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October 19, 2015


Students recognized for winning recipe


A team of Hamilton High School students were recognized for success in the third annual Whipping Up Wellness Wisconsin Student Chef competition. Natalie Pena, Alyssa Schmucker, Suzanne Smaglik and Elena Bruch – known as the Shakers and Bakers team – developed an original, student-friendly recipe that included local foods. Their recipe, Fabulous Fruity Carrot Cranberry Bars, is one of 42 recipes to be included in the student chef cookbook published by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Schools throughout the state submitted recipes created by teams of students in grades 6-12. Recipes were judged on nutritional quality, incorporation of USDA foods, use of culinary skills, ease of use by school food service, recipe presentation, recipe description and creativity. The contest was sponsored by Wisconsin Team Nutrition and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

Family and consumer sciences teacher Kathy Rankin and district food and nutrition services manager Kira Cerroni King advised the Hamilton team.

Tax rate drops 1.6 percent

School Board members approved a $55.89 million budget that includes a mil rate of $9.61 per $1,000 of property. For each $100,000 of property citizens own, they will pay $961 in property taxes to support the school district. The mil rate is 16 cents less than the rate from last year.

The total budget increased 1.57 percent — due in part to the cost of putting a classroom addition onto Hamilton High School.

The district’s equalized valuation increased by 2.09 percent in the past year. State aid dropped .88 percent.

The gross tax levy — the portion of the budget paid by local taxpayers — increased to $29.83 million from $29.69 million in 2014-15.

Each October, the School Board must adopt the budget, certify the tax levy and establish the tax rate after the Department of Revenue determines property values in the district. Tax bills are sent to property owners in December.

Board approves Youth Options requests

A total of 27 high school students requested admission to the Youth Options Program that will allow them to take classes next semester at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha and Milwaukee, Waukesha County Technical College, Wisconsin Lutheran College, Mount Mary, Marquette University, Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, Milwaukee School of Engineering and Carroll University. Hamilton Principal Candis Mongan noted, as in the past, many students will not be able to take the courses because of scheduling conflicts or full classes. A total of 14 students requested admission to Youth Options last year.

Youth Options is a program mandated by the state that allows students who have completed tenth grade, are in good academic standing and have no disciplinary problems to attend a technical college or university if they have exhausted their high school curriculum.

Woodside, Templeton site plans approved

Woodside Elementary School Site Plan team met Aug. 20 to review and revise its plan for maximizing success for each student. Principal James Edmond, Jr., Ph.D., and Associate Principal Linda Hake, described the school’s work in achieving its goals.

The school has seen significant achievement gains in the past year with fewer students in low-performing categories and more in high-achieving designations as compared to students across the state. Results have been so strong that next year’s challenge is to meet the needs of so many high-achieving students. Staff will also continue working on closing the achievement gap among disaggregated student groups.

Tactics for 2015-16 indicate that, using the 2014-15 MAP scores as baseline data, Woodside will maintain or exceed their projected growth targets in reading and mathematics.

Principal Paul Mielke, Ph.D. presented results from Templeton Middle School’s site planning process. Templeton set school achievement records in five out of six possible categories in mathematics and reading and each grade level scored significantly higher than the five-year school average.

Mielke pointed to school initiatives that had an impact on achievement including:

  • a new curriculum that aligns instructional practices within critical literacy across the houses and grade levels to ensure quality instruction for students;
  • a revised schedule to promote alignment across the grade levels that added an advisement period allowing academic and behavior interventions and supports for all students; and
  • new reading and mathematics interventions that are more rigorous and flexible which should help to maximize student achievement.

Templeton’s site plan committee developed the following tactics for 2015-16 that state students will engage in authentic reading and writing within classes to promote critical literacy and personalizing their own learning via learner profiles, goal setting and student choice.

Technology initiatives highlighted

School Board members accepted a written report that detailed Information Technology updates in the past year that included Infinite Campus online registration, network initiatives, testing initiatives, replacement or installation of 600 desktop, laptop and chromebook computers as part of the district’s computer rotation cycle.

Maintenance staff address summer projects

During the summer of 2015 the maintenance and custodial staff completed the annual task of preparing our school facilities for the upcoming school year. This work included maintenance on mechanical systems, the cleaning of classrooms, restrooms, locker and shower areas, stripping and refinishing of floors, refinishing wood gymnasium floors, carpet cleaning and the maintenance of the grounds and athletic fields throughout the district. In addition to these annually scheduled tasks, below you will find a brief summary of this summer’s special projects.

