June 30, 2020

Task force looks at reopening schools

Before the 2019-20 school year ended, a task force was already studying myriad issues of reopening school for 2020-21 amid a pandemic. While School Board members will get a final comprehensive report July 20, Superintendent Paul Mielke, Ph.D., gave them a status update on the work of the five subcommittees that comprise the Reopening School Task Force.school board meeting_type

The five subcommittees, their scope of study and status are:

Social & Emotional Wellness – Support students and staff during the reopening of school, reestablish PBIS expectations, identify students in need of assistance and reestablish cognitive endurance.

Status:

  • Evaluating needs of students and staff
  • Prioritizing professional learning activities and welcome back activities
  • Identifying professional learning around supporting students with mental health and SEW needs, with common resources for staff to support students in discussion
  • Developing plans to reestablish PBIS within schools

Teaching & Learning – Enable students to continue to make academic progress and prevent regression. The subcommittee will set the direction and vision for the academic program which includes building the instructional model for potential learning environments.

Status:

  • Preparing for traditional in person start:
    • Preparing for returning students and anticipating the need for virtual instruction for students if they become ill or need to be quarantined for 14 days
  • Creating action plans for “common” platforms based on grade levels, i.e., See Saw, Google classroom, etc.
  • Planning for a 100% virtual option for parents not wanting to send their children back to school buildings
  • Reviewing how to utilize staff who indicated, through a district survey, they are interested in working in a virtual setting
  • Parents will receive a survey to determine interest in a 100% virtual setting for their students

Technology – Ensure effective and equitable access and use of technology to support learning and communication in all learning environments. The subcommittee will lead technology access and support by conducting an inventory, issuing devices and ensuring access for families who do not have internet.

Status:

  • Determining needs for equipment to support teaching and learning
  • Standardizing platforms used
  • Streamlining processes for communicating software and application availability and requests
  • Assessing bandwidth
  • Collect data points during online registration regarding devices available and internet access

Human Resources and Finance – Maintain effective and efficient budgetary, financial and human resources operations. The subcommittee will determine policies to support the health and well-being of staff, understand and ensure human resources and finance compliance and develop a sustainable financial plan.

Status:

  • Creating Pandemic Handbook
  • Accommodation forms
  • Employee sick-time questions
  • Recommendations on travel outside of state
  • Creating guidance for staff to follow regarding PPE in classrooms
  • Creating a flow chart or graphic representation of when an employee/family member/child has COVID

Facilities and Operations – Maintain effective and efficient facilities, nutrition services and other key operations. The subcommittee will determine policies to support the health and well-being of staff, understand and ensure human resources and finance compliance and develop a sustainable financial plan.

Status:

  • Food service items under consideration:
    • Touchless or no-touch point of sale, student IDs on lanyards with barcode
    • Disposable trays and utensils
    • Staggering arrival times in the cafeteria
    • Potential to have assigned seating
    • Directed traffic flow
  • Busing items under consideration:
    • Potential assigned seating on buses
    • Loading back to front
    • Washing and cleaning process between routes
    • Parents can opt out using buses
  • Health room and monitoring items under consideration:
    • Designated isolation room in each school. Showing symptoms (N95 for staff/gowns) isolate in an area
    • Self-monitoring for families/students as well
    • Education and training hygiene – more signage
    • Limiting visitors coming into school to only essential individuals
  • Other items under consideration:
    • Plexiglass high traffic areas
    • Investigating face shields for staff working directly with students
    • Working on hand sanitizer dispensers for all rooms
    • Signage reminders about handwashing and symptoms
    • Closing drinking fountains but keeping water bottle fillers open
    • Reevaluating cleaning processes for cleaning high-touch – high traffic areas
    • DPI has provided district with masks to distribute to students

Personnel action

In personnel matters, the School Board:

  • accepted the retirement request of Food & Nutrition Services Assistant Manager Sandra MacPherson, effective Aug. 31; and
  • approved the resignations of Maple Avenue special education teacher Heather Ertl, Woodside instructional paraprofessional Lauren Vogt and Maple Avenue associate kitchen employee Diana Muche, all effective June 2020.

June 15, 2020

District pulls together task force for opening of 2020-21 school year

Superintendent Paul Mielke, Ph.D., shared with Hamilton School Board members a report how the district is preparing for the opening of the 2020-21 school year considering the COVID-19 pandemic.school board meeting_type

“While the preferred option is to have all students return to school buildings, the district is creating multiple contingency plans in the event that limited numbers of students are permitted to return to an in-person model,” Mielke wrote in his report. “The district is also creating plans and protocols regarding a response should there be a Coronavirus outbreak in one of the school buildings.”

A task force will study issues and provide recommendations to ensure the overall safety and well-being of the school community. Families and employee were invited to provide input via online surveys, and the results will be used as plans are created. The task force will focus on five areas that include: social and emotional support; teaching and learning; technology; human resources and finance; and facilities and operations.

Open Enrollment students placed on waiting list

The district received 152 applications from nonresident students to attend Hamilton schools under Open Enrollment. No spaces are available in the district, so applicants will be placed on a waiting list for the 2020-21 school year. The district will monitor expected enrollment throughout the summer to determine if students will be recommended for placement at schools based on space availability with priority for siblings of current students.

