November 16, 2020

Variety of reports presented

School Board members received a flurry reports at its Nov. 16 meeting including:school board meeting_type

  • Information Technology Services updates from Information Technology Manager Ryan Miller;
  • Section 504 policies and procedures from Special Services Supervisor John Peterson;
  • K-12 curriculum alignment, high school course additions and scope-sequence changes from Instructional Services Supervisor Catherine Drago and Teachers Kristen Lee, Robert Pechanach, Nick Roth, Jackie Weiss; and
  • Open Enrollment recommendations from Educational Services and Human Resources Director John Roubik.

2021-22 budget timeline accepted

The School Board approved the district’s 2021-22 budget timeline that includes:

  • Dec. 2 – Employee forum to solicit input prior to development of the budget;
  • Feb. 5 – Administrators submit budgets;
  • March 15 and April 19 – Opportunity for community to provide input on the budget prior to School Board meetings;
  • May 17 – School Board approves final draft of the budget; and
  • July 19 – Annual meeting where citizens approve tax levy.

School Board election calendar released

The schedule for the 2021 spring election was released. Terms are up for School Board members Dawn Van Aacken, who holds the Lisbon seat, Brian Schneider, who has the Menomonee Falls seat and Rebecca Zingsheim, who has the Butler seat.

The election schedule includes:

  • Jan. 5 – deadline for candidacy declaration and nominations papers;
  • Feb. 16 – primary election if needed;
  • April 6 – spring election; and
  • April 26 – taking of office.

District gets clean financial audit

Business Services Assistant Superintendent Shelly Reilly reported that the district received a clean audit from Reilly, Penner & Benton certified public accountants. In a letter to the School Board, the auditors noted discrepancies in recording of student activity transaction and recommended educating staff to verify that the district is following appropriate constraints that govern district finances. Reilly said the issues were addressed.

Personnel action

In personnel matters, the School Board:

  • ratified an agreement with United Lakewood Educators. The agreement, which was ratified by teachers on Nov. 9, includes a 1.81% base salary increase and $645 increase per teacher, prorated by full-time equivalency, in supplemental compensation. In addition, the overload rate for additional full-section instruction increased from $3,000 to $4,000. This does not apply to teachers who are on a replacement contract or plan of assistance. Position adjustments for identified staff were also approved;
  • approved a 2.5% total aggregate salary compensation adjustment for associate kitchen employees, custodial and maintenance staff, paraprofessionals, administrative assistants and confidential support staff. Administrator received a 2.22% increase. Employees who are part of the nongroup unit, which included various positions such as technology interns, seasonal staff, substitute employees, diagnosticians and summer school employees will increase 2-3% increases in hourly and daily rates;
  • approved a 2-year contract with Superintendent Paul Mielke, Ph.D.;
  • accepted the resignations of Woodside Associate Kitchen Employee Priscilla Rollmann effective Dec. 22, Maple Avenue Special Services Paraprofessional Jessica Aschenbrenner effective Nov. 24, and District Technology Support Specialist Jonathan Kornbeck effective Dec. 2; and
  • approved the appointments of Stacy Stengel as Maple Avenue associate kitchen employee effective Dec. 1, Jennifer Vande Hei as district clerical paraprofessional effective Nov. 5, and Kevin Lawson as district data and assessment specialist effective Dec. 7.

October 19, 2020

Tax rate drop to lowest level in 30 years

Hamilton School Board members adopted a budget and certified a tax levy Oct. 21 that will drop the mill rate for school purposes by 7.45%. The tax levy for 2020-21 is $33,205,087 — $414,610 less than the 2019-20 levy. The mill rate at $8.45 — the lowest rate since the 1990s — equates to $845 in school taxes for each $100,000 of property value a resident owns. The owner of $100,000 of property last year paid $913 in taxes for school purposes.School-Board-Highlights

School officials at the August Annual Meeting predicted the tax rate would actually increase 25 cents to $9.38. Instead, increased state aid and community growth brought down the mill rate. State aid increased more than 10% percent – from $27.8 million to $30.6 million – and property value increased 6.71% rather than the conservative 2.5% that had been projected at the Annual Meeting

The 2020-21 budget is $66.2 million, a 7.15% increase over last year’s budget.

