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December 2, 2008

Business Education, Marketing curriculum revisions approved
As the district focuses on the skills that students will need for success in the 21st Century, it should consider requiring high school students to take a personal finance course.

After reviewing and accepting revisions to the Business Education and Marketing curriculum, School Board member Lynn Kristensen suggested that the district may want to require future high school students to take a course on personal finance. Currently, the course is offered as an elective.

Personal finance is something that every person will need to know regardless of what they do after high school, Kristensen said.

School Board member Jerry Schmitz said he agreed that it was important for students. Superintendent Kathleen Cooke, Ph.D., noted it and said the suggestion would be reviewed.

Hamilton’s Business Education and Marketing curriculum begins in middle school. All sixth-graders participate in a nine-week introductory computer course. Eighth-graders may choose from two elective courses. High school elective courses focus on computer applications, marketing, business and personal finance. Five high school business courses offer transcripted credit or advanced standing at Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) and use its approved textbooks, curriculum and assessments. The high school program also offers an Advanced Placement (AP) computer programming course, a co-op experience and a finance Youth Apprenticeship program.

School Board members approved the following revisions:

  • The sixth grade required course was aligned with the elementary writing-technology curriculum.
  • Computer courses at the high school and their accompanying software were updated to align with applications in the workforce.
  • Personal Finance, which is aligned with the state’s recent Model Academic Standards for Financial Literacy, and Entrepreneurship were added at the high school.
  • Business Education & Marketing teachers use Eclipse, an online curriculum management tool, to provide easy access to unit plans, project descriptions and assessments related to their curriculum.

Board members pleased with high school progress
When the high school created its site plan six years ago, it simply stated “Students will demonstrate higher-level thinking skills across the curriculum” as its goal. That still drives the school’s site plan.

Hamilton Principal Candis Mongan presented a report on the high school’s progress in the past year. In the past year, the school has renewed its commitment to department plans, goals and tools for measuring growth. It also successfully completed the AdvancEdNorth Central Accreditation process in all seven standards areas that were assessed. Mongan also reported on specific academic achievement that included increase in number of students earning credit on AP exams, additional sections of AP courses that are offered, significant increase in proficiency on writing assessments and ACT and WKCE test results increases.

Mongan said the school will begin piloting online courses to students in the spring and summer and plans to offer eight courses to students next fall opposite band class.

School Board member Deborah Briggs complimented the high school for progress in AP classes and encouraged the implementation of online classes for students. Schmitz also acknowledged success in the area of AP classes.

Some specific action steps in the next year will be to::

  • disaggregate department data,
  • increase student use of Bloom’s Taxonomy terminology;
  • discuss mastery of assessment before moving to the next curricular level;
  • revisit MAP test utilization within a block schedule;
  • identify and review reading strategies by department
  • disaggregate data and encourage under-represented populations to enroll in honors and Advanced Placement course and take the ACT while providing appropriate support for success; and
  • learning metacognitive skills to improve classroom progress and improve reading, problem-solving and critical thinking.

Personnel news
In personnel business, the School Board::

  • appointed Sally Zoellick as a high school Special Services paraprofessional; and
  • adjusted the contract of Student Assistance Program Coordinator Kristin Hasbrook to be consistent with those of confidential support staff members.