Lunch prices remain the same

Student fees and lunch prices for 2020-21 will remain unchanged for most students in the district. Lunch prices are: $2.60 for elementary and $2.95 for intermediate, middle and high school students. Intermediate students’ meals will include a salad bar, and bistro box meals will be $2.60.  Lunch prices for adults will be $3.75. The cost for a carton of milk for all students will remain at 35 cents.

District renews participation in SWSA

School Board members authorized the district to renew participation in the Southeastern Wisconsin School Alliance (SWSA). The 32-member alliance provides school leaders from southeastern Wisconsin with objective, non-partisan information and training as they work with policymakers regarding education issues. The annual cost to participate in SWSA is $3,200 per school district.

Reports, documents get OK

Many reports and documents were approved including:

  • Templeton and Hamilton student handbooks;
  • Hamilton 2020-21 co-curricular handbooks;
  • district emergency nursing services policies and procedures;
  • bloodborne pathogens procedures;
  • special education procedures handbook;
  • district interventions status report;
  • teacher supervision and evaluation policies and procedures;
  • membership in the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association; and
  • waiver of Wisconsin local wellness policy triennial assessment.

Personnel action

In personnel business, the School Board

  • accepted the resignations of Hamilton High School Associate Principal Laura Westcott and Silver Spring Intermediate School Teacher Whitney Roth;
  • appointed Whitney Roth as district curriculum specialist and Tracy Gordon as district nurse, both effective July 1;
  • approved retirement request of Hamilton High School Marketing Teacher, Skip Hay effective at the end of the 2019-20 school year.

June 2, 2020

Instructional coach position reconfigured into curriculum specialist

The Hamilton School Board created a new position of curriculum specialist at its June 2 meeting. The new position replaces the district’s instructional coach position, which is currently held by Cathy Drago who will become instructional services supervisor with the retirement of Katie Little at the end of the month. The curriculum specialist will assist the instructional services supervisor and will serve as chair of curriculum committees as well as having a major role in district staff development.school board meeting_type

In a written report on status of the instructional and literacy coaching initiative, Instructional Services Supervisor Katie Little and Human Resources Director John Roubik stated that the new position will focus on supporting the instructional services supervisor in implementation of the assessment initiative. They said they believe the shift in emphasis will have a significant impact on addressing current needs of teachers and strategic plan next steps.

The district hired one full-time instructional coach in 2016 and aligned reading specialists’ teaching schedules to include time for literacy coaching in each building. Over the last four years, hundreds of teachers have benefitted from the coaching provided by these teachers, according to Little and Roubik. As the district moves forward with its strategic plan initiatives, greater emphasis will be on curriculum development and professional learning with a greater understanding of standards and assessment practices.

Reading specialists will continue to support literacy coaching in each building which includes partnering with teachers to help them incorporate research-based instructional practices into their teaching, encouraging reflection about their classroom practices and helping them identify their professional goals and implement a plan for reaching them. The focus will continue to be on improving instruction.

Year-end projects OK’d

The School Board gave approval to a prioritized list of buildings and grounds projects that will be completed if designated year-end budgets allow. Among the highest priority are asphalt replacement of the high school student parking lot, roof replacement and heating, ventilation and air conditioning control updates. Totals project expenses are:

  • District – $323,200
  • Hamilton High – $730,500
  • Templeton – $375,500
  • Silver Spring – $8,000
  • Willow – $42,500
  • Lannon – $52,800
  • Marcy – $76,000
  • Maple Avenue – $123,000
  • Total – $1,737,500

Other business

In other action, the School Board approved revisions to the 2020-21 National Honor Society handbook and accepted a status report update on the district’s strategic plan.

May 18, 2020

2020 summer school program will have different look

It may not look like Summer Opportunities of years past, but the Hamilton School District will offer summer school this year. The district’s normal program was canceled due to the pandemic, but seven weeks of live virtual instruction is planned for students needing intervention and all students who want continued engagement. Classes will be held three days a week between 8:30-11:30 a.m. In addition, other high school credit-recovery and transition courses will be offered.school board meeting_type

Students will be mailed hard-copy packets and their teachers will engage with them through email and virtual Zoom or Google meetings. The K-8 program will be June 23 – August 7 and will include invitational literature and mathematics camps, general literature and mathematics K-8 camps, visual arts, theater-drama and karate. In addition, 4K and 5K in-person transition offerings may be considered for late July and early August dependent on state guidelines for gatherings.

The high school program will be June 22 – July 17 in morning and afternoon sessions and will include a ninth grade transition course encouraged for all graduating eighth-graders, health, history, biology, algebra, communication arts and civics and economics.

There will be no cost to families, but the district may incur up to $50,000 of expenses that may be reimbursed by the state.

Registration will be May 26-29.

Board OKs budget that will be presented at postponed Annual Meeting

The Hamilton School Board gave its approval for the 2020-21 budget that will be presented to voters at a postponed Aug. 17 Annual Meeting.

The budget totals $63.4 million, which is 2.61 percent more than the current budget. The tax rate is projected to be $9.38 per $1,000 of equalized property value – a 2.74% increase. For each $100,000 of property owned, citizens will pay $938 to support local school taxes.

