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September 16, 2019

Elementary schools share joint site plan

Principals from the district’s four elementary schools – Lannon, Maple Avenue, Marcy and Woodside – presented a joint site plan to the Hamilton School Board. Elementary administrators met during the summer and devised a common elementary site plan that focused on literacy and social-emotional goals. Each school will build on the overview to reflect its own unique culture.4ElementaryPrincipals

The site plan was created by reviewing district Strategic Plan initiatives and building data including Wisconsin Forward and MAP assessment results and parent survey responses. Initiatives that will be central to practices in the school are assessment, including best practices and outcome alignment, and social-emotional wellness.

2019-20 priorities include collaborative professional development to enhance the strong academic and social-emotional school setting, personalized professional learning and additional tools for schoolwide success.

They presented data describing the elementary schools’ alignment with the four priority areas of the district Strategic Plan, know as the Core 4, which are:

  • Facilities and technology
  • Workforce and organizational wellness
  • Social-emotional wellness
  • Systems of learning and assessment – academic curriculum area

Examples of the schools’ success were: all four elementary schools were rated as significantly exceeding expectations on the State Report Card, implementation of social-emotional learning, creation of Great Start Conferences, Board Breakfast conversations and successful transition of students, staff and families to Silver Spring Intermediate School.

Challenges they face are the loss of staff members to transferred to Silver Spring, increased teacher student contact time that limits staff meeting and prep time, limited pool of employee applicants, additional needs of special student populations and ensuring students receive differentiated instruction to meet their needs.

Summer Opportunities results given

Another successful Summer Opportunities session was realized in 2019. Summer Opportunities Director and Lannon Elementary School Principal Brian Balfany reported on accomplishments of the highly popular four-week summer school program that drew 2,143 students to the district for a range of enrichment and invitational classes.

Most Summer Opportunities students, 1,888 of them, were in grades 4K-8. Another 255 students were from the high school, 31 were non-resident students, 19 were Open Enrollment students and two were Chapter 220 students.

A total of 223 staff members were hired: 78 district teachers, 54 teachers from outside the district, 34 paraprofessionals, 62 student teaching assistants, four assistant coordinators and one coordinator.

Balfany noted highlights of the program in a written report. He recommended that the 2020 Summer Opportunities program:

  • be slated for June 22-July 17 with a day off on July 3 to celebrate the July 4 holiday;
  • introduce before and after school Y-Care at Silver Spring Intermediate School;
  • enhance course offerings
  • train invitational math instructors in Everyday Math strategies and invitational reading instructors in Readers’ Workshop strategies;
  • explore recovery credit make-up and acquisition opportunities;
  • increase the number of students invited to take math or reading;
  • adjust transportation deadline signup for adequate route preparation; and
  • reassess use of high school space.

Curriculum, assessment systems united

The need to form a more cohesive, united system of curriculum development and assessments prompted the district to move to a 5-year review cycle, according to a report written by Instructional Services Supervisor Katherine Little, Ph.D. The first year of the process includes research and renew, the second year will be curriculum review, the third implementation, the fourth revision and the fifth maintenance and monitoring.

Areas being reviewed are:

  • 2019-20 – English language arts;
  • 2020-21 – information technology literacy, world languages and social studies (7-12);
  • 2021-22 – fitness education-health, mathematics (5-12) and social studies (K5-6);
  • 2022-23 – art, music, mathematics (K4-4); and
  • 2023-24 – family and consumer science, applied engineering and technology, business education, guidance and science (7-12).

No students accepted into early admission

No students were admitted early into kindergarten for 5-year-olds or grade 1, according to a report presented by Special Services Supervisor John Peterson. Two students participated in the early admission 5K screening process but were not recommended for placement. 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. Peterson’s report provided 18 years of data about early admissions requests and approvals.

Assessment schedule, coaching report given

In other business, Little presented the district’s 2019-20 testing schedule which includes assessments such as PALS, ACCESS, various ACT exams, Dynamic Learning Maps, Forward Exam and National Assessment of Educational Progress. She also presented a status report on instructional and literacy coaching.

Personnel matters

In personnel business, the School Board:

  • Accepted the resignations of Templeton Paraprofessional Cheri Lang, effective Sept. 18, and Woodside special services paraprofessional Ashley Katz Effective Sept. 6;
  • Appointed Jami Binder as Woodside special services paraprofessional, effective Sept. 3; Darrell Brown as Hamilton instrumental music teacher, effective August 26; Jessica Aschenbrenner as Maple Avenue special service paraprofessional, effective Sept. 3; Amand Frievalt as Willow Springs special service paraprofessional, effective Sept. 3; Maria Albrecht as Marcy paraprofessional, effective Sept. 3;Ariane Fischer as Templeton special services paraprofessional, effective Sept. 3; Beth Lueck as Woodside paraprofessional, effective Sept. 3; Michel Lee as Hamilton custodian I, p.m., Sept. 23; Gayle Ruplinger as Lannon paraprofessional, effective Sept. 10; Justin Derksen as Hamilton p.m. custodian, effective Sept. 23; Lisette Martin as Templeton associate kitchen employee, effective Sept. 9; Kathryn Gengler as Willow Springs replacement literacy interventionist, effective August 26; and Kimberly Zabel as district comptroller, effective Jan. 1, 2020.