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February 4, 2003

State budget uncertainty affects Summer Opportunities class fee

The Hamilton School District’s 2003 Summer Opportunities Program got a preliminary OK from the School Board, but Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle and the Legislature may ultimately decide how popular the program will be this summer.

Summer Opportunities Director and Lannon Elementary School Principal Dick Ladd updated the School Board on plans for the 20-day summer school session which is slated to begin June 19 and end July 18 for students taking enrichment classes. The last day of school for students taking promotional and credit courses will be Aug. 1.

Because the program is supported through state funding, the school district charges only $10 per class to cover consumable materials, but school officials are bracing for possible changes that could drive fees to as much as $65 for each class if state aid is lost.

If class fees increase dramatically, summer school enrollment could drop from about 1,300 to 250 students, Hamilton Business Services Director Bryan Ruud predicted. Class fees last summer covered about $27,000 of the $155,000 cost of the program. The rest came from state aid.

The governor’s budget proposal is expected Feb. 18. Depending on changes to the state funding formula, the School Board may adjust the proposed $10 class fee.

District’s third Strategic Plan approved

The district’s third generation Strategic Plan was approved. Strategic Planning has guided district initiatives since 1990 with 5-7-year roadmaps that outline what the district will accomplish.

The newest plan added a vision statement that says: “In the Hamilton School District community we celebrate the joys and rewards of learning. The worth of every person is recognized and we are enriched by the talents and contributions of all. We eagerly embrace challenge with responsiblity, confidence and pride in our abilities.”

Objectives of the new plan include specific verification measures to indicate success.

The four strategies indicate that the district will:

  • foster learning environments that nurture social and emotional development to ensure maximum achievement for each child;
  • ensure that professional development improves student learning;
  • use the results of student assessments and other performance-related data to ensure continuous progress for each child; and
  • enhance communication to promote understanding, support and involvement of families, the community and staff in fulfilling our mission.

Action planning teams will form to address each strategy. Parents, community members and employees will be solicited for their involvement on the teams.

Curriculum process outlined

Instructional Services Supervisor Margaret Bauman, Ph.D., presented the five-year plan for curriculum revision. The process insures that curriculum is aligned with the Wisconsin Model Academic Standards.

Curriculum committees of K-12 teacher representatives review research on their content areas so that effective instructional practices are incorporated in the curriculum. The rotation cycle includes committee review, revisement, administrative review and School Board adoption in the following years:

2002-03 – physical education, world languages, technology education and learning strategies;
2003-04 – music and health;
2004-05 – science, social studies and mathematics;
2005-06 – guidance, reading and writing; and
2006-07 – art, business education and family and consumer education.
Following School Board adoption, the curriculum is implemented in classrooms, assessments are developed, resources identfied and achievement data analyzed.

High school site plan approved

Hamilton High School’s site plan was accepted. Principal David Furrer reported on the progress of the plan’s three interventions They included:

Through content alignment with state standards, students will maxsimize their knowledge and comprehension skills to provide opportunties that focus on postsecondary education.

Furrer reported that the standards were aligned, curriculum redesigned, an honors program developed and implemented, additional Advanced Placement courses offered, PLAN test administered to all sophomores and reading assistance provided to less-skilled readers.

Students will effectively communicate knowledge and concepts resulting from applied writing across the curriclum strategies.

Progress was seen through major writing assignments that included the entire writing process, staff development focused on writing, ACT preparation workshops, “Write to Learn” strategies across the curriculum, addition of a technology-writing resource teacher and reading specialist, communication arts and mathematics seminar for struggling students, addition of transitions counselor for academic support and staff development breakout sessions.

Students will use a variety of learning strategies to exhibit their understanding and application of key curricular concepts.

Furrer pointed to staff development opportunities and teacher portfolios used in the supervision-evaluation process that documents student results.
The first two interventions are considered operational and a part of the culture at Hamilton, but the third is not yet engrained and work must continue, according to Furrer.

Furrer reported that the school will develop a new 5-year school improvement plan next fall.

Personnel changes approved

In personnel business, the School Board accepted the retirements of Lannon second grade teacher Karen Thompson and Lannon reading specialist Cynthia Kubesc effective at the end of the school year. Becky Bergemann was appointed Maple Avenue special services teacher aide.