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.

District enrollment grows by 35 students

District enrollment grew by 35 students from last year going from 4,886 to 4,921 students, according the official third Friday in September count. The high school, Templeton, Silver Spring and Marcy saw increases of 33, 30, 12 and 4, respectively. Schools whose enrollment dropped were Maple Avenue, Woodside, Willow Springs and Lannon with losses of 20, 19, 3 and 2, respectively.

Dual Enrollment Academy gives students jumpstart on future

For the seventh year, Hamilton High School seniors will continue 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 Becky Newcomer gave the School Board a status report and requested approval to continue participation in the program.

Participating seniors spend most 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 and firefighter, building trades construction and welding. Upon completion, students earn a WCTC diploma along with high school credits.

A total of 17 Hamilton students completed the program last May — six in building trades, four in IT, three in tool and die, two in welding and one each in robotics and firefighter. Another four students are participating this year.

8 students apply for Early College Credit Program

Eight high school students requested admission to the Early College Credit Program (ECCP) that will allow them to take classes next semester at University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and Waukesha. Hamilton Principal Becky Newcomer noted, as in the past, many students will not be able to take the courses because of scheduling conflicts or full classes. Eight students requested admission to Youth Options last year.

ECCP is mandated by the state and allows students who have completed grade 10, 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. If the student fails, withdraws or drops a class, the family pays 100 percent of the cost.

Start College Now has 11 applicants

Another program, Start College Now, allows juniors and seniors with good academic standing and no disciplinary problems to take courses at Waukesha County Technical College. Eleven Hamilton students requested admission. The program is funded by the high school, but like ECCP, if a student fails, withdraws or drops the course, the family is responsible for the cost.

Administrators present reports

District and school administrators presented a variety of reports including:

  • Strategic and tactical plan update by Human Resources & Organizational Development Director John Roubik;
  • Educational Services priorities by Roubik, Instructional Services Supervisor Cathy Drago and Special Services Supervisor John Peterson;
  • Building updates for grades 7-12 by Hamilton High School Principal Rebecca Newcomer and Templeton Middle School Principal Brad Hoffmann; and
  • Summer facilities work completion by Buildings & Grounds Manager Jeffrey Grove.

School Board takes personnel action

In personnel business, the School Board:

  • accepted the resignation of district Data and Assessment Specialist Kristi Feucht, effective Nov. 5, and Maple Avenue Special Education Teacher Heather Leffler, effective Nov. 6;
  • appointed Brittany Ellis as Marcy associate kitchen employee, Lori Block as Silver Spring custodian and Brecken Ashenbrenner as Maple Avenue special education replacement teacher; and
  • approved a new position for an Information Technology Services administrative assistant.

October 6, 2020

Even though items on the Oct. 6 agenda did not explicitly state COVID-19, the pandemic made its way into the discussion throughout the Hamilton School Board meeting.

Pandemic has impact on reopening of school

At this time of the year, principals typically give updates on their site plans that include goals and achievement from the previous year and next steps for the coming year. This year five principals representing schools that serve students in grades Pre-K to 6 presented collaboratively on how COVID-19 had an impact on school operations.

Willow Spring’s Renae MacCudden, Ph.D., Lannon’s Brian Balfany, Maple Avenue’s Kristin Koeper-Hamblin, Marcy’s Michele Trawicki and Silver Spring’s Deanna Wellens described how their school prepared for the reopening of school after schools were closed in March. Woodside Principal James Edmond, Jr., Ph.D., was unable to attend the meeting.

