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September 15, 2003

New federal legislation means more testing and data analysis

Hamilton School Board members learned from district staff about the impact of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education (ESEA) reauthorization on the district — including how a coding error could designate the district in need of improvement.

Instructional Services Supervisor Dee Bauman, Ph.D., reviewed the legislation that regulates federal funding for K-12 education programs. ESEA mandates new testing and accountability. As a result, Wisconsin will implement the following:

  • Starting in 2005-06, annual testing is required in math and reading in grades 3-8 and in grades 10, 11 or 12. Wisconsin currently tests in grades 3, 4, 8 and 10.
  • Beginning with the 2007-08 school year, DPI will administer a science assessment annually in at least one grade in each of the following grade spans: 3-5, 6-9, and 10-12.
  • States must administer National Assessment of Educational Progress tests at least once every other year. Schools are no longer able to opt out of participation in NAEP.

ESEA also requires that all students taking state-required tests score at the proficient or advanced proficient levels in reading and mathematics by 2014. The 2002-04 baseline goals start at 61 percent proficient or advanced in reading and 37 percent in mathematics. At regular intervals, the goals increase until students meet 100 percent proficiency in 2014. These goals are known as Adequate Yearly Progress. In reading, they are 67.5 percent in 2005, 74 percent in 2008, 80.5 percent in 2011, 87 percent in 2012, 93.5 percent in 2013 and 100 percent in 2014. In math, they are 47.5 percent in 2005, 58 percent in 2008, 68.5 percent in 2011, 79 percent in 2012, 89.5 percent in 2013 and 100 percent in 2014.

Adequate Yearly Progress must be met not only by a school district and each of its individual schools, but also in the following disaggregations:

  • economically disadvantaged students;
  • students from major racial and ethnic minority groups;
  • students with disabilities; and
  • limited English proficient students.

In addition, at least 95 percent of all students in each category must take the assessment and meet attendance and graduation rate standards. If a school or district fails to meet any one of the requirements for two years, the school or district will be indentified in need of improvement and will face sanctions that increase in severity the longer they remain on the list.

Because of a coding error on some tests for special education students, the district may be identified as a school in need of improvement, according to Bauman. Students who took the test were coded as having parent-opt out waivers.

“We may be on the (schools in need of improvement) this year because of a coding error if (the Department of Public Instruction) does not allow us to correct a clerical error,” said Hamilton Superintendent Kathleen Cooke, Ph.D.

Each Wisconsin school district will receive an “Annual Review of School Performance” of for 2002-03 later this month. It will indicate if a school district has met the Annual Yearly Progress for all disaggregated groups.

Oct. 7 meeting canceled

The School Board will not meet Oct. 7 because the date conflicts with the Wisconsin Association of School Board’s regional meeting that several board members plan to attend. Items from the Oct. 7 meeting were redistributed to the Sept. 15 and Oct. 20 agendas.

Former teacher requests waiver of contract provision

Former Hamilton High School science teacher Yvette Loiselle-Casper asked School Board members to waive the $1,000 fee for breaking her contract. The United Lakewood Educators and Hamilton School District master agreement identifies that certified staff members who sign a contract and resign after Aug. 1 are subject to a $1,000 fine for breach of contract. Loiselle-Casper argued that extenuating circumstances existed because she was only offered a 67 percent position and she sought full-time status that she found in another district.

After discussion, School Board members voted 6-1 to deny the waiver, with Deborah Briggs casting the nay vote. Human Resources Assistant Superintendent Dean Schultz said if the school district broke the contract with a teacher in the same way, it would be liable for far more than the $1,000 that a teacher is required to pay.

School Board Member Gerald Schmitz said he was sorry the fine had to be imposed.

“I think it’s a shame that it has to happen, but it happens every day when a person walks away from a contract,” he said referring to the fee.

Students, volunteers, staff and School Board member recognized

It was a night for recognition including the honoring of:

  • Hamilton High School students Kelsie Trip, Stephanie Barch, Sean Herman, Kailyn Curtis, Justin Hall and Christopher Gaza, who volunteered to help senior citizens participating in the Seniors & Student computer classes this summer;
  • Seniors & Students Volunteer Tom Hill who taught the computer classes with the assistance from the high school students;
  • new district staff members who were treated to a cake-and-punch reception and introductions to the board; and
  • Gerald Schmitz who was recognized for serving as School Board president for 15 years. He recently chose to step down as president, but said he plans to remain on the board.

Parents ask board to make exception on school bus policy

Lisa Carlson, a parent of a Lannon fourth-grader, asked the School Board to make an exception to a bus transportation policy that requires one pick-up location and one drop-off point. Because Carlson’s son is in shared custody between her and her former husband, she would like the pick-up point to alternate so that her son is in a supervised setting. The School Board did not take action on the matter.

Personnel matters approved

In personnel matters, the School Board:

  • approved a leave of absence for Hamilton communication arts teacher Lisa Plichta until the end of the 2003-04 school year; and
  • increased contracted hours for Maple Avenue teacher aide Tanina Lea from 3.5 to 7 hours per day.