December 19, 2011

Chapter 220, multicultural activities report presented

In the past five years, all Chapter 220 Program students eligible for graduation at Hamilton High School have graduated. It is a statistic that reflects the success of the program, considering that the graduation rate for students enrolled in Milwaukee Public Schools is about 50 percent.

School Social Worker and Chapter 220 Program Coordinator Erica Bova-Brown reported on her work with multicultural initiatives and Chapter 220, a voluntary integration program that brings Milwaukee Public Schools students to suburban districts.

A total of 108 Milwaukee residents attend the Hamilton School District through the program. Some 70 percent of them in scored in the advanced and proficient level on state standardized reading test while 60 percent were advanced and proficient in mathematics. Bova-Brown presented additional data about the involvement of Chapter 220 students in ACT testing, Advanced Placement and honors courses, and school athletics and activities.

She went on to describe the academic supports, interpreter services, economic supports, extracurricular involvement, transportation services, school activities, guest presentations and field trips that are aligned with the district strategic plan’s goals of promoting high achievement and learning for all students.

Bova-Brown said that while the graduation rate is 100 percent, it is based on only about 20 Chapter 220 students each year. School Board member Gerry Schmitz said the district should not minimize the fact that it has a 100-percent graduation rate for students in the program. Each one of the Chapter 220 students have graduated and have gone on to make something of themselves, Schmitz said.

School Board member Lynn Kristensen agreed.

“Back in their home school, their chances (of graduating) would only be about 50 percent,” Kristensen.

High school makes progress in site plan

Hamilton High School Principal Candis Mongan gave School Board members an update on the school’s progress and next steps for continued success. The school’s site plan goal is to apply 21st century learning to maximize students’ potential in the global community. Two interventions to support that target state that students will:

  • take an active role in their learning to develop personal and social responsibility skills essential to contribute to their communities; and
  • demonstrate effective communication for a range of purposes in diverse environments.

The Hamilton Site Planning Committee discussed how the structures of Response to Intervention (RtI) integrate into the high school’s plan. The committee also reviewed data the highlighted the school’s demonstrated growth and accomplishments including:

  • an increase of students who plan to attend a four-year university from 55.1 percent in 2006 to 65 percent in 2011;
  • improvement in each area of the Pride Factor Survey – culture, motivation, performance and recognition;
  • an increase in number of administrator classroom walk-throughs;
  • the second highest ranking for WKCE scores in reading and language arts among Waukesha County high schools;
  • an all-time high for number of Advanced Placement exams taken and meeting  the Challenge Index; and
  • embedding of professional development by empowering faculty with the responsibility for department goal-setting and demonstrating professional development initiatives with peers.

To continue making progress toward its site plan goals, the school will:

  • continue to build an integrated staff development program that incorporates the site plan goal and two interventions;
  • make necessary modifications to the curriculum and instructional practices based upon ongoing analysis of local and state standardized student assessment results;
  • examine profile data, standardized test scores and anecdotal survey data to measure progress;
  • align department plans with current site plan interventions;
  • fully develop RtI structures that meet the needs of all students;
  • align all curricular areas with common core standards; and
  • determine an avenue to measure when all site plan goals and interventions have been met.

Mongan said the site plan continues to stretch teachers and challenge students in a supportive environment. School Board members approved the school’s site plan update and complimented high school staff for the school’s successes.

“I know everyone is working really hard, and it shows,” said School Board member Debbie Briggs.

Kristensen said that she was struck by reaction from high school staff last year when the school had its highest ACT score in school history.

“You were still looking for ways to improve,” she said to Mongan. “Every decision that is made is kid-centered and I feel very good about the direction we are going.”

School Board member Mike Hyland noticed when attending a Hamilton Parent Advisory Group meeting that Mongan listened to parent comments and took notes so that she could share reaction with the committees working on proposal. He said it was clear that parents appreciated that staff were listening to their concerns.

Personnel news

In personnel business, the School Board approved the resignation of Marcy special education paraprofessional Amanda Szymaszek.