February 18, 2019

SchoolBoardLiteracyLoungePresentation500Web

Literacy Lounge engages students in reading

Templeton Middle School grade 7 teachers Mary Caucutt and Ashley Pfeifer and nine of their students described their school’s Literacy Lounge which was started two years ago with a grant from the Hamilton Education Foundation. Their goal was to create a coffee shop or bookstore environment that encouraged students to engage in reading and discuss books. This year they took it to another level by inviting older volunteers from the Seniors & Students Program to participate in book discussions. They showed a video that they submitted as part of entrance in the Follett Challenge.

Instructional Services reports on purchases, curriculum, assessments

Instructional Services Supervisor Katherine Little, Ph.D., gave three reports in which she recommended resource purchases and updated the School Board on curriculum committee processes and standardized assessments.

  • The School Board adopted nearly $220,000 of math, family and consumer sciences, science and social studies resources as recommended by committees of teachers. Funds will come from Educational Services Department, high school and career prep grants and student fees.
  • The following curricular areas are under review or are being developed: K-12 science; K-12 English language arts; intermediate school applied engineering and technology, and health and wellness; high school courses of math and logic, culture of healthcare and digital design and web development.
  • The Wisconsin Student Assessment System (WSAS) is a comprehensive statewide program that includes the Wisconsin Forward Exam, ACT Aspire, ACT, ACT WorkKeys, Dynamic Learning Maps, ACCESS for ELL and National Assessment of Educational Progress. In addition, the district implements elementary benchmark assessments in reading, mathematics and writing, along with Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessments and the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS). After looking into the STAR assessment as a potential replacement for MAP, administrators recommended continued use of MAP.

Personnel business

In personnel matters, the School Board:

  • Accepted the resignation of Hamilton cook Jane Schmid, effective Feb. 15; and
  • Appointed Kalyn Graziano as Hamilton High School administrative assistant, effective Feb. 25; and Laurie Roth as executive assistant to the instructional services supervisor, effective March 1.

February 5, 2019

Peperkorn chosen Silver Spring principal

The Hamilton School Board approved the hiring of Mark Peperkorn as the principal of Silver Spring Intermediate School at its Feb. 5 meeting. He will begin his new position July 1.Peperkorn-at-meeting-500

Peperkorn has been principal at Pilgrim Park Middle School in the Elmbrook School District since 2015. He was the Pilgrim Park associate principal before then. He started his career in education in 1997 as a social studies teacher at Waterford Union High School. He earned his master’s degree in educational leadership from Marian University in 2009 and his bachelor’s degree in social studies from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire in 1995.

“We are fortunate to hire Mr. Peperkorn who has significant experience as a successful administrator and educator,” said Hamilton Superintendent Paul Mielke, Ph.D. “He is known as a highly visible, engaged leader who has the ability to build a collaborative learning environment by listening to and understanding the needs of students, families and staff.”

“His strong knowledge of instructional practice, desire to support the best interests of students and ability to forge positive partnerships with families and the community will serve Silver Spring Intermediate School well,” Mielke said. Hamilton School Board members approved the appointment of five employees including the new Silver Spring Intermediate School principal.

Marcy students contribute to review of Addams book nominees

Marcy Elementary School second grade teacher Whitney Roth, along with four of her students, described their involvement with the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Program, named in honor of the first American woman who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.Roth-students-250 The award is given to children’s books that advance the causes of peace and social equality. The Marcy students explained the criteria used for the award.

Roth first participated in the program while an education student at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. After becoming a teacher at Marcy, she had students read and discuss nominated books and provide their insights about the books based on criteria of the program. Her reviews of the nominated books now include perspectives of her students.

Personnel news

In other personnel business, the School Board:

  • approved the retirement request of Woodside reading specialist Pamela Welter, effective at the end of the school year; and
  • appointed Tamera Ericksen as a part-time Woodside Elementary School special education paraprofessional, effective Feb. 11 and Melissa Brokate El-Meanawy as a Templeton Middle School replacement special education teacher, effective Jan. 24.

Board members report on state convention

School Board members Jay Jones and Mike Hyland as well as board president Gabe Kolesari reported on the sessions they attended at the 2019 State School Boards Association Convention.

Students approved for early graduation

In a report, Hamilton High School Principal Candis Mongan presented the applications of juniors – Kayla Kidman, Vincent Polidori, Zoe Schultz and Payton Wunschel – who requested to graduate early. The students met School Board policy requirements and will be eligible to graduate in January 2020.

January 21, 2019

School Board decides intermediate school day, course offerings

Details about course offerings and the school day for Silver Spring Intermediate School were decided at the Jan. 21 School Board meeting.

The new school schedule will be a cross between what students experience in elementary and middle school. The school day will be from approximately 8:20 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. – earlier than elementary schools, but later than the middle school. It will include a 33-minute advisement period when students can meet with teachers, access academic resources, receive interventions, complete homework and develop organizational skills.

Students will have two core 120-minute instructional blocks – one for English language arts and social studies, and the other for math and science. In addition, all students will take one allied arts course in the morning and one in the afternoon. Allied arts classes include fitness education, music, art, health and wellness, family and consumer science, and applied engineering and technology.

