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October 17, 2005

District’s diversity continues to expand

The diversity of students served in the Hamilton School District continues to grow, and staff members have taken many steps to ready themselves for their roles in helping students find success.

The district’s Chapter 220 coordinator and human relations specialist, Erica Bova-Brown, provided School Board members with a detailed multi-cultural report that covered activities including English Language Learners (ELL), multi-cultural celebrations, staff in-services, classroom presentations, staff recruitment and student club experiences.
Bova-Brown said the ELL Program increased from 110 students in 2003-04, to 153 in 2004-05. Preliminary counts this year indicate there are 176 bilingual students and as many as 35 different languages spoken, up from 22 last year.

Ensuring that staff members have adequate information and background to serve these students is an on-going task that the ELL Committee addresses. The 16-member committee reviews ELL issues and facilitates staff training. In addition, Bova-Brown has developed a cultural collection of materials that teachers may use in their classes including posters, audio programs, books and displays.

Bova-Brown said future plans include providing links to information about students’ home countries on the district’s intranet

Chapter 220, Open Enrollment seats to remain at current level

The school district will hold steady the number of nonresident students who are allowed to enroll through the Chapter 220 and Open Enrollment programs. Because schools are “reaching capacity very quickly in our buildings,” Assistant Superintendent Dean Schultz said no additional seats would be open for out-of-district students.

Some 108 students attend through the Chapter 220 Program, and Schultz said the number will be limited to 105 students next year.

The district has 53 Open Enrollments students who are attending district schools. No new seats were open. People who would like to attend in the district will be put on a waiting list. Administrators will continue to monitor enrollment and may recommend opening some seats if enrollments shift.

Summer Opportunities hits highest enrollment in decades

Enrollment for the 2005 Summer Opportunities Program hit 1,635 students — the highest in at least 20 years. Coordinator Dick Ladd updated the School Board on key facts and figures.
Some 230 sections were scheduled — up 52 from 2004.

The program served students in kindergarten through high school. Enrichment, promotional support, for-credit high school classes, invitational classes to bolster academics, band and athletic offerings were available.

All its goals were met and the program operated with a $73,543 surplus.

Programs help struggling students

A variety of programs and interventions serve students who are struggling. Schultz reported on the 36 programs at the elementary, middle and high school levels. All students who are not proficient in the mathematics or reading portions of the state standardized Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam are offered services.

Budget timeline presented

A timeline for development of the 2006-07 budget was developed by Business Services Director Bryan Ruud. Among the dates are:

  • Dec. 7 at 3:45 p.m. – open faculty and staff forum in the high school library;
  • Feb. 13 – budgets due with administrative signatures;
  • March 20, April 24 and May 2 – opportunity for community input at 7:15 p.m. – prior to School Board meetings in high school library;
  • May 15 – School Board approves final budget; and
  • June 19 – voters approve levy at Annual Meeting.

Youth Option requests approved

The requests of six Hamilton High School students to participate in the Youth Options Program next semester were approved. The statewide program allows students in good academic and disciplinary standing who have completed 10th grade to take technical college or university courses at district expense.

Hamilton Principal David Furrer said that even though the students had applied to take a total of more than 16 courses for the second semester, experience indicates that not all of them will actually take the courses they list on the application. He said students sometimes list several alternatives in case they are not able to get into their first-choice course

Personnel changes OK’d

In personnel business, the School Board:

  • approved the resignation of Maple Avenue special services paraprofessional Melissa Mansfield and Woodside third grade teacher Rachel Ausenhus;
  • appointed Lindsey Wehr as the Hamilton student supervisor for four hours each day, Jean Freund as the Templeton and Hamilton transitions counselor, and Laura DeStefanis as the Hamilton physical education half-time teacher.