The budget was created with the assumption that property values in the district will increase by 2.5 percent and enrollment will increase by 70 students. The tax rate could be affected if the projections do not match up in October with actual numbers. Increased property values and student enrollment would result in a lower tax rate, and less-than-expected property valuation and enrollment will cause an increase.

The School Board moved the Annual Meeting from July 20 to Aug. 17 due to economic uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More reliable budget information will be available from the state which will allow the district to have the most current and accurate data to share with the community in advance of the Annual Meeting.

Seniors & Students continues success

Public Information and Volunteer Program Coordinator Denise Dorn Lindberg updated the School Board on the Seniors & Students Program. She credited Jen Galang, Seniors & Students Program support, with the continued success of the program through outstanding recruitment, training and support of volunteers. A total of 268 volunteers participate in the program providing in-person assistance or as pen pals.

New this year was the addition of Time to Learn and Connect (TLC) at Marcy Elementary School where volunteers meeting with students during lunch to read books or play games. Maple Avenue and Lannon elementary schools have similar programs. In addition, five senior volunteers are at the new Silver Spring Intermediate School, with volunteers at all schools in the district except the high school.

The COVID-19 pandemic cut program participation short this year, but volunteer still contributed nearly 6,000 hours to the program. In the 22 years since the program has been in place, senior volunteers contributed more than 135,000 hours to the district at a value of nearly $2.9 million.

Staffing plan for 2020-21 presented

The district is planning to have a nearly status-quo staffing plan for 2020-21 because of uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All schools will have the same staffing levels as 2019-20 except the high school which will add an 83% part-time fitness education position.

Chapter 220 enrollment dwindling

For the first time since the district has been involved in the program, no elementary students are involved in the Chapter 220 voluntary integration program. The program began being phased out about five years ago when the state Legislature cut funding and restructured the program. This year 29 continuing students from Silver Spring, Templeton and Hamilton High are participating. State law does not allow any new seats to be opened for students.

Chapter 220 is a state-funded voluntary integration program that brings Milwaukee Public Schools students to suburban districts. Before Legislators phased out the program, as many 110 Milwaukee students attended the district.

CESA contract approved

The district will contract in 2020-21 with the regional CESA #1 cooperative for nearly $283,000 and grant allocations to provide programming, training, lending libraries and networks related to areas such as college and career readiness, early childhood, district administration, federal funding, personalized learning, occupational and speech & language, alternative education.

Personnel matters

In personnel business the School Board:

  • appointed Catherine Drago as Instructional Services supervisor and Meghan Goldner as Hamilton High School administrative assistant, both effective July 1; and
  • accepted the retirement request of Templeton Special Service paraprofessional Kelly Jurasovich, effective at the end of the school year.

May 5, 2020

School Board lifts policies that pertain to state assessments, high school final exams

Because the state is not requiring annual student assessments this year due to the pandemic, the Hamilton School Board voted to suspend its policies that pertain to student performance on state tests. school board meeting_typeResults of state tests normally are considered when deciding whether to promote or retain students at a grade level. Because the assessments will not be administered this year, the local policy is being suspended. In addition, the School Board lifted its policy of having high school final exams during a certain time period. Teachers will give modified final exams and will not be required to administer them on a specific date at the high school.

Rules on staff use of information technology adjusted

The School Board opened the door to allow staff members to use social media to communicate with students about non-classroom related content if they have advanced approval from their principal. Previous policy did not allow staff to use non-district applications or platforms to reach out to students for any reason. All communication regarding information and activities related to the classroom must still occur on the district’s student information system or platforms approved by the district, but staff who get prior principal approval may use non-district sponsored applications and platforms to communicate about school information not specific to the classroom.

Staff who wish to use social media to communicate about school clubs, activities and events must agree to adhere to guidelines for professional and ethical communication and provide administration with usernames and passwords for the account.

Superintendent Paul Mielke, Ph.D., said the revised policy will provide more freedom and more expectations for staff regarding professional use of social media. He said guidelines will be implemented to protect students, the district and staff.

Otto presents four reports on career, employment readiness programs

Hamilton High School Associate Principal and Extended Learning Opportunities Coordinator Mark Otto presented four items to the School Board.

