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February 3, 2004

Summer Opportunities Program on schedule

Students and parents can expect to see a few changes, but summer school 2004 will be similar to what it was in 2003, according to one of the Summer Opportunities Program administrators. John Vitale reported to School Board members that the Summer Opportunities Program will begin a week later than normal because parents had indicated they wanted a break between the regular school year and summer school. Summer school will begin June 21 and end July 16 for enrichments courses. Middle school promotional and high school credit courses will end two weeks later on July 30.

Classes will run Monday through Friday with a vacation day on July 5 to extend the holiday weekend for families. Transportation will be available. A $10 fee will be charged for consumable material in addition to course fees.

Most classes will be held at the high school, where a fine arts – learning center is under construction. Vitale said summer school staff will work closely with the business director and facilities manager to ensure student safety and efficient traffic flow.

School Board member Gerald Schmitz said he supported offering summer school.

“It’s good to see summer school being offered because it is worthwhile,” Schmitz said. “Parents and people in the community want it.”

District enrollment down 19 students since September

Educational Services and Human Resources Assistant Superintendent Dean Schultz reported that district enrollment decreased from 4,104 to 4,085 from September to January. The numbers reflect actual number of students and not full-time equivalencies. Schultz said the decreases occurred primarily because of students who left Empower Academy, January graduates and families that have moved. He said it was “not unusual” to see a decrease from September to January and is similar to what the district saw last year.

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. Beginning next year, three new components will be added to the revision process including a technology strand, and where appropriate, diversity activities, and alcohol and drug abuse issues. Curriculum committees of K-12 teachers from all levels complete the revision process by:

  • analyzing student achievement data;
  • aligning the curriculum with state standards;
  • reviewing research so that effective instructional practices are included; and
  • incorporating cross-curricular standards.

Specific curriculum documents will be revised in the following years:

  • 2003-04 — physical education and learning strategies;
  • 2004-05 — mathematics, music and health;
  • 2005-06 — science, writing, guidance;
  • 2006-07 — reading, social studies and family & consumer education; and
  • 2007-08 — art, business education, technology education and world languages.

Technology education, world languages curriculum approved

School Board members approved the work of technology education and world languages teachers as they accepted revised K-12 curriculum in each of those areas. Bauman reported that both documents align with the Wisconsin Model Academic Standards.

Bauman noted that the state standards for technology education was more conceptual than others and school staff were not able to write the curriculum around the standards, as was the case in some content areas. The curriculum document is more specific than the state standards, Bauman said.

Technology education begins in seventh grade when student take an exploratory class and continues as an elective for eighth-graders. At the high school level, four technology education strands include construction, graphic arts, metals and autos.

Schmitz said the partnership with Bielinski Builders in the construction area is one that benefits students, the school and community. Bielinski provides funding for a full-time high school teacher and helped arrange a cooperative venture in which advanced level carpentry students receive instruction at the carpenters’ union training center.

Bauman said 50 percent of the students who participated in the capstone carpentry experience are involved in the trades.

Schmitz said the program spoke to the quality of the program and willingness of a business to be involved in students’ education.

School Board President Gabe Kolesari said partnerships with business may be an even greater trend in the future. He cited the expense of replacing outdated metals equipment at the high school. Instead of making significant investments in machinery and equipment, schools may offer the basics in welding and sheet metal work and partner with a tool and die company that has the equipment needed to provide advanced level training, he suggested.

In contrast to technology education, world languages state standards are specific with 11 standards that provide the framework for Hamilton’s curriculum. The curriculum goes behind learning the language, to include culture, perspectives of countries and different applications of the language. The program begins in middle school when students are required to take exploratory classes in Spanish, German and French. In eighth grade students may choose a world languages class as an elective. Hamilton graduates with five years of a world language have tested out of college program and earned 15 credits and more because of their studies at Hamilton.

School Board Member Jennifer Rude Klett suggested the middle school look at offering more flexibility for students who do not need to take the exploratory program and would like to launch into a full-year class. She said getting all three languages for a short time wasted valuable time for some students who would prefer to take classes with greater depth.

Superintendent Kathleen Cooke said that students are signing up for 2004-05 classes, but curriculum adjustments for future years could come before the School Board to address her concerns. Cooke said she would have the middle school principal look into it.

Personnel matters approved

In personnel matters, the School Board:

  • approved retirement requests of Marcy guidance counselor Sam Gabell, Templeton physical education and health teacher Bobette Husak and Templeton eighth grade science teacher Jay Johns, all effective at the end of the school year; and
  • accepted the resignations of Hamilton world languages teacher Michael Hatfield, Hamilton mathematics teacher Heather Evans, Hamilton cleaner Jason Nerison and Marcy cognitive disabilities teacher Rosanna Hanson.