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December 2, 2003

It was an evening to note academic achievement gains and school accomplishments at the Hamilton School Board meeting. School staff members presented several reports containing data that demonstrate success over time in specific schools and throughout the district.

High school NCA accreditation, site planning reported

Hamilton High School Principal David Furrer reported on two activities that focused on school improvement — one involving accreditation through the North Central Association (NCA) and the other describing results of site planning. Both processes involve creating a 5-year plan to improve student learning and achievement through data analysis and development of action steps.

“Both the district and NCA processes are compatible with one another and have melded together to create a clear focus on student learning and achievement in the classroom,” Furrer wrote in his report.

Furrer walked Board Members through data collected through the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam and the ACT test that show considerable improvement in the past five years.

School site planners studied the data, reviewed information about educational trends and examined greatest threats and opportunities facing the school. They identified one tactic that the school will work on in the next five years that states, “Students will demonstrate higher-level thinking skills across the curriculum.”

Furrer said having a single tactic will create more focus with greater impact in the classroom. Next steps include creating a planning timeline to identify interventions and staff development programs in the next year.

School Board members whose children attended school in the district in the past commented on the improvement they witnessed in the district recently.

Deborah Briggs described staff members’ attitudes toward increasing rigor at the school as “wonderful.”

Dawn Van Aacken said the improvement she witnessed as her daughters attended the high school was “phenomenal.”

The NCA accreditation process involved a 3-person peer review team to evaluate whether the school is meeting success. The team recommended that Hamilton receive full accreditation.

Templeton to enact site plan

After celebrating the success of its site plan last January, Templeton staff, parents and students developed a new site plan. In reviewing the progress of the previous plan, Templeton Principal Patricia Polczynski noted that curricular experiences for students have become increasingly rigorous and challenging. She also reported that standardized test scores have increased in all content areas and many academic interventions were developed and implemented. The interventions support struggling students and provide both enrichment opportunities and academic coursework for advanced students, Polczynski reported.

Tactics of the new site plan specify that students will:

  • increase writing skills that demonstrate understanding of curricular concepts;
  • demonstrate increased engagement and progress in differentiated needs; and
  • experience social and emotional growth through relevant, focused and developmental opportunities to ensure maximum achievement.

Polczynski said the next step in the site planning process is to develop action steps to accomplish the tactics.

Superintendent Kathleen Cooke complimented Polczynski and school staff for their accomplishments. She said the school was using data in a sophisticated manner to make even greater gains in student achievement.

District achievements highlighted in 2003 Annual Report

District administrators highlighted the accomplishments noted in the district’s 2003 Annual Report. Educational Services Assistant Superintendent Dean Schultz described significant accomplishments that occurred in the district because of strategic initiatives.

Instructional Services Supervisor Dee Bauman, Ph.D., described the district gains in the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam, Third Grade Reading Test, ACT test, Advanced Placement pass rates, drop out and graduation rates.

Business Services Director Bryan Ruud summarized spending, enrollment and property value trends.

Contract signed for low-incidence services

The district will continue to contract with the Elmbrook School District to provide services for low-incidence disabled students. Hamilton is one of 25 districts that purchases services from Elmbrook according to specific usage. Among the services offered are audiology and assistive listening devices, cognitive disabilities and multihandicapped, deaf and hard of hearing, leadership, severe emotional disabilities, vision-orientation and mobility.

Personnel matters approved

In personnel matters, the School Board:
accepted the resignation of Woodside teacher aide Kathy Schiedemeyer effective Nov. 26.