December 6, 2016

2017-18 calendar approved

Hamilton School Board members approved the 2017-18 school year calendar that administrators recommended. District instructional leaders and officers of home and schools, parent-teacher organizations and parent advisory groups provided feedback as the calendar was being developed. Two particular areas were in question – the first day of school and whether to have half or full days for professional development.

State law does not allow Wisconsin public schools to start before Sept. 1 which falls on the Friday before Labor Day in 2017. If classes began Sept. 1, students would attend school one day before getting three days off for the holiday weekend. Human Resources and Organizational Development Director John Roubik said staff and parent consensus was to start school Sept. 5, the Tuesday after Labor Day.

Also nearly unanimous was the preference to replace four half-day early releases in favor of two full days for professional development during the year. Roubik said even with the changes, students will have the same number of instructional minutes and staff will have the same professional development time as in the past.

Other key dates in 2017-18 are:

  • Nov. 22, 23, 24 – break before and after and holiday on Thanksgiving Day;
  • Dec. 23-Jan. 1 – winter break;
  • March 30-April 8 – spring break;
  • May 25 – break or snow make-up day; and
  • June 8 – last day of school for students.

As number of ELL students continues to drop, needs go up

The number of Hamilton School District students who are English Language Learners (ELL) continues to drop and is at its lowest level in more than five years. This year 61 students, who come from homes where 26 different languages are spoken, will receive services from two teachers whose full-time equivalency is 1.5 positions. The district funds the cost of the teachers.

While the number of students in the program is down, the needs that students have are greater than in the past with more students than ever speaking no English. The number of ELL students has ranged from 64 to 106 in the past four years with 4 to 11 at the lowest level. This year, 16 of the 61 students are at Level 1.

Title III federal funding provides $12,675 for professional development, interpreter services, after-school programming, materials and the Family Literacy Program. Teachers established the ELL Family Literacy Program four years ago for parents to feel more comfortable with the district’s academic expectations and stress the importance of parent engagement in the student learning process.

District undertakes strategic initiatives

Human Resources and Organizational Development Director John Roubik updated the School Board on the district’s strategic and tactical plans. He described initiatives regarding:

  • personalized and differentiated practices;
  • use of universal screeners and specific progress monitoring tools to assess students’ response to interventions in closing the achievement gaps;
  • analysis of district enrollment and housing trends related to school building capacity; and
  • providing greater student and staff access to technology.

Personnel news

In personnel business, the School Board accepted the resignations of special services paraprofessionals Erin Hernikl from Marcy, effective Dec. 22, Terry Maes from Templeton, effective Dec. 1 and Woodside math support teacher Robyn Hassani, effective June 12.