December 5, 2006

School Board members approved site plans for two schools – one that is the first entry into the district for many students and the other from which they will graduate.

Willow Springs site plan approved
Principal Margaret Tackes presented the Willow Springs Learning Center Site Plan which has one tactic that states “students will be enriched in a unique, well-defined and articulated four-year-old kindergarten program.” The tactic is supported by two interventions that indicate the school will:

  • Organize the 4K curriculum to align with the Wisconsin model of Early Learning Standards; and
  • Develop an alternative start to the school year to increase the partnership and communication between students, parents and teachers.

Tackes reported that the faculty has worked on curriculum alignment since January 2004 and the 4K program and curriculum has developed significantly since its inception.

She also reported that the “Transition to Success” Program has been implemented successfully for two years.

“The program has multiple successes including increased students engagement, stronger parental connection with school, immediate instruction and better aligned teacher preparedness and assessments,” the report stated.

Next steps for the school include:

  • Sharing and celebrating the site plan with the whole school;
  • Refining curriculum, standards, activities, timelines and assessments;
  • Develop and align standards, implementation and authentic assessments during a summer curriculum-writing project;
  • Develop a survey to give to 5K teachers regarding student transitions;
  • Explore and develop a transition-to-5K teacher plan;
  • Analyze data from standardized tests; and
  • Refine the details of the “Transition to Success” Program including evaluation, timeline, brochures and procedures.

Tackes summarized her report by describing Willow Springs this way: “We have beautiful children with families who care and a faculty who love them dearly.”

Hamilton site plan approved

Principal Candis Mongan shared Hamilton’s School Profile with the board. In its fourth year of implementation, the high school continues to focus on one improvement goal that states “Students will demonstrate higher-level thinking skills across the curriculum.”

The goal includes three interventions:

  • All students will apply Polya’s problem-solving model to analyze, synthesize and evaluate information and conclusions in both structured and authentic situations.
  • Students will apply reading strategies to support higher-level thinking skills across the curriculum.
  • Students will evaluate their personal level of thinking in the cognitive domain by using Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Mongan described the school’s strengths, its culture and concerns. The strengths include rising PLAN scores, the highest ACT score in the school’s history, and strong performance on the state standardized Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam. Concerns to be addressed are achievement gap for special education students and science results in the WKCE, ACT achievement gap among disaggregated data; and low enrollment in AP and Honors courses.

Lannon staff honored for Green, Healthy School Program
Lannon Elementary School Principal Dick Ladd presented seven current and former teachers for recognition because of their work with the Green and Healthy School Program. The teachers who were honored were: Laureanna Raymond-Duvernell, Patty Gmeinder, Judy Gurath, Monika Lichey, Andrea Tarantino, Kristine Wetherall and Kathy Voss-Schwartz.

The team headed up an effort that resulted in Lannon being named a Wisconsin Green and Healthy School by the Department of Natural Resources and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. The designation signifies that Lannon is a model for its community for health, safety and environmental excellence.

Briskis recognized for contributions to Willow Springs
Jerry and Lynn Briski were recognized for their generosity to Willow Springs students. The Briskis planted a pumpkin patch for Willow children for the past six years. Every year the 4-year-old kindergartners have attended a half-day field trip to the Briski farm where they each pick a pumpkin and gourd from the patch. Both Briskis have taken off of their regular jobs to make the trip possible for the children, and Lynn makes a treat for each child.

In nominating the Briskis, Willow Spring teacher Rita Forrester told this story: “When we were hiking in the patch this fall, which was a cold blustery day, I noticed that the vines looked a little different,” Forrester wrote. “Due to the cold weather and the threat of a frost, the Briskis had picked all the pumpkins, washed them, stored them and put them back in the patch for our children to pick them! This is definitely going above and beyond any expectations of a farmer!”

April School Board meeting date changed
Because several School Board members will not be able to attend the April 16 meeting, the board voted to reschedule it to April 23.