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.

April 16, 2018

Board names new school

The name of the new school voters approved in the Feb. 20 referendum will be Silver Spring Intermediate School. School Board members took action to officially name the school at its April 16 meeting. The mascot will be named at the May 1 Groundbreaking Ceremony that was rescheduled from April 16 due to weather conditions.

District gets favorable rate on referendum bonds

Because of the district’s strong Moody’s rating, interest rates to finance the referendum projects were better than expected. School Board members authorized the sale of $57.4 million in building and improvement bonds to Bank of America Merrill Lynch at an interest rate of 3.1466 percent. School officials projected the rate would be 3.7 percent. The lower rate will allow the district to pay off the debt one year sooner and at a lower tax rate than projected, collectively saving taxpayers millions of dollars. The tax impact for the construction projects was expected to be 98 cents per $1,000 of property value; instead it will be 94 cents per $1,000. The difference is an annual savings of $12 for the owner of a $300,000 home.

Board gets first look at budget

Hamilton School Board members took their first official look at the 2018-19 budget at their regular meeting. The budget totals $57.5 million, which is a 3.99 percent increase over the current budget.

State aid to Hamilton is expected to increase 4.56 percent from $22.1 million to $23.1 million. The tax rate is expected to remain at $8.55. The budget assumes 70 additional students and property value increase of 3.25 percent, both of which are conservative. If either of these assumptions are actually higher, the tax rate will be lower than $8.55.

The Annual Meeting, when citizens are able to vote on the local levy is set for July 16 in the Hamilton Fine Arts Center.

Briggs recognized for service to School Board


Serving at her last meeting as a School Board member, Deborah Briggs, who chose not to run for her Village of Butler seat on the board, reflected on the transformation she has witnessed in the district not only as a board member, but also as a Hamilton High School graduate.

“I have seen this district grow over all these years and am completely amazed where we have come,” she said.

A School Board member for 24 years, Briggs pointed to her two grandchildren who are students in the district and were in the audience with her son and husband when she said, “The most important people are these little guys.”

“The only reason we open the doors in the morning is for students,” she said, and expressed optimism about the next generation.

“I just can’t wait to see what the future brings,” she said.

Two members take oath of office, one position vacant


Two board members were sworn in for another three-year term following their successful election. Brian Schneider and Dawn Van Aacken were re-elected April 3. Schneider has the Menomonee Falls seat and Van Aacken holds the Lisbon seat.

No one ran for the Butler seat following the retirement of School Board member Deborah Briggs. Butler resident Dawn Endries received the most write-in votes, and she has until April 23 to accept the position. If she does not, the School Board will begin the process of appointing a Butler resident to that position.

1:1 initiative in grades 5-12 supported with technology purchases

As the district reaches toward its goal of having a 1:1 student-to-device ratio in grades 5-8 in the next three years, the School Board took a big step in making that happen. It approved $697,000 for the purchase of 75 laptops, 40 iPads, more than 1,100 Chromebooks and other infrastructure to support use of technology. In doing so, next year all high school students will be issued their own Chromebooks, a lower-cost alternative to desktop and laptop computers.

The purchase is an increase in the district’s computer replacement cycle which typically replaces about 250-350 computers each year. For the past two years, the district has been able to purchase more devices by going with the less costly Chromebooks that meet student needs in the classroom and support the mandatory testing.

Funding for the technology will come from the Information Technology Department budget, Applied Engineering and Technology referendum dollars, reimbursement through a state technology grant, an increase in student technology fees and refunds from E-rate, a federal program that makes information services more affordable for schools.

Most fees unchanged; athletics, parking, technology to see increase

Basic student fees will be unchanged, but fees for athletics, parking and technology will be going up in the 2018-19 school year, including:

  • middle school athletic fees from $50 to $60 per sport;
  • high school athletic fees from $65 to $75 per sport;
  • student parking fee from $150 to $200 per year;
  • technology fee for Chromebooks in grades K-8 $25, grades 9-12 $40.

School lunch fees will not go up, unless the federal government determines that a fee increase is necessary.

Board approves requests for college courses

A total of 25 high school students requested admission to the Early College Credit Program (ECCP) that will allow them to take classes next semester at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha and Milwaukee, Marquette University and Carroll University. In addition, six students’ requests to take Waukesha County Technical College courses through Start College Now were also approved. Both programs were formerly part of the Youth Options Program. Hamilton Principal Candis Mongan noted in a report to the School Board, as in the past, many students will not be able to take the courses because of scheduling conflicts or full classes. A total of 26 students requested admission to Youth Options last year.

ECCP and Start College Now are programs mandated by the state that allows students who have completed tenth 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.

Early graduation request granted

Hamilton High School sophomore Dayne Lassiter will be allowed to graduate in June 2019 after meeting the requirements of the district’s early graduation policy.

Classroom resources approved

School Board members approved the adoption of $48,363 of fitness education, communication arts, mathematics, applied engineering and technology, and reading resources. Nearly $30,000 will fund literacy benchmark assessment system kits.