Silver Spring students will begin registering for classes Feb. 25. Students in grade 5 will choose between choir and band; in grade 6, general music will also be an option.

New Educational Services, Information Technology position approved

School Board members approved a new position to assist with Educational Services and Information Technology functions. The position will be in the confidential support staff group slated to start at the end of February.

In a report to the School Board, Human Resources Director John Roubik wrote that “the amount of work associated with setting up students in our databases for testing and online classroom resources has put a significant strain on the Educational Services and Informational Technology departments.”

He said the position would support the departments with technical and budgeting activities related to student databases, curricular resources and classroom teacher assessment requirements.

Students get real-world science research experiences

Hamilton High School students are getting real-world experience in scientific research, thanks to the work of science teachers such as Alan Simays. School Board members learned about two such experiences when Simays’ students presented at the meeting. Juniors Mackenzie Joranlien and Kien Rea described the work they have been doing this year outside of the classroom.SimaysJoranlienRea500

Joranlien is part of Students Understanding Principles of Research Education through Medicine, Engineering and Science (SUPREMES), an academic yearlong program conducted by the Medical College of Wisconsin, Marquette University and the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Research Institute. She furthers her research understanding through state-of-the-art technology, scientific scholarly writing and techniques in laboratory investigations.

Rea has been doing research for the Pulsar Search Collaboratory (PSC) involving research in astronomy, namely the measure of magnetization of dead stars. Started by West Virginia University, PSC allows high school students to volunteer and contribute toward scientific discovery. Rea’s goal is to develop an algorithm to detect the difference between pulsar and non-pulsar candidates.

Ritchie chosen for Silver Spring associate principal

Katie Ritchie was selected the new associate principal for Silver Spring Intermediate School, a position which begins July 1.KatieRitchie260

Ritchie is a familiar face in the Hamilton School District. She joined the district in 2007 as a third grade teacher at Marcy Elementary School. In 2016, she was named part-time associate principal there.

With grade 5 students moving to the intermediate school next fall, enrollment at Marcy Elementary School will drop below 600 students, the point when a part-time associate principal is recommended. Two part-time elementary school associate principal positions in the district were consolidated and reallocated to Silver Spring Intermediate School which will require a full-time principal and associate principal.

Private school transportation costs top $170,000

As in the past, the district provided transportation or a parent contract for families whose children attend private school. This year, 116 students were transported directly to St. John’s Lutheran School in Lannon and St. Dominic’s Catholic School in Brookfield at a cost of about $60,000 to the district. Families who send their children to other eligible private schools in a 5-8 mile radius of the district are issued parent contracts, and they transport their children themselves. The cost for these parent contracts was $112,736 for 248 full contracts and eight half contracts. Contracts are issued per student, not per family.

Hamilton, Templeton course catalogs approved

The School Board approved the middle school and high school course catalogs. Many revisions reflected course name changes and updated curriculum. At the high school, business education’s “Advanced Applications and Web Page Design” was changed to “Digital Design and Web Development” with a focus on state-of-the-art software. A new math class, “Math and Logic,” is a WCTC transcripted course that delves into mathematical problem-solving techniques to various topics such as symbolic logic, set theory, Boolean algebra and number bases. Another WCTC transcripted-credit course, “Culture of Healthcare,” will be offered for students interested in working in healthcare. It replaced “Introduction to Healthcare Professions.” No longer offered as part of the high school curriculum will be driver education.

Other class switches are “Entrepreneurship” instead of “Sports & Events Marketing,” “Film Production” in place of “Media Production-Podcasting” and “Individual-Dual Sports and Lifetime Fitness” in place of “Team Sports” and “Fitness Fusion.”

Templeton Middle School’s course catalog was revised to remove grade 5 registration information and courses. In academic support classes, “Star Math” is now “Flex Math.” In grade 7, “Health” was removed and “Exploring World Cultures” was added.

No space to take Open Enrollment students

School administrators calculated that the district will not have enough classroom space to take additional Open Enrollment students for the 2019-20 school year due to projected resident enrollment. Open Enrollment is a statewide program that allows students to attend public schools outside of their districts if space is available.

January 8, 2019

Position for intermediate school principal approved

School Board members approved a position description for an intermediate school principal which will have a 260-day contract.

While a new position was created, the district will not have more administrative positions because two part-time elementary associate principal positions will be cut in the 2019-20 school year. With students in grade 5 moving to the intermediate school, all elementary school enrollments will drop below 600, the point when an associate principal is considered. Silver Spring Intermediate School will have an associate principal because its enrollment will be more than 600 students.

Drama students recognized for advancing to nationals

Mongan-Davila-Flynn-Plamann-477

(From left) Hamilton Principal Candis Mongan introduced students Joe Davila and Maggie Flynn and Drama Director Sarah Plamann.

Hamilton High School sophomores Joe Davila and Maggie Flynn were recognized for advancing to national competition after qualifying at the Wisconsin High School Theatre Festival. They were introduced by elementary school music teacher Sarah Plamann who is also the high school theatre director.

