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January 21, 2019

School Board decides intermediate school day, course offerings

Details about course offerings and the school day for Silver Spring Intermediate School were decided at the Jan. 21 School Board meeting.

The new school schedule will be a cross between what students experience in elementary and middle school. The school day will be from approximately 8:20 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. – earlier than elementary schools, but later than the middle school. It will include a 33-minute advisement period when students can meet with teachers, access academic resources, receive interventions, complete homework and develop organizational skills.

Students will have two core 120-minute instructional blocks – one for English language arts and social studies, and the other for math and science. In addition, all students will take one allied arts course in the morning and one in the afternoon. Allied arts classes include fitness education, music, art, health and wellness, family and consumer science, and applied engineering and technology.

Silver Spring students will begin registering for classes Feb. 25. Students in grade 5 will choose between choir and band; in grade 6, general music will also be an option.

New Educational Services, Information Technology position approved

School Board members approved a new position to assist with Educational Services and Information Technology functions. The position will be in the confidential support staff group slated to start at the end of February.

In a report to the School Board, Human Resources Director John Roubik wrote that “the amount of work associated with setting up students in our databases for testing and online classroom resources has put a significant strain on the Educational Services and Informational Technology departments.”

He said the position would support the departments with technical and budgeting activities related to student databases, curricular resources and classroom teacher assessment requirements.

Students get real-world science research experiences

Hamilton High School students are getting real-world experience in scientific research, thanks to the work of science teachers such as Alan Simays. School Board members learned about two such experiences when Simays’ students presented at the meeting. Juniors Mackenzie Joranlien and Kien Rea described the work they have been doing this year outside of the classroom.SimaysJoranlienRea500

Joranlien is part of Students Understanding Principles of Research Education through Medicine, Engineering and Science (SUPREMES), an academic yearlong program conducted by the Medical College of Wisconsin, Marquette University and the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Research Institute. She furthers her research understanding through state-of-the-art technology, scientific scholarly writing and techniques in laboratory investigations.

Rea has been doing research for the Pulsar Search Collaboratory (PSC) involving research in astronomy, namely the measure of magnetization of dead stars. Started by West Virginia University, PSC allows high school students to volunteer and contribute toward scientific discovery. Rea’s goal is to develop an algorithm to detect the difference between pulsar and non-pulsar candidates.

Ritchie chosen for Silver Spring associate principal

Katie Ritchie was selected the new associate principal for Silver Spring Intermediate School, a position which begins July 1.KatieRitchie260

Ritchie is a familiar face in the Hamilton School District. She joined the district in 2007 as a third grade teacher at Marcy Elementary School. In 2016, she was named part-time associate principal there.

With grade 5 students moving to the intermediate school next fall, enrollment at Marcy Elementary School will drop below 600 students, the point when a part-time associate principal is recommended. Two part-time elementary school associate principal positions in the district were consolidated and reallocated to Silver Spring Intermediate School which will require a full-time principal and associate principal.

Private school transportation costs top $170,000

As in the past, the district provided transportation or a parent contract for families whose children attend private school. This year, 116 students were transported directly to St. John’s Lutheran School in Lannon and St. Dominic’s Catholic School in Brookfield at a cost of about $60,000 to the district. Families who send their children to other eligible private schools in a 5-8 mile radius of the district are issued parent contracts, and they transport their children themselves. The cost for these parent contracts was $112,736 for 248 full contracts and eight half contracts. Contracts are issued per student, not per family.

Hamilton, Templeton course catalogs approved

The School Board approved the middle school and high school course catalogs. Many revisions reflected course name changes and updated curriculum. At the high school, business education’s “Advanced Applications and Web Page Design” was changed to “Digital Design and Web Development” with a focus on state-of-the-art software. A new math class, “Math and Logic,” is a WCTC transcripted course that delves into mathematical problem-solving techniques to various topics such as symbolic logic, set theory, Boolean algebra and number bases. Another WCTC transcripted-credit course, “Culture of Healthcare,” will be offered for students interested in working in healthcare. It replaced “Introduction to Healthcare Professions.” No longer offered as part of the high school curriculum will be driver education.

Other class switches are “Entrepreneurship” instead of “Sports & Events Marketing,” “Film Production” in place of “Media Production-Podcasting” and “Individual-Dual Sports and Lifetime Fitness” in place of “Team Sports” and “Fitness Fusion.”

Templeton Middle School’s course catalog was revised to remove grade 5 registration information and courses. In academic support classes, “Star Math” is now “Flex Math.” In grade 7, “Health” was removed and “Exploring World Cultures” was added.

No space to take Open Enrollment students

School administrators calculated that the district will not have enough classroom space to take additional Open Enrollment students for the 2019-20 school year due to projected resident enrollment. Open Enrollment is a statewide program that allows students to attend public schools outside of their districts if space is available.