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March 6, 2007

District begins vertical teaming
Along with its regular curriculum revision process, the Hamilton School District has undertaken “vertical teaming” in an effort to prepare students for higher level coursework.

Instructional Services Supervisor Margaret Bauman, Ph.D., reported on the concept that was developed by the College Board for Advanced Placement programming. She said the goal of vertical teams is to identify the essential skills and concepts in a content area and ensure that they are taught sequentially across grade levels and courses.

The district will begin the vertical team process this spring in social studies and during the summer in communication arts and science.

Curriculum work underway
Bauman reported on the regular curriculum work conducted this year in guidance and social studies. The district uses a 5-year process to ensure that every curricular area is reviewed and updated. Committees of teacher representatives:

  • Analyze student achievement data in the content area;
  • Make certain there is alignment with state standards;
  • Ensure student learning expectations are clear, developmentally appropriate and sequential; and
  • Incorporate cross-curricular standards including information and technology literacy, critical thinking and communication skills..

Committees will begin the revision process next year in family and consumer education, technology education and business education.

Teachers also have worked on integrating information standards into the curriculum. Media specialists will work with classroom teachers to define how the literacy standards will be integrated into grade level and course curriculum. The media specialists will team teach with content teachers to provide mini lessons on how to find research and evaluate it.
School Board Member Dawn VanAacken said Hamilton’s systematic review helps build a very strong curriculum as compared to what is found in many other districts.

Guidance, AODA document approved
School Board members approved revised curriculum documents that define program components of the Guidance and Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA) programs.

Bauman presented research that indicates a comprehensive developmental guidance program has a positive impact on academic achievement, standardized test scores, school climate and family-school partnerships. Hamilton’s guidance program is implemented through classroom guidance curriculum, individual student planning, responsive services for students who need special support and management activities such as standardized test coordination.

Student Assistance Specialist and AODA counselor Kristin Hasbrook said the rationale of AODA services is to prevent risk behaviors, assist students affected by AODA issues, connect students and parents to outside agencies and help parents navigate their children during the school years though the Get Connected Program.

Hasbrook noted that AODA programming is funded through state and United Way grants and fluctuates based on grant availability.

Strategic Plan adds new focus
At this year’s annual Strategic Plan update, achievement of minority, low socio-economic status, special needs and English language learner students was identified as a need for focus. Assistant Superintendent Dean Schultz reported results of the update held in November.

An action planning team working on the new initiative recommended that the district:

  • Provide professional development on the most effective instructional approaches as they relate to student needs such as poverty, minority, English language learners and special education; and
  • Analyze longitudinal progress of disaggregated students to determine the effects of professional development..

Existing strategies of the plan are to:

  • Foster learning environments that nurture social and emotional development to ensure maximum achievement for each child;
  • Ensure that professional development improves student learning;
  • Use student assessment results and other performance-related data to ensure continuous progress for each child; and
  • Enhance communication to promote understanding, support and involvement of families, the community and staff.

Board recognizes achievements
The accomplishments of three Hamilton High School students and a district staff member were recognized by the School Board.

Seniors Michael Alfano, Joseph Bartolone and Phillip Laper were recognized as Hamilton’s recipients of the Wisconsin Academic Excellence Scholarship. By attaining the highest grade point average in their high school careers, they each are eligible for a four-year scholarship worth $2,250 annually for tuition at a Wisconsin public or private college, university or technical school.

Superintendent Kathleen Cooke, Ph.D., said it is reassuring to know that individuals such as the three young men will be future leaders who will represent their school and families well.

Instructional Services Supervisor Margaret Bauman was honored for being selected the Wisconsin State Reading Association (WSRA) Outstanding Administrator. Cooke congratulated her on the award and noted Bauman’s positive impact on professional development in the district. Cooke said Bauman set high standards, was a role model and allowed staff to take professional risks as they learned.

Bauman said the WSRA award was especially meaningful because district reading specialists nominated her.

Personnel news

  • In personnel business, the School Board:
    appointed Matthew Reischauer as Hamilton social studies teacher, Jennifer Knapp as Marcy speech and language specialist, Tonya Sumiec as Hamilton Spanish teacher, Amanda Lindstedt as Marcy second grade teacher, Amy Werwie as Marcy kindergarten teacher, Kristin Truelove as Woodside speech and language specialist, and Laura Kasper as Maple speech and language specialist; and
  • approved a 2.5 percent total aggregate salary increase and benefit language changes for assistant cooks and associate kitchen employees. The new agreement provides a starting pay of $10.48 per hour for associate kitchen employees and $10.76 per hour for assistant cooks with an additional 25 cents per hour after 14 years of service.