School Board accepting applicants for Butler seat

The Hamilton School Board is accepting applications from Butler residents interested in filling a seat on the board. The deadline for application is June 27.

Deborah Briggs, who served as the Butler representative to the School Board for 24 years, chose not to seek re-election this spring and no Butler resident filed to run for the seat.

The Hamilton School Board has seven seats representing five municipalities and two at-large posts. While district voters cast ballots for all the positions, candidates must live in the communities they represent. Candidates can live anywhere in the district to qualify for the at-large positions.

When a vacancy on the School Board occurs, the remaining members are responsible to appoint a qualified citizen to fill the position. The applicant appointed to the position must be a Butler resident and will serve until spring of 2019 when he or she can run to fill out the remainder of the three- year term which ends in April, 2021.

The School Board approved a timeline outlining the process to fill the vacancy including:

  • June 13-27 – candidates may submit letter of application and complete Declaration of Eligibility to Hold Office as an Appointee;
  • June 28  – School Board holds special meeting to interview and consider applicants;
  • June 29 – School Board president informs applicant of board’s decision; and
  • July 16 – Appointed applicant takes oath of office at School Board meeting.

Butler citizen interested in applying for the position should contact the Superintendent’s Office at (262) 246-1973 x1108.

June 5, 2018

Students recognized

Three groups of students from Templeton Middle School and one from Hamilton High School were recognized June 5 at the Hamilton School Board meeting for success at state-level competition.

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Templeton members of the Whipping Up Wellness Wisconsin Student Chef Competition included Stephanie Burg, Mikayla Giles, Emily Hokanson, Ella Packer, Mya Trafficante and Alyssa Wick.

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Members on the Templeton State Forensic team were Colleen Flynn, Kayla Johnson, Theresa Barthel, Jasleen Kaur and Hiranmayi Swaminathan.

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Templeton Robotics team members who were successful at state competition were Reed Barthel, Sahebveer Sangha, Krishay Toomu, Pranavesh Saravanan, Akash Deepak, Will Hartman, Zachary Neuman, Jackson Grimm, Jonathan Wang, Cole Klade, Richard Johnson, Akhil Pidikiti, Brady Hicks, Cameron Aron, Alexander Meihsner, Andrew Dahlgren, Prathmesh Konda and Scott Durian.

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Hamilton State Honors Music Project team members were Nolan VanHaren, Cynthia Yan – alternate, Olivia Neils – alternate, and Megan Nielsen.

Board approves documents and reports

The School Board approved several documents including the National Honor Society Handbook, Special Education Procedures Handbook, Emergency Nursing Services Policies and Procedures and Bloodborne Pathogens Procedures.

Personnel matters

In personnel business, the School Board:

  • accepted the resignations of Maple Avenue reading specialist Heidi Spingola and Hamilton part-time social teacher Kameron Cerroni; and
  • appointed Susan Klawans as Lannon literacy interventionist, Joan Wirth as Hamilton part-time German teacher, Jennifer Bartelme as Templeton associate kitchen employee, Lisa Rezash as Hamilton science teacher, Kim Brussel as Templeton special education teacher, Marquea Goike as Woodside 5K replacement teacher, Benjamin Lena as Woodside and Marcy physical education teacher, Rebecca McGinley as Woodside grade 1 teacher, Sara Gale as Maple Avenue 5K replacement teacher, Jack McCaigue as a district technology support specialist and Erin Ridosko as a Maple Avenue grade 4 teacher.

Hamilton students plan 5K to make wish come true

Four Hamilton High School juniors are seeking the community’s help in making a wish come true for a girl from Richfield who suffers from a heart condition.

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(From left) Gwen Watson, Morgan Donnelly, Mallie Gammon and Josh Pfeifer are coordinating a 5K run at Hamilton High School beginning at 9 a.m. July 21 to raise money for Make-A-Wish. Their goal is to raise money to help make 16-year-old Raphi’s wish of a train to ride in her backyard come true.

All participants will be able to enjoy food, music, water and raffle chances after the run, and the first 50 people who sign up for the race will receive a T-shirt.

Sign up for the race is at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60b054caea828a3f58-running and those who want to donate to the cause without doing the run can go to Site.wish.org/goto/raphi.

Hamilton High School is located at W220 N6151 Town Line Rd., Sussex. Questions? Please contact the planners at runningforraphi@gmail.com.

