December 1, 2009

Templeton students, staff show use of Web 2.0 tools
Templeton Middle School students are using new Web. 2.0 tools to spice up their book reports. Library-media specialist Anita Paque and social studies teacher Rhonda Watton, along with students Molly Mattheisen, Bailee Bobert and Bret Harvestin, demonstrated to School Board members how two Web-based tools make the job of giving a book report an exciting prospect.

Students use Voki.com to bring their book’s protagonists to life by creating avatars, which are graphic images that represent characters. Students choose specific traits, appearance, clothes, voice and background. Another program, Animoto, allows students to create 30-second trailers that tell the book’s story using images, text and royalty-free music. The goal of the trailer is to encourage other students to read the book.

Students reported that they enjoyed using the technology to convey information about the books they read.

Two site plans approved
School Board members approved site plans from two schools that represent the district’s oldest and youngest students.

Hamilton’s single goal focuses on 21st century skills
Hamilton High School’s site planning process incorporates the AdvancEd – formerly known as North Central Accreditation (NCA) – school improvement planning and the district’s strategic planning processes in developing its site plan. The plan has one goal that states: “Students will apply 21st century learning to maximize their potential in the global community.” Two interventions address the goal. They are development of communication skills of reading, writing, interdisciplinary connections and multimedia experiences and social responsibility aspects such as motivation, adaptability, “Habits of Mind” and employability skills.

Hamilton Principal Candis Mongan presented a report on the high school’s progress in the past year which included the following accomplishments:

  • Postsecondary plans – 63.3 percent of Hamilton students indicated last year that they would attend a four-year college compared to 55.1 percent in 2006;
  • Classroom assessments – the vast majority of students and teachers agreed that classroom assessment information is used to revise instruction and reading strategies are taught, indicating that staff are aligning classroom practices with formative assessment and reading strategies intervention initiatives;
  • Walk-through observations – the numbers increased for many departments;
  • Interventions – additional programming for students requiring further support is implemented each year;
  • ACT – The composite score continue to rise or remain consistent when comparing the past three years of data;
  • Advanced Placement – the percentage of students earning a pass rate to get college-level credit and the number of students taking AP course is at an all-time high;
  • Embedded professional development – departments have the responsibility for continued school improvement through goal-setting and demonstrating professional development with their peers.

Future site plan steps are to

  • integrate staff development to incorporate the site plan goal and two interventions;
  • modify the curriculum and instruction base don local and standardized assessment results;
  • examine profile data, test scores and survey data to measure progress;
  • complete and evaluate results of the 21st Century Model of Learning self-assessment tool; and
  • develop action plans that include triangulation of data, research of best practices, staff development and measurement tools.

School Board members Gerald Schmitz and Lynn Kristensen praised Mongan and the staff at Hamilton for the accomplishments of the school.

“This school is moving in the right direction,” Schmitz concluded at the end of Mongan’s report.

“This is an exciting place to be,” Kristensen said. “I love it that my kids love to be here.”

Willow Springs reorganizes tactics
Willow Springs Learning Center Principal Margaret Tackes, Ed.D., described work of the faculty in the past year. Staff members have participated in various professional development regarding social and problem-solving skills for students and Response to Intervention methods. A team attended the Wisconsin Model of Early Learning (WMEL) standards workshop. Faculty also developed and piloted a new report card, and teachers will work on a teacher rubric for more standard guidelines regarding its use. Four books regarding the social-emotional development of children were read as part of a book study group, and staff continued development of the handwriting and preschool options programs.

At its recent site plan update, Willow Springs reorganized its tactics into three components that focus on the social and emotional aspect of the curriculum, transition from 4K to K5 and problem-solving as a part of 21st century skills.

The school will continue to work on the three tactics and anticipates that staff will:

  • review and implement WMEL standards;
  • work with elementary schools to develop better communication processes; and
  • study the skill of problem-solving to determine appropriate knowledge, skills and dispositions appropriate for the young learner.

Superintendent Kathleen Cooke, Ph.D., commented on the high level of child advocacy that existed at Willow and asked Tackes to thank the staff for their good work.

Technology plan making progress
The Instructional Technology & Literacy Plan continues to be addressed. Instructional Technology and Assessment Coordinator Katherine Little provided a written report with highlights of progress being made.

Under the goal of improving teacher proficiency and technology integration in instructional practices, the report noted that 98 percent of teachers have received Level 1 training in use of Moodle classroom Web pages and 13 staff members who were trained as facilitators are now training their colleagues. In addition, teachers who have interactive whiteboards in their classrooms were provided training in various forms.

Another goal, integration of the Information and Technology Literacy (ITL) standards into the curriculum, is being accomplished through the revision cycle and the ITL curriculum is being revised to reflect 21st century technology skills. In addition, library-media specialists created a presentation for faculty members regarding copyright information.

Personnel news
In personnel business, the School Board:

  • appointed Tammy Ferrell as the Templeton paraprofessional-bookkeeper for four hours a day;
  • added one additional hour each day to the scheduled work day of Templeton paraprofessionals Renee Perlberg and Ann Kraemer who will provide extra lunchroom supervision; and
  • accepted the retirement request of Templeton special services paraprofessional Jane Gutmann.