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


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.

September 4, 2018

No students admitted into kindergarten, grade 1 early

No students were admitted early into kindergarten for 5-year-olds or grade 1, according to a report presented by Special Services Supervisor John Peterson. Two students participated in the early admission 5K screening process, but were not recommended for placement. No parents requested early admissions for first grade. District policy indicates children must be four, five or six years old by Sept. 1 to enter four-year-old kindergarten, regular kindergarten or first grade, respectively. While procedures exist for early admission to regular kindergarten and first grade, no early admission is granted for four-year-old kindergarten.

Training, curriculum work ramps up in summer

Instructional Services Supervisor Katie Little, Ph.D., reported on summer professional development.  Grades K-8 science teachers received training in the Next Generational Science Standards and cross-cutting concepts, grades 6 and 8 science teachers were trained in Lab-Aids science resources. Other professional development focused on grades 4-8 math training, Assessment Team members in lesson design and application of assessment concepts, EduClimber navigation training, new teacher orientation and ALICE safety training.

Summer curriculum projects included grades K-8 science practices and rubrics, grades 4-8 mathematics articulation between elementary and middle schools, English language arts curriculum review, creation of Comprehensive Intervention Model website for lesson plans and resources, ERE online learning modules, consistent instruction planning for elementary technology integrators and review of district assessments to avoid redundancy between district and state required assessments.

Curriculum cycle to align with assessment

As staff worked on the assessment tactics of the Strategic Plan, they recommended greater alignment of the curriculum development cycle and assessment work to better clarify what high quality learning looks like in each content area. As the district moves to a five-year curriculum review cycle, it will dive deeply into the standards for each content area.

The five-year cycle involves research and review, curriculum review, implementation, revision and maintenance and monitory. The schedule for the curriculum cycle is:

  • 2017-18 – technology & applied engineering, business education and science (new curriculum format)
  • 2018-19 – English language arts
  • 2019-20 – English language arts, Silver Spring Intermediate School opening
  • 2020-21 – mathematics, fitness education & health, social studies
  • 2021-22 – art, music, world languages, information technology literacy
  • 2022-23 – technology & applied engineering, business education, science
  • 2023-24 – family and consumer education, guidance, English language arts
  • 2024-25 – mathematics, fitness education & health, social studies

Classroom instructional practices in content areas not involved in formal curriculum review will continue to be evaluated using Understanding By Design (UbD), also known as backward design through assessment.

Testing schedule, coaching reports given

Little presented the district’s testing schedule which includes assessments such as PALS, ACCESS, various ACT exams, Dynamic Learning Maps, Forward Exam and National Assessment of Educational Progress. She also presented a status report on instructional and literacy coaching.

Woodside, Marcy jointly presented site plans

Woodside and Marcy elementary schools presented their site plans to the School Board describing many ways in which staff are collaborating to enrich learning experiences for students and staff. Both stressed the relationship of their site plans to the district’s Strategic Plan, especially tactics regarding assessment and social and emotional wellness.

Woodside Principal James Edmond, Jr., Ph.D, and Associate Principal Linda Hake and Marcy Principal Michele Trawicki and Associate Principal Katie Ritchie described progress at their schools.

They emphasized the work of staff members in developing and presenting professional development for their colleagues throughout the district. They also described a move to student-led conferences in which students have greater responsibility to define what they are learning to their parents.

Both schools have two tactics stating that students will meet or exceed their own individual projected growth targets in literacy and mathematics.

Personnel action

In personnel matters, the School Board:

  • approved the resignation of Templeton special services paraprofessional Diane Jakubowski and Maple Avenue paraprofessional Paula Joecks; and
  • appointed Lisa Minue as Maple Avenue cook, Tiffany Wolf as Maple Avenue special services paraprofessional, Julie Taylor as Lannon replacement guidance counselor, Mary Chetney as Lannon paraprofessional, Laura Watson Maple Avenue paraprofessional, Elaine Meissner as Templeton associate kitchen employee and Carina Esparza as Lannon paraprofessional.