  • District:
    • Replaced maintenance van
    • Annual aerial lift and exhaust hood inspections at all schools
    • Annual fire alarm inspection and calibration at all schools
    • All fire extinguishers inspected and/or recharged
  • Hamilton High School:
    • Cleaned chiller coils
    • Replaced exterior building soffit east side of building
    • Multiple classrooms were given new ceiling tile
    • Landscaping upgrades
    • Asphalt patching
    • Asphalt striping
    • Boiler stack roof flashing repaired
    • Student locker replacement phase 5 (west side of F.A.C.E. hall and start of h-hall)
    • Added 100 student lockers to wood shop hall
    • Repainted exterior light poles
    • Replaced 30 student desks
    • Replaced four treadmills fitness center
    • Relamped fine arts center
  • Templeton Middle School:
    • Re-painted classrooms
    • Enhanced exterior landscaping
    • Mulched landscaping
    • Misc. asphalt patching
    • Asphalt striping
    • Added four security cameras in hall areas
  • Lannon Elementary School:
    • Cleaned chiller coils
    • Added woodchips to all playground equipment
    • Mulched landscaping
    • Painted classrooms
    • Misc. asphalt patching
    • Asphalt striping
    • Replaced one cafeteria table module
  • Maple Elementary School:
    • Added woodchips to playground
    • Cleaned chiller condenser coils
    • Repainted classrooms and hallways
    • Mulched landscaping
    • Asphalt striping
    • Replaced floor scrubber
    • Replaced roof section 2 (main entrance area)
    • Installed carpet in main lobby
  • Marcy Elementary School:
    • Added woodchips to all playground equipment
    • Clean chiller coils
    • Painted hallways and classrooms
    • Mulched landscaping
    • Asphalt striping
    • Painted IMC walls
  • Woodside Elementary School:
    • Mulched landscaping
    • Repaired landscaping, replaced bushes
    • Clean chiller coils
    • Painted hallways and classrooms
    • Repainted north and part of east exterior walls
    • Asphalt striping
  • Willow Springs Learning Center:
    • Added woodchips to playground equipment
    • Mulched landscaping
    • Constructed and installed cabinets above open cubbies (home and school funding, constructed and installed by district staff)
    • Asphalt striping
    • Replaced class bell module

Maintenance staff, including full time personnel, substitutes and summer help performed efficiently. Despite a summer full of challenges and projects, coupled with ever increasing facility use throughout the school year and a growing summer school program, all schools were cleaned and ready for the upcoming school year in advance, affording the time to do additional painting and maintenance work.

Curriculum alignment, articulation, vertical teaming report given

Instructional Services Supervisor Katie Little, Ph.D., reported on curriculum alignment, articulation and vertical teaming initiatives in the district. She noted that alignment and articulation are keys to ensuring that curriculum and instruction are sequenced across grades so that learning can progress in a seamless manner as students move from grade to grade and course to course. Alignment and articulation activities occur in a variety of models and formats.

The following areas, which continue the emphasis begun with the strategic plan, will be addressed during the 2015-2016 school year:

  • Curriculum and related professional learning
    • The curriculum process will continue to include identifying essential learning targets, and associated student “I can…” statements for each unit of instruction. This year K-12 mathematics, 6-12 English language arts, and information technology literacy will be reviewed.
    • The strategic plan calls for student goal setting and the study and use of learner profiles as the initial steps for customizing and personalizing learning. The Personalizing Learning Team lead the implementation in August and will continue to provide support during the school year. This year the team will study and plan for purposeful rapid cycle student feedback.
    • Elementary reading specialists are designing professional learning opportunities for grade level teams. Lesson plans are built around identified needs from the Being a Writer and Benchmark Literacy resources as well as from information gained from the Reading Recovery and other conferences.
    • The elementary math curriculum committee is pilot testing an assessment package designed to work with our Everyday Mathematics program. The goal of these assessments is to gather specific information about individual students’ strengths and areas for growth that will allow for greater differentiation and personalization.
  • Vertical Teaming is designed to:
    • build rigorous curricula;
    • introduce skills, concepts and assessment methods to prepare students for success in challenging courses;
    • strengthen curriculum and increase the academic challenge for all students; and
    • increase cross-school curricular and instructional communication.

On Feb.12, each vertical team will develop a goal and action plan that is specific to strengthening content instructional practices. Action plans tend to fit in one of the following categories: strategy identification and development, common assessments, common procedural practices, resource study and effective use.

Instructional Leaders meet on a monthly basis to plan for vertical teaming as well as to strengthen facilitation skills. In addition, instructional leaders act as a conduit between district administration and teachers to discuss and disseminate information about current matters within the district and state public education. Standing agenda items include building updates, district updates and an open forum to discuss other areas of staff interest or need.