Leland selected Templeton associate principal

The Hamilton School Board approved the selection of Cody Leland as the new Templeton Middle School associate principal at it May 21 meeting. Leland officially begins his new position July 1.CodyLeland-300-2018

Since 2012, Leland has taught social studies, history, science and technology to Richmond School students in grades 6-8. He also held positions of athletic-activities director, summer school principal and wellness coordinator while at Richmond School.

He earned his master’s degree in educational leadership in 2016 from Viterbo University and his bachelor’s degree in education in 2011 from the University of Wisconsin – LaCrosse.

Hamilton Superintendent Paul Mielke, Ph.D., said Leland would serve Templeton students and families well.

“We are pleased to hire an individual who helps students find success through positive interaction and compassionate understanding of their needs,” Mielke said. “Mr. Leland is an outgoing, energetic educator who holds high standards for students and works collaboratively with families and staff to ensure student achievement.”

May 21, 2018

CLASS Committee recognized with Community Service Award

The Hamilton School District presented the CLASS (Community Looking After Student Success) with its 2018 Community Service Award at the May 21 School Board meeting. Public Information Coordinator Denise Dorn Lindberg said CLASS, the citizens’ group that advocated for passage of the Feb. 20 referendum, was deserving of the district’s highest award because its members worked tirelessly to inform the community about the referendum.

“Because the referendum was successful, every student, every family, every staff member in this district will be affected positively – and not just this year and the next, but for decades to come,” Lindberg said.

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School Board President Gabe Kolesari (left) and Superintendent Paul Mielke (right) presented CLASS Committee members with the Community Service Award. CLASS Committee members are (beginning second from left) Sandi Blackwell, Fran Clouse, Jamie Schounard, Jennifer Waltz, Liz Mrozinski, Sean Kane, Kelly Wasserburger, Denise Schwid, Marlene Helinski, Stephanie Fox, Wendy Mair, Jen Galang, Bill Haley, Cathy Berrall, Melanie Vonachen, John Washbush, Kristin Westby and Jenna Mielke. CLASS Committee members not pictured: Becky Hubred, Debbie Lykins, Courtney Myhre, Mindy Steighner and Peggy Youngblood.

Retirees honored

The 2017-18 retirements of nine district employees were commemorated at the Hamilton School Board meeting. Combined, the employees provided 199 years of service to the district. Principals and supervisors read commendations for each retiree. Each retiree was given a retirement gift.

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Superintendent Paul Mielke (left) and School Board President Gabe Kolesari (third from right) honored retirees. They were (starting second from left) MaryJo Liermann, Lisa Sorenson, Mary Wimmer, Betsy Buchholz, Kathy Schulz, Andy Matthiesen, Patty Coburn and Donna Uselmann. Not pictured: Pauline Phillips.

2018-19 budget approved for presentation at Annual Meeting

The Hamilton School Board gave its approval for the 2018-19 budget that will be presented to voters at the Annual Meeting.

The budget totals $57.5 million, which is a 3.99 percent increase over the current budget. It assumes property value will increase 3.55 percent and state aid will increase 4.56 percent.

The tax rate is projected to be $9.55 per $1,000 of equalized property value – $1 more than the current rate. For each $100,000 of property owned, citizens will pay $955 to support local school taxes which is $100 more than this year’s rate. If student enrollment and property value are greater than the conservative assumptions made in the budget, the tax rate will be lower.

Seniors & Students continues success

Public Information and Volunteer Program Coordinator Denise Dorn Lindberg updated the School Board on the Seniors & Students Program, a volunteer program designed to recruit, train and place senior citizen volunteers age 55 and older in the district. Approximately 225 senior volunteers serve throughout the district. More than 121,000 volunteer hours have been logged since the program began 20 years ago – a value of more than $2.5 million.

Open Enrollment students placed on waiting list

The district received 152 applications from nonresident students to attend Hamilton schools under Open Enrollment. No spaces are available in the district, so applicants will be placed on a waiting list for the 2018-19 school year. The district will monitor expected enrollment throughout the summer to determine if students will be recommended for placement at schools based on space availability.

Student representatives recognized

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School Board President Gabe Kolesari (left) and Superintendent Paul Mielke, Ph.D., (right) recognized Hamilton High School students (from left) Haley Pifher, Hannah Wenger and Mikayla Cup for their service to the School Board as the student representatives during the 2017-18 school year.

Personnel matters

In personnel action, the School Board:

  • accepted resignations of Hamilton science teacher Jessica Ronk, Hamilton cook Heather Miller, Marcy paraprofessional Paige Langlois, Maple Avenue special education teacher Korbin Biersack, Templeton associate kitchen employee Carol Rabideau;
  • accepted the retirement request of Templeton assistant building and grounds manager Wayne Wendorf; and
  • appointed Cody Leland as Templeton associate principal, Brian Groth as Hamilton High School social studies teacher, Timothy Kruschel and Lisa Benishek as Templeton grade 6 critical literacy teachers, Tammara Metzenheim as high school custodian and Jennifer Ryman as high school science teacher.