The students competed in the Thespian Individual category with Davila performing a monologue from the shows “Harvey” and “My Fair Lady,” and Flynn performing the solo “Journey to the Past” from the musical “Anastasia.”

Davila and Flynn are the first Hamilton students to qualify for national competition in the One-Act Contest. They will compete in June at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.

Y-Care to be offered with Summer Opportunities

In a written report, Lannon Principal and Summer Opportunities Coordinator Brian Balfany informed the School Board on plans for the upcoming summer school session which will operate June 19 to July 17 with days off on July 4 and 5. The program will be offered at two sites – Hamilton High School and Maple Avenue Elementary School.

New for parents who enroll their children in Summer Opportunities will be the option to use Y-Care services after summer school classes are done for the day, according to Superintendent Paul Mielke, Ph.D. YMCA childcare, provided independently of the Summer Opportunities program, will be at Woodside Elementary School on days when summer school is in session. Only students enrolled in Summer Opportunities, who will be bussed to Woodside as part of the shuttle bus service, will be able to participate. Families will contract with YMCA directly to participate.

Mielke said additional opportunities for popular STEM classes will be available this year, and an ACT prep course is being investigated for high school students.

Fees that cover the consumable materials used in class will remain at the same $4-$20 level they have been in the past. The bus service that shuttles students to and from elementary schools and the high school will remain at a cost of $20 per rider.

Three incumbents, one challenger in School Board election

In his report to the School Board, Superintendent Paul Mielke, Ph.D., reported that three incumbents whose positions are up for re-election this spring and one challenger have filed papers to run for School Board. Rebecca Zingsheim, who was appointed to fill the Village of Butler seat last year, will run to complete the final two years of the term. Gabe Kolesari, whose position is designated from the Village of Sussex, and Jennifer Waltz, who serves an at-large position, filed papers to run again. Waltz will be challenged by Lori Schnitzka for the at-large seat. A primary election will not be necessary. The general election will be April 2, and successful candidates will take office April 22.

Personnel business

In other personnel business, the School Board:

  • approved the resignation of Marcy grade 4 teacher Patricia Mayer effective Dec. 30, 2018 and Templeton special education teacher Kim Bruessel effective Jan. 18;
  • accepted retirement requests of Maple Avenue technology integration teacher Terese Manske and Marcy literacy interventionist Susan Ladd, both effective at the end of the 2018-19 school year; and
  • appointed Gail Greve as a Maple Avenue literacy interventionist replacement effective Jan. 2, Justine Klug as Templeton associate kitchen employee effective Jan. 7, Elisabeth Leach as Marcy special services paraprofessional effective. Jan. 22 and Amy Jung Templeton special services paraprofessional effective Jan. 22.

 

 

December 17, 2018

2 Great Start days for elementary, intermediate students in 2019-20 calendar

Hamilton School Board members approved the 2019-20 school year calendar with two significant changes.

Elementary and intermediate schools will have two days before the start of classes to conduct Great Start conferences and student assessments. Known as Jump Start conferences at Willow Springs Learning Center, the additional time that would traditionally be the first two days of school will be set aside for teachers to meet with parents and gather information about students’ academic levels before the start of classes. It is expected to help staff gain a better understanding of their students sooner in the school year.

Another change is a day off in October for students and staff to achieve a more balanced schedule between semesters.

Other key dates in 2019-20 are:

  • Nov. 27, 28, 29 – break before, after and on Thanksgiving Day;
  • Dec. 23-Jan. 1 – winter break;
  • March 23-27 – spring break;
  • April 13, May 22, June 12 and 15 – break or snow make-up day; and
  • June 11 – last day of school for students.

Fall teams, athletes recognized

Hamilton High School athletes and teams that were conference champs or sectional or state qualifiers were recognized at the School Board meeting. Athletic-Activities Director Mike Gosz introduced coaches and their teams.

IsabelSeay250

Girls Cross Country state qualifier Isabel Seay

GirlsCrossCountry500

Girls Cross Country team conference champions with coaches Stephen Schmidt and Ben Nysse

BoysCrossCountry500

Boys Cross Country team sectional champions and state qualifiers with coaches Schmidt and Nysse

GirlsVolleyball400

Girls Volleyball sectional team qualifier with coach Traci Buhr

Girls-Golf400

Girls Golf team sectional qualifier with coach Randy Howard

Girls-Swimming400

Girls Swim state qualifiers Madeline Paar, Nicole Simson and Faith Johnson

(The boys soccer team, which was a state finalist, will be recognized at a future meeting.)

Personnel action taken

In personnel action, the School board:

  • approved the retirements of Templeton grade 6 teacher Cynthia Alexander, Templeton special education teacher Catherine Norene, and Marcy grade 1 teacher Beth Schaefer, all effective at the end of the school year;
  • accepted the resignations of Hamilton High School administrative assistant Samantha Nehls, effective Dec. 12, Marcy special services paraprofessional Candy Bauer-Goetz, effective Dec. 21, and Marcy grade 2 teacher Brigid Ingram, effective Dec. 17.
  • appointed Kim Pierce as Marcy associate kitchen employee, Julie Rossi as Templeton part-time custodian, and Jane Schmid as Hamilton cook, all effective Dec. 17.