  • Response to Intervention
    • RtI utilizes Instructional and Child Assistance Teams to ensure a shared (collaborative) responsibility for the assessment, instruction, progress and achievement of struggling learners. Interventionists will continue to meet on a regular basis to evaluate the use of current interventions, expand the district’s intervention menu and continue to strengthen the RtI process across the district.
    • The RtI leadership team, consisting of teachers and administrators, continue to review potential interventions to meet students’ needs. Interventions are evaluated against the SLD criteria, best practice, fidelity to the child and total cost of ownership. Those that meet our criteria are adopted and added to the district’s intervention model.
    • Literacy interventionists are learning about the Comprehensive Intervention Model, a series of strategy based interventions based on best practices in literacy. Identified interventionists and special education teachers participated in Guided Reading Plus training and are receiving coaching on this model this fall. They will receive training in Comprehension Focus Groups this spring.
  • Teacher collaboration time is a vital component in ensuring curriculum articulation and smooth transitions for students as they move from grade to grade and course to course.
    • Teachers who are new to the district were provided time to collaborate with one another and learn about district procedures and initiatives on Aug. 19-21. All new teachers as well as instructional leaders and building administrators are provided a copy of “How to Motivate Reluctant Learners” and will participate in book studies this school year.
    • Elementary grade level teams are being provided continued support for the implementation of Being a Writer and Benchmark Literacy. Consistency within and among grade levels is important for implementation with fidelity. Grade level pilot teachers have been instrumental in the success of the initial rollout. They will continue to serve as leaders for their colleagues as we continue this journey.
    • The middle and high school staff facilitate department/house meetings to discuss and plan ways to strengthen instructional practice in the content areas.
  • Curriculum review process

The district is committed to developing and implementing high quality curriculum, learning opportunities and assessments. It is through focused professional learning and collaboration opportunities that this becomes a reality.

Educational Services reports on priorities

Educational Services administrators John Roubik and Katie Little, Ph.D. updated the School Board on work of the department. They covered numerous initiatives regarding strategic planning, curriculum development, professional development, special education assessment, Response to Intervention, personalized and differentiated instruction, benchmark literacy and employee compensation.

Accomplishments from 2014-15 include:

  • Curriculum
    • Continued progress on the following curricula revisions; information and technology literacy
    • The following curricular areas were revised and presented to the board: music, world languages, K-5 writing, grades 6-8 critical literacy, grade 10 social studies
  • Professional development
    • Infinite Campus
    • Educator Effectiveness
    • Vertical Teaming: math, literacy and other instructional practices as appropriate for content areas
    • Personalizing learning: goal setting and learner profiles
    • New teacher orientation: strategic plan, supervision-evaluation, RtI, technology, closing the achievement gap
    • Elementary literacy
  • RtI (Response to Intervention)
    • Reviewed and updated interventions for the district menu of offerings
    • Pilot tested and adopted ION software tool
    • Added research-based math and reading interventions
    • Researched and implemented evidence based strategies in reading and writing
    • Developed fidelity checks for district interventions
    • District RtI leadership team planned the implementation of ION software
  • Student information system
    • Completed the conversion from STI to Infinite Campus
    • Provided training to all employee groups for use of Infinite Campus
    • Provided parent training and communication
    • Designed and implemented a process for online registration
  • Educator Effectiveness
    • Developed and implemented the district’s strategic tactic
    • Trained and calibrated administrators in the use of My Learning Plan
    • Trained all teachers in the components of the Effectiveness Project, including SLOs, PPG, client surveys and documentation log
    • Conducted multiple meetings with the Supervision-Evaluation Committee to monitor the implementation of the Effectiveness Project
    • Conducted the data extraction for DPI and designed a rollover process for 2015-16
  • Personalized-differentiated instruction
    • Initiated a personalizing learning team and designed a pilot process to develop the use of learner profiles and student goal-setting throughout the district
    • Pilot tested two electronic student e-folios
    • Designed and facilitated professional development activities for full staff implementation in 2015-16
      • Created an implementation and management plan for the Badger Exam, ACT Aspire, ACT, ACCESS, Dynamic Learning Maps, PALS
      • Redesigned the Technology and Learning Academy
      • Monitored and assessed the implementation of the benchmark literacy program

Priorities for 2015-16 will be to:

  • Develop, implement and monitor the district’s strategic tactics in the areas of:
    • Personalizing-differentiated instruction
    • Data analysis-progress monitoring
    • Research and professional development
  • Curriculum development in the areas of:
    • Grades 6-12 communication arts
    • Information technology literacy
    • K-12 mathematics
  • Continue to monitor and assess the implementation of the benchmark literacy curriculum
  • Monitor and assess the implementation of the Being a Writer curriculum
  • Conduct training for the Comprehensive Intervention Model (Guided Reading Plus, Comprehension Focus Group)
  • Investigate and develop recommendations for closing the achievement gap, including aligning special education and regular education resources to best meet the needs of students
  • Design and monitor recommendations for employee compensation
  • Conduct an analysis of projected enrollment in relation to current staffing levels and facility space availablity

In personnel action, the School Board:

  • accepted the resignations of Templeton paraprofessional Jenny Galbavy and Lannon special services paraprofessional Patricia Gmeinder Mallu; and
  • appointed Lynn Cincotta as Marcy associate kitchen employee, Judith Savana as Hamilton custodian, Jenny Galbavy as Templeton special services paraprofessional, Stephanie Dillemuth as Templeton associate kitchen employee.