Summer School Board meeting summary

Following are summaries of action taken at School Board meetings during the summer of 2018

June 18, 2018

A Teacher Expertise (TE) option within educator effectiveness evaluation system was introduced, and 43 teachers participated in it. The TE option shifts the focus from a checklist of artifacts to a process that is directly focused on teaching and learning growth and driven by the teacher’s self-assessment of practice. Teachers grow by targeting specific skills that are analyzed through video recordings, peer observation and peer discussion within a comprehensive teaching framework. The district will expand the option in 2018-19 to educational specialists and administrators. Some 107 educators have indicated that they will participate in the option as a way to individualize and personalized professional growth.

In curriculum business, the School Board approved: revised curriculum documents for grades K-8 science, grades 8-12 business education, grades 6-12 applied engineering and technology; new curriculum documents for oral and interpersonal communication, drama in literature and production, performance conditioning 1 & 2; and curriculum resources purchases for grades 6-7 science.

Several reports and requests were approved including those regarding district interventions, membership in the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association, Hamilton High School co-curricular and Hamilton and Templeton student handbooks.

After meeting School Board policy requirements, early graduation requests of John Enneking in June 2019 and Isabella den Hond in June 2020 were approved.

Personnel business

  • Resignations: Templeton paraprofessional Jennifer Collins, Maple Avenue paraprofessional Molly Zajac and Marcy paraprofessional Sarah Kahlcheuer
  • Appointments: Hamilton – Templeton physical education Joshua Neary and Marcy grade 4 replacement teacher Erica Carlson

June 28, 2018

Personnel business

  • Resignations: Woodside teachers Elizabeth Berry, grade 4, and Brian Siegel, grade 3
  • Appointments: Templeton building & grounds assistant manager Eduardo Navarro, district maintenance Brian Wissbeck, Hamilton special service paraprofessional Adam Maciejewski, Hamilton world languages – French teacher Rachel Wenndt  as of January 21, 2019, Maple special education teacher Amy Kelly and Hamilton entrance monitor paraprofessional Nancy Holzem.
  • The School Board approved following total aggregate salary compensation adjustments for the 2018-19 school year to: administrators, 2.39 percent; confidential support staff, 2.45 percent; administrative assistants, cooks, associate kitchen employees, custodial and maintenance staff, and paraprofessionals, 2.5 percent.
  • A contract for 2018-20 for the district administrator was approved.
  • 2018-19 Non-Group salary recommendations were approved.

July 16, 2018

Approved were 2018-19 academic standards and management plan for students with life-threatening allergies.

Personnel business

  • Resignations: Lannon literacy interventionist Susan Klawans, Templeton special service paraprofessional April Elsesser and Hamilton custodian Steve Pelzman
  • Retirements: Maple Avenue cook Betty Baatz, effective July 2, 2018 and Business Office payroll executive assistant Kim Krimmer, effective Jan. 2, 2019
  • Appointments: Woodside grade 1 teacher Amanda Desmarais, and Templeton special service paraprofessional Michelle Mattheis

August 20, 2018

After taking the oath of office at a special meeting on July 16, Rebecca Zingsheim was welcomed at the Aug. 20 School Board meeting. School Board president Gabe Kolesari congratulates her after she was officially sworn in.


No students on the Open Enrollment waiting list will be accepted into the district for the 2018-19 school year due to space availability.

School Board members toured the construction progress of the newly renovated applied engineering and technology area.

Updates on the new teacher induction and coaching program and district facilities safety were provided to the School Board.

School Board committee assignments were made and they are:

  • Personnel Committee – Dawn Van Aacken, chair, Jennifer Waltz, Rebecca Zingsheim with Brian Schneider, alternate;
  • Buildings and Grounds & Finance Committee – Jay Jones, chair, Mike Hyland, Brian Schneider with Rebecca Zingsheim, alternate;
  • Legislative Liaison – Rebecca Zingsheim;
  • CESA #1 liaison – Gabe Kolesari with Rebecca Zingsheim, alternate;
  • Facilities Committee – Mike Hyland, Brian Schneider, Dawn Van Aacken and Jennifer Waltz;
  • Strategic Planning Team – Dawn Van Aacken, Jennifer Waltz;
  • SWSA – Michael Hyland with Rebecca Zingsheim, alternate.

