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January 17, 2000

In an effort to more accurately pinpoint and address student instructional needs, the Hamilton School District will add a seventh grade standardized test to the district’s assessment program beginning this spring.

Templeton administrators and staff members proposed adding the Terra Nova test because middle school students develop rapidly and staff members could use additional achievement data to accurately plan and teach.

The statewide Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts exams in grade 4, 8 and 10 are Terra Nova tests. In addition, the district administers Terra Nova standardized tests to second- and sixth-graders.

According to school administrators, the additional seventh grade test would provide:

  • longitudinal data on individual student achievement; and
  • standardized and comparable measures of achievement for sixth and seventh grade students.

Templeton staff members are developing additional support and intervention programming for students who are not meeting standards. The additional achievement data would be useful in identifying eighth grade students for this programming.

The additional $5,000 to implement the test will come from the existing Educational Services budget.

Hamilton High School Principal David Furrer presented an update and recommendation regarding the high school’s four-period day. Furrer reported results that show increased achievement in various academic areas, greater attendance and reduced dropout, suspension and disciplinary rates.

The School Board accepted the recommendation of the Four Period Day Evaluation Committee to continue using a four-period day with modifications. The Academic Design Team will address possible modifications with recommendations coming before the School Board. The Academic Design Team, a committee of teachers, students, community members and administrators, will study:

  • modifying advisement;
  • providing ways for students to practice what they learn in class;
  • encouraging academic advancement through structures such as test-out options;
  • providing ongoing staff development in varied instructional practices;
  • reducing course conflicts through the scheduling process;
  • returning to 9-week courses, where appropriate, using A/B scheduling;
  • enhancing content retention in mathematics and foreign language sequences;
  • making recommendations to redistribute the building budget or seek additional financial support to better align with the building site plan.

The School Board gave its OK for Hamilton school administrators to work with the Cooperative Educational Service Agency (CESA) #1 in developing a proposal for a charter school serving at risk middle school students. The formal charter school proposal will be considered at the Feb. 1 School Board meeting.

CESA #1 Administrator Tim Gavigan, Ph.D., told board members that the school would operate in Wauwatosa, serving 33 school districts in CESA #1. Hamilton was asked to establish the charter because Wauwatosa’s deadline for charter school establishment had passed. Hamilton’s policy has a later deadline.

Costs associated with the school would be paid with grants and fees from participating school districts.

Two staff members were recognized for supporting the district’s senior citizen volunteer program. Templeton mathematics teacher Larry Shurilla and Woodside writing resource teacher Julie Smith were honored for teaching computer classes to Seniors & Students volunteers and recruits. Public Information Coordinator Denise Dorn Lindberg nominated the two teachers because they went beyond what is expected when they agreed to teach the classes after a full day’s work with students. Lindberg read comments written by class participants who praised both teachers for their teaching abilities and positive attitudes.

In an effort to deal with a severe substitute teacher shortage in the district and throughout the state, the School Board agreed to increase the daily substitute pay rate from $70 to $75. In addition, substitutes who worked more than 15 non-consecutive days or not in the same assignment will earn $105 daily compared to the previous rate of $83 daily for more than 30 days. The pay increase makes Hamilton more competitive among area school district seeking substitutes.

Increased enrollment in the district’s optional kindergarten program for 4-year-olds resulted in the need for an additional half-time kindergarten replacement teacher. Second semester will see 192 4-year-old kindergartners. The additional teacher will allow the average class size to drop to 19 students. The district continues to get parental inquiries concerning openings.

An additional speech and language specialist will be hired to deal with an increase of 30 students needing services. Special Service Supervisor Charlene DeGroot, in a memo to the board, said 20 years ago the district had five speech and language specialists serving 123 students. Now four specialists serve 171 students and their needs are more severe. The cost for the additional position will be funded by a federal special education grant.

Costs associated with the district’s Strategic Plan will be among those considered in the 2000-2001 budget. Educational Services Director and Internal Strategic Plan Facilitator Dean Schultz identified $117,000 of additional funds and $71,000 that will be reallocated from existing budgets to implement the Strategic Plan during the 2000-2001 budget year. Final budget decisions are made before the district’s Annual Meeting in June.

School Board members approved Templeton’s 2000-2001 Course Catalog that contained revisions to make it more user friendly, but no course changes. Description of requirements for high school college preparation coursework was clarified.