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November 19, 2012

Board keeps calendar parameters

The Hamilton School District 2013-14 school calendar will be similar to those in the past. School Board members approved parameters for administrators to use in developing next year’s calendar that have essentially the same considerations that have been in place for years when calendars were negotiated between the School Board and teachers’ association. With implementation of Wisconsin Act 10 two years ago, calendars can no longer be negotiated. Similar to the process used last year, administrators will the guidelines established by the School Board to draft a calendar and gather input from parent groups and instructional leaders. The School Board is expected to take final action on a calendar in January.

The parameters include having 180 student contact days, 192 teacher contract days, traditional break periods, early release days for professional development, days for teachers to prepare and close out their classrooms and parent-teacher conferences.

Administrators are exploring two options for the timing of Spring Break. One keeps it the week after Easter, and the other moves it to mid-March. In addition, additional summer learning academies may be offered.

Board approve one-time supplemental salary adjustment for 10 teachers

School Board members approved a one-time supplemental salary adjustment for eight teachers who attained their master’s degree last summer. Their programs of study had been approved by the district under the terms of the 2009-11 collective bargaining agreement. In addition, two teachers who will finish their master’s degrees in December will receive the one-time supplemental salary adjustment when they present the proper paperwork to district offices.

High school makes progress in site plan

Hamilton High School Principal Candis Mongan gave School Board members an update on the school’s progress and next steps for continued success. The school’s site plan goal is to apply 21st century learning to maximize students’ potential in the global community. Two interventions to support that target state that students will:

  • take an active role in their learning to develop personal and social responsibility skills essential to contribute to their communities; and
  • demonstrate effective communication for a range of purposes in diverse environments.

Mongan said the school will continue to work on the existing goal and tactics in the upcoming year. She pointed out various significant data points that show Hamilton is successful. Superintendent Kathleen Cooke congratulated the high school for reaching high academic standards including being named to the AP Honor Roll for the third consecutive year and being ranked third highest among 64 high schools in southeastern Wisconsin on the new School Report Card.

Woodside site plan progress noted

Cooke summarized Woodside Elementary School’s site plan for Principal James Edmond, Jr., who was home ill. Two tactics that were created by the school site planning team last year indicate that students will:

  • use data to plan, implement and evaluate the effective use of Response to Intervention (RtI) tools and practices to meet the needs of all students; and
  • integrate collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity into daily instruction and monitor growth using rubrics.

Focus at Woodside has been on use of an intervention block, staff development and implementation of the four Cs. The school will continue to focus on those areas.

OPEB change lowers district liability

A report from the Milliman Actuarial Firm showed that the district Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB) liability has dropped from $37.4 million to less than $5.5 million as a result of moving from a defined-benefit to a defined-contribution plan. The remaining liability is expected to be eliminated in the next six years as existing retirees are no longer covered and the custodians’ contract, which still stipulates a defined-benefit plan, expires.

Business Services Assistant Superintendent Bryan Ruud said the move to a defined-contribution plan to a health retirement account worked as expected by reducing the district’s OPEB liability.

School Board election calendar released

The schedule for the 2013 spring election was released. Terms of School Board members Gabe Kolesar, who holds the Village of Sussex seat, and Gerald Schmitz, who has an at-large seat, are up. Both men have indicated they plan to run again.

The election schedule includes:

  • Jan. 2 – deadline for candidacy declaration and nominations papers;
  • Feb. 19 – primary election if needed;
  • April 2 – spring election; and
  • April 22 – taking of office.

 Exceptional Ink recognized

Students and staff members involved with Hamilton High School’s Exceptional Ink student card company were recognized. Staff members Kathryn Foy, Jen Knapp, Julie Orvold and Nicole Hammer accompanied students who introduced themselves and described their responsibilities with the greeting card company where, with the help of teachers and paraprofessionals, they create and sell cards. Knapp played a video describing the program which provides life skills for the students who have created more than 5,000 cards since the company was created in 2010. Each handmade card sells for $1.