School Board accepting applicants for Butler seat

The Hamilton School Board is accepting applications from Butler residents interested in filling a seat on the board. The deadline for application is May 23.SchoolBoardVacancy

Deborah Briggs, who served as the Butler representative to the School Board for 24 years, chose not to seek re-election this spring, and no Butler resident filed to run for the seat.

The Hamilton School Board has seven seats representing five municipalities and two at-large posts. While district voters cast ballots for all the positions, candidates must live in the communities they represent. Candidates can live anywhere in the district to qualify for the at-large positions.

When a vacancy on the School Board occurs, the remaining members are responsible to appoint a qualified citizen to fill the position. The applicant appointed to the position must be a Butler resident and will serve until spring of 2019 when he or she can run to fill out the remainder of the three- year term which ends in April, 2021.

The School Board approved a timeline outlining the process to fill the vacancy including:

  • May 9-23 – candidates may submit letter of application and complete Declaration of Eligibility to Hold Office as an Appointee;
  • June 7 – School Board holds special meeting to interview and consider applicants;
  • June 8 – School Board president informs applicant of board’s decision; and
  • June 18 – Appointed applicant takes oath of office at School Board meeting.

Butler citizen interested in applying for the position should contact the Superintendent’s Office at (262) 246-1973 x1108.

Hamilton named Top Workplace for seventh consecutive year

For the seventh consecutive year, the Hamilton School District was listed among the best places to work in southeastern Wisconsin in “The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Top Workplaces.” Hamilton was among the 150 businesses and organizations named in a special section of the Sunday, May 6 newspaper and online at https://www.jsonline.com/business/top-workplaces.Top-Workplace-Window-Sticker-2018-small

Evaluation for the Top Workplaces program is based on feedback from an anonymous employee survey conducted by Energage, an independent research firm.

May 1, 2018

Panthers mascot for new school

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The Hamilton School Board accepted the recommendation from an online survey and chose Panthers as the mascot for Silver Spring Intermediate School. After elementary students narrowed down the options to Panthers, Lightning and Sharks, district families overwhelmingly voted for Panthers in an online survey. The online survey results were announced at the groundbreaking ceremonies prior to the meeting, and the School Board took action to make it official.

Process to fill Butler vacancy approved

A process for filling the Butler position on the School Board was approved. Deborah Briggs, who served in that capacity for 24 years, chose not to seek re-election this year and no other Butler citizens ran for the position. Similar to the process that was used two years ago when James Long moved from the district and was no longer able to serve on the School Board, Butler residents will have an opportunity to submit a letter of application to serve on the board. Current School Board members will then interview applicants.

School career opportunities highlighted

Hamilton High School Associate Principal and Extended Learning Opportunities Coordinator Mark Otto presented three 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 $13,934 in grant funding this year, a reduction from $15,091 the previous year. The purpose of the grant is to provide students with academic and technical skills to succeed in a knowledge- and skills-based economy. It supports career and technical education that prepares students for postsecondary education and careers. The consortium provides grant-writing management, interaction with professionals from other districts, exposure to what is occurring at state and national levels and consultation services.

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. Beginning in July, the Early College Credit Program will replace Youth Options for students interested in taking postsecondary course at universities. Start College Now will replace course options and allow students to take postsecondary courses at Wisconsin technical colleges.

Participation in the Waukesha County School-to-Work consortium for 2018-19 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.

Summer workshops for teachers approved

Summer workshops for teachers were authorized. The action allows teachers to participate in curriculum and professional development workshops focused on district initiatives. Curriculum and professional development projects will focus on analytic reading rubric development, mathematics standards transition, science resource training and preparation, science rubric development, professional reading, Chromebook use, instructional practices, science cross-cutting concepts, science assessment task alignment, formative writing assessment development, process standards academic vocabulary and new teacher orientation.

National Merit finalists honored

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Hamilton seniors Elyse Eckert and Andrew Tai were recognized for being named finalists in the National Merit Scholarship Competition. Seniors Alan Chen and Matthew Gnanadass, who are also finalists, were not able to attend the meeting.

