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February 1, 2000

The School Board gave its approval to establish a charter school that will begin serving at-risk middle school students next fall. The idea for the charter school came from a consortium of school districts in the Cooperative Educational Service Agency (CESA) #1.

While Hamilton will be the school district taking out the official charter, it will bear no additional costs than any other school district involved. Under state law, CESA may not hold the charter. The program will be housed in the Wauwatosa School District.

According to the CESA proposal, the alternative school will serve severely disenfranchised at-risk middle students with a program that has a proficiency-based curriculum and includes youth service learning, career exploration, anger management and behavior skill components. Instruction will use small group and tutorial approaches.

The program’s ultimate goal is to transition students back to their home schools where they can be successful.

CESA #1 Administrator Tim Gavigan, Ph.D., told board members that grants are expected to help absorb start-up costs of the program in the first two years along with per-seat tuition fees from participating district. By the third year of the program, the costs will level off and tuition aligned with per-pupil expenses among CESA #1 districts would fund the program.

School Board member Dawn Van Aacken said its was “wonderful to show how CESA and school districts can come together to accomplish what school districts wouldn’t be able to do on their own.”

Gavigan complimented the School Board and administration for assisting in the effort to establish the charter school.

“Your leadership on this matter has not done unrecognized by other school districts,” Gavigan said. “This is something that these kids need.”

Summer School will see some changes, most notably in how it is funded. Because the state has changed its reimbursement formula for summer school programs, the School Board approved placing the program within the district budget rather than operating it as a self-supporting initiative. The move allows the district to take advantage of state aid subsidy for the program, and requires that the fee charged to participants drop from $25 to $20 per course.

Summer school funding has varied in the past 15 years including full funding within the district budget, partial district funding with participant fees and, most recently, a self-supporting program funded through fees. The changes reflected school aid formulas established by the state.

Summer Opportunities Coordinator Diane Loppnow reported that K-8 programs offering enrichment, remediation and support would expand. The district also is looking at partnership opportunities with Community Memorial Hospital to house a premedical workshop for students. Transportation will continue to be offered for students in grades K-8 for a fee of $30.

The high school program will operate much as last year including a 4-week, 5-day per week schedule. Drivers’ education and credit make-up classes will be offered.

Participation the “COPS in School” federal grant program was approved for the remainder of 2000 at a cost of $5,300 to the district. The federal grant enables the district to have a full-time police officer to serve Hamilton and Templeton. The Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department asked the district to participate in the program because it is one of the few districts in Waukesha County without services of a full-time police liaison officer. School Board members noted that a neighboring district has three full-time officers. A sheriff’s department officer currently works at Hamilton two mornings a week.

Goals of the police liaison program are to:

  • increase reporting and resolution of crimes committed within the community;
  • decrease future crimes through a prevention and intervention effort;
  • decrease student referrals for truancy, loitering and disorderly conduct; and
  • improve community relationships by building rapport between students, police and community members.

The board’s action also directed administrators to place funds in the planning budget to support the program in 2001 and to seek financial support from other municipalities to offset future district costs. While the program’s total expenses in years 2001 and beyond range from $73,500 to $78,678, the district is being asked to fund $24,332 in 2001, $27,237 in 2002 and $65,044 in 2003.

Supt. Kathleen Cooke, Ph.D., indicated that Menomonee Falls Village President Joseph Greco said he would recommend participating in cost sharing if other municipalities in the district would contribute.

Maple Avenue Principal Randy Kunkel presented Pauline Haass Library staff members for recognition. Kunkel thanked Librarian Joy Botts and reference and children’s services staff, Kerry Pinkner, Beth Brendler and Karen Hurd, for helping Maple Avenue students during the school’s 5-month renovation project. He said their actions showed Pauline Haass Library’s “willingness to support children of the community.”

Instructional Services Supervisor Margaret Bauman, Ph.D., reported on the district’s curriculum process. The district will complete in 1999-2000 alignment of its core curriculum to the Wisconsin Model Academic Standards. The standards are assessed through the Wisconsin Student Assessment System that includes the Third Grade Reading Test and Wisconsin Knowledge and Concept Exams in grades 4, 8 and 10. Also, beginning in 2003-2004, the state graduation test will be required.

Bauman said that in each subject area, a curriculum committee identified performance standards for each grade level or high school course based on the standards benchmarked at grades 4, 8 and 12. Mathematics, learning strategies and writing curricula revisions were approved last year. The social studies curriculum was revised and approved in January. The science and reading curricula are being finalized and is slated for board review and approval in June. Family & consumer education, business education, music and art will begin the formal review process during the summer.