Parameters set for school budget planning

Budget parameters for schools planning their 2019-20 school year budget will be the same as last year for existing schools. New this year will be the addition of Silver Spring Intermediate School to the mix. The parameters schools have been given as they budget for next year are:

  • General school allocation will be $108 per student for elementary, $128 for intermediate, $138 for middle and $168 for high school.
  • The library allocation will be $33 per student at all levels.
  • Capital outlay per-pupil allocations will be $18 per elementary and intermediate student, $20 per middle school student and $25 per high school student.

December 4, 2018

Board ratifies contract with ULE

The Hamilton School Board ratified a one-year contract with United Lakewood Educators (ULE) which represents district teachers. Under the contract, base salaries will increase by 2.13 percent for 2018-19, retroactive to the beginning of the school year. In addition, the regular supplemental compensation for Hamilton teachers will increase by $400 per teacher, prorated based on percentage of full-time employment, plus position adjustments for identified staff.

The tentative agreement was reached Nov. 28 between the district and ULE representatives and was presented to ULE members last week for a ratification vote. The increases do not apply to teachers on replacement contracts or plans of assistance.

IT Department lays out future work

Information Technology Manager Ben Hawley updated the School Board on hardware and software updates, networking initiatives, assessments and testing, student information system news, operation of the Help Desk ticketing system and security grant initiatives.

New this year is a student-run help desk system created at the high school to assist Informational Technology Department staff with overall workload and 1:1 support. Four students are located in the library and closely working with IT on day-to-day work and escalations. IT staff created a Google Classroom for the student helpers along with a separate Help Desk website to track tickets and assets.

Future projects include completion of the district’s one-to-one Chromebook initiative in grades 5-12, setting up the new intermediate school with internet-fiber and equipment, provide network and security training for staff, streamlining printers and copiers, replacing smartboard and projectors.

Hawley noted in his report that with the addition of a new school, additional rooms at the high school, one-to-one Chromebook initiative at Templeton Middle School and Silver Spring Intermediate School, IT is projecting a total of 9,000 devices in the district, which is a 30 percent increase. Hawley warned that IT staff is stretched thin.

EL teachers create guidebook identifying services

The number of Hamilton School District students who are English Language (EL) learners increased by seven students from last year for a total of 74 students in the program that provides interventions for students with language difficulties. The number of EL students has ranged from 61 to 79 in the past five years, and before then it was as high as 106 students.

A total of 26 different languages are spoken including Russian, Mandarin and Punjabi with the two most prevalent languages being Hmong and Spanish. Jelena Kapetanovic and Katie Kasper, whose full-time equivalency is 1.5 positions, serve EL students throughout the district. This year Kapetanovic and Kasper collaborated with other teachers in the region to identify resources and instructional strategies for classroom teachers to assist their EL students. Work on that project influenced the state to create an EL Policy Handbook. Later, Kapetanovic and Kasper used their experience working on the project to create a district resource guidebook for Hamilton teachers.

Lannon gets started with student-led conferences

Lannon Elementary School Principal Brian Balfany and second grade teacher Sarah Cromos presented on how student-led conferences are making an impact in the classroom. balfany-cromos-300Rather than the traditional parent-teacher conferences, where the teacher does most of the talking, student-led conferences has students leading the discussion, informing their parents about how they’re doing, what their goals are going forward and what kind of learners they are.

Verizon to set up cell tower at high school

The district has negotiated an agreement with Verizon to install a cell tower on the southwest light pole on the high school soccer field. The tower would mirror the U.S. Cellular tower already installed on the northwest tower of the field. The agreement states that the district would receive a $20,000 signing bonus and $15,000 a year for five years. Installation will begin in the spring or summer of 2019.

Personnel action

In personnel business, the School Board:

  • accepted the resignations of Marcy associate kitchen employee Theresa Aron, effective Nov. 20, and Templeton part-time custodian Ryan Dow, effective Dec. 21; and
  • approved the appointment of Samantha Nehls as Hamilton High School administrative assistant, effective Dec. 10.

Strategic Plan update presented

Human Resources and Organizational Development Director John Roubik gave a quarterly update to the School Board on the priorities of the 2017-2020 Strategic Plan. The four priority areas of the plan are:

Systems of learning & assessment — All students will be challenged and supported to maximize their learning and achievement.

Recent progress includes:

  • Nov. 5 in-service focused on understanding the “why” behind using the Backward Design unit planning process. Content and grade level teams met to begin redesigning one instructional unit, ensuring that standards and assessment are the focus. Assessment Team members facilitated the learning.
  • Assessment Team is in the process of providing feedback to teams on the work completed at the in-service.
  • English-language arts curriculum team is in the process of unpacking and prioritizing the state standards.
  • K-8 science curriculum team has completed drafts of the practice rubrics and is in the process of pilot testing them.
  • 9-12 science curriculum team is reviewing the practice standards in preparation for rubric creation.

