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March 1, 2016

School Board welcomes Mielke as superintendent


School Board members took official action March 1 to approve a contract for Paul Mielke, Ph.D., to become superintendent, effective July 1. After voting on his contract, board members congratulated Mielke and his family who attended the meeting with him.

ION technology puts data in one bucket


Templeton Middle School mathematics teacher and interventionist Nicole O’Connor, along with Instructional Supervisor Katherine Little, Ph.D., and Special Services Supervisor John Peterson, described how the district is using ION software to coordinate student data needed to determine interventions for students whose performance is below the 40th percentile. 

O’Connor said ION allows teachers to see the history of a student’s academic performance over time so a team of teachers can recommend the best course of action and check for progress. Prior to using ION, O’Connor said data boards were create using hundreds of Post-it notes. Now in a matter of minutes, a data board of 100 students can be created and information can be accessed and sorted in seconds

She said the technology will be a great benefit when students transition from grade to grade and building to building.

District continues technology replacements

School Board members approved purchase of $238,532 for 260 desktop, 164 Chromebooks, 42 laptops, four mobile carts, automation software and one server. The district typically replaces 250 to 350 computers each year as they become obsolete.

After evaluating different devices, the district is using lower-cost Chromebooks in certain areas so that more devices are available for student use, according to Information Technology Manager Ryan McMillan. At $239 per device, Chromebooks are less than half the cost of desktops and laptops that cost $500-$700.

Assessment schedule summarized

Instructional Services Supervisor Katherine Little, Ph.D., summarized standardized assessments required by state and federal law. The Forward Exam, formerly the Badger Exam 3-8, will be administered online this spring. It includes English – language arts and mathematics for grades 3-8 and 10, science for grades 4 and 8, and social studies for grades 4, 8 and 10. The amount of time devoted to the Wisconsin Forward Exam for students in seven grades ranges from 100 minutes for sophomores to 440 minutes for eighth-graders. Most students required to take Forward Exams will spend 250 minutes in testing.

Wisconsin also requires that all freshmen and sophomores take ASPIRE and all juniors take the ACT or Work Keys exam.

Last year Badger Exam was one-year only; the Forward Exam has a 10-year contract. Expect to have longitudinal data that can use.

In addition to the state-mandated exams, the district implements elementary benchmark assessments in reading, mathematics and writing, along with Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessments in grades 1-8. The Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS) is administered at primary grade levels. Alternative assessments and those for English Language Learners are also given.

Contract with Dominiczak extended

The School Board approved continuing services with Dominiczak Therapy Associates until 2018. The district switched to Dominiczak for occupational and physical therapy (OT, PT) services last year for the first time. Special Services Supervisor John Peterson reported that experience with the company and its therapists has been positive.

“The therapists have established strong, working relationships with our staff, parents and students,” Peterson wrote in his report to the School Board. “They also work with our staff to reinforce the skills and activities that encourage fine and gross motor development throughout the students’ day.”

Peterson reported that OT and PT costs were down by $19,500 from the previous year.

Progress, priorities from tactical plans presented

School Board members were updated on progress made in the district’s strategic and tactical plans. Human Resources and Organizational Development Director John Roubik summarized reports submitted by tactical plan managers.
Seven strategic priorities are being addressed in the tactical plans including:

  • personalized, differentiated instructional practices;
  • Response to Intervention readiness;
  • student information system;
  • construction of high school classroom space;
  • two-way communication practices;
  • professional development; and
  • Educator Effectiveness Model implementation.