  • Because technology would play a critical role in being able to reopen school, professional development focused on getting staff comfortable usschool board meeting_typeing apps such as Seesaw, Google Classroom and Hangouts, Zoom, Clever, Loom and Screencastify. They credited the agility of the district’s Information Technology team in helping staff carry out instruction.
  • Schools also explicitly taught and reinforced safety expectations with students.
  • Custodial staff provided additional cleaning procedures throughout the school day and evening to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
  • Teachers record lessons each day that can be shared with students who must stay home to quarantine or isolate.
  • Because three times as many parents drove their children to and from school compared to previous years, staff spent extra time to restructure and refine traffic procedures so that students could safely and efficiently get dropped off and picked up each day. Most of their school parking lots were designed for bus traffic and not as much parent driving.
  • In addition to responding to the new traffic situation, staff developed procedures to keep students as safe as possible at lunch, recess, in the office and during team collaboration.
  • Outdoor and large indoor spaces have been maximized to spread out students as much as possible.
  • Keeping tabs on the social and emotional wellness of students has been a priority this year, according to the principals. Optional screening questions were added to the online registration process to gather information about the impact of COVID-19 on the lives of students, including job losses, illness or death in the family. Panorama is another social-emotional learning tool to help staff better understand the needs of students. Staff were trained in and provided resources to help them talk with students about the impact COVID-19 has had on them.
  • Paying attention to the needs of staff has been important as well. Because they are working harder than ever to meet the needs of their students, principals said they are trying to support employee wellness in multiple ways such as general health, nutrition, active lifestyle, financial literacy and job flexibility. They noted that professional development was planned to help them prepare for new technological expectations and provide time to collaborate. They have needed to find creative ways for staff to connect with each other when they can’t be close physically.
  • In preparation for students to learn from home at various time during the school year, more than ever before, lessons are expected to be consistent which will allow teachers to collaborate and share lesson planning. Teachers were encouraged to focus on questions of clarity to determine essential understanding.

Schools have been able to celebrate successfully keeping in-person instruction open for five weeks, receiving much gratitude from families who are happy children were able to return to school, hearing from staff members who tell them they are doing their best teaching and seeing the joy of children who came back excited to be in school and with their friends.

The challenges have been: restructuring with the loss of staff; filling open positions; evolving student contact, staff meeting and prep time; meeting the needs of diverse populations; and continuing to achieve at high levels.

Summer school rebuilt from ground up in 2 weeks

Summer Opportunities Coordinator Brian Balfany gave an overview of this year’s program. COVID-19 caused the program to be scaled back and it was built from the ground up in two weeks, he said. The format for the enrichment and invitational program provided one-hour courses for elementary and intermediate students and three-hour courses for middle and high school credit and recovery courses.

A total of 726 enrolled this year compared to about 2,000 in other years. The focus this year was on retention and recovering of learning for identified students. In grades K-8, 220 students participated in reading classes and 250 were in mathematics classes. At the middle and high school level, 48 students received recovery credits so they could be promoted to the next level. In addition, 359 students participated in “Strength, Agility and Speed.”

Classes were held three days a week from mid-June until early August. Next year the program will go back to five days a week from June 21 to July 16 with July 5 off to extend the holiday weekend.

Personnel action

In personnel business, the School Board accepted the resignation of Silver Spring custodian Lorie Block, effective Oct. 1.

September 21, 2020

Blackwell, Ubert honored with Community Service Award

IMG_2003Hamilton Education Foundation officers Sandi Blackwell and Ann Ubert were honored as the district’s 2020 Community Service Award recipients at the Sept. 21 School Board meeting. Superintendent Paul Mielke, Ph.D., said both long-time officers were responsible for this year’s decision to move HEF’s dinner-auction fundraiser to a virtual event because of the pandemic. The online auction raised a record-breaking amount of almost $70,000 — the most ever for that event.

Ubert has been HEF executive director for 14 years, and Blackwell has been on the board for 10 years, currently serving as secretary. 

“Your hard work and dedication has allowed students and staff to experience opportunities that never would have existed without the generosity of the Hamilton Education Foundation,” Mielke said. “You have made a significant difference in the lives of our students and staff.”

Offering in-person, virtual options requires staff increase

The district added the equivalent of more than 15 staff members, mostly due to schedule changes required to offer in-person and virtual instruction during the pandemic. Most staff were allocated at the elementary level where the equivalent of 7.1 staff were hired. The high school increased by 4.67 full-time equivalencies (FTE), middle school increased 3.95 FTEs, and intermediate school by .9 FTEs. Because of the restructuring of coaching staff positions, district staff dropped by 1 position. Total FTE in the district went from 321.22 to 336.84.

