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September 20, 2021

Resolution passed to use 2019-20 costs to calculate parent transportation contracts

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The School Board approved a resolution to base calculation for parent transportation contracts on 2019-20 numbers instead of 2020-21. Business Services Assistant Superintendent explained that state law requires school districts to transport resident students to private schools or issue a parent contract based on the previous year’s transportation costs. The COVID-19 pandemic  resulted in fewer students riding the busses last year, but the same number of buses were on the road so that students could be spread out. Because 2020-21 numbers were artificially high, the School Board passed a resolution to use the previous year’s more accurate figures. Other school districts have passed similar resolutions.

ESEA report given

Human Resources Director John Roubik reported on 2021-22 initiatives of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction projects that the district will receive about $190,000 of federal funds for these programs. The district must follow grant guidelines and must share services with private schools within our district. ESEA funds programs that provide reading and mathematics instruction and support, teacher training, support for English Learners (EL) and safe and healthy schools. The grants will fund paraprofessionals at Maple Avenue, Templeton and Hamilton High, along with teacher training, speakers and EL teachers.

Curriculum review cycle, assessment schedule approved

The Hamilton School District uses a 5-year curriculum review process to analyze the standards for each content area. Instructional Supervisor Catherine Drago presented a report on the cycle in place designed to create a more cohesive, united system that provides clarity on what high quality learning looks like in each content area.

Curriculum review tasks are to: unpack the standards; prioritize the standards; create student “I can” statements; create rubrics for the prioritized standards; pilot test the rubrics and collect exemplars; focus on strong instructional strategies/unit planning using the UbD model; reflect on and revise rubrics and hold teachers collaborative team meetings on assessment.

Areas in the curriculum cycle will be:

  • 2021-22 – information technology literacy, world languages and social studies (7-12) and continuation of science (9-12);
  • 2022-23 – fitness education-health, mathematics (5-12) and social studies (K5-6);
  • 2023-24 – art, music, mathematics (K4-4) and science (K4-6); and
  • 2024-25 – family and consumer science, applied engineering and technology, business education, guidance and science (7-12).

Some content areas originally were scheduled for review earlier, but because of school shutdowns and added responsibilities due to the pandemic, they were postponed in the cycle.

In other business, Drago presented the district’s 2021-22 testing schedule which includes assessments such as PALS, FASTBridge, ACCESS, various ACT exams, Dynamic Learning Maps, Forward Exam and National Assessment of Educational Progress. 

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. Three 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 19 years of data about early admissions requests and approvals.

Strategic priorities reviewed

Human Resources Director John Roubik gave an update on the district’s Strategic Plan. He lighted work on creating a one-page flyer that focused on this year’s activities and the district Wellness Committee.

Citizens give opinions on variety of subjects

A total of about 17 citizens attended the meeting. Six parents and one student spoke during the public comments portion of the meeting. 

  • Greg Winston said he hears general concerns about Critical Race Theory (CRT) being taught in schools, but no specifics. If people have specific issues with a book or something that is taught, they should raise them, he said, but he wants his child to graduate with critical thinking skills and an understanding of issues related to race, ethnicity and gender.
  • Mr. Balaji urged the School Board to require a mask mandate at the elementary level or offer online instruction until younger students can be vaccinated.
  • Hamilton High School Student Sylvie Jones said the high school dress code targets clothes and styles that girls wear. She said girls should not be removed from class because someone finds a certain style, like spaghetti straps, to be distracting. She advocated for the dress code to be re-evaluated.
  • Parent Stacy Riedel read off a list of concerns including School Board communication and the need for parent surveys and cameras in the classroom to provide accountability for teachers and students. She also said she would like to see the curriculum for grades K-8 social-emotional learning.
  • Joe Mirasola, a parent of a high school student and two graduates, had concerns with the Panorama screener and social-emotional learning, which he questioned whether there was evidence to support it. He fears that SEL will invade student privacy and promote critical race theory. He encouraged the School Board to focus on academic achievement.
  • Mike Abrams, who has two elementary school children, praised the school district for giving students the choice to wear a mask during in-person learning. He also brought up bus transportation issues.
  • Heather Kenny has two children in the district and a graduate. She also was grateful for the mask option and said she hoped the district would not mandate a vaccine.

School Board takes personnel action

In personnel matters, the School Board:

  • accepted the resignations of Hamilton High Fitness Education Teacher Kevin Kempen, Silver Spring Special Services Paraprofessional Tanya Selestow, Maple Avenue Special Services Paraprofessional Darlene Hood, Hamilton High Associate Kitchen Employee Stacy Stengel and Hamilton High Associate Kitchen Employee Kim Pierce;
  • appointed Conner Dingle as Maple Avenue special services paraprofessional, Madeline Vang as Maple Avenue instructional & supervision paraprofessional, Andrew Cerroni and Glenn Kristensen as District food service drivers, Nickolas Brandt as Hamilton High special education replacement teacher, Dale Bigus as Hamilton High instrumental music teacher, Hunter Dow as Hamilton High custodian I p.m., Karen Hughes as Marcy instructional & supervision paraprofessional, Angela Oglesby as Lannon associate kitchen employee, Angela Bremeier as Lannon instructional & supervision paraprofessional, Lea Knaub and Ronna Van Hoof as Lannon special services paraprofessionals, Melissa Parmenter as District Office payroll & benefits specialist, Christopher Totero as Maple Avenue and Marcy fitness education replacement teacher, Kim Pierce as Willow Springs instructional & supervision paraprofessional, Barbara Bourke as Silver Spring associate kitchen employee, Laura Watson as Silver Spring special services paraprofessional, and Danielle Chartier as Woodside associate kitchen employee;
  • modified the contracts of Hamilton High Mathematics Teacher Andrew Fagan from 50% to 67%, and Woodside and Silver Spring Fitness Education Karl Hager from 50% to 60%.