  • The School Board approved continued participation in the Carl Perkins grant consortium offered through CESA #1 which provides the district with $12,429 in grant funding this year, an decrease from $15,121 the previous year. The grant supports career and technical education that prepares students both both postsecondary education and careers. Funds this year were used to support supplies and materials in Business, Family and Consumer Education, and Applied Engineering and Technology departments. In addition, it provided opportunities for teachers to attend conferences to support their curriculum.
  • The district’s Extended Learning Opportunities Program annual report was accepted. The program grew out of the school-to-work initiative that aimed to connect education and employment where 4-year college degrees were not required. Experiences in the program include apprenticeships, mentorships, internships and job shadowing. The program strengthens partnerships with the business community to prepare students for the world of work, regardless of the education or career track they choose. While some career development opportunities occur at the elementary and middle school level, most activities are for high school students. They include an elementary career guidance unit, creation of career portfolios, Junior Achievement participation, an entrepreneurship program, Project Lead the Way classes, career speakers, Youth Apprenticeship, work experience, academic assistants, Robotics, Early College Credit Program, DECA, Healthcare Career Academy, Manufacturing Career Expo, Reality Check and Schools2Skills.
  • Participation in the Waukesha County School-to-Work consortium for 2020-21 was approved. The School-to-Work Consortium provides grant funding that supports co-op, youth apprenticeship, work experience programs and K-12 career-related initiatives. Participation in the consortium is voluntary and provided at no cost to the district. During this school year, the consortium worked closely with Waukesha County Technical College to understand the 6-week instead of full semester classes it implemented and continued to pursue additional transcripted credit opportunities.
  • The district’s Education for Employment (E4E) was accepted. E4E was established in 1985 in response to the growing concern over the number of youth who failed to make a successful transition from school to the world of work. E4E plans now coincide with Academic and Career Planning (ACP) of students. The plan identifies, coordinates and assists in preparing students to be college and career ready.

Summer curriculum work, training approved

Summer curriculum work, instructional initiatives and professional development workshops were approved. Instructional Services Supervisor Katie Little, Ph.D., said more of the events are being pushed to July and August in hopes of being able to have face-to-face collaboration in light of restrictions in place due to the pandemic. The events planned are:

  • Grades K-12 curriculum team – planning for fall K-12 English language arts curriculum work;
  • Grades K-12 English language arts professional development;
  • K-8 science – grade level curriculum planning;
  • Grades 9-12 science curriculum work;
  • Grades 5-6 humanities integration curriculum planning;
  • Fastbridge progress monitoring and screening training;
  • Administrator Retreat; and
  • New Teacher Orientation.

The budget for the summer work is $42,920 and is funded through the district’s Educational Services budget.

Pesonnel matters

In personnel matters, the School Board approved hiring of Jackie Leon as Public Information Office part-time administrative assistant, effective May 11, and Amanda Hunt as high school world languages – French teacher, effective Aug. 21.

April 20, 2020

Changes to grades K4-6 student progress reporting approved

The Hamilton School Board accepted the recommendation of a staff and parent committee to adjust how elementary and intermediate schools will report and communicate student progress.school board meeting_type

Beginning in the 2020-21 school year, teachers will:

  • continue Great Start Conferences with improvements suggested by parents and staff;
  • have fall and spring conferences based on parent preference for a phone, email or in-person session; 
  • issue semester report cards in January and June; and 
  • use the app Seesaw and rubrics regularly to communicate student progress.

Report cards will be aligned to standards with one descriptor key that matches rubric terminology of “beginning,” “developing,” “proficient” and “excelling” for grades K-6 standards and learning behaviors. No grades will be calculated for third and fourth grade content areas. Silver Spring students will have calculated grades in all content areas except science. Overall comments will be provided at the end rather than for each content area. Quarterlong classes at Silver Spring will receive a grade at the end of the quarter. Kindergarten may consider a 3-point scale for finite skills.

Two nights and one day have been allotted for conferences, but the 15-20 minute sessions can be scheduled any time in November or March.

Guidelines regarding the frequency of SeeSaw use will be developed and rubrics will be developed within the curriculum review cycle for each content area.

District moves to pilot with FastBridge

Another committee recommendation was accepted. After administrators, reading specialists, math support teachers, psychologists and special education teachers reviewed the alternatives, they recommended piloting FastBridge in 2020-21 at Hamilton, Silver Spring, Lannon, Marcy and Woodside for reading and math screeners, replacing MAP and PALS. All schools will use FastBridge progress monitoring probes.

Among its advantages, FastBridge will be a faster assessment and costs will be about $10,500 less than using the current system.

Board looks at first draft of 2020-21 budget

The Hamilton School Board took its first look at the 2020-21 budget at its regular meeting. The budget totals $63.4 million — a 2.61 percent increase over the current budget.

The district expects to see a slight increase of 0.12 in state aid. The tax rate will be $9.38 per $1,000 of equalized property value, a 2.74 percent increase. The impact for local taxpayers will be a $25 increase for each $100,000 of property owned.

The budget was created with the assumption that property values in the district will increase by 2.5 percent and enrollment will increase by 70 students. The tax rate could be affected if the projections do not match up in October with actual numbers. Increased property values and student enrollment would result in a lower tax rate, and less-than-expected property valuation and enrollment will cause an increase.

The School Board will vote in May on the final budget that will be presented at the July 20 Annual Meeting.

AET, music curriculum changes adopted

Curriculum documents for applied engineering and technology (AET) and music were approved. AET added “Digital Electronics” and “Automation” to course offerings beginning in 2020. Content in other classes were adjusted within course strands to better reflect learning progression. “AP Music Theory” and “Intermediate Music Theory” courses were added for the 2020-21 school year.

Curriculum resources approved

The School Board approved the purchase of $26,975 for curriculum resources that include new “AP Biology” textbooks, an online spelling resource for Silver Spring and the paid version of Seesaw for grades K-6 student progress communication.

