone; Owen Davies, trombone; and Jack Musialowski, tenor saxophone;
  • 2 on Class A – Holly Bahr, bass clarinet; and
  • 1 on Class B: Katelyn Loveday, bass clarinet.

Students submitted performance videos of their solos. WSMA sent them to an adjudicator who returned important feedback for growth as well as a rating, if requested. The WSMA state festival was also conducted virtually. For more information, please visit https://wsmamusic.org/virtualfestival/.

Hamilton announces March students of the month

Hamilton High School students representing 11 curriculum areas were selected as March students of the month.H-for-web

They are:

  • Jenna Withrow, applied engineering and technology;
  • Kai Warden, art;
  • John Pappas, business education;
  • Lucas Krzyston and Charles Phillips, communication arts;
  • Malena Herr, family and consumer sciences;
  • Isabelle Prochazka, fitness education;
  • Austin Eklund, mathematics;
  • Owen Davies, music;
  • Anika Rhude, science;
  • Sylvie Zgonc, social studies; and
  • Madison Stromberg, world languages.

Students received a certificate and a pin for their accomplishment.

Hamilton Dance Team tryouts May 18-21

Students interested in trying out for the 2020-21 Hamilton High School dance team are invited to participate in the four-day process May 18-21 that will involve a combination of virtual activities and live tryouts.H-for-web

Please see the flyer for details. Tryouts are open to all incoming eighth-graders and current high school students.

Hamilton students get perfect score on ACT

Hamilton High School juniors Ella Chevalier, Ellie DeCleene and Nikhita Nair did what few students have done – they earned a perfect score of 36 on the ACT college-entrance exam. The students learned in a letter from ACT Chief Executive Officer Marten Roorda about their accomplishment. Earlier in the year, Margaret Flynn was notified that she earned 36 on the ACT which brings the number of Hamilton students with a perfect ACT score to four.4HHS36ACT

“Your achievement on the ACT is significant and rare,” Roorda wrote. “Your exceptional scores will provide any college or university with ample evidence of your readiness for the academic rigors that lie ahead.”

Fewer than half of one percent of students who take the ACT earn a top score. Among U.S. high school graduates from the class of 2019, only 4,879 of nearly 1.8 million students earned a top composite score of 36.

“This achievement is so rare, that the fact that we have four perfect scores in our class of 2021, is almost unbelievable,” Hamilton Principal Rebecca Newcomer said. “However, knowing these young women and the internal motivation they have, it should not be surprising.”

“Along with their academic achievement, they are very involved in school activities and make positive leadership contributions to our entire community. It is exciting to think about the impact they will have on our future world and we couldn’t be more proud of what they have already accomplished,” Newcomer said.

The ACT consists of tests in English, mathematics, reading and science. Each test is scored on a scale of 1-36, and a student’s composite score is the average of the four test scores.

May 5, 2020

School Board lifts policies that pertain to state assessments, high school final exams

Because the state is not requiring annual student assessments this year due to the pandemic, the Hamilton School Board voted to suspend its policies that pertain to student performance on state tests. school board meeting_typeResults of state tests normally are considered when deciding whether to promote or retain students at a grade level. Because the assessments will not be administered this year, the local policy is being suspended. In addition, the School Board lifted its policy of having high school final exams during a certain time period. Teachers will give modified final exams and will not be required to administer them on a specific date at the high school.

Rules on staff use of information technology adjusted

The School Board opened the door to allow staff members to use social media to communicate with students about non-classroom related content if they have advanced approval from their principal. Previous policy did not allow staff to use non-district applications or platforms to reach out to students for any reason. All communication regarding information and activities related to the classroom must still occur on the district’s student information system or platforms approved by the district, but staff who get prior principal approval may use non-district sponsored applications and platforms to communicate about school information not specific to the classroom.

Staff who wish to use social media to communicate about school clubs, activities and events must agree to adhere to guidelines for professional and ethical communication and provide administration with usernames and passwords for the account.

Superintendent Paul Mielke, Ph.D., said the revised policy will provide more freedom and more expectations for staff regarding professional use of social media. He said guidelines will be implemented to protect students, the district and staff.

Otto presents four reports on career, employment readiness programs

Hamilton High School Associate Principal and Extended Learning Opportunities Coordinator Mark Otto presented four items to the School Board.

  • The School Board approved continued participation in the Carl Perkins grant consortium offered through CESA #1 which provides the district with $12,429 in grant funding this year, an decrease from $15,121 the previous year. The grant supports career and technical education that prepares students both both postsecondary education and careers. Funds this year were used to support supplies and materials in Business, Family and Consumer Education, and Applied Engineering and Technology departments. In addition, it provided opportunities for teachers to attend conferences to support their curriculum.
  • The district’s Extended Learning Opportunities Program annual report was accepted. The program grew out of the school-to-work initiative that aimed to connect education and employment where 4-year college degrees were not required. Experiences in the program include apprenticeships, mentorships, internships and job shadowing. The program strengthens partnerships with the business community to prepare students for the world of work, regardless of the education or career track they choose. While some career development opportunities occur at the elementary and middle school level, most activities are for high school students. They include an elementary career guidance unit, creation of career portfolios, Junior Achievement participation, an entrepreneurship program, Project Lead the Way classes, career speakers, Youth Apprenticeship, work experience, academic assistants, Robotics, Early College Credit Program, DECA, Healthcare Career Academy, Manufacturing Career Expo, Reality Check and Schools2Skills.
  • Participation in the Waukesha County School-to-Work consortium for 2020-21 was approved. The School-to-Work Consortium provides grant funding that supports co-op, youth apprenticeship, work experience programs and K-12 career-related initiatives. Participation in the consortium is voluntary and provided at no cost to the district. During this school year, the consortium worked closely with Waukesha County Technical College to understand the 6-week instead of full semester classes it implemented and continued to pursue additional transcripted credit opportunities.
  • The district’s Education for Employment (E4E) was accepted. E4E was established in 1985 in response to the growing concern over the number of youth who failed to make a successful transition from school to the world of work. E4E plans now coincide with Academic and Career Planning (ACP) of students. The plan identifies, coordinates and assists in preparing students to be college and career ready.

Summer curriculum work, training approved

Summer curriculum work, instructional initiatives and professional development workshops were approved. Instructional Services Supervisor Katie Little, Ph.D., said more of the events are being pushed to July and August in hopes of being able to have face-to-face collaboration in light of restrictions in place due to the pandemic. The events planned are:

  • Grades K-12 curriculum team – planning for fall K-12 English language arts curriculum work;
  • Grades K-12 English language arts professional development;
  • K-8 science – grade level curriculum planning;
  • Grades 9-12 science curriculum work;
  • Grades 5-6 humanities integration curriculum planning;
  • Fastbridge progress monitoring and screening training;
  • Administrator Retreat; and
  • New Teacher Orientation.

The budget for the summer work is $42,920 and is funded through the district’s Educational Services budget.

Pesonnel matters

In personnel matters, the School Board approved hiring of Jackie Leon as Public Information Office part-time administrative assistant, effective May 11, and Amanda Hunt as high school world languages – French teacher, effective Aug. 21.