Staffing plan approved

The School Board approved a preliminary staff plan for the 2018-19 school year that will increase teaching positions across the district by 2.63 full-time equivalency (FTE) positions. The total reflects enrollment shifts that result in a reduction of one FTE at the elementary level, an increase of 3.3 FTEs at the middle school and increase of .33 FTE at the high school.

Personnel business

In personnel matters, the School Board:

  • approved the resignations of Maple Avenue Grade 4 Teacher Kimberly Mechenich, Hamilton German Teacher Melody Seip and Templeton Associate Principal Laura Montez, effective at the end of the school year;
  • appointed Veronica Seher as Marcy special services paraprofessional for the medically fragile, effective April 9; Kimberly Mechenich as Maple Avenue math support teacher, effective Aug. 27; Kristin Kyde as Templeton grade 8 teacher, effective Aug. 27; Devon Hauser as Marcy physical education teacher, effective Aug. 27; Kara Duehring as Maple Avenue physical education teacher, effective Aug. 27; Hope Onysio as Templeton grade 8 teacher, effective Aug. 27; and Adaliz Silva as Lannon associate kitchen employee, effective April 18.

March 19, 2018

Maple music project in spotlight


Maple Avenue music teacher Sarah Plamann and her students showcased “Stepping Aside: Creating a Student-Centered Music Classroom” initiative that she implemented to shift her classroom from teacher- to student-centered and provide opportunities that bridge elementary, middle and high school curriculum and drama experiences.

She collaborated with other staff members to offer experiences that were grounded in music, reading and writing standards. Maple Avenue and Hamilton High School students described how the project affected them and their interest in music and drama.

DECA state competitors honored


In other recognition, School Board members congratulated members of Hamilton High School’s DECA team for their performance at state competition where 23 Hamilton students competed March 5-7 at the Wisconsin DECA Career Development Conference in Lake Geneva. Hamilton earned 40 awards and qualified 14 members to advance to the international conference. DECA advisor Amanda Fields introduced the state competitors and described their accomplishments.

Hockey co-ops renewed

Hamilton High School girls and boys will have the opportunity to again compete on hockey teams, thanks to the School Board’s one-year renewal of cooperative agreements with area school districts.
The girls’ hockey team is a cooperative with Arrowhead, Oconomowoc and Kettle Moraine.The boys’ team includes Brookfield East and Central, Menomonee Falls, Wauwatosa East and West and Brookfield Academy. The programs are self-funded and costs for team expenses are split among participants.

Participation in programs continues

The district will continue to participate in AdvancEd/North Central Association accreditation at a cost of $1,750. The accreditation process aligns with district site planning. Hamilton has been NCA accredited since 1966.

The district plans to continue using CESA services and programs to assist students who are at-risk, not succeeding in a traditional school environment or have specialized educational needs. Alternative placement programs offered through CESA include New Pathways, Turning Point, Project Success, Fresh Start and Distinguished Scholars Academy. In addition GPS Education Partners, a non-CESA program, offers an alternative model for credit-deficient students allowing them to complete their high school education while gaining real work experience. Currently, 12 Hamilton students participate in New Pathways, two in Turning Point, one in Project Success, one in Fresh Start and four in GPS Education Partners. Services for 2018-19 will be contracted as needs arise.

Boys Scouts thank district

Two Boy Scouts representatives, Mike Urbanek and Bill Gainer, thanked the School Board for allowing the organization to host its Winter Blast Adventure at Hamilton High School.

Personnel matters

In personnel matters, the School Board:

  • approved the resignations of Maple Avenue paraprofessional Kristin Norman and Lannon kitchen employee Susan Casper; and
  • appointed Elizabeth Lass as Special Service administrative assistant, Carol Rabideau as Templeton associate kitchen employee and Rebecca Lloyd as Hamilton library paraprofessional; and
  • increased the contract of Marcy psychologist Kristin Mandella from 20 to 100 percent.

March 6, 2018

Curriculum comes alive for Woodside students


Woodside Elementary School was in the spotlight at the March 6 Hamilton School Board meeting with the presentation of a pilot involving the Seniors & Students Pen Pal Project. Grade 4 teacher Kelly Flanagan expanded the project to strengthen personal connections and make the curriculum come alive for students.

Woodside Principal James Edmond joined Flanagan along with three of her students and two senior volunteers who described the value of the project. A two-minute video described the basics of the pilot.

School board OKs referendum next steps

After residents voted in favor of a referendum to build a new intermediate school and renovate and expand classrooms at the high school, the School Board took the next step by authorizing the administration to begin the bidding process and negotiate construction contracts.

Contract with Dominiczak extended

The School Board approved continuing services with Dominiczak Therapy Associates until 2020. The district switched to Dominiczak for occupational and physical therapy (OT, PT) services in the 2015-16 school year.

Cooperative agreement with Elmbrook approved

The School Board authorized district staff to once again contract with the Elmbrook School District special education services in the 2018-19 school year. The contract will provide low-incidence disabilities services for students who have autism, intellectual, hearing and vision disabilities and for the placement of one student at Fairview South, a school that serves students with cognitive disabilities. Hamilton is one of 26 school districts that contracts with Elmbrook for services. Districts reimburse Elmbrook based on usage of services.