Personnel business

  • Resignations: Templeton special services paraprofessional Kerry Wagner, Woodside special services paraprofessional Beth Lassiter, Maple Avenue special services paraprofessional Bethany Walker, Marcy special services paraprofessional Kimberley Mittelstaedt, Maple Avenue special services paraprofessional Jennifer Weisgerber, Lannon guidance counselor Lynda Pesch, Woodside associate kitchen employee Sarah Akin and Templeton associate kitchen employee Laura Anders.
  • Appointments: Templeton technology integration resource teacher Laura Busch, Templeton special services paraprofessional Casey Chopp, Woodside grade 4 teacher Barbara Leach, Maple Avenue reading specialist Tamera Harpster, Lannon literacy interventionist Elizabeth Berry, Marcy special services paraprofessional Stacy See, Lannon grade 3 replacement teacher Jaclyn Weiss, Marcy paraprofessional Ireland Andrews, Woodside grade 2 teacher Nicole Welter, Lannon grade 5 replacement teacher Michael Schramek, Lannon physical education teacher Molly Wirnsberger, Maple Avenue paraprofessional Susan McMahon, Woodside special services paraprofessional Michella Morgan, Marcy special services paraprofessional Sara Viloria, and Templeton special education teacher Jessica Foderaro
  • Contract modifications: Templeton choral teacher Megan Menzel, Lanon technology integration resource teacher Julie Kleist, Woodside physical education teacher Benjamin Lena and Marcy art teacher Katie Cormican.
  • Revised Employee Handbooks for 2018-19 were approved.

June 5, 2018

Students recognized

Three groups of students from Templeton Middle School and one from Hamilton High School were recognized June 5 at the Hamilton School Board meeting for success at state-level competition.


Templeton members of the Whipping Up Wellness Wisconsin Student Chef Competition included Stephanie Burg, Mikayla Giles, Emily Hokanson, Ella Packer, Mya Trafficante and Alyssa Wick.


Members on the Templeton State Forensic team were Colleen Flynn, Kayla Johnson, Theresa Barthel, Jasleen Kaur and Hiranmayi Swaminathan.


Templeton Robotics team members who were successful at state competition were Reed Barthel, Sahebveer Sangha, Krishay Toomu, Pranavesh Saravanan, Akash Deepak, Will Hartman, Zachary Neuman, Jackson Grimm, Jonathan Wang, Cole Klade, Richard Johnson, Akhil Pidikiti, Brady Hicks, Cameron Aron, Alexander Meihsner, Andrew Dahlgren, Prathmesh Konda and Scott Durian.


Hamilton State Honors Music Project team members were Nolan VanHaren, Cynthia Yan – alternate, Olivia Neils – alternate, and Megan Nielsen.

Board approves documents and reports

The School Board approved several documents including the National Honor Society Handbook, Special Education Procedures Handbook, Emergency Nursing Services Policies and Procedures and Bloodborne Pathogens Procedures.

Personnel matters

In personnel business, the School Board:

  • accepted the resignations of Maple Avenue reading specialist Heidi Spingola and Hamilton part-time social teacher Kameron Cerroni; and
  • appointed Susan Klawans as Lannon literacy interventionist, Joan Wirth as Hamilton part-time German teacher, Jennifer Bartelme as Templeton associate kitchen employee, Lisa Rezash as Hamilton science teacher, Kim Brussel as Templeton special education teacher, Marquea Goike as Woodside 5K replacement teacher, Benjamin Lena as Woodside and Marcy physical education teacher, Rebecca McGinley as Woodside grade 1 teacher, Sara Gale as Maple Avenue 5K replacement teacher, Jack McCaigue as a district technology support specialist and Erin Ridosko as a Maple Avenue grade 4 teacher.

