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April 3, 2012

Hamilton restructures schedule

School Board members approved changes to the Hamilton’s daily schedule designed to strengthen the high school academic environment. The school will keep four class periods with an advisement, but the schedule will be consistent each day. Currently, Hamilton has 90-minute classes three times a week, with 75-minute classes and a 55-minute advisement twice a week. Passing time between classes is 10 minutes.

The new schedule, which will be implemented next year, creates 83-minute class periods, a 35-minute advisement and 7-minute passing time every day. The new schedule results in five minutes of lost instructional time each week, but the reconfigured advisement provides daily intervention and one-on-one time with teachers.

Students will report to advisement classes on Mondays and Wednesdays. After the third week, they will work with their advisor to determine academic support locations for Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Those academic support locations may be reset after the 6- and 12-week grading periods. Students who earn C- or lower will report to an assigned academic classroom until their grade increases. Club meetings alternate on Wednesdays.

Advisement teachers will track each student’s academic progress and teach specific curriculum. Freshmen will focus on planning their future, sophomores on reading and writing strategies, juniors on standardized test preparation, and seniors on career readiness and financial literacy.

The high school will test run the new schedule four days at the end of May.

School Board member Michael Hyland complimented Hamilton Principal Candis Mongan for the process she used to keep parents involved as the proposal was created.

“I believe the kids will adapt very well,” Hyland said. “It’s the parents who have a lot of ‘what if’ questions and Mrs. Mongan has kept the parents informed.”

The proposal was presented to the school’s Building Leadership Team in January. Instructional leaders discussed the model with the departments and forwarded strengths, concerns and questions to administrators. After some changes, the final proposal was presented to all staff in February.

Superintendent Kathleen Cooke, Ph.D., said Hamilton was light years ahead of most high schools in implementing Response to Intervention (RtI) strategies. She predicted Hamilton will be a role model for other schools as they deal with the RtI initiative.

Individual contracts, letters go to certified staff

Certified staff members can expect to find letters with their 2012-13 contracts in Wednesday’s school mail as a result of Hamilton School Board action. A change in state law allows school boards to wait as late as May 15 — rather than the previous deadline of March 15 — to issue individual contracts. Instead of waiting, the School Board took up the matter to signal its commitment to retaining high quality staff.

Return of contracts is not due until June 15 under the new state law, but school administrators hope staff will return them as soon as possible so that vacancies are identified and final assignments can be made.

While no positions were eliminated or reduced due to budget reductions, some staffing was adjusted because of normal course enrollment shifts that occur when students select courses each year. When reductions were necessary, they were decided based on criteria in the new “Employee Handbook for Professional Teaching Staff” that includes:

  • service to the teaching profession and contribution to school community beyond the classroom and school district;
  • adaptability to other academic and extracurricular assignments and multiple licenses;
  • professional growth and specialized or advanced training;
  • previous history of grade levels taught in subject area; and
  • effectiveness in teaching and related professional responsibilities.

The compensation amount normally found on individual contracts indicates that salary will be adjusted subject to base-wage negotiations with United Lakewood Educators-Hamilton. State law passed last year requires that salary adjustments are subject to base-wage negotiations but the state commission responsible for defining and calculating base wages has not finalized that information. Instead, the amount on staff contracts reflects 2010-11 compensation along with any credits approved for 2011-12, with a commitment to adjust salaries subject to negotiations with ULE-Hamilton when an agreement is reached.

School counseling manual approved

Revision of the “School Counseling Programming Manual” was approved. The program is based on the National Standards for School Counseling Model and the Wisconsin Comprehensive School Counseling Model which integrate academic, career and personal-social development. Components of direct service programming include school counseling curriculum, individual planning, responsive services and system support.

Personnel business

In personnel business, the School Board:

  • accepted resignations of Woodside first grade teacher Rebecca McGinley, Hamilton applied engineering and technology teacher Ryan Little, Templeton cleaner Richard Piontek and school psychologist Ann Brogan; and
  • appointed Matthew Hansen as a Hamilton and Templeton applied engineering and technology teacher.