Students make early credit requests

A total of 26 high school students requested admission to the Early College Credit Program (ECCP) that will allow them to take classes next semester at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee/Waukesha and Carroll University. In addition, 16 students’ requests to take Waukesha County Technical College courses through Start College Now were also approved. Both programs were formerly part of the Youth Options Program. Hamilton Principal Rebecca Newcomer noted in a report to the School Board that students are not always able to take the courses because of scheduling conflicts or full classes.

ECCP and Start College Now are programs mandated by the state that allow students who have completed tenth grade, are in good academic standing and have no disciplinary problems to attend a technical college or university if the high school does not offer comparable courses.

The programs are budgeted through the high school. The state Department of Workforce Development funds 25 percent of the ECCP program. If a student has met all graduation requirements, Hamilton may require students taking courses through the ECCP program to pay 25 percent of the course cost. For both programs the family is required to pay the full cost if a student fails, withdraws or drops the course and transportation is the family’s responsibility.

Other business

In other business, the School Board:

  • heard reports about the district’s strategic-tactical plan and Information Technology initiatives;
  • extended the dairy contract with Kemps Dairy for 2020-21;
  • did not increase lunch prices and student fees for 2020-21;
  • approved the boys’ swimming and girls’ hockey co-ops; and
  • accepted the resignations of Silver Spring Intermediate School special education teacher Kelleah Lewis, effective at the end of the 2019‐20 school year; Public Information Office administrative assistant Jessica Coon, effective April 7; Hamilton Special Services paraprofessional Sarah Braunschweig, effective April 6; and Maple Avenue associate kitchen employee Kelly Adams‐Fant, effective June 11.

February 17, 2020

Spotlight on Silver Spring culture

Silver Spring Intermediate School Principal Deanna Wellens and Associate Principal Katie Ritchie presented a School Spotlight video that focused on the school’s intentional efforts to build a culture of belonging.

Enrollment up by 14 since September

School districts in Wisconsin are required to take pupil counts the third Friday of September and the second Friday of January. The district’s enrollment went from 4,886 to 4,900 in the nearly four-month span this school year.

School enrollment:

  • increased by 11 at Willow Springs, 9 at Maple Avenue, 5 at Marcy and 1 at Woodside;
  • dropped by 10 at the high school and 2 at Templeton; and
  • remained the same at Lannon and Silver Spring.

Students recognized for drama, perfect ACT score

NickMitchellMaggieFlynn

Two Hamilton High School students were recognized for outstanding performance. Maggie Flynn and Nick Mitchell qualified for national competition at the Wisconsin Theater Festival. In addition, Flynn earned a perfect score of 36 on the ACT college-entrance exam.

Personnel action

In personnel action, the School Board

  • accepted the resignations of Hamilton world language French teacher Amanda Hunt, effective Jan. 20; Lannon paraprofessional Betsy Molinski, effective Jan. 31; Lannon technology integration resource teacher Julie Kleist, effective June 12; and Lannon special services paraprofessional Anita Hilleman, effective Feb. 17;
  • approved the retirement request of Hamilton High School administrative assistant Nancy Schulz, effective June 30; and
  • appointed Lisa Totsky as Business Office accounts payable administrative assistant, effective Feb. 17; Roberta VonAsten as Silver Spring special services paraprofessional, effective Feb. 17; Susan Bruns as high school guidance administrative assistant, effective Feb. 24, Shelby Froberg as Marcy special services papaprofessional, effective March 2; and Theresa Aron, Marcy associate kitchen employee, effective Feb. 18.

12 students approved for early graduation

Hamilton High School Principal Rebecca Newcomer presented the applications of 12 juniors – Jimmy Baisden, Michael Domino, Mia Garbarek, Madelyn Gilmore, Megan Gilmore, Zackary Jauquet, Jaspreet Kaur, Kaden Lauer, Lillie Stadfeld, Akuma Thao, Toua Thao, Justin Vang – who requested to graduate early. The students met School Board policy requirements and will be eligible to graduate in January 2021.

Cooperative agreement with Elmbrook approved

The School Board authorized district staff to once again contract with the Elmbrook School District special education services in the 2020-21 school year. The contract will provide low-incidence disabilities services for students who have autism, intellectual, hearing and vision disabilities and for the placement of one student at Fairview South, a school that serves students with cognitive disabilities. Hamilton is one of 26 school districts that contracts with Elmbrook for services. Districts reimburse Elmbrook based on usage of services.

Contract with Dominiczak extended

The School Board approved continuing services with Dominiczak Therapy Associates until 2022. The district switched to Dominiczak for occupational and physical therapy (OT, PT) services in the 2015-16 school year and has continued with the company since then.

Instructional Services reports on curriculum, assessments

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

Curricular areas under review or being developed are: K-12 science; K-12 English language arts; and high school courses of music theory, digital electronics and automation, and certain course content in applied engineering and technology.

In her assessment report, Little said a balanced assessment program provides multiple measures of a student’s learning. The Hamilton School District assessment program includes three levels of assessment: classroom assessments, district benchmarks and standardized tests.

Classroom and district benchmark assessments define learning targets for students, evaluate student learning, document student progress, identify the next step in instruction, provide teachers with information to tailor instruction and help develop a student’s ability to self-assess and set learning goals. They are regularly reviewed.