May 21, 2018

CLASS Committee recognized with Community Service Award

The Hamilton School District presented the CLASS (Community Looking After Student Success) with its 2018 Community Service Award at the May 21 School Board meeting. Public Information Coordinator Denise Dorn Lindberg said CLASS, the citizens’ group that advocated for passage of the Feb. 20 referendum, was deserving of the district’s highest award because its members worked tirelessly to inform the community about the referendum.

“Because the referendum was successful, every student, every family, every staff member in this district will be affected positively – and not just this year and the next, but for decades to come,” Lindberg said.


School Board President Gabe Kolesari (left) and Superintendent Paul Mielke (right) presented CLASS Committee members with the Community Service Award. CLASS Committee members are (beginning second from left) Sandi Blackwell, Fran Clouse, Jamie Schounard, Jennifer Waltz, Liz Mrozinski, Sean Kane, Kelly Wasserburger, Denise Schwid, Marlene Helinski, Stephanie Fox, Wendy Mair, Jen Galang, Bill Haley, Cathy Berrall, Melanie Vonachen, John Washbush, Kristin Westby and Jenna Mielke. CLASS Committee members not pictured: Becky Hubred, Debbie Lykins, Courtney Myhre, Mindy Steighner and Peggy Youngblood.

Retirees honored

The 2017-18 retirements of nine district employees were commemorated at the Hamilton School Board meeting. Combined, the employees provided 199 years of service to the district. Principals and supervisors read commendations for each retiree. Each retiree was given a retirement gift.


Superintendent Paul Mielke (left) and School Board President Gabe Kolesari (third from right) honored retirees. They were (starting second from left) MaryJo Liermann, Lisa Sorenson, Mary Wimmer, Betsy Buchholz, Kathy Schulz, Andy Matthiesen, Patty Coburn and Donna Uselmann. Not pictured: Pauline Phillips.

2018-19 budget approved for presentation at Annual Meeting

The Hamilton School Board gave its approval for the 2018-19 budget that will be presented to voters at the Annual Meeting.

The budget totals $57.5 million, which is a 3.99 percent increase over the current budget. It assumes property value will increase 3.55 percent and state aid will increase 4.56 percent.

The tax rate is projected to be $9.55 per $1,000 of equalized property value – $1 more than the current rate. For each $100,000 of property owned, citizens will pay $955 to support local school taxes which is $100 more than this year’s rate. If student enrollment and property value are greater than the conservative assumptions made in the budget, the tax rate will be lower.

Seniors & Students continues success

Public Information and Volunteer Program Coordinator Denise Dorn Lindberg updated the School Board on the Seniors & Students Program, a volunteer program designed to recruit, train and place senior citizen volunteers age 55 and older in the district. Approximately 225 senior volunteers serve throughout the district. More than 121,000 volunteer hours have been logged since the program began 20 years ago – a value of more than $2.5 million.

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 2018-19 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.

Student representatives recognized


School Board President Gabe Kolesari (left) and Superintendent Paul Mielke, Ph.D., (right) recognized Hamilton High School students (from left) Haley Pifher, Hannah Wenger and Mikayla Cup for their service to the School Board as the student representatives during the 2017-18 school year.

Personnel matters

In personnel action, the School Board:

  • accepted resignations of Hamilton science teacher Jessica Ronk, Hamilton cook Heather Miller, Marcy paraprofessional Paige Langlois, Maple Avenue special education teacher Korbin Biersack, Templeton associate kitchen employee Carol Rabideau;
  • accepted the retirement request of Templeton assistant building and grounds manager Wayne Wendorf; and
  • appointed Cody Leland as Templeton associate principal, Brian Groth as Hamilton High School social studies teacher, Timothy Kruschel and Lisa Benishek as Templeton grade 6 critical literacy teachers, Tammara Metzenheim as high school custodian and Jennifer Ryman as high school science teacher.

