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October 1, 2019

First two snow days will not be made up

The Hamilton School Board voted that the first two snow days will not be made up this year. In the past, Hamilton students and employees made up all days missed due to inclement weather. Recent winters brought more snow and frigid conditions than usual. In 2018-19, schools did not operate for five days due to weather conditions. The days were made up later in the second semester, near Easter, Memorial Day and the end of school, affecting family plans.

Wisconsin laws require a minimum number of instructional hours each school year. Hamilton, like most school districts, builds its calendar to exceed the required instructional time. Ten school districts surrounding Hamilton make up days only when it has an impact on their ability to meet minimum instructional requirements.

Because all district schools exceed minimum instructional requirements by more than two days, School Board members accepted administrators’ recommendation to waive make-up days for the first two days school is called off for students and staff members who do not work year-round.

2020-21 school calendar parameters set

Human Resources Director John Roubik presented parameters that will be used for the development of a 2020-21 draft school calendar. They include:

  • maximizing student instructional time to exceed state requirements;
  • scheduling student break times that best fit the academic needs of students;
  • including spring break during the last full week in March and a four-day weekend at Easter;
  • maintaining days set aside for professional development and time for teachers to prepare and close out their classrooms;
  • offering opportunities for parents and teachers to confer about student progress; and
  • maintaining 192 teacher contract days.

In his report, Roubik noted that the district committed to regularly scheduling spring break during the last full week in March and a four-day weekend which included Good Friday and the day after Easter. Easter of 2021 is April 4, unusually early. Hamilton is considering following the actions of many districts that will schedule spring break the last week in March which includes Good Friday. In this scenario, the day after Easter is likely to be a day off as well.

Input from parent officers and district staff will be sought with a recommendation to the School Board expected by Dec. 16.

Board accepts resignation, appoints staff

In personnel matters, the Hamilton School Board:

  • accepted the resignation of Woodside special services paraprofessional Tammy Brandt, effective Oct. 3; and
  • appointed Anita Hilleman as Lannon special services paraprofessional, Amanda Hunt as Hamilton French world language teacher, Ann Flynn as Silver Spring Title I paraprofessional, Donelle Russell as Woodside special services paraprofessional and Sarah Braunschweig as Hamilton special services paraprofessional.

Templeton site plan report points to achievements, alignment with Core 4

LelandHoffmannTempleton Principal Brad Hoffmann and Associate Principal Cody Leland presented their school’s site plan. The pair pointed to numerous assessment results as evidence of the school’s achievement in the past year including the number of students maintaining or exceeding their growth targets on MAP, designation as a school that “significantly exceeds expectations” on the state report card and ACT college readiness measures. Outside of the classroom, Templeton students were successful in many co-curricular activities.

Templeton’s site planning team prioritized aligning the district’s strategic plan Core 4 into practice.

Willow Springs’ site plan approved

Willow Springs Learning Center Principal Renae MacCudden, Ph.D, presented her school’s site plan, which identifies an over-arching target that states “students will be enriched in a unique, well-defined and articulated four-year-old kindergarten program.”

In summarizing the 2018-19 strategic plan, MacCudden reported many accomplishments including: opening a Creative Block Play Room (STEM initiative), installing new playground equipment, aligning social-emotional curriculum to state competencies, adding a nature consultant in-school field trip and utilizing garden spaces along the back side of the building.

MacCuddenThe 2019-20 Willow Springs Site Plan is structured so that it builds upon strengths, while continues to push forward towards new achievements. Willow Springs’ tactics state the students will continue to develop:

  • social-emotional skills and an understanding of their individual role as a learner; and
  • pre-academic skills in the area of literacy and math.

Educational Services performance, future plans reported

Educational Services administrators John Roubik, Katie Little, Ph.D., and John Peterson updated the School Board on work of the department. They noted that district performance continues to significantly exceed expectations on statewide benchmarks. Many Educational Services initiatives have helped drive the district’s success. Some of last year’s efforts include:

  • Developed, implemented and monitored the district’s strategic priories in the areas of:
    • Systems of assessment for learning
    • Social and emotional wellness
    • Workforce and organizational wellness
    • Facility and technology long-term planning
  • Developed curriculum in
    • K-8 science (year 2-rubric development)
    • 9-12 science (year 1-unpacking and prioritizing standards and “I Can” statements)
    • K-12 English language arts (year 1-unpacking and prioritizing standards and ”I Can” statements for reading and foundation skills)
  • Investigated and implemented a more efficient way to monitor the participation and completion of professional development for district employees.
  • Developed final programming, staffing and facility recommendations for Silver Spring Intermediate School.
  • Continued to facilitate a shift in thinking, moving from coverage of content to becoming a facilitator of understanding though instruction and assessment practices.
    • Continued discussions about the alignment between assessment criteria, learning targets and learning activities.
    • Used a backward design template to consider and redesign classroom instruction (lesson and unit plans): An iterative process including redesign, implementation, reflection, collaborative discussions, and implementation feedback.
  • Continued to develop teacher capacity in the use of EduClimber, the district’s data visualization tool.
    • Classroom teachers began to develop virtual data walls to inform instruction.
    • Academic interventionists used the progress monitoring component with fidelity across all buildings.
    • Elementary behavior interventionists pilot tested the progress monitoring component, provide feedback, and prepare for implementation across all buildings.