Little noted that establishment of Great Start Conferences this year afforded classroom teachers time to administer early literacy screeners for more accurate instructional planning earlier in the school year. Teachers of grades K-5 successfully used the Fountas and Pinnell literacy assessment program for a few years. This year grade 6 was added. This assessment program determines reading accuracy and fidelity across the district.

Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) data identify students who may be struggling or excelling in a given area or strand and inform individual, small group and whole group instruction. A team of teachers and administrators are investigating FastBridge which could replace AimsWeb Plus for progress monitoring and MAP or PALS for literacy and math screening.

Potential actions are to:

  • continue using AimsWeb Plus for progress monitoring and MAP or PALS for screening purposes;
  • use FastBridge for progress monitoring and continue to use MAP or PALS for screening purposes;
  • use FastBridge for progress monitoring, pilot the FastBridge screener at one or more schools and evaluate results for the potential use of the screener at all schools; or
  • adopt FastBridge for progress monitoring and screening at all schools.

The Wisconsin Student Assessment System (WSAS) is a comprehensive statewide program designed to provide information about what students know in core academic areas and whether they can apply what they know. Standardized assessments are required by state and federal law. Administration occurs each spring and include:

  • The Wisconsin Forward Exam includes English language arts and mathematics for grades 3-8; science for grades 4 and 8; and social studies for grades 4, 8 and 10. It is administered in an online format.
  • The ACT Aspire Early High School is a summative assessment that measures what students have learned in the areas of English, reading, math, science and writing. The ACT Aspire scores predict how a student will perform on both the ACT and when they reach grade 11. It is administered to students in grades 9 and 10 in an online format.
  • The ACT tests include reading, math, English, science and writing. The ACT with writing is a paper and pencil test.
  • The Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) assessment is administered to no more than 1% of students with significant cognitive disabilities.
  • ACCESS for ELLs® is designed to measure English language proficiency.
  • The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is conducted in a range of subjects in grades 4, 8 and 12 across the country. Assessments are given most frequently in mathematics, reading, science and writing. Other subjects such as the arts, civics, economics, geography, technology and engineering literacy, and U.S. history are assessed periodically. Hamilton was not selected for NAEP testing during the 2019-20 school year.

January 20, 2020

New IT manager delivers first update

District Information Technology Manager Ryan Miller presented his first report on recently completed information technology updates, upgrades and implementation. Focus of IT staff has included:

  • surveying district network equipment and topology;
  • replacement of fiber network;
  • replacement and upgrade of legacy storage and server environment;
  • development of an equitable elementary technology plan; and
  • exploration of move from Microsoft Exchange staff email to G Suite for Education.

Plans are to:

  • develop a comprehensive equipment rotation plan;
  • collaborate with leadership to develop a technology plan;
  • analyze print environment to explore cost-savings;
  • review IT staff roles and responsibilities; and
  • explore further streamlining of services and response time with additional staff.

2020-21 calendar approved

School Board members approved the 2020-21 school calendar. Among the significant changes are:

  • Student start date for grades 5K-12 will be before Labor Day due to how late the holiday falls in 2020.
  • Spring Break will be during the week of Good Friday and continue through the Tuesday after Easter for students. Staff will have a professional development day on April 6. In the future the district will return to scheduling spring break during the last full week in March.

Private school transportation costs top $200,000

As in the past, the district provided transportation or a parent contract for families whose children attend private school. This year, 137 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 $80,000 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 $120,062 for 253 full contracts and one half contract. Contracts are issued per student, not per family.

Personnel action taken

In personnel business, the School Board:

  • approved the resignations of high school special services paraprofessional Adriane Sendzik effective Jan. 23, Templeton special services paraprofessional Anna Marie Zorn effective Jan. 30, district administrative assistant Jamie McMillan effective Feb. 14, Silver Spring special services paraprofessional Nicole Winkelmann effective Jan. 23, Woodside grade 5 teacher Megan Owens effective at the end of the school year and high school guidance administrative assistant Kristine Gostomski effective Feb. 13;
  • accepted the retirement request of high school social studies teacher David Hartman, effective at the end of the school year; and
  • appointed Tami Smulders as Templeton associate kitchen employee effective Jan. 9, Sean O’Dwyer as Marcy part-time custodian effective Jan. 6 and Justin Gumm as part-time high school fitness education teacher effective Aug. 19.

Spring, fall teams recognized

Teams that were conference champs or competed at state were recognized. School Board President Gabe Kolesari and Superintendent Paul Mielke, Ph.D., presented each team with a certificate. Not all athletes were able to attend the meeting, but those recognized were:

BaseballWeb

Varsity Baseball – Coach Mike Schramek, team state qualifier

BoysTrack

Boys  Track – Coach Ben Nysse, individual state qualifiers Adam Jeter, Brenden Ban and Gavin Kuhlenbeck
Girls Track – Coach Ben Nysse, individual state qualifiers Alexis Zuehlke, Jessica Heckman and Morgan DeHarde

BoysGolf

Boys Golf – Coach Dan Heckman, team sectional qualifier

Tennis

Boys & Girls Tennis – Coach Alan Schneider, individual sectional qualifiers Calvin Moore and Cynthia Yan

BoysXCountry

Boys Cross Country – Coaches Stephen Schmidt and Ben Nysse, team state qualifier
Girls Cross Country – Coach Ben Nysse, individual state qualifier Brooke Price

Volleyball

Girls Volleyball – Coach Traci Buhr, team sectional qualifier

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.

