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May 3, 2005

District to move ahead with MAP assessment

After one year of experience under its belt, the district will continue using the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) to determine students’ academic strengths and weaknesses in grades 5-9 and to some extent in grade 3. Instructional Technology & Assessment Coordinator Katherine Little and Instructional Services Supervisor Margaret Bauman, Ph.D., reported on the district’s experience using the no-stakes test which was designed to give feedback to teachers, students and parents.

The district began using MAP as its benchmark assessment in the fall of 2004. It was piloted in mathematics in grades 2 and 3, but staff quickly concluded that it was not appropriate for second-graders. It will continue to be looked at for third-graders. Students in grades 5-9 were tested in mathematics, reading and language usage with a pretest in the fall and a post test in May. Freshman enrolled in communication arts and mathematics courses took post tests in January.

In addition to helping teachers design appropriate instruction for students based on their needs, the assessment also assists in appropriate placement of new and foreign exchange students, identification of students for honors, enriched and remedial courses, and development of Special Education Individual Education Plans.

Bauman said teachers have been fascinated with the feedback they can get from the assessment and speak favorably about its help in making placement decisions.

Teachers also have been trained in Des Carte, an on-line tool that translates student MAP scores into the skills and concepts appropriate for their instructional level. Des Cartes’ content is aligned with the Wisconsin State Academic Standards, the basis for the state-mandated Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam.

At the end of the 2005-06 school year, MAP will be evaluated based on information from a teacher survey and building principals and administrative input.

Seniors & Students update given

A cooperative program designed to recruit, train and place senior citizen volunteers in the Hamilton School District has grown successfully since its inception, according to the program coordinators. Seniors & Students is a cooperative program between the Hamilton School District and Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) of Waukesha County. RSVP Seniors & Students Project Coordinator Jennifer Luszak and district Public Information and Volunteer Program Coordinator Denise Dorn Lindberg showed a slide show that featured comments and artwork from students, statistics about the impact of the program and photos of volunteers in action.

The program has successfully grown since it was originally implemented in the 1998-99 school year when a total of 24 senior citizen volunteers served as reading tutors for elementary students. Today, 182 senior citizens are involved in the Seniors & Students Program and volunteer in a variety of ways.

A total of 34 seniors volunteers work as tutors in the four elementary schools and the Willow Springs Learning Center providing direct assistance in the classroom.

Six senior citizens work with high school students by monitoring computer labs, tutoring in physics and mathematics, and helping with homework in Club Success.

The Age-to-Age Pen Pal Project was created as a spin-off of the original program and involves 159 senior citizens who correspond with 190 elementary school-age children developing real-life writing skills.

Volunteers provide clerical assistance throughout the district and for many special projects.

Free computer classes offered to senior citizens as part of the recruitment process are taught by a senior citizen volunteer with help from high school volunteers.

The Intergenerational Choir formed at Maple Avenue Elementary School has included performances with senior citizen volunteers.

Senior citizen volunteers have provided numerous contributions to make the lives of students more comfortable including the donation of handknit hats and mittens. One volunteer provides our school social worker with a regular supply of handsewn quilts for distribution to children who could “use a hug” when times are tough.

Since its inception, the Seniors and Students Volunteer Program has contributed more than 15,000 hours of service in the Hamilton School District. This equates to more than $263,000 worth of services for students, based on an average hourly value determined by national philantrhopic agencies.

RSVP and the district successfully co-authored a federal grant application that allows a part-time RSVP employee to coordinate and place senior citizen volunteers. School district staff assist with training, recruitment and administration of the program.

Annual Budget Hearing, Meeting date changed

The School Board moved the date of its Annual Budget and Annual Meeting from June to August. The meeting normally held the third Monday in June was moved to Aug. 15 this year in hopes that the state budget situation will be settled and district officials will not have to rely on projections for state aid. The Annual Budget Hearing begins at 6:15 p.m. with the Annual Meeting slated for 7:30 p.m.

Students, parents recognized

Members of the varsity and junior varsity Hamilton Chess Club were recognized for their outstanding performance as conference champions and successful showing at state competition. Hamilton Principal David Furrer said the 2004-05 season was so exciting that if a movie were made about the Hamilton Chess Team, it would be have Academy Award winning potential.

Four parents — Jodi Wiesneski, Cindy Runingen, Lori Gryszkiewica and Michele Nitschke — were honored for coordinating Red Cross volunteers in the district’s elementary schools. Special Services Supervisor Charlene DeGroot thanked the parents for coordinating training and getting volunteers to work in school health rooms.

Education for Employment Plan approved

Hamilton Associate Principal and Extended Learning Opportunities Coordinator Candis Mongan presented the district’s Education for Employment Plan that she and vocational staff members administrators, community members, Waukesha County Technical College and CESA #1 representatives developed. The goals of the plan are to:

  • promote understanding cooperation and support between business, industry and education;
  • share human and equipment resources;
  • prepare students for future employment;
  • ensure that graduates are able to obtain lifelong learning skills;
  • integrate life skills into all curricula;
  • maintain the Business Advisory Committee to promote communication between the district and business; and
  • ensure all students are eligible for participation and planning activities.

Mongan reported that the 95 percent of Hamilton students who enrolled in transcripted credit courses taught at Hamilton earned college credit. Enrollment in WCTC transcripted courses was at 257, an all-time high in the district.

School Board appoints Templeton associate principal

The Hamilton School Board approved the hiring of Brad Hoffmann as the Templeton Middle School associate principal. Hoffmann will begin his position in the district July 1.

Hoffmann has been the assistant principal and athletic director for the past year at Palmyra Eagle High School. His previous experience was at Scott Highlands Middle School in Apple Valley, Minn., where he was the administrative associate, teacher and athletic director for three years and a physical education and health teacher for four years.

He earned his master’s degree in education from St. Mary’s University in Winona in 2000 and his bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Wisconsin – LaCrosse in 1996.

“We are pleased to hire an individual who has the middle school leadership experience and child advocacy necessary to be a successful school leader in our community,” Hamilton Superintendent Kathleen Cooke said. “We look forward to the addition of Mr. Hoffmann who is an energetic and innovative educator focused on student achievement. I believe Templeton Middle School will be served well by its new associate principal.”

Hoffmann fills the position that will be vacant with the retirement of long-time Templeton associate principal and former teacher Dale Kuntz.

More personnel changes approved

In personnel business, the School Board:
accepted the resignation of Public Information Office executive assistant Ashley Myers,

  • effective June 3;
  • accepted the retirement of social worker Gloria Meleo Foster, effective at the end of the school year; and
  • appointed Jacqueline Gorski as Hamilton library media specialist, Sandra Macpherson as Hamilton head cook, and Lynn Richmond and Jessica Hoffa as Willow Springs 4-year-old kindergarten teachers.