Personnel news

In personnel business, the School Board:

  • approved the resignations of Hamilton library paraprofessional Sherry Bublitz, effective March 7 and Marcy special services paraprofessional Crystal Klein, effective March 9 and Woodside associate kitchen employee Beatrice Bell, effective March 6.
  • accepted the retirement request of Willow Springs 4K teacher Kathryn Parkhurst-Schulz, effective at the end of the school year;
  • appointed Amanda Desmarais Lannon paraprofessional, Andrea Citowitz Hamilton educational interpreter, Katherine Bitz Templeton special education replacement teacher and Beth Lassiter Woodside special services paraprofessional; and
  • named Murrene Payton, Elizabeth Lodl and Nick Roth summer school assistant coordinators.

February 19, 2018

Templeton presents technology that enhances learning

Templeton Middle School staff members showed School Board members how their school has been using technology to enhance student learning.


Attendees at the School Board meeting were taken on a virtual reality trip.


School Board member Jennifer Waltz and Deborah Briggs try out the devices.


Templeton Grade 7 teachers Ashley Pfeifer and Mary Caucutt describe how the virtual reality glasses are used the enhance learning for students.

School Board members and meeting attendees were able to see what students are experiencing using virtual reality devices. Grade 7 teachers Mary Caucutt and Ashley Pfeifer explained how the virtual reality glasses allowed students to take Google Expeditions to faraway lands with life-like experiences that provide relevance to what they are learning. The devices were provided in large part through a grant from the Hamilton Education Foundation.

Library-media specialist Anita Paque described the TMS Makerspace, a specialized lab for personalized learning projects that extend classroom learning. The Makerspace has stations for 3-D printing, green-screen productions, little bits circuits, arts and crafts design, vinyl stencil cutter, stop-motion animation and podcasting. Paque said the area promotes creativity, critical thinking and problem solving.

Flaherty recognized for Inspire Award


Shannon Flaherty receives a certificate from School Board President Gabe Kolesari.

Templeton Middle School applied engineering and technology education teacher Shannon Flaherty was recognized for receiving the Wisconsin Technology Education Association (WTEA) Inspire Award. The award recognizes teachers who have inspired a current or future teacher in the field of technology education.

Curriculum review process reported

Three curricular areas being reviewed in the 2017-18 school year are applied engineering and technology, business education and K-8 science. In addition, three Hamilton High School courses will be added. They are oral and interpersonal communication, drama in literature and production, and performance conditioning. Instructional Services Supervisor Katie Little, Ph.D., updated the School Board on the curriculum review process.

Little said the curriculum and courses are in the process of being written and will be presented to the School Board for approval this summer. In addition, staff are piloting K-5 and 6-8 science programs.

Assessment schedule summarized

Instructional Services Supervisor Katherine Little, Ph.D., summarized standardized assessments required by state and federal law. The Wisconsin Student Assessment System (WSAS) is a comprehensive statewide program designed to provide information about what students know and whether they can apply that knowledge in core academic areas. Assessments include:

  • Wisconsin Forward Exam assesses English language arts and mathematics for grades 3-8; science for grades 4 and 8; and social studies for grades 4, 8 and 10. Students take the assessment online.
  • ACT Aspire Early High School is a summative assessment that measures what students have learned in the areas of English, reading, math, science and writing. The ACT Aspire scores predict how a student will perform on both the ACT and the ACT WorkKeys when they reach grade 11. It is administered to students in grades 9 and 10 in an online format.
  • ACT tests include reading, math, English, science and writing. The ACT with writing is a paper and pencil test.
  • ACT WorkKeys assesses applied mathematics, locating information and reading for information. ACT WorkKeys system is a paper and pencil assessment that helps students understand how they can improve their career readiness skills and may help employers to determine whether individuals are qualified for positions.
    All students take these assessments except for 1 percent of students with significant cognitive disabilities who are assessed with an alternate assessment,
  • Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM).
  • ACCESS for ELLs® is designed to measure English language (EL) proficiency. It is a large-scale assessment based on the WIDA Consortium’s ELD Standards that form the core of Wisconsin’s approach to instructing and testing ELs.

In addition to the state-mandated exams, the district implements elementary benchmark assessments in reading, mathematics and writing, along with Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessments in grades 1-8. The Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS) is administered at primary grade levels. Alternative assessments and those for English Language Learners are also given.

Little noted that the district is investigating the potential of using the STAR assessment as a replacement for MAP testing. If sufficient evidence supports a move from MAP to STAR, a recommendation will be presented to the School Board.

Personnel matters

In personnel matters the School Board:

  • accepted the resignation of Special Services administrative assistant Julie Bigley, effective Feb. 23;
  • approved the appointment of associate kitchen employees Diana Butcher at Templeton and Priscilla Rollmann and Beatrice Bell at Woodside; and
  • modified the contract of Willow Springs Special Services teacher Jennifer Orlowski.