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November 16, 2009

Board gives approval to investigate fiber optic lease costs
School Board members gave administrators permission to seek bids to lease fiber optic connections to the elementary schools, but the decision only sets the stage for a final decision next March.

In October the School Board approved hiring a consultant to help the district investigate the pros and cons of leasing fiber optic cable versus district installation. Research from the consultant indicated that if the district installed a system on its own, it could expect costs to exceed $1 million with nearly $2,000 annual fees. A leased solution is expected to be about $100,000 per year based on a 5-year lease.

Fiber optic connections already exist between the high school and middle school, but the elementary schools and Willow Spring Learning Center have T1 or cable connections that are in need of upgrading. The fiber optic solution would provide a one gigabyte line for each school, about 100 times the current capacity.

The district is able to request bids through a program commonly known as “E-Rate,” which provide discounts to schools and library to obtain affordable telecommunications and Internet access. Hamilton’s discount would be 39 percent and is based on the area’s poverty level.

After getting more precise bids from telecommunications providers, the board will be able to review costs with a better understanding of the district’s overall budget for the coming year.

Realignment proposed for Hamilton football
A proposal designed to provide some high school football teams better access to the playoffs and minimize scheduling conflicts is a solution that would take Hamilton varsity football from its Division II Greater Metro Conference to a new Division I conference. Hamilton Athletic Director Mike Gosz reported on the proposed realignment that will only affect football at this point.

Responding to requests from northern Wisconsin and Milwaukee high schools, the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) plans to place Hamilton in a conference with Arrowhead, Germantown, Homestead, Menomonee Falls, Oconomowoc, West Allis Central and West Allis Hale.

Hamilton will be the smallest school in what school officials consider to be the toughest football conference in the state. Hamilton, along with several surrounding school districts and the Greater Metro Conference commission and president, has filed an appeal with the WIAA. Among other things, Hamilton cites a lack of continuity among the levels of football. Hamilton’s junior varsity and freshmen teams would continue to play in the Greater Metro Conference.

With the realignment, WIAA hopes it can maintain a playoff schedule in which teams will not have to play more than once a week, thereby reducing the threat of head injuries.

The WIAA expects to take final action on the proposal Jan. 27 and distribute football schedules to schools in February. Gosz will attend a meeting of area athletic directors on Nov. 18 and is expected to learn more about reaction from other schools.

District’s ethnicity diversifies
The ethnic background of Hamilton students has shifted slightly in the past year. White students continue to make up the largest percentage of enrollment at 87.85 percent, which reflects a 0.95 percent decrease. Asian or Pacific Islanders is now the large minority group at 5.07 percent compared to 2.9 percent last year. The number of black students went from 4.7 percent in 2009-09 to 3.57 percent this year, while the Hispanic population dropped slightly from 3.4 percent to 3.18 percent. American Indian-Alaskan students were nearly unchanged at 0.33 percent compared to 0.3 percent last year.

Human Relations Specialist Erica Bova-Brown gave highlights of activities that were designed to close the achievement gap, provide staff in-service opportunities and heighten awareness of diverse perspectives.

First year of Templeton’s site plan implementation presented
Templeton Principal Patricia Polczynski reported on the first full year of the school’s site plan implementation.

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.

Teachers, Dairyland recognized
Hamilton teacher Kimberly Leannais and Robin Tessereau were recognized as a result of selection by former students for two different awards.

Leannais, a science teacher, was nominated by Hamilton graduate Zach Emberts and was ultimately selected for the University of Minnesota 2009 Outstanding Science Teacher Award.

Tessereau, a German teacher, was named Ripon College’s Educator of the Year for 2008-09 after being nominated by former students Kelly Schweiss and Lizzie Stoudt.

Dairyland Bus Company officials Lori Hartman, Linda Sulla and Mike Pevitch were recognized for providing outstanding service to the district. In addition to providing safe, reliable transportation for more than 3,000 students each school day, Dairyland has gone above and beyond by volunteering at Dozer Day and providing seven needy students with transportation scholarships so that they could attend the Summer Opportunities Program.

Personnel matters
In personnel business, the School Board appointed Eileen Casper as the Lannon replacement music teacher, effective Oct. 20.