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November 4, 2008

Hamilton has opportunities through CESA #1
The Hamilton School District’s partnership with the Cooperative Educational Service Agency (CESA) #1 has generated significant resources and opportunities that might not otherwise be available, according to CESA #1 Executive Director Tim Gavigan, Ph.D. School Board members listened to Gavigan as he provided an overview of the agency’s initiatives.

Established by state statute, CESA #1 has served southeastern Wisconsin for more than 40 years. The agency serves 44 other school districts by offering staffing, programs, purchasing and services that individual schools district would find cost prohibitive. These include: cost-effective services for low-incident, high-cost students; technical and consultant support; large-scale cooperative technology purchases; and access to regional, state and national professional development, resources and expertise.

“These value-added services have enabled the Hamilton School District to provide your students with cost-effective services for special needs and at-risk students,” Gavigan stated in a written report. “In addition, therapy services have been provided in a very cost-effective manner through shared services.”

Accompanying Gavigan was Bruce Connolly, former Brown Deer School District superintendent and current director of CESA’s Center for Education Innovation and Regional Economic Development. Connolly outlined the focus of the center which is a 21st century learning initiative, accelerated solutions lab, assessment center and professional development.

When asked about priorities for the future, Gavigan said he would like CESA to provide school districts with: a research, data and analysis center; facilitation as they go from good to great; and a regional initiative to address the growing number of disadvantaged students.

ELL enrollment tapers off
After experiencing several years in which the district’s English Language Learners (ELL) enrollment increased by double-digit percentages, the district expects to see a decrease this year. From 2002 to 2007, the district’s ELL enrollment nearly tripled from 39 to 115 students. Last year, the enrollment remained at 115, and this year it is expected to be 108 students. Staff members will administer the ACCESS test to identified students to determine their language needs in December, but they are not expecting significant changes in the enrollment projection.

The goal of the ELL Program is to support students as they become proficient in English and successfully complete the district’s educational program. Two part-time teachers work with classroom teachers across the district to deliver services to ELL students. Last year, Seniors and Students volunteers began working to support the program as well.

Some 21 different languages are spoken in the homes of the students including Hungarian, Mandarin and Punjabi.

Templeton’s first site plan update presented
Templeton Principal Patricia Polczynski gave the first update of the school’s new site plan created last fall after the previous plan was retired.

The plan’s three tactics that staff members have begun to address state that students will:

  • Increase literacy skills and competencies across all content areas;
  • Develop critical thinking, problem solving and creativity skills to become productive citizens in a global society; and
  • Increase their emotional intelligence and individual resiliency skills to be successful young adults.

Polczynski provided data including longitudinal state standardized test results, school enrollment and demographics, and survey results from staff, students and parents.

The school was one of a select few recognized two consecutive years as a “middle school of excellence” by the state Department of Public Instruction and the Association of Wisconsin School Administrators based on reading and mathematics scores. Templeton had the highest percentage of students scoring proficient and advanced in mathematics on the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam in grades 6, 7 and 8 and in reading in grades 7 and 8 among Waukesha County’s 11 K-12 school districts. In addition, sixth-graders were second highest in reading in the county.

One area of concern that will be addressed by adding an intervention to the first tactic is eighth-graders’ low proficiency in language arts, which Polczynski said the school finds perplexing.

“Despite our numerous academic successes that we are very proud of, we still have work ahead of us,” Polczynski said.

School Board Member Deborah Briggs said she was not surprised that the school already has plans to address the area of concern.

“I have no doubt that we will get there,” Briggs said.

Board members intend to run again
The terms of the three School Board members – Deborah Briggs who represents Butler, Lynn Kristensen, who represents Menomonee Falls, and Dawn Van Aacken, who represents Lisbon – are up in 2009. All three have indicated they plan to run for re-election. The election schedule includes:

  • Jan. 6 – deadline for candidacy declaration and nominations papers;
  • Feb. 17 – primary election if needed;
  • April 7 – spring election; and
  • April 27 – taking of office.

Personnel business
In personnel business, the School Board approved the appointments of Templeton Special Services paraprofessional Nicole Kruschel and Woodside and Hamilton cleaner James Johnson.