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March 1, 2005

EXPLORE testing to move to ninth grade

Implementation of the EXPLORE assessment will move from eighth to ninth grade, following School Board action. As part of a Strategic Plan recommendation implemented years ago, all eighth-graders had been required to take the EXPLORE test, which is the entry point into the ACT’s Educational Planning and Assessment System (EPAS). The other assessments of EPAS include the PLAN, required of all Hamilton sophomores, and the ACT, a college admission test.

In explaining the rationale for moving EXPLORE from eighth to ninth grade, Instructional Supervisor Dee Bauman, Ph.D., explained that the state requires eighth-graders to take the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam in November while ninth-graders do not have state-mandated tests.

In addition, results from the test, designed in part to help students select courses that will best prepare them for postsecondary experiences, are not available until after eighth-graders have selected courses for their freshman year. By moving the test to ninth grade and giving it earlier in the school year, students will be able to use the results as they plan their 10th grade schedule, according to Bauman.

Bauman noted that the EXPLORE test is appropriate for both eighth- and ninth-graders. It will be given to ninth-graders during first semester and the results will be available within six weeks.

Templeton site plan update approved

Templeton Principal Patricia Polczynski and Associate Principal Dale Kuntz reported on their school’s site plan. The tactics for the five-year plan, originally approved in 2003, state that students will:

  • increase writing proficiency demonstrating understanding of curricular concepts;
  • demonstrate increased engagement and progress in differentiated needs; and
  • experience social and emotional growth through relevant, focused and developmental opportunities ensuring maximum achievement for all students

Implementation of the first and third tactics began in the fall, but the second tactic was put on hold and discussed at the February Site Plan update. The Site Plan committee decided that increased engagement may occur when the other two tactics are achieved.

Schoolwide use of Six Trait Writing terms and assessments is a key component in achieving the first tactic. Polczynski reported that three staff members were trained as trainers and have presented three in-services to the entire staff.

A variety of activities have addressed the third tactic, including seventh grade house participation in low ropes and team-building activities, a character-building retreat for all eighth-graders and the placement of staff -made banners on students lockers to promote positive student self-esteem. In addition, a track meet is planned for sixth-graders this spring.

Another student approved for early graduation

Heather Jondle is another student who will be able to graduate after the first semester of her senior year. The School Board in January approved four juniors who met the requirements of policy and were approved for early graduation in 2006. Jondle had applied for early graduation, but her application was not forwarded with the other applicants.

School Board accepts retirement requests of Kuntz and Dallman

The School Board accepted the retirement request of two longtime employees — Dale Kuntz and Avis Dallman. Board members expressed regret as they approved their requests. Kuntz has worked at Templeton since 1974 — the last nine years as associate principal and before then as a mathematics teacher. Dallman is the Lannon Elementary School administrative assistant who has been employed since 1976.

School Board member Gerald Schmitz said it will be difficult to say goodbye to both of these dedicated employees. Their retirements are effective at the end of the school year.