2019-20 will include many efforts to improve student achievement and professional growth opportunities for staff including:

  • Continue to develop, implement and monitor the district’s strategic priories in the areas of:
    • Systems of assessment for learning
    • Social and emotional wellness
    • Workforce and organizational wellness
    • Facility and technology long-term planning
  • Develop curriculum in the areas of:
    • K-8 science (year 3-implementaon of curriculum)
    • 9-12 science (year 1-rubric development)
    • K-12 English language arts
      • year 2- reading and foundational skills – rubric development and piloting
      • year 1 – writing and language – unpacking and prioritizing standards, “I can” statements, beginning rubric development
  • Monitor and review the use of technology and impact on teaching and learning in the district.
  • Conduct strategic planning and develop a new plan for future priorities.
  • Support and monitor the academic programming, staffing and professional development needs at Silver Spring Intermediate School.
  • Develop compensation recommendations and implement strategies to retain and attract high quality staff.
  • Roll out year one of the 18 to 21-year-old program for students with intellectual disabilities and daily living skill delays, with a focus on vocational and daily living skill development in the community.
  • Implement a new special education service delivery model at SSI and TMS based on looping and having all special education teachers service students with intellectual and life skills delays

Report describes curriculum alignment, articulation

Instructional Services Supervisor Katie Little, Ph.D., reported on curriculum alignment and articulation 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 tie directly with the strategic plan, will be addressed during the 2019-20 school year:

  • Implementation of a collaborative system of curriculum and assessment that includes:
    • Unpacking the standards
    • Prioritizing the standards
    • Creating “I Can” statements
    • Creating rubrics for the prioritized standards
    • Piloting the rubrics and collecting exemplars
    • Piloting instructional resources that align to standards
    • Focusing on strong instructional strategies/unit planning
    • Reflecting and revising rubrics
    • Engaging in collaborative team discussion around assessment practices
  • K-8 science is in year 3 of the curriculum cycle. This August teachers received training in the implementation in the science practices rubrics and resource use. All will begin to participate in professional learning conversations around the rubrics and will begin to curate exemplars of student work for each level represented on the rubrics.
  • 9-12 science teachers will finish their content area “I can” statements and rubrics. They will pilot rubrics in instruction and pilot instructional resources that align to the NGSS standards.
  • 5-6 literacy/social studies teachers will continue to engage in discussion around effective implementation of Reader’s Workshop Model and how instructional strategies for reading might be integrated into social studies at Silver Spring Intermediate School.
  • K-12 English language arts is in the second year of the curriculum review cycle. Team members will finish rubric creation for the ELA standards for the Reading, Speaking & Listening, and Foundational Skills strands. Curriculum team members will pilot the rubrics beginning this fall. Curriculum team members are in the process of unpacking the Writing and Language standards. Rubric development will begin when this work is complete.
  • The district requires teachers of grades K-2 and special education teachers to participate in an Early Reading Empowerment course and to maintain their skills post-coursework completion. This year we did not have enough teachers who need the course to make holding the course feasible. We anticipate holding the course next year. All teachers who previously participated in the course will refresh their skills by participating in two online learning modules.
  • AimsWeb, the district’s RtI progress monitoring system, has been retired and an upgrade to AimsWeb Plus was required. District reading specialists, math support teachers and school psychologists will receive training in the upcoming weeks and will train interventionists, special education teachers, and others within his or her building who require the knowledge. We will monitor the use of this product throughout the school year and discuss whether to continue or migrate to an alternate solution.
  • Work continues on Comprehensive Intervention Model implementation. This year training will be provided for Interactive Writing, an intervention for children writing at the emergent and early levels that focuses on concepts about print, communicating a message, rereading strategies for predicting and monitoring, saying words slowly to hear and record sounds, using simple resources, fluent letter formation, building a core of high frequency words, and cross-checking information sources. In addition, interventionists continue to develop units of instruction for Guided Reading Plus and Comprehension Focus Groups.
  • All teachers will continue to focus on the alignment of standards, assessments and learning activities though Professional Learning Conversations (PLC) at the Oct. 2 and Feb. 28 in-services as well as at building level professional development meetings.
  • Vertical and horizontal teaming among will take place on the Nov. 8 and April 3 in-services. Teachers will identify goals, a work plan and anticipated outcomes. While this list is comprehensive, it is not exhaustive. Professional development is always at the forefront of district instructional planning. We strive to meet needs in the ways noted above as well as providing just-in-time learning as needs arise. It is through focused professional learning and collaboration opportunities that student success is realized.