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February 1, 2005

High school course catalog sees changes

Students are likely to notice a number of changes in the 2005-06 Hamilton High School Course Catalog. School Board members approved the modifications that Hamilton Principal David Furrer proposed. Many of the changes fell in one of three categories.

  • Two curricular areas were retitled to reflect their new names. Classes formerly part of Technology Education will now be part of the Applied Engineering and Technology Department, and since last summer the Physical Education Department is known as Fitness Education.
  • At the request of students and parents, courses will include fees and supplies so that they can be purchased before the start of school.
  • Low enrollment classes such as Metals, Metals Co-op, Applied Carpentry and Welding will be dropped for budgetary reasons. The Manufacturing class will offer students exposure to metals, carpentry and welding. Students will have opportunities for in-depth study at Waukesha County Technical College through the Youth Options Program.

Other classes that were dropped were Food Service, Teen Issues, Coaching and Officiating, and Conceptual Physics. Advanced Placement courses in U.S. Government and Statistics will be dropped until the 2006-07 school year.

Furrer explained that the classes had of history of low enrollments and offering them to students was really a “false choice.” When there are not enough students to run the course, those who signed up for the classes scramble for find others, Furrer said.

Curriculum process reviewed

Instructional Services Supervisor Dee Bauman, Ph.D., updated the School Board on the district’s curriculum process for ongoing review and updating of district curricula. Curriculum committees of teachers from all levels of the content area complete the revision process by:

  • analyzing students achievement data in the content area;
  • ensuring the curriculum aligns with state mandates;
  • reviewing current research so that effective instructional practices are included in the curriculum; and
  • incorporating cross-curricular standards including the information and technology literacy standards.

The next curriculum to be presented to the School Board for approval is mathematics, which will be up for consideration at the June meeting. Health, writing and guidance will begin the revision process during the summer for School Board consideration in the 2005-06 school year.

Students approved for early graduation

Four juniors will be able to graduate after the first semester of their senior year in accordance with district policy. The students who were approved for early graduation are Sandra Boskamp, Alicia Johanning, Amanda Kuehn and Dana Rupar. Students who wish to graduate early must meet credit requirements and apply by January of their junior year. Hamilton Principal David Furrer noted that most of the students were planning to go directly to postsecondary education.

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 two Woodside Elementary School parents for their vision and hard work to make a new playground a reality. Mary Jo Menzel and Betsy Buchholz coordinated fund raising of more than $40,000 over two years and the efforts of hundreds of parents that resulted in a new playground for Woodside children. After introductions from Woodside Principal Linda Jorgensen, Superintendent Kathleen Cooke, Ph.D., thanked the mothers for “changing the world for current Woodside children and for generations of Woodside children to come.”

Woodside Site Plan approved

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

  • emphasize ownership and shared responsibility among students and staff to enhance respect;
  • increase student problem-solving abilities to strengthen critical thinking skills beginning in mathematics; and
  • help students communicate effectively especially in writing.

Jorgensen highlighted the school’s work with nationally known mathematician and author Greg Tang. She also pointed to the school’s successful Family Math Night last fall. The issue of bullying has been studied, and staff will learn more at a meeting about its impact on students. They will also have an in-service on Responsive Classroom strategies. Staff used the district writing scope and sequence and the 6-Trait components to develop common language about writing for students and staff. A new study group using the work of Regie Routman will begin.

School Board approves personnel matters

In personnel matters, the School Board:

  • appointed Karen Ludin as a Willow Spring Special Education paraprofessional;
  • approved the resignations of Hamilton and Templeton German teacher Lindsay Fabry and Templeton fitness education and health teacher Heather Thompson, both effective at the end of the school year; and
  • accepted the retirement requests of Hamilton library-media specialist Gloria Dutz, Woodside second grade teacher Beverly Thielen, Templeton business technology teacher Ann Wegner, Hamilton head cook Mary Mitter, school psychologist Gerald Zirbel and Maple Avenue art teacher Charles Wickler, all effective at the end of the school year.