The high school added the statement: “Courses dropped after the first week of the semester will result in a failing grade on the transcript.”

High school classes that were added were “Digital Electronics and Automation,” “Symphonic Band,” “Wind Symphony,” “Basic-Intermediate Music Theory” and “Advanced Placement Music Theory.”

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 2020-21 school year due to projected resident enrollment and space available for special education open enrollment. Open Enrollment is a statewide program that allows students to attend public schools outside of their districts if space is available.

December 16, 2019

Key dates announced for 2020-21 calendar

A few dates in the 2020-21 calendar have still to be ironed out, but in the interest of letting families and staff know key dates for advanced planning, the School Board accepted the administration’s recommendation to hold:

  • The first day of school will be Sept. 1 for grades 7-12, Sept. 3 for grades 5K-6 and Sept. 8 for 4K. The dates are staggered because Great Start conferences are held on the first few days of school for students in grades 4K – 6.
  • Winter break for students will be Dec. 23 – Jan. 1.
  • Spring break for students will be March 29-April 6.

School Spotlight on Templeton Marble Slide project

Templeton Middle School Principal Brad Hoffmann presented to School Board members about an applied engineering and technology project for eighth-graders. He showed a video that highlighted the project with students providing explanations on how it worked and an exciting ending for the class.

Last meeting for business assistant superintendent

Ruud-Last-MeetingSchool Board President Gabe Kolesari presented Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Bryan Ruud with a parting gift of an engraved clock in appreciation for his 27 years of service to the district. Ruud’s last day will be Jan. 3.

AET classes renamed for clarity

A few applied engineering and technology courses will be renamed for the 2020-21 school year to clarify content and sequencing.

  • “Introduction to Construction Technology” will be called “Architecture and Building Construction 1.”
  • “Introduction to Manufacturing” will be “Introduction to Machining and Automation.”
  • “Fabrication Design and Productivity” will be “”Welding Fabrication 1.”
  • “Applied Energy and Fabrication” will be “Welding Fabrication 2.”

Other content adjustments will be presented to the School Board in spring.

Hasbrook presents annual AODA update

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.

Providing initial screening and AODA referral services, helping families find appropriate community services and conducting school-specific services comprised 2018-19 activities. She presented on depression and trained students to be peer leaders.

At the high school, in addition to individual AODA support for students, Hasbrook facilitated separate girls and boys support groups to teach positive coping skills to students struggling with challenges. She coordinated staff training of the Question-Persuade-Respond (QPR) model to deal with depression, grief and suicide. She also received a grant to create the RISE Club for students to learn about mindfulness and stress relief.

She provided a lesson on depression to Templeton Middle School seventh-graders in conjunction with peer leaders. She also met with students who had alcohol or other drugs.

Districtwide activities involved coordination of the parent network Hamilton Connects, earning a license to teach Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) training, establishing a resource network for parents and 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.

2020-21 plans are to:

  • continue involvement in QPR training students on depression, grief and suicide;
  • create mental health education programming and support for parents;
  • provide parent education to reduce drug and alcohol use through individual meetings, outside resources and Hamilton Connects;
  • seek additional funding for Hamilton Connects;
  • support Hamilton and Templeton students on a regular basis;
  • work with community participants on the Wellness Resource Network;
  • train staff and community members on YMHFA; and
  • participate in Out of Darkness Campus Walk.

School budget parameters set for 2020-21

Parameters for development of the 2020-21 budget will maintain existing general school and capital outlay allocations per student and increase library allocations by $2 per student. Total per pupil allocations will be $161 for grades 4k-4, $181 for grades 5-6, $193 for grades 7-8, and $228 for grades 9-12.

Personnel matters

In personnel business, the School Board:

  • accepted the retirement request of Instructional Services Supervisor Katherine Little, Ph.D., effective June 30;
  • approved the resignations of Marcy part-time custodian Nicholas Foti, effective Dec. 16, Hamilton associate kitchen employee Marianne Selkey and Templeton associate kitchen employee Lisette Martin, both effective Dec. 20; and
  • appointed Lauren Vogt as Woodside instructional and supervision paraprofessional, effective Dec. 2, Amy Durham as Marcy replacement literacy interventionist, effective Jan. 2, Marianne Selkey as Hamilton custodian, effective Dec. 23, and Jessica Schlise as Maple Avenue special services paraprofessional, effective Dec. 18.

November 18, 2019

Hamilton’s overall 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.School-Board-Highlights

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 closing-gaps score on the 2018-19 State Report Card is 8.4 points higher than the state average for 2018-19.
  • All district student groups score higher on state and local assessments than the state average. The English language arts achievement gap of Hamilton’s socioeconomically disadvantaged, special education and English learner populations and their majority counterparts are greater than the state average. The mathematics achievement gap between special education and English learner students and their majority counterparts is greater than the state average. These larger discrepancies may be attributed to the high achievement levels of the district’s comparison groups. However, work is being done with individual students to increase the overall achievement for these populations.
  • When compared to the state, all Hamilton student groups had higher ACT composite scores. In all instances, achievement discrepancies are seen between the majority and their counterparts.
  • Black, special education and English learner students are underrepresented or not represented in Advanced Placement course testing data.

