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August 17, 2020

Board approves 14 positions to cover virtual learning option

Hamilton School Board members approved an increase of 14 full-time equivalency positions to accommodate the needs of students who selected the virtual online learning option for the 2020-21 school board meeting_type

About 21% of students chose the virtual online option compared to nearly 79% who chose the traditional in-person model during online registration last week.

A staffing plan was developed that included three additional elementary teaching positions, one intermediate position, three middle school positions and five high school positions. In addition, two contingency positions were allotted to deal with potential enrollment fluctuations.

The additional staffing is expected to be a one-time expenditure to offer the virtual online option for the 2020-21 school year only.

Face covering protocols approved

After determining July 31 that face coverings will be required for students, staff, visitors and vendors in the traditional in-person learning model, the School Board approved protocols for use in schools.

Face coverings are not required for children under age 2 years, those with health care provider certification of a medical condition that prevents them from safely wearing a face covering and those identified in their IEP/504 health plan.

Schools will provide students with periodic breaks to remove face coverings while under supervision and maintaining appropriate social distancing.

Face coverings will not be required: outside the school building while socially distanced; at planned mealtime; during strenuous physical activity; during receipt of health care; if a person is experiencing acute trouble breathing, is unconscious or incapacitated; and other exemptions as deemed appropriate by the district administrator.

The protocols will be enforced while in school and at school-sponsored events and activities. Students who do not comply will be reminded of the protocol and ultimately provisions of School Board policy and student handbooks will be followed. Students who repeatedly refuse to comply will be required to receive their educational instruction at home.

Employees are expected to comply or face disciplinary action spelled out in the Employee Handbook and School Board policies. Visitors to the school will be informed of the protocol and will not be admitted to the building without a face covering.

County metrics framework adopted

The School Board accepted the Waukesha County Health Department’s Metrics Framework to determine assess COVID-19 risk levels in making decisions for the district and individual schools on instructional model delivery. The framework is based on the work of the Harvard Global Health Institute.

The levels include the following:

  • Green – on track for containment;
  • Yellow – community spread;
  • Orange – accelerated spread; and
  • Red – tipping point.

The county created a dashboard that will allow each district to analyze and monitor its active cases by defined age ranges that will include students, community and school staff.

Superintendent reports on other COVID-19 matters

In an update to the School Board, Superintendent Paul Mielke, Ph.D., reported that approximately 21% of students selected virtual online learning option for the first semester of 2020-21, and 40% of students opted out of bus transportation.

He also reported that a group of teachers and administrators explored a transition plan that would have half the enrollment attend in-person two days while the other half attended virtually, with one day for individual and small group instruction. It would be a temporary solution to reduce the number of students in the building at one time between traditional in-person and emergency remote learning. The plan was recommended only as a temporary transition if greater virus mitigation was necessary and not to start out the school year because of the disruption and inconsistency for families and staff

Induction program supports new teachers

New educators in the district will continue to be supported through the New Teacher Induction & Coaching Program. Teachers who are new to the profession typically need more direct, according to Instructional Services Supervisor Cathy Drago and Human Resources Director John Roubik, who presented a report to the School Board.

Support for the new teachers will focus on instructional design, classroom management and strong instructional practices. Teachers receive support for two years. Veteran teachers new to the Hamilton School District participate in the district’s instructional coaching model. In addition, new teachers participate in monthly meetings with their mentors and a first semester check-in with Educational Services staff.

New teachers will learn about:

  • district’s mission, vision and strategic plan initiatives;
  • new teacher support and instructional coaching model overview;
  • mentor-mentee relationship and expectations;
  • district technology resources;
  • Educator Effectiveness options and introduction to Frontline software;
  • Teachers on Call
  • Skyward;
  • ALICE active shooter drills;
  • COVID-19 planning and virtual teaching expectations.

Personnel actions

In personnel matters, the School Board:

  • accepted the resignations of Willow Springs special services paraprofessional Amy Krueger, Maple Avenue special services paraprofessional Crystal Mazur and Templeton Title I paraprofessional Eden Mitchell; Kathleen Peterson as high school associate kitchen employee and Laura Watson as Maple Avenue special services paraprofessional;
  • appointed Heather Leffler as Maple Avenue special education teacher, Calli Bemis as food service assistant manager, Marina Samens as Lannon special services paraprofessional, Brianne Hill as Maple Avenue grade 1 teacher, Nicole Lockhart as Lannon special services paraprofessional, Andrew Fagan as Hamilton mathematics teacher, Lauren Little as Silver Spring music teacher, Cathy House, as Maple Avenue associate kitchen employee, Danielle Danz as Lannon grade 1 replacement teacher, Taylor Dietz as Woodside grade 4 replacement teacher, Catherine Losiniecki as Lannon health room paraprofessional and Alexis Prei as Silver Spring grade 6 replacement teacher; and
  • modified the contract of Lannon speech pathologist Amy Chavie from 80% to full time.