Social & emotional wellness — All students will be supported to develop social and emotional wellness related to academic, career and life experiences.

Recent progress includes:

  • Anna Silberg, Ph.D., conducted mindfulness workshops for teachers.
  • The Social Emotional Wellness (SEW) Committee met Oct. 23 with Response to Intervention (RTI) consultant Yuliana Manriquez to discuss the next steps of planning for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), a systematic approach of teaching and reinforcing behavioral expectations through the lens of RTI. Each school had its PBIS leadership team in attendance.
  • The PBIS leadership teams met Nov. 14 with Manriquez and received training on the PBIS system. These teams will come back together for day two of this training Feb. 14.
  • Marcy and Woodside elementary schools’ classroom teachers completed the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA) on all of their students between Oct. 15 and Nov. 15. School teams are reviewing the data and are in the process of aligning supports with students who were identified with social emotional needs.

Workforce & organizational wellness – All staff will engage in continuous professional learning and be provided opportunities to improve personal wellness.

Recent progress includes:

  • A total of 25 staff members are participating in the “Maintain Don’t Gain” weight loss challenge through Aurora Health Care. They are receiving weekly health tips and healthy recipes to support them through the holidays.
  • Another 30 staff members are participating in yoga classes.
  •  Flu shots were offered to all employees in October and 217 participated.
  • “Access to Wellness” resources were provided to all staff in the following areas:
    • Domestic violence awareness
    • Surviving holiday gatherings
    • Giving the gift of time
  • Some 127 teachers and administrators are participating in the alternative evaluation process.
  • The district sent out Top Workplaces surveys to gather staff engagement data.
  • Human resources sent an interest survey to support staff regarding employment opportunities at Silver Spring Intermediate School.
  • Business services conducted HRA support seminars.
  • Educational services conducted after-school staff input sessions as part of the school calendar development process.
  • A “gourmet greens” salad bar emphasizes power foods and antioxidants has been offered to high school students and staff.

Facilities & technology — The district will enhance student learning by providing adequate classroom learning space while maintaining existing buildings and infrastructure and optimal student access to technology.

Recent progress includes:

  • Masonry walls and steel nearing completion with temporary weather tight condition scheduled for December at the high school addition and Silver Spring Intermediate School.
  • Raptor visitor management system installed at each school’s main office for visitor management.
  • Current camera security system expanded from 75 cameras and one server at the high school to 250 cameras and three NVR servers across the entire district.
  • Voice over IP (VOIP) servers and phones are being prepared for Marcy and Woodside implementation second semester.
  • Axis door control cameras and visitor buzz in implemented for all schools, including the Y-Care entrances at the elementary schools.

November 19, 2018

AODA measures in place to help students, families

Peer-Leaders-500

Student Assistance Program and AODA Coordinator Kristin Hasbrook presented an annual report to School Board members about efforts to keep students from getting involved in alcohol and other drugs. She brought three high school peer leaders who serve as a bridge between students and guidance counselors and other adults who can help students dealing with difficulties. In addition to responding to students who reach out to them, the peer leaders present on stress management and depression in seventh and 10th grade health classes.

Providing initial screening and AODA referral services, helping families find appropriate community services and conducting activities in the schools comprised 2017-18 activities.

Middle and high school activities included ongoing individual student support and giving and organizing presentations for students about drugs and alcohol and depression. In addition, selected students received peer trainer instruction for peer depression presentations. Districtwide activities involved coordination of the parent network Hamilton Connects, creating and implementing a presentation for parents about anxiety, training parents in the Love and Logic program. She also continued to engage with REDgen, an organization that offers training and support to help reduce student suicide and mental health issues.

Future plans are to:

  • use the Question-Persuade-Respond (QPR) model to train students on depression, grief and suicide;
  • create a student club that would extend the mission of Peer Leaders;
  • emphasize mental health education and support for parents;
  • seek additional funding for Hamilton Connects;
  • continue regular support for Hamilton and Templeton students; and
  • support REDgen West as it creates programming in Waukesha County.

3 classes under development for HHS Course Catalog

Three new classes are under development to be included in the 2019-20 Hamilton High School Course Catalog. They are:

  • Math and Logic – provides students preparing for higher education, but for whom Business Math is not the best fit, with another senior-level math elective;
  • Cultures of Healthcare – in the family and consumer sciences department, blends concepts of the current Introduction to Healthcare Professions and Culture of Healthcare offered by Waukesha County Technical College. The course examines employment trends, professionalism, interpersonal and written communication skills, patient privacy and confidentiality issues;
  • Digital Design & Web Development – a Business Education course redesigned from Advanced Applications and Web Page Design to provide rigorous learning as the foundation for success in college and related careers. Students will design and create professional graphics and websites using Adobe Creative Cloud.

Hamilton’s achievement higher, but gaps exist

Achievement discrepancy between majority and minority students, students of low economic status, special education and English learners exists in education. While the Hamilton School District sees this to a lesser extent than state and national averages, gaps among the various student groups exist.