Willow recognizes senior volunteers

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Willow Springs staff members Renae MacCudden, Michele Luebke, Lynn Richmond, Rheann Jacobs, Stephanie Christofferson and Lori Konshak described the outstanding service of five senior citizen volunteers. Gayrene Chambers, Barb Vitrano and Sue Howard, who attended the meeting, along with Avis Dallman and Diane Wunch, who were not present, were recognized for their commitment to Willow Springs students and staff.

Rupnow recognized for being ACE Teacher of the Year

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Woodside Elementary School technology integration resource teacher Jodi Rupnow was recognized for being selected as the 2017-18 Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s Arts in Community Education Teacher of the Year.

Coaching team updates on progress

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The district’s instructional coaching team of Cathy Drago, Patricia Sankey, Addie Starrett, Kim Weber, Anne Hatfield and Pam Welter provided an update on the program that was approved in June 2016. The instructional coaches described how they work with teachers to help students make gains.
Hamilton’s instructional coaching model was designed to provide job-embedded professional development and support in an effort to enhance student learning. Instructional coaches work with teachers to help incorporate research-based instruction into teaching, identify professional goals and implement a plan to reach them.

Board officers elected

School Board members elected Gabe Kolesari as their president, Jennifer Waltz as vice president, Dawn Van Aacken as clerk and Jay Jones as treasurer.

Personnel action

In personnel action, the School Board:

  • accepted the resignations of maintenance staff member Dean Erlitz, April 19, and Hamilton special services paraprofessional David Wolter, effective June 8;
  • approved the retirement of Templeton special service paraprofessional Elizabeth Buchholz at the end of the school year; and
  • appointed Sarah Akin as a Woodside associate kitchen employee, effective April 20, Kirstin Seizer as a Templeton special education teacher, effective Aug. 22, Abigail Kesler as a Hamilton special education teacher, effective Aug. 22.

April 16, 2018

Board names new school

The name of the new school voters approved in the Feb. 20 referendum will be Silver Spring Intermediate School. School Board members took action to officially name the school at its April 16 meeting. The mascot will be named at the May 1 Groundbreaking Ceremony that was rescheduled from April 16 due to weather conditions.

District gets favorable rate on referendum bonds

Because of the district’s strong Moody’s rating, interest rates to finance the referendum projects were better than expected. School Board members authorized the sale of $57.4 million in building and improvement bonds to Bank of America Merrill Lynch at an interest rate of 3.1466 percent. School officials projected the rate would be 3.7 percent. The lower rate will allow the district to pay off the debt one year sooner and at a lower tax rate than projected, collectively saving taxpayers millions of dollars. The tax impact for the construction projects was expected to be 98 cents per $1,000 of property value; instead it will be 94 cents per $1,000. The difference is an annual savings of $12 for the owner of a $300,000 home.

Board gets first look at budget

Hamilton School Board members took their first official look at the 2018-19 budget at their regular meeting. The budget totals $57.5 million, which is a 3.99 percent increase over the current budget.

State aid to Hamilton is expected to increase 4.56 percent from $22.1 million to $23.1 million. The tax rate is expected to remain at $8.55. The budget assumes 70 additional students and property value increase of 3.25 percent, both of which are conservative. If either of these assumptions are actually higher, the tax rate will be lower than $8.55.

The Annual Meeting, when citizens are able to vote on the local levy is set for July 16 in the Hamilton Fine Arts Center.

Briggs recognized for service to School Board

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Serving at her last meeting as a School Board member, Deborah Briggs, who chose not to run for her Village of Butler seat on the board, reflected on the transformation she has witnessed in the district not only as a board member, but also as a Hamilton High School graduate.

“I have seen this district grow over all these years and am completely amazed where we have come,” she said.

A School Board member for 24 years, Briggs pointed to her two grandchildren who are students in the district and were in the audience with her son and husband when she said, “The most important people are these little guys.”

“The only reason we open the doors in the morning is for students,” she said, and expressed optimism about the next generation.

“I just can’t wait to see what the future brings,” she said.

Two members take oath of office, one position vacant

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Two board members were sworn in for another three-year term following their successful election. Brian Schneider and Dawn Van Aacken were re-elected April 3. Schneider has the Menomonee Falls seat and Van Aacken holds the Lisbon seat.

No one ran for the Butler seat following the retirement of School Board member Deborah Briggs. Butler resident Dawn Endries received the most write-in votes, and she has until April 23 to accept the position. If she does not, the School Board will begin the process of appointing a Butler resident to that position.