The district supports high quality instruction and assessment practices to ensure the success of all students including the following:

  • Title I services are allocated for direct instruction at targeted schools.
  • School site plans include articulated action steps using building-level student data to differentiate instruction and to inform intervention use for students with larger gaps.
  • A Response to Intervention model is in place across the district. Interventions are matched with student needs to ensure greatest academic gains.
  • A team of district interventionists meets regularly to discuss the effectiveness of current interventions and to expand the district’s menu of intervention options.
  • Training for effective use of the Comprehensive Intention Model, strategy-based interventions for reading and writing continues this year. The focus is on the Interactive Writing and Writing Aloud components of the intervention.
  • EduClimber, the district’s data visualization and progress monitoring tool is used more extensively across the district. This fall all teachers were trained in data wall creation to view student achievement trends for classrooms and individual students.
  • Additional intervention programming is offered at each school to meet students’ needs. The following are examples. The listing is not exhaustive:
    • Hamilton High School
      • Advisement curriculum (ACT test prep, financial literacy, college and career readiness planning)
      • Guided Academic Practice
      • Portable Assisted Study Sequence
      • Reading Resource
      • Club Success
    • Templeton Middle School
      • Advisement restructure that allows for the delivery of targeted interventions
      • Content Mastery
      • Study Center
      • Individual Student Achievement Plans
      • Success Club
    • Elementary schools
      • Intervention blocks
      • Writing support
      • Targeted individual and small group learning and practice sessions
  • Professional development opportunities for teaching staff focus on designing strategies and learning environments to meet the needs of all learners. Summaries of specific offerings are provided to the Board on a regular basis.

Personnel matters

In personnel business, the School Board:

  • accepted the resignations of Templeton associate kitchen employee Jennifer Bartelme, effective Nov. 7, Marcy literacy interventionist Amanda Lindstedt, effective Dec. 19, Woodside paraprofessional Beth Lueck, effective Nov. 15, Woodside paraprofessional Lisa Hauser, effective Nov. 18, Woodside paraprofessional Greg Winston, effective Nov. 18; and
  • appointed Jennifer Bartelme as a Templeton paraprofessional, effective Nov. 7, Crystal Mazur as a Maple Avenue special services paraprofessional, effective Nov. 11, Ryan Miller as Information Technology manager effective Nov. 25, Lisa Hauser as Lannon special education teacher, effective Nov. 25, Greg Winston as Woodside literacy interventionist, effective Nov. 19, Heidi Rakowski as Woodside paraprofessional, effective Nov. 25.
  • Added the equivalent of a full-time elementary school special education teaching position. At the beginning of the school year Lannon was allotted a total of 1.5 full-time equivalency (FTE) special education teaching positions and Marcy was allotted 2.5 FTEs based on special education enrollments. One of the teachers traveled between the two schools providing half-time service at each school. Since then more students with special needs were identified or moved into those schools. Lannon will hire another full-time special education teacher, and the teacher who traveled between the two schools will now work full-time at Marcy.

Open Enrollment recommendations for 2020-21

The district is unlikely to make new seats available for Open Enrollment students. Human Resources Director John Roubik reported that based on Open Enrollment policies regarding class size, enrollment projections and space calculations for the 2020-21 school year, no additional spaces will be available for Open Enrollment in the 2020-21 school year.

School Board election calendar released

The schedule for the 2020 spring election was released. Terms are up for School Board members Jay Jones, who holds the Lannon seat, and Michael Hyland, who is in the at-large seat.

The election schedule includes:

  • Jan. 7 – deadline for candidacy declaration and nominations papers;
  • Feb. 18 – primary election if needed;
  • April 7 – spring election; and
  • April 27 – taking of office.

Timeline established for 2020-21 budget

The School Board approved the district’s 2020-21 budget timeline that includes:

  • Dec. 4 – Employee forum to solicit input prior to development of the budget;
  • Feb. 7 – Administrators submit budgets;
  • March 16 and April 20 – Opportunity for community to provide input on the budget prior to School Board meetings;
  • May 18 – School Board approves final draft of the budget; and
  • July 20 – Annual meeting where citizens approve tax levy.

Athletic-activities report presented

Hamilton Athletic and Activities Director Michael Gosz presented the annual Co-Curricular Activities Report. He noted that 96 coaches and 82 activity advisors lead 69 interscholastic sports teams and 50 student activities. Some 42% of the coaches and 79% of the activity advisors are district faculty members.

In his report, Gosz recommended that the district:

  • work with the HABC to construct a new concession stand on Grove Field when fundraising efforts reach approximately $750,000;
  • replace the existing backstop on the baseball field and add additional netting;
  • explore adding synthetic turf to the baseball infield to prevent rain-outs now that baseball is a spring sport. Cost is expected to be about $220,000 based on a study that the Rettler Corporation conducted and presented at a School Board meeting last year; and
  • monitor athlete specialization and off-season programs as we are starting to see an overall decrease in participation in athletics and activities.