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January 17, 2005

Automated lunch payment system on-line for additional schools

After a operating an automated lunch program at Lannon and Woodside elementary schools since November, the district will move ahead to bring the LunchBox computerized program to other schools that serve hot lunch.

School Board members voted to install LunchBox systems at Marcy and Maple elementary schools before Spring Break and at Templeton Middle School before the end of the school year. Hamilton High School is slated for installation next fall.

Business Services Director Bryan Ruud reported that the program achieved its goals of :

  • centralizing money handling;
  • providing allergy warnings when students enter their accounts;
  • reducing class time to deal with lunch ticket matters;
  • relieving school office staff of selling lunch tickets; and
  • improving accuracy and reporting.

The Food Service budget — a self-supporting fund generated from lunch fees — will cover the cost of installing the system at each site. Elementary and middle school set up is $5,020 at each site and the high school configuration is expected to be less than $9,825. In addition, $1,650 of configurations, installation, data import, training, and support is budgeted for each site. The total cost of automating Hamilton’s lunch payment system is expected to be less than $29,385 plus $2,100 for annual software support.

NCLB brings about additional testing for students

Hamilton students will join millions throughout the country next fall in stepping up to an increased level of testing, thanks to the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) mandates. Students in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10 will be tested in reading and mathematics. Wisconsin students in grades 4, 8, and 10 currently take the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exams (WKCE) that include sub-tests in language arts, science, social studies and writing as well as reading and mathematics; and third-graders take a statewide reading test.

In preparation for the new exams, the state Department of Public Instruction developed frameworks based on Wisconsin’s Academic Standards that will be tested at each grade level. Hamilton reading and mathematics teachers studied the frameworks as they updated curriculum. Instructional Services Supervisor Margaret Bauman, Ph.D., said that Hamilton made significant changes to its mathematics curriculum to align with the frameworks. She said fewer changes needed to be made in the reading curriculum.

Challenges ahead include creating the testing schedule, providing proctors for students who need to be tested in small groups, training staff and ensuring that test materials are secure.

Hamilton Fine Arts Center fees revisited

School Board members adjusted fees that outside groups will pay to rent the Hamilton Fine Arts Center based on actual costs and fees other districts charge. The new fees include: refundable security deposit – $550, rehearsal or set up – $250 for four hours; performance – $525 for four hours; meeting fee for one microphone and spotlight – $250 for four hours; ushers if provided by the district – $6 per hour per usher; and staff set-up and cleaning – $50 per hour.

Parents, staff recognized

School Board members recognized three Maple Avenue Elementary School parents and three district employees. Maple Avenue Principal Kristin Koeper and fifth grade teacher Michael Fraundorf described the outstanding efforts of parents Nancy Jansen, Brenda Lastrilla and Charlotte Coe in raising funds for the Project Bridge Environmental Education Program. The parents volunteered to take on a significant fund raising challenge and succeeded in raising nearly $3,000 for the 2-day experience at Camp Whitcomb-Mason.

Hamilton Principal David Furrer expressed appreciation to fitness education teachers Kathy Block and Jerry Cibulka who applied for and received a $240,000 federal grant that brought in more than $150,000 of equipment to the high school. Furrer commended Block and Cilbulka for the extra time they have volunteered to provide outstanding fitness opportunities for students. Furrer also recognized Buildings and Ground Manager Jeff Grove who “took Kathy and Jerry’s vision and turned it into a reality” by transforming former drama storage into a fitness education area.

Lannon Site Plan approved

Principal Richard Ladd updated the School Board on progress of the Lannon Elementary School Site Plan. Ladd reported that the school’s tactics are to:

  • maintain and enhance a positive, nurturing culture so that Lannon students will continue to strive for excellence;
  • improve the building referral process to meet all students’ needs; and
  • enhance the schoolwide writing program, allowing each student to develop necessary skills to communicate effectively in writing.

Ladd highlighted the “Notice Me!” program that school staff started this year. Interested staff members are matched with students in need of an extra boost during the school day. Ladd said the selection procedure that pairs students and staff will be refined.

The Child Assistance Team (CAT) concept continued this year, and a new referral form was developed to provide teachers with information about students who have been referred. Ladd said staff will create a list of strategies and resources to help address student needs before referral to the program. In addition, staff will be surveyed to provide feedback if students are making progress, and an after-school tutoring program will be explored

Staff continue to focus on writing instruction. Writing prompts were developed at each grade level to use in fall and spring. Writing portfolios were developed for each student that match the district’s K-12 initiative. Six-Trait writing posters and a mystery puzzle motivate students to review the traits, and teachers present Six Trait ideas that work to the entire staff.

School Board approves personnel matters

In personnel matters, the School Board:

  • approved the resignation of Hamilton and Templeton technology education teacher Chad Vanderwyst effective at the end of the school year; and
  • accepted the retirement request of Hamilton family and consumer education teacher Monica Schulteis.