Curriculum review cycle adjusted due to COVID-19

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

Work on English-language arts, which was reviewed last year, will continue this year. Future areas in the curriculum cycle will be:

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

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

No students accepted into early admission

No students were admitted early into kindergarten for 5-year-olds or grade 1, according to a report presented by Special Services Supervisor John Peterson. 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. Peterson’s report provided 19 years of data about early admissions requests and approvals.

Assessment schedule interrupted in 2019-20

School closures due to COVID-19 last spring led to significant changes in teaching and learning expectations for both last year and this. Testing windows were adjusted for many tests and ACT offered an online option. Drago presented a summary of 2020-21 state and local assessment windows which includes assessments such as FASTBridge reading and math, PALS, MAP, ACCESS, Dynamic Learning Maps, Forward Exam and National Assessment of Educational Progress. 

ESEA report given

Human Resources Director John Roubik presented a report 2020-21 initiatives of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Programs that comprise ESEA are: Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged; Preparing Training and Recruiting Licensed Teachers, Principals and Other School Leaders Grants; Language Instruction for English Learners and Immigrant Students; and Support and Academic Enrichment Grant.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction estimates that the district will receive about $177,000 of federal funds for these programs, but the final amount will not be known until later. 

Personnel matters

In personnel business, the School Board:

  • accepted the resignations of Woodside paraprofessional Danielle Strong, Silver Spring associate kitchen employee Jamie Brzezinski, Woodside speech pathologist Sarah Clement, Woodside literacy interventionist Elizabeth Berry and Silver Spring special services paraprofessional Roberta VonAsten;
  • accepted the retirement request of high school art teacher Lorene Lisherone; and
  • approved the appointments of Jessica Montiho as Marcy K5 replacement teacher, Kayla Petrie as Woodside special services paraprofessional, Stephanie Dillemuth as Woodside paraprofessional, Summer McEvoy as Maple Avenue special services paraprofessional, Megan Henning, high school social studies replacement teacher, Catherine Seifert as Willow Spring paraprofessional, Rebecca Leibiger as Templeton paraprofessional, Dana Marklund as high school communication arts replacement teacher, Nicole Piette as Maple Avenue grade 2 replacement teacher, Carrie Grossman as Templeton grade 7 replacement teacher, Sarah Pichler as Templeton special education replacement teacher, Sophia Piotrowski as high school special services paraprofessional, Annette Busalacchi as Templeton special services paraprofessional, Dawn Knollenberg as Woodside paraprofessional, Sally Schmeling as Templeton grade 8 replacement teacher, Rebecca Schlieder as Templeton grade 8 replacement teacher, Rebecca Hirsch as Silver Spring special services paraprofessional, Georgette Dermody as Marcy associate kitchen employee and Brianne Strelow as high school art replacement teacher.
  • modified the contracts of high school math teacher Andrew Fagan from 50 to 100%, Willow Spring speech-pathologist Angela Poulsen from 80 to 100%, Willow Spring special education teacher Melanie Vonachen from 80 to 100%, Woodside literacy interventionists Greg Winston and Nicole Tiutczenko each from 40 to 60%.

 

August 17, 2020

Board approves 14 positions to cover virtual learning option

Hamilton School Board members approved an increase of 14 full-time equivalency positions to accommodate the needs of students who selected the virtual online learning option for the 2020-21 school year.school board meeting_type

About 21% of students chose the virtual online option compared to nearly 79% who chose the traditional in-person model during online registration last week.

A staffing plan was developed that included three additional elementary teaching positions, one intermediate position, three middle school positions and five high school positions. In addition, two contingency positions were allotted to deal with potential enrollment fluctuations.

The additional staffing is expected to be a one-time expenditure to offer the virtual online option for the 2020-21 school year only.

Face covering protocols approved

After determining July 31 that face coverings will be required for students, staff, visitors and vendors in the traditional in-person learning model, the School Board approved protocols for use in schools.

