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September 6, 2016

Board hears update on teacher coaching initiative

School Board members heard an update on the teacher coaching initiative approved last spring. The board took action in May and June to implement instructional coaching for teaching staff. They approved hiring one full-time instructional coach and aligned reading specialists’ schedules to include time for literacy coaching in the building. Direct literacy support reading specialists had provided in the past is now the responsibility of part-time interventionists who were hired through special education and Title I and II funds.

Hamilton’s model was designed to provide job-embedded professional development and support to facilitate improvement in curriculum, assessment and instructional practice in an effort to enhance student learning, according to the report from Instructional Service Supervisor Katie Little, Ph.D., and Human Resources Director John Roubik. Instructional coaches work with teachers to help incorporate research-based instruction into teaching, identify professional goals and implement a plan to reach them.

Two school site plans presented

Marcy Elementary School Principal Michele Trawicki reported on her school’s site planning process. Continuing with an approach that has been used for the past four years, all four of the district’s elementary schools gathered Aug. 17 to share updates on their current plan, new data and ideas to adjust their own unique plan.

Trawicki reported that while Marcy’s overall enrollment is leveling out, the school is seeing an increase in non-English speaking children and students who come from low socioeconomic status homes. Overall, Marcy students score well compared to district and state data. Marcy continues to score at the top of the county in most areas.

Again, Marcy’s tactics will focus on literacy and mathematics goals.

Hamilton Principal Candis Mongan updated the School Board on the high school’s site plan which identifies that “students will increase engagement across the disciplines to reach higher levels of achievement, develop readiness to compete in a global society and be prepared for college and career.”

The two tactics that serve as measurement tools for its stated goal indicate that students will strengthen their autonomy, critical thinking and inquiry skills necessary for postsecondary pursuits and learning by using disciplinary literacy strategies to comprehend, analyze and evaluate text.

Mongan reported on accomplishments of the school which include:

  • Advanced Placement — Hamilton High School’s Advanced Placement pass rate remains high with 85.8 percent of students attaining a passing score of 3 or higher. More significantly, participation increased from 469 exams taken in 2011-12 to 568 taken in 2015-16 and the number of AP class sections increased from 34 to 40 in that same time.
  • Challenge Index — AP pass rates and percentage of students taking the exams affect the school’s Challenge Index which represents the availability of advanced coursework in the school’s curriculum. Because many more students are taking AP exams, the school’s Challenge Index score increased from 1.2 in 2013 to 1.57 in 2016. The 1.57 score represents the second highest Challenge Index score in the school’s history.
  • ACT — Because all Wisconsin juniors are required to take the ACT exam, comparison of previous and current results are difficult. Mongan said she will have more data regarding the ACT and other exams to share with the School Board at a later meeting.
  • In addition to assessment performance, Hamilton High School was named to the U.S. News and World Report’s Best High School list for the third time since 2012 and, for the sixth consecutive year, to the Advanced Placement Honor Roll. Hamilton was also featured this year on Newsweek’s Top High Schools and as a “Top High School Beating the Odds” list. The Washington Post named Hamiton to “America’s Most Challenging High Schools” list in 2014 and 2016.

One student admitted into kindergarten early

One student was admitted early into kindergarten for 5-year-olds last year, according to a report presented by Special Services Supervisor John Peterson. Three students participated in the early admission 5K screening process. No parents requested early admissions for first grade. District policy indicates children must be four, five or six years old by Sept. 1 to enter four-year-old kindergarten, regular kindergarten or first grade, respectively. While procedures exist for early admission to regular kindergarten and first grade, no early admission is granted for four-year-old kindergarten.

Other reports presented

In other reports, the School Board learned that:

  • Curriculum areas that will be reviewed in 2016-17 are guidance, family and consumer education, K-5 science and middle school mathematics continuation.
  • Unlike recent years, 2016-17 is not expected to be newsworthy for state assessements. The state signed a 10-year contract to implement the Forward Exam.
  • Some 23 new teachers attended a three-day workshop in August when they were introduced to the coaching model, district strategic plan, instructional initiatives, technology training and mentor program.  They were also given a tour of each building and participated in Concordia University’s “Closing the Achievement Gap” new teacher consortium.

Personnel action

In personnel business, the School Board

  • accepted the resignations of four paraprofessionals Christina Henderson at Maple Avenue, Sharon Mielke at Templeton, Shellee Kremer at Maple Avenue and Jaclyn Gouge at Lannon and Stephanie Dillemuth, Templeton associate kitchen employee;
  • appointed Mark Formanek as part-time Lannon physical education teacher, Jamie McMillan as Lannon paraprofessional, Aimee Shaw as Woodside paraprofessional, Leah Smith as Hamilton cook, Kristin Westby as Willow paraprofessional, Timothy Kruschel as Templeton paraprofessional, Jennifer Weisgerber as Maple paraprofessional, Mary Beth Wilichowski as Templeton paraprofessional, Dinah Krueger as Maple paraprofessional, Lindy Mueller as Hamilton associate kitchen employee, Jennifer Breier as Lannon paraprofessional; and
  • modified the contracts of Maple physical education teacher Amanda Magalska from full-time to 76 percent; and district program support staff Janice Rush form 42 to 60 percent.