Human Resources Director John Roubik and Instructional Services Supervisor Katherine Little, Ph.D. presented district data and initiatives concerning “Closing the Achievement Gap.” Hamilton students in disaggregated groups outperform their state counterparts on the Forward Exam.

Key findings of the report are:

  • Hamilton’s 2017-18 “Closing the Achievement Gap” score on the School Report Card is 17.5 points better than the state average.
  • Socioeconomically disadvantaged, special education and English learners are underrepresented or not represented in Advanced Placement course testing data.
  • All district subgroups score higher than the state average. The achievement gaps of the socioeconomically disadvantaged, special education and English learner populations attending the Hamilton School District are greater than the state average. This larger discrepancy is attributed to the higher achievement level of the district’s comparative group. However, work is being done with individual students to increase the overall achievement for these populations.
  • For minority populations, discrepancies in reading and math are more pronounced at the elementary level. Using differentiated instructional practices and targeted interventions, achievement narrows as students move up in the grade levels.
  • Achievement gaps for socioeconomically disadvantaged, special education and students learning English remain wide. Individual student needs are being addressed through the RtI and IEP processes.
  • When compared to the state, all subgroups except special education scored higher on the ACT Composite. In most instances, achievement discrepancies are seen between the subgroups and their counterparts. ACT score gaps are seen between the majority and other student groups with the exception of Asian and those identifying with two or more races.

Action steps to ensure the success of all students include:

  • allocating Title I services for direct instruction at targeted school;
  • differentiating instruction to providing interventions for students with larger gaps;
  • matching Response to Intervention actions with student needs to ensure greatest academic gains;
  • meeting of district interventionists to review effectiveness of current interventions and expand intervention options;
  • training for effective use of Comprehensive Intention Model, strategy-based interventions for reading and writing;
  • implementing EduClimber software to monitor student progress and identify interventions;
  • offering specific intervention programming at each school to meet students’ needs;
  • implementing learner profiles and student goal-setting strategies to support personalization of student learning; and
  • training staff on designing strategies and learning environments to meets the needs of all learners.

Athletic-activities report presented

Hamilton Athletic and Activities Director Michael Gosz presented the annual Co-Curricular Activities Report. He noted that 88 coaches and 75 activity advisors lead 62 interscholastic sports teams and 52 student activities. Nearly half the coaches and 91 percent of the activity advisors are district faculty members.

In his report, Gosz recommended that the district:

  • work with the Hamilton Athletic Booster Club to construct a new concession stand on Grove field;
  • replace existing baseball field backstop and netting;
  • explore the possibility of adding synthetic turf to baseball infield to prevent rainouts as baseball will become a spring sport in 2019;
  • resurface the tennis courts;
  • monitor athletic specialization and off-season programs; and
  • consider coach and advisory salaries that have not been adjusted in more than 15 years.

Personnel action – Nov. 19, 2018

In personnel business, the School Board:

  • accepted the resignations of Woodside special services paraprofessional Carrie Goodman, effective Nov. 7, and Maple Avenue literacy interventionist DeMaris Gill, effective Dec. 20; and
  • appointed Carina Esparza as a Lannon special services paraprofessional.

November 6, 2018

Dargatz shares success of learning in nature

Woodside Elementary School kindergarten teacher Peter Dargatz gave School Board members a glimpse of the outdoor education programming started more than three years ago. Initially, Dargartz started with a Nature Kindergarten program that incorporated the Woodside Timberwolf Trail, a natural play area and several outdoor learning spaces. It was created in a previously unused parcel of oak savanna prairie land behind the school building.Dargatz-Web-600

Since then students from throughout Woodside have had opportunities to learn while outdoors on the trail and through a partnership with the Retzer Nature Center.

The Hamilton Education Foundation has supported the outdoor education initiatives. This year Dargatz was encouraged to apply for additional funding through the Waukesha County Community Foundation which provided a grant that will make it possible for students from throughout the district to experience Woodside’s nature trail.

The Timberwolf Trail and outdoor classroom were featured this summer at the World of Wonder, an international nature-based early learning conference held in Chicago. Some 50 educators from throughout the country including 11 states and four countries visited Woodside as part of the conference’s Wisconsin Field Trip option. Former Woodside kindergartners led guests around the trail.

 

No space to take Open Enrollment students

School administrators calculated that the district will not have enough classroom space to take additional Open Enrollment students for the 2019-20 school year due to projected resident enrollment. Open Enrollment is a statewide program that allows students to attend public schools outside of their districts if space is available.

School Board election calendar released

The schedule for the 2019 spring election was released. Terms are up for School Board members Gabe Kolesari, who holds the Sussex seat, Jennifer Waltz, who is in the at-large seat, and Rebecca Zingsheim, who holds the Butler seat.

The election schedule includes:

  • Jan. 2 – deadline for candidacy declaration and nominations papers;
  • Feb. 19 – primary election if needed;
  • April 2 – spring election; and
  • April 22 – taking of office.