Face coverings are not required for children under age 2 years, those with health care provider certification of a medical condition that prevents them from safely wearing a face covering and those identified in their IEP/504 health plan.

Schools will provide students with periodic breaks to remove face coverings while under supervision and maintaining appropriate social distancing.

Face coverings will not be required: outside the school building while socially distanced; at planned mealtime; during strenuous physical activity; during receipt of health care; if a person is experiencing acute trouble breathing, is unconscious or incapacitated; and other exemptions as deemed appropriate by the district administrator.

The protocols will be enforced while in school and at school-sponsored events and activities. Students who do not comply will be reminded of the protocol and ultimately provisions of School Board policy and student handbooks will be followed. Students who repeatedly refuse to comply will be required to receive their educational instruction at home.

Employees are expected to comply or face disciplinary action spelled out in the Employee Handbook and School Board policies. Visitors to the school will be informed of the protocol and will not be admitted to the building without a face covering.

County metrics framework adopted

The School Board accepted the Waukesha County Health Department’s Metrics Framework to determine assess COVID-19 risk levels in making decisions for the district and individual schools on instructional model delivery. The framework is based on the work of the Harvard Global Health Institute.

The levels include the following:

  • Green – on track for containment;
  • Yellow – community spread;
  • Orange – accelerated spread; and
  • Red – tipping point.

The county created a dashboard that will allow each district to analyze and monitor its active cases by defined age ranges that will include students, community and school staff.

Superintendent reports on other COVID-19 matters

In an update to the School Board, Superintendent Paul Mielke, Ph.D., reported that approximately 21% of students selected virtual online learning option for the first semester of 2020-21, and 40% of students opted out of bus transportation.

He also reported that a group of teachers and administrators explored a transition plan that would have half the enrollment attend in-person two days while the other half attended virtually, with one day for individual and small group instruction. It would be a temporary solution to reduce the number of students in the building at one time between traditional in-person and emergency remote learning. The plan was recommended only as a temporary transition if greater virus mitigation was necessary and not to start out the school year because of the disruption and inconsistency for families and staff

Induction program supports new teachers

New educators in the district will continue to be supported through the New Teacher Induction & Coaching Program. Teachers who are new to the profession typically need more direct, according to Instructional Services Supervisor Cathy Drago and Human Resources Director John Roubik, who presented a report to the School Board.

Support for the new teachers will focus on instructional design, classroom management and strong instructional practices. Teachers receive support for two years. Veteran teachers new to the Hamilton School District participate in the district’s instructional coaching model. In addition, new teachers participate in monthly meetings with their mentors and a first semester check-in with Educational Services staff.

New teachers will learn about:

  • district’s mission, vision and strategic plan initiatives;
  • new teacher support and instructional coaching model overview;
  • mentor-mentee relationship and expectations;
  • district technology resources;
  • Educator Effectiveness options and introduction to Frontline software;
  • Teachers on Call
  • Skyward;
  • ALICE active shooter drills;
  • COVID-19 planning and virtual teaching expectations.

Personnel actions

In personnel matters, the School Board:

  • accepted the resignations of Willow Springs special services paraprofessional Amy Krueger, Maple Avenue special services paraprofessional Crystal Mazur and Templeton Title I paraprofessional Eden Mitchell; Kathleen Peterson as high school associate kitchen employee and Laura Watson as Maple Avenue special services paraprofessional;
  • appointed Heather Leffler as Maple Avenue special education teacher, Calli Bemis as food service assistant manager, Marina Samens as Lannon special services paraprofessional, Brianne Hill as Maple Avenue grade 1 teacher, Nicole Lockhart as Lannon special services paraprofessional, Andrew Fagan as Hamilton mathematics teacher, Lauren Little as Silver Spring music teacher, Cathy House, as Maple Avenue associate kitchen employee, Danielle Danz as Lannon grade 1 replacement teacher, Taylor Dietz as Woodside grade 4 replacement teacher, Catherine Losiniecki as Lannon health room paraprofessional and Alexis Prei as Silver Spring grade 6 replacement teacher; and
  • modified the contract of Lannon speech pathologist Amy Chavie from 80% to full time.