1:1 initiative in grades 5-12 supported with technology purchases

As the district reaches toward its goal of having a 1:1 student-to-device ratio in grades 5-8 in the next three years, the School Board took a big step in making that happen. It approved $697,000 for the purchase of 75 laptops, 40 iPads, more than 1,100 Chromebooks and other infrastructure to support use of technology. In doing so, next year all high school students will be issued their own Chromebooks, a lower-cost alternative to desktop and laptop computers.

The purchase is an increase in the district’s computer replacement cycle which typically replaces about 250-350 computers each year. For the past two years, the district has been able to purchase more devices by going with the less costly Chromebooks that meet student needs in the classroom and support the mandatory testing.

Funding for the technology will come from the Information Technology Department budget, Applied Engineering and Technology referendum dollars, reimbursement through a state technology grant, an increase in student technology fees and refunds from E-rate, a federal program that makes information services more affordable for schools.

Most fees unchanged; athletics, parking, technology to see increase

Basic student fees will be unchanged, but fees for athletics, parking and technology will be going up in the 2018-19 school year, including:

  • middle school athletic fees from $50 to $60 per sport;
  • high school athletic fees from $65 to $75 per sport;
  • student parking fee from $150 to $200 per year;
  • technology fee for Chromebooks in grades K-8 $25, grades 9-12 $40.

School lunch fees will not go up, unless the federal government determines that a fee increase is necessary.

Board approves requests for college courses

A total of 25 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-Waukesha and Milwaukee, Marquette University and Carroll University. In addition, six 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 Candis Mongan noted in a report to the School Board, as in the past, many students will not be able to take the courses because of scheduling conflicts or full classes. A total of 26 students requested admission to Youth Options last year.

ECCP and Start College Now are programs mandated by the state that allows students who have completed tenth grade, are in good academic standing and have no disciplinary problems to attend a technical college or university if they have exhausted their high school curriculum.

Early graduation request granted

Hamilton High School sophomore Dayne Lassiter will be allowed to graduate in June 2019 after meeting the requirements of the district’s early graduation policy.

Classroom resources approved

School Board members approved the adoption of $48,363 of fitness education, communication arts, mathematics, applied engineering and technology, and reading resources. Nearly $30,000 will fund literacy benchmark assessment system kits.

Staffing plan approved

The School Board approved a preliminary staff plan for the 2018-19 school year that will increase teaching positions across the district by 2.63 full-time equivalency (FTE) positions. The total reflects enrollment shifts that result in a reduction of one FTE at the elementary level, an increase of 3.3 FTEs at the middle school and increase of .33 FTE at the high school.

Personnel business

In personnel matters, the School Board:

  • approved the resignations of Maple Avenue Grade 4 Teacher Kimberly Mechenich, Hamilton German Teacher Melody Seip and Templeton Associate Principal Laura Montez, effective at the end of the school year;
  • appointed Veronica Seher as Marcy special services paraprofessional for the medically fragile, effective April 9; Kimberly Mechenich as Maple Avenue math support teacher, effective Aug. 27; Kristin Kyde as Templeton grade 8 teacher, effective Aug. 27; Devon Hauser as Marcy physical education teacher, effective Aug. 27; Kara Duehring as Maple Avenue physical education teacher, effective Aug. 27; Hope Onysio as Templeton grade 8 teacher, effective Aug. 27; and Adaliz Silva as Lannon associate kitchen employee, effective April 18.

Moody’s rates Hamilton a strong Aa1

In preparation for financing of referendum projects, Moody’s Investor Services evaluated the Hamilton School District’s financial status and assigned it an Aa1 rating.MoodysAa1NoSpace

“Obligations rated Aa are judged to be of high quality and are subject to very low credit risk,” according to Moody’s website.

Moody’s generic ratings are: (from lowest to highest) C, Ca, Caa, B, Ba, Baa, A, Aa and Aaa. In addition, Moody’s appends numerical modifiers 1, 2, and 3 to each generic rating classification from Aa through Caa. The modifier 1 ranks in the higher end of the generic rating category, with 2 in the mid-range and 3 in the lower end of the generic rating category.

Hamilton’s rating was second highest among the possible 21 ratings. The high quality rating will allow the district to secure funding for referendum projects at a favorable interest rate.

In its evaluation, Moody’s Investor Services cited the district’s favorable location, growing enrollment, moderate pension liabilities and healthy financial position.

Nearly 62 percent of district voters approved $57.4 million of construction in a referendum Feb. 20 that included a new intermediate school, expansion and renovation of the Applied Engineering and Technology Program and a 15-classroom high school addition. Groundbreaking ceremonies for the referendum projects will be April 16 at 5:30 p.m. at the site of the new intermediate school.