Personnel action from Nov. 6

In personnel action, the School Board:

  • approved hiring of a 69 percent special education paraprofessional at Lannon for the current school year;
  • accepted the resignations of Hamilton cook Jessica Samz, effective Oct. 25 and Hamilton administrative assistant Elizabeth Aho, effective Oct. 26;
  • appointed Patricia Messina as Maple Avenue special service paraprofessional, Julie Karnthaler, as Marcy special service paraprofessional, Aida Kozic as Woodside media center paraprofessional, Carrie Goodman as Woodside special service paraprofessional, and JaKoby Morrell as Hamilton custodian.

October 15, 2018

School tax increase less than half of what was projected

When Hamilton School District voters went to the polls in February, they expected to be voting themselves a 98 cent increase in their tax rate to pay for a new intermediate school and Hamilton High School renovation and expansion projects. Instead, the tax rate will increase only 37 cents.Tax-Impact-Less

The good news for taxpayers came Oct. 15 as Hamilton School Board members approved a $57.4 million budget that includes a mil rate of $8.92 – instead of $9.55 that was predicted at the July Annual Meeting. The owner of a $300,000 home will pay $2,676 in school taxes – an increase of $111 over last year’s taxes, but less than the $300 increase that was projected.

The lower-than-expected mil rate is attributable to community growth and higher property values that spread school costs over more and higher-valued properties and increased state aid. During the referendum, school officials conservatively estimated that property value would increase by only 2 percent. The district’s equalized valuation actually increased by 4.67 percent in the past year.

When the intermediate school opens in the 2019-20 school year, additional operational costs will be on tax bills. The operational costs were expected to increase the tax rate by an additional 39 cents per $1,000 of property value, but if property valuation exceeds projections, that amount will be less as well.

The 2018-19 budget is up 3.92 percent increase over the current budget. The increase reflects expenses due to increased cost-of-living as determined by the state.

The new net tax levy — the portion of the budget paid by local taxpayers — increased to $31.5 million from $28.8 million in 2017-18. Debt service increased from $668,450 in 2017-18 to $4.2 million in 2018-19.

Each October, the School Board must adopt the budget, certify the tax levy and establish the tax rate after the Department of Revenue determines property values in the district. Tax bills are sent to property owners in December.

Dual Enrollment Academy gives students jumpstart on future

For the fifth year, Hamilton High School seniors will continue to be able to enroll in the Dual Enrollment Academy that allows them to get a jumpstart on high-demand fields while earning college credit at Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC). Hamilton Principal Candis Mongan gave the School Board a status report and requested approval to continue participation in the program.

Participating seniors spend the majority of their school day at WCTC participating in the Dual Enrollment Academy which offers programs in robotics, hospitality, information technology, tool and die, protective services, building construction and welding. Upon completion, students earn a WCTC diploma along with high school credits.

Seven Hamilton students completed the program last May — three in hospitality, two in information technology and one each in automation systems and tool and die.

10 students apply for Early College Credit Program

Ten high school students requested admission to the Early College Credit Program (ECCP), formerly known as the Youth Options Program, that will allow them to take classes next semester at University of Wisconsin-Waukesha, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, Wisconsin Lutheran and Carroll University. Hamilton Principal Candis Mongan noted, as in the past, many students will not be able to take the courses because of scheduling conflicts or full classes. A total of 18 students requested admission to Youth Options last year.

ECCP is mandated by the state and allows students who have completed 10th grade, are in good academic standing and have no disciplinary problems to attend a technical college or university if they have exhausted their high school curriculum.

The program is funded 75 percent from Hamilton High School and 25 percent from the state.

Start College Now has 25 applicants

Another program, Start College Now, had its start as Youth Options. Start College Now allows students with good academic standing and no disciplinary problems to take course at Waukesha County Technical College. A total of 25 students requested admission for the next semester. The program is funded by the high school, but if a student fails the course, the family is responsible for the cost.

Willow Springs site plan approved

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

In 2017-18, Willow Springs staff implemented surveys to give stakeholders an opportunity to provide honest, anonymous feedback.

In the coming year the school’s two tactics will:

  • address students’ social-emotional skills and understanding of their individual role as a learner; and
  • develop pre-academic literacy and mathematics skills.

Templeton site plan presented

Templeton Principal Brad Hoffmann and Associate Principal Cody Leland presented their school’s site plan. The process used to create the plan was highly reflective and collaborative in nature. Longitudinal and current data was reviewed and analyzed to create a plan that focuses on literacy, math and social-emotional wellness throughout the building.

The Site Plan committee developed the following two tactics:

  • Templeton Middle School staff will research best practice in assessment and developing instructional strategies to increase achievement for all students.
  • Templeton Middle School will research and develop building-wide and classroom-specific strategies to improve student social-emotional wellness.

Maintenance staff address summer projects

Over the summer, maintenance and custodial staff completed the annual task of preparing school facilities for the upcoming school year. This work included maintenance on mechanical systems, the cleaning of classrooms, restrooms, locker and shower areas, stripping and refinishing of floors, refinishing wood gymnasium floors, carpet cleaning and the maintenance of the grounds and athletic fields throughout the district. In addition to these annually scheduled tasks, the School Board was presented with a list summarizing special projects completed at each school.

