December 21, 2009

Board approves update of Strategic Plan
Hamilton School Board members approved the updated Strategic Plan it their meeting Dec. 21. The document, which outlines the strategic initiatives that the district will undertake in the next five years or so, was created last year and updated at a Dec. 2 meeting of the strategic planning team.

Educational Services and Human Resources Director John Roubik, who is the Strategic Plan internal facilitator, presented a detailed report on progress action planning teams have made in the first six months of implementation.

Roubik characterized the plan as ambitious and sophisticated. He said its strength is the interconnection between the six strategies.

The strategies of the plan indicate that the district will:
• ensure rigorous, relevant curriculum and innovative instruction to support maximum achievement of each child;
• engage and empower students, differentiate instruction and ensure continuous progress for each child by implementing quality assessment practices;
• focus professional development on the knowledge and skills staff need as they educate students to thrive in an interconnected, global community;
• utilize effective communication practices to promote understanding, support and involvement of our families, community and staff;
• create learning environments that nurture social and emotional development and respect for our diverse world; and
• integrate and assess 21st century skills in the areas of financial literacy, employability skills and technological literacy.

All action plan committees reported that progress toward goals has been made and recommended that the strategies continue as stated in the original plan.

School Board member Gerald Schmidtz cautioned that the Strategic Plan will only be as good as what will be funded. He said that despite some tough economic times, previous Strategic Plans have been funded and he hopes the board will be able to continue to do so.

Noting the commitment the district has made toward the strategic planning process in the past and the success it has brought, School Board member James Long said the board must find a way to fund the initiatives.

District to keep mandatory student fees at current low level
Even though many surrounding school districts have higher student fees, School Board members decided against increasing them because any hikes could have a significant effect on families dealing with a tough economy. Business Services Assistant Superintendent Bryan Ruud said that in comparing district fees to other school districts, Hamilton is often in the bottom half. He said this year, however, the district slipped to the bottom third. He said he did not believe it would be a good time to raise fees for families.

Two fees that are considered discretionary – family athletic passes and student parking – will be reviewed later in the school year for possible action. High school students pay $90 a year for parking privileges while the average student parking fee among 25 other school districts is $128.75. Hamilton’s family athletic-activity pass allows all family members to attend an unlimited number of athletic events and activities. While many schools have individual student passes, no other school district offers a pass to an entire family.

State competitors recognized
Hamilton students who participated in state-level athletic competition were honored for their outstanding achievements. Cross country state champion Marcus Paulson was recognized for a long list of athletic achievements. Theresa Selestow, who was not able to attend the meeting, was recognized as well for placing 22nd in the state.

Swimming team members Briana Botros, Emily and Sarah Tighe and Grace Devine were recognized for qualifying at state as part of the Hamilton-Menomonee Falls Swim Co-op team. The team took 23rd place overall, and the girls took individual awards as well.

Athletic-Activities Director Michael Gosz said the athlete represented Hamilton well.

“These are outstanding students first, outstanding athletes, but more important, outstanding people,” Gosz said.