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December 20, 2021

Introductory theatre course approved

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Hamilton High School students will have an opportunity to take an introductory course in theatre and performance, after the School Board approved it as part of the newly formed Performing Arts Department. 

“Introduction to Theatre and Performance” is designed to address the need for a theatre arts option for high school students. Students will explore all aspects of theatre arts outside of a public performance setting.

The new course will be part of the 2022-23 high school Course Catalog which will be approved in May.

Curriculum, assessment focus for 2021-22

Instructional Services Supervisor Catherine Drago updated the School Board on the district’s curriculum alignment and articulation that ensures curriculum and instruction are sequenced across grades so that learning progresses seamlessly as students move from grade to grade and course to course. The focus for the 2021-22 school year has been:

Collaborative teams – Administrators facilitate one-hour grade level and department discussions, called Professional Learning Communities (PLC), each week to discuss what students are learning, how staff will know if they learned and what teachers will do when students do and don’t learn it. Teachers are beginning to take over these meetings, according to Drago, and are setting their own agendas. In addition to the weekly meetings, administrators established five full PLC days to continuously improve the PLC process and address key assessment questions.

Clarity through curriculum cycles – A collaborative system of curriculum and assessment is being implemented, with science and reading standards completed.

  • K-8 science – Principals, Drago and Curriculum Specialist Whitney Roth are conducting implementation walk-throughs to determine if there is consistent and impactful implementation of the science curriculum and assessment throughout the district. Willow Springs teachers and some kindergarten and grade 1 teachers are piloting a phonemic awareness program.
  • 4K report card – Willow Spring Learning Center revamped its report card from 32 to 12 prioritized standards-aligned statements
  • English language arts – K-4 teachers implement the prioritized reading standard rubrics and Reading Foundational Skills. This year for the first time, student progress against these standards will be reported through the district’s report cards. Grades 5-6 teachers are implementing, discussing and revising the prioritized reading rubrics. Grades 7-8 teachers focusing on what quality English language arts instruction looks like. Grades 9-12 teachers are developing enduring understandings and revising their course mapping to better support the standards. They will then work to revise the reading rubrics and write rubrics aligned to standards.
  • Grade 7-12 social studies and world languages began their curriculum cycle by observing teams within and across buildings.
  • Math specialists developed a revised vision for mathematics based on state and national resources. They have led teacher teams and worked together to develop resources to support this new vision.

Access for all students – The district continues to collect and analyze academic, behavioral and engagement data to determine current and future needs, and will collect perspectives of multiple stakeholders. Fastbridge is now the universal screener in lieu of MAP testing to provide teachers with data needed to inform instruction.

2022-23 calendar approved

The 2022-23 school calendar was approved. 

  • Classes begin for students in grades 7-12 on Sept. 1. Because of Great Start conferences, school begins Sept. 6 for grades 5K-6 and Sept. 8 for 4K. 
  • Breaks will be Oct. 21, Dec. 23-30, Jan. 16, March 27-31 and April 7-10. 
  • Grades 7-12 will have one virtual day each semester on Nov. 11 and March 17 while younger students will have parent-teacher conferences. 
  • The last day of school is June 8 for 4K and June 9 for all other students. June 9 will be a half day, and high graduation will occur that evening.

Athletic-activities report presented

Hamilton Athletic and Activities Director Michael Gosz presented the 2020-21 annual Co-Curricular Activities Report. He noted that 95 coaches and 75 activity advisors lead 69 interscholastic sports teams and 50 student activities. Some 27% of the coaches and 70% of the activity advisors are district faculty members, a number that is significantly lower than in the past.

In his report, Gosz recommended noted that:

  • girls volleyball, cheerleading and dance won state championships and softball qualified to for state competition;
  • because of COVID-19 fan attendance was restricted and Hamilton events were livestreamed; and
  • while participation was down last year, he sees this year’s numbers back to pre-COVID days.

Recommendations for the future are to: work with the booster club to build a concession stand and bathroom on the athletic grounds; move the baseball field to another location due to safety issues; install synthetic turf to the football, softball and baseball fields; add lights to the softball and baseball fields; work with the booster club to upgrade the outdoor video boards; replace 20-year-old athletic mats; and install batting cages to the softball complex.

Funding replacement technology will be challenge

Information Technology Services Manager Ryan Miller reported on upgrades and equipment that were deployed this year. He noted that the demand for equipment is high and supply is low, requiring him to plan purchases further ahead. He is fast tracking desktop and laptop order placement by the end of December in order to have it for the 2022-23 school year.

He said the district will have to grapple with long-term budgeting and replacement of classroom technology such as SMART Boards that have surpassed end-of-life, infrastructure and wireless access points for connectivity.


In personnel business, the School Board:

  • approved the resignations of Maple Avenue Title I Paraprofessional Kathryn Kaiser, effective Nov. 11, Willow Springs Paraprofessional Kristen Roubik, effective Dec. 20, Hamilton High Associate Kitchen Employee Lynn Wick, effective Dec. 14, Woodside Paraprofessional Special Services Jami Binder, effective Dec. 3, Templeton Title I Paraprofessional Rebecca Leibiger, effective Dec. 17, Lannon and Templeton Technology Integration Resource Teacher Laura Busch, effective Jan. 21, Maple Avenue Technology Integration Resource Teacher Sarah Sallmann, effective Dec. 22, Special Services Executive Assistant Heidi Consiglio, effective Dec. 20, Templeton Associate Kitchen Employee JoAnne Depue, effective Dec. 15, and Marcy Special Services Paraprofessional Alexandra Loper, effective Jan. 14.
  • accepted the retirement requests of Hamilton High Mathematics Teacher Katherine Jensen, Templeton Music Choral Teacher Jaye Mier, Templeton School Counselor Terry Krause and Silver Spring Grade 6 Teacher Julie Datka, all effective at the end of the 2021-22 school year;
  • appointed Emily Dybdahl, Jami Binder and Rebecca Leibiger as Woodside Special Services paraprofessionals, Penni Uribe as Hamilton High communication arts replacement teacher, Heidi Consiglio as district data and assessment specialist, and Jason Crawford as Maple Avenue Title I professional.