Personnel matters

In personnel matters, the School Board:

  • accepted the resignation of Marcy special services paraprofessional Veronica Seher, effective Oct. 19;
  • approved the retirement of Woodside media center paraprofessional Sally Thompson, effective Nov. 2, 2018; and
  • appointed Jessica Samz as Hamilton cook, Amy Olsen as Woodside associate kitchen employee, Michelle Basler as Lannon special services paraprofessional and Zackary Buschke as Hamilton custodian.

September 17, 2018

Board considers removing graduation ceremony details from policy

School Board members are considering a policy change to eliminate the time, date and location of Hamilton High School graduation ceremonies. Currently, the policy states that graduation ceremonies will be held the first Saturday following the completion of the school year, at 1 p.m. in the high school gym.

By eliminating the language, the School Board will be able to consider other options for graduation ceremonies, including having it outdoors as was done in the past. The change was presented to the School Board for the first time. The policy change proposal will come before the board again before it takes action.

High school rigor evident in results

Because Hamilton High School rewrote its main goal and tactics last year, this year’s site team chose to reaffirm its current framework and goal that states, “Students will increase their literacy skills and social-emotional wellness to be prepared to meet the demands of college, career and global competition.”

Hamilton High School Principal Candis Mongan reported on the school’s progress. Hamilton saw greater participation in Advanced Placement courses with continued high achievement in the last three years. The number of exams taken, sections offered, students taking exams and pass rate of 3 or higher all went up in the past year. The participation rate compared to three years ago was up markedly. Typically as more students take rigorous exams, test scores drop. This was not the case at Hamilton.

Year Exams taken Sections offered Students Score 3+
2015-16 573 40 358 85.9%
2016-17 664 46 411 81.5%
2017-18 722 48 440 83.0%

In another measure of school rigor, the Challenge Index increased to +1.95 in 2017-18, up from +1.90 in 2016-17 and +1.57 in 2015-16. Challenge Index represents the availability of advanced coursework in the school’s curriculum. Because many more students are taking AP exams, the school’s Challenge Index score increased to its highest level in school history.

Throughout the state, ACT scores dropped for the class of 2016 because as juniors in 2015, they were the first class in which all juniors in Wisconsin public high schools were required to take the test. The ACT composite score for Hamilton’s class of 2015 was 24.5, and dropped to 22.3 for the class of 2016. It rebounded to 23.0 for the class of 2017.

In addition to test results, Hamilton was named to U.S. News and World Report’s “Best High Schools” list five of the last six years, Advanced Placement Honor Roll four of the last five years and Washington Post’s “Most Challenging High Schools” list three of the last four years.

Lannon site focuses on literacy, social-emotional goals

Lannon Elementary School Principal Brian Balfany presented his school’s site plan update. He reported on the progress of last year’s tactics which focused primarily on literacy and social-emotional goals while embedding practices that will promote students’ positive well-being. Again, Lannon was recognized as a school that “significantly exceeds expectations” on the State Report Card. The site team identified that early intervention in kindergarten and grade 1 has had a positive impact on state Forward Exam results.

Summer Opportunities reports on successful year

Summer Opportunities Coordinator and Lannon Principal Brian Balfany gave the School Board an update on the 2018 program. A total of 2,004 students in grades 4K to 11 enrolled in classes, 31 fewer students than in 2017. Combined, 121 teachers were employed, a majority of whom were Hamilton School District staff. In all, 219 employees were employed including three administrative assistants, 32 paraprofessionals, 58 student teaching assistants, one coordinator and four assistant coordinators. The staff count represents a 10 percent reduction from last year and 35 percent over the past two years.

Recommendations for next year include:

  • scheduling the summer program to be in session June 19 – July 17 with days off on July 4 and 5;
  • enhancing course offerings;
  • continue training math instructors in Everyday Math strategies and reading teachers in Reader’s Workshop, as was done this year;
  • exploring recovery credit make-up and credit acquisition opportunities; and
  • increasing enrollment of students invited to take mathematics or reading.

List of TSA vendors narrows to 4

Hamilton School District employees will have one less vendor to choose from if they participate in payroll deductions for tax sheltered annuities. The list is now Axa Equitable, VOYA Financial Advisors, Oppenheimer Funds and WEA. Annuity Premium Account – Kemper, which previously was on the list, was omitted because there is no longer a local presence for employees to access.

Paraprofessional position added

A part-time special education paraprofessional position was added at Lannon Elementary School due to increased needs. The position will be the equivalent of a 94 percent position.

Personnel news

In personnel action, the School Board:

  • approved the retirement of Lannon music teacher Eileen Casper, effective at the end of the 2018-19 school year;
  • appointed Carol Hamilton as a Lannon associate kitchen employee, Jennifer Adams as a Maple Avenue paraprofessional and Cynthia Dow as a Templeton paraprofessional; and
  • modified the contract of Templeton speech-language pathologist Kristin Muehlenbach due to increase caseload.