July 29, 2020

Hamilton School Board members accepted four administrative recommendations concerning the opening of the 2020-21 school year, including requirement of face masks for students and staff who are involved in traditional in-person learning.school board meeting_type

Superintendent Paul Mielke, Ph.D., said the district was taking guidance on the use of face masks from the Waukesha County Health Department, Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics which all endorsed the use of masks when social distancing is not possible.

Policies will be written providing exemptions for individuals with medical, developmental, mental health or religious consideration. In addition, students will not be required to wear masks while outside. Students will be instructed on the proper use and care for masks, and breaks will be built in during the day.

In addition to the mask decision, the School Board agreed that the district should:

  • develop metrics and ranges to determine if school should be conducted virtually based on community spread of the virus, active staff and student confirmed cases, student and staff absences due to close contact, rate of infection among students and staff, overall teacher absence rate and ability to replace staff who are absent with a substitute;
  • research potential to use a hybrid option during significant community spread
  • continue researching new cleaning products and procedures.

More details about health and safety measures were provided in a written report to the board.

Earlier in the meeting Buildings & Ground Manager Jeff Grove described the array of equipment, technology, sprays and chemicals custodial staff will use to clean schools. Grove said the schools will have additional cleaning to reduce and eliminate the virus.

Instructional Services Supervisor Cathy Drago, Curriculum Specialist Whitney Roth and Program Support Coordinator Katie Foy gave School Board members details on how instruction will be delivered next fall. They focused on emergency remote learning for students who might be out of school for up to 21 days due to COVID exposure, extended school closures and the 100% virtual option.

July 20, 2020

Board accepts task force report

Hamilton School Board members approved a plan to reopen schools for the 2020-21 school year that includes in-person and virtual options for students. In June and July, the 70-member Reopening Schools Task Force studied issues of providing instruction and services to students and keeping students, staff and families safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.school board meeting_type

The five subcommittees of the task force also reviewed results of parent and staff surveys to come up with a plan to meet the needs of students, staff and families.

Options for learning

Among the task force’s recommendations and conclusions, three modes of learning were identified as options for students:

  • 100% in-person learning in school;
  • 100% virtual learning at home; and
  • Emergency remote learning for students who are out for several days because of COVID-19 exposure.

Common technology platforms ID’d

The task force also identified common technology platforms to communicate learning and progress to families. Students in grades 4K-6 will use Seesaw with those in grades 3-6 also having access to Google Classroom. Middle and high school students would consistently use Google Sites and Google Classroom.

Additional professional development days offered

Of significance was the School Board’s approval of four additional professional development days in August that will focus on: health, safety and wellness of students and staff; high quality teaching and learning in an online and in-person environment; and the opportunity for staff to collaborate. Staff who attend training Aug. 5 and 6 or Aug. 18 and 19 will get two additional collaborative planning days before Aug. 24.

Templeton moves to block schedule

Templeton Middle School will move to a block schedule this fall that is expected to help students better focus on their classes and cut down on the amount of travel and exposure to others during the day. During the spring when students learned from home, school staff heard from parents and students that managing seven to eight classes per day was difficult. The new schedule keeps the number of classes taken in a semester the same, but using an A/B day schedule, they will have only five classes each day.

More details from 5 subcommittees

In addition, the task force identified plans to: provide social and emotional support for students, staff and families; ensure technology access, support and guidance to all stakeholders; maximize safety through policies and protocols affecting lunch, facilities, transportation, athletics and visitors. Learn more details about each of the five subcommittee’s recommendations.

Financial impact could hit $1.3 million

The impact on the district’s budget could reach $1.3 million for resources, professional development, technology licenses, equipment, additional staff, protective personal equipment and cleaning supplies. The School Board approved having the money come from the district’s fund balance.

No decision on face masks until after county guidance

A decision that the School Board did not make was whether students and staff will be required to wear masks. That will not be addressed until Waukesha County Health Department issues guidance on that issue.

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 re-establish 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 re-establish 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.