May 1, 2018

Panthers mascot for new school


The Hamilton School Board accepted the recommendation from an online survey and chose Panthers as the mascot for Silver Spring Intermediate School. After elementary students narrowed down the options to Panthers, Lightning and Sharks, district families overwhelmingly voted for Panthers in an online survey. The online survey results were announced at the groundbreaking ceremonies prior to the meeting, and the School Board took action to make it official.

Process to fill Butler vacancy approved

A process for filling the Butler position on the School Board was approved. Deborah Briggs, who served in that capacity for 24 years, chose not to seek re-election this year and no other Butler citizens ran for the position. Similar to the process that was used two years ago when James Long moved from the district and was no longer able to serve on the School Board, Butler residents will have an opportunity to submit a letter of application to serve on the board. Current School Board members will then interview applicants.

School career opportunities highlighted

Hamilton High School Associate Principal and Extended Learning Opportunities Coordinator Mark Otto presented three 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 $13,934 in grant funding this year, a reduction from $15,091 the previous year. The purpose of the grant is to provide students with academic and technical skills to succeed in a knowledge- and skills-based economy. It supports career and technical education that prepares students for postsecondary education and careers. The consortium provides grant-writing management, interaction with professionals from other districts, exposure to what is occurring at state and national levels and consultation services.

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. Beginning in July, the Early College Credit Program will replace Youth Options for students interested in taking postsecondary course at universities. Start College Now will replace course options and allow students to take postsecondary courses at Wisconsin technical colleges.

Participation in the Waukesha County School-to-Work consortium for 2018-19 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.

Summer workshops for teachers approved

Summer workshops for teachers were authorized. The action allows teachers to participate in curriculum and professional development workshops focused on district initiatives. Curriculum and professional development projects will focus on analytic reading rubric development, mathematics standards transition, science resource training and preparation, science rubric development, professional reading, Chromebook use, instructional practices, science cross-cutting concepts, science assessment task alignment, formative writing assessment development, process standards academic vocabulary and new teacher orientation.

National Merit finalists honored


Hamilton seniors Elyse Eckert and Andrew Tai were recognized for being named finalists in the National Merit Scholarship Competition. Seniors Alan Chen and Matthew Gnanadass, who are also finalists, were not able to attend the meeting.

Willow recognizes senior volunteers


Willow Springs staff members Renae MacCudden, Michele Luebke, Lynn Richmond, Rheann Jacobs, Stephanie Christofferson and Lori Konshak described the outstanding service of five senior citizen volunteers. Gayrene Chambers, Barb Vitrano and Sue Howard, who attended the meeting, along with Avis Dallman and Diane Wunch, who were not present, were recognized for their commitment to Willow Springs students and staff.

Rupnow recognized for being ACE Teacher of the Year


Woodside Elementary School technology integration resource teacher Jodi Rupnow was recognized for being selected as the 2017-18 Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s Arts in Community Education Teacher of the Year.

Coaching team updates on progress


The district’s instructional coaching team of Cathy Drago, Patricia Sankey, Addie Starrett, Kim Weber, Anne Hatfield and Pam Welter provided an update on the program that was approved in June 2016. The instructional coaches described how they work with teachers to help students make gains.
Hamilton’s instructional coaching model was designed to provide job-embedded professional development and support in an effort to enhance student learning. Instructional coaches work with teachers to help incorporate research-based instruction into teaching, identify professional goals and implement a plan to reach them.

Board officers elected

School Board members elected Gabe Kolesari as their president, Jennifer Waltz as vice president, Dawn Van Aacken as clerk and Jay Jones as treasurer.

Personnel action

In personnel action, the School Board:

  • accepted the resignations of maintenance staff member Dean Erlitz, April 19, and Hamilton special services paraprofessional David Wolter, effective June 8;
  • approved the retirement of Templeton special service paraprofessional Elizabeth Buchholz at the end of the school year; and
  • appointed Sarah Akin as a Woodside associate kitchen employee, effective April 20, Kirstin Seizer as a Templeton special education teacher, effective Aug. 22, Abigail Kesler as a Hamilton special education teacher, effective Aug. 22.