District explores charter school with consortium
The district is participating in a five-district consortium to study the possibility of establishing a charter school for students in grades 9-12. The focus of the school would reinforce the concepts of 21st century learning, integrated application and a lab-type environment which would serve as a demonstration site for professional development.
The other districts that have begun exploring the concept are Germantown, Hartford Union, Menomonee Falls and Pewaukee. Hartford Union has contracted the services of a grant writer to assist in obtaining a planning grant for 2010-11. Each district will contribute $625 to help pay for the services. If the consortium is successful in getting a planning grant, curriculum and structures would be developed during 2010-11 with implementation planned for 2011-12.
Wireless system considered for high school
Technology staff members are looking into implementing a wireless system that would cover all areas of the high school after having success using wireless computer carts in certain areas for the past few years. Because the Computers on Wheels (COW) system has been effective for isolated uses – including science, library and special education classes – the district will consider providing wireless coverage to the entire school, including the Hamilton Fine Arts Center.
Superintendent Kathleen Cooke provided a written to report to School Board members about potential expansion of wireless notebook carts. The district has balanced requests for additional COW applications with the need for a high degree of security. Only designated and configured devices would be granted access on the district network, and the network would be hidden to non-district devices. The cost to expand the system is expected to be less than $5,000. Final numbers will be reported to the board when they are available.
Elementary students, staff present 21st century skills
Students and staff from Woodside and Lannon elementary schools described classroom projects which have engaged them in 21st century skills including critical thinking, financial literacy, communication skills and community engagement.
Woodside fourth grade students and their teacher Abby Janssen and kindergarten teacher Julie Schmidt described how they connected their curriculum to their community service project. The students collect items for the Sussex Food Pantry each month. They sort items by shape, color and food type and make graphs to represent their results. They write about their experiences. The fourth-graders also have learned about the nutritional and financial aspects to creating a balanced meal, and then determined the daily, weekly and monthly costs to provide balanced meals for a family.
Lannon fourth-graders in Katie Bernard’s class have created a classroom economy in which students apply for jobs, earn a salary, pay for expenses, save money and can participate in an end-of-the- year auction. Students rent their desk for $500 per month or they can save up and pay off their desk for $1,500. Students described their jobs as phone answerer, line leader, desk checker, party planner, banker and auditor. They described what they learned from the experience and what they like most. Bernard added that the project brings a greater sense of responsibility to the students.
District takes on additional curriculum revisions
Instructional Services Robert Scott, Ph.D., updated the School Board on the curriculum process. This year is unusual because instead of having three areas under revision, the district is revising eight areas. Finishing work is being completed on art and music which had been revised last year. Fitness education, health, science and world languages are the areas that had been scheduled for this year. Information & technology literacy and K-12 financial literacy were bumped up in the revision process because the district’s Strategic Plan called for earlier adoption. The K-5 spelling program is being worked on due to completion of the elementary spelling pilot.
Summer school plans underway
The enrichment portion of the Summer Opportunities Program for students in grades K4-8 will operate from June 21 to July 16, while middle school promotional courses will continue another 10 days and end on July 31. Students will have off for the July 4 holiday. At the high school, there will be two sessions for enrichment and credit make-up courses, June 14-June 25 and July 5 – July 16.
Summer Opportunities Director and Lannon Elementary School Principal Dick Ladd provided an update on summer school planning. Much will remain the same as last year’s operations. Dairyland Bus Company will provide transportation for a fee. On-line registration will be offered along with paper registration. Fees will range from $4 to $12 per class with a $50 fee assessed to non-resident students for whom the district is not reimbursed through state aid.
Maple Avenue site plan approved
Maple Avenue Principal Kristin Koeper-Hamblin reported on the school’s new site plan which indicates that:
• Students will develop oral and written skills to communicate effectively and purposefully with others;
• Students will be engaged in meaningful and active learning to support maximum achievement for each child; and
• Teachers will implement quality assessment practices and assist students in monitoring their own progress to ensure continuous learning.
Koeper-Hamblin reported that the site plan was shared with staff members during in-services and all staff members have signed up to participate in committees to develop the tactics. In her report about the school, she noted that many of the interventions designed to help students who struggle have been effective as seen in the growth in longitudinal math and reading scores.
Four approved for early graduation
Four students met stated requirements and conditions and were approved for early graduation in January, 2010. They are Michael Anderson, Hanna Jensen, Marissa Notari and Jamie Scholl.
In personnel business, the School Board:
• Approved the requests for end-of-the retirements for Kathleen Voss-Schwartz, Lannon speech pathologist, Richard Petersohn, Marcy fifth grade teacher, Pamela Jajtner, Maple Avenue paraprofessional, and Joel Worden, Hamilton night foreman custodian;
• Accepted the resignations of Marcy special services paraprofessional Sharon Reske effective Feb. 12 and Hamilton physical education and health teacher Ryan Otten effective at the end of the school year; and
• Appointed Misty Draeger as a Hamilton replacement half-time family and consumer education teacher, Susan Steldt as the Willow Springs administrative assistant and Benjamin Bunke as Templeton special services paraprofessional.