January 7, 2003

Olson recognized for highest possible score on SAT

Hamilton High School senior Heather Olson was recognized for her score on the SAT. Hamilton Principal David Furrer described how Olson earned the highest possible score on the SAT test which distinguishes her in the top 1 percent among 1.3 million high school seniors who took the SAT. Only five Wisconsin students earned the prestigious honor of having the maximum score last year.

School Board President Gerald Schmitz presented her with a plaque and expressed admiration for her accomplishment.

Technology plan approved

Hamilton School Board members approved an Instructional Technology Plan that charts the course of initiatives in the district for the next three to five years. The plan, which must be certified by the state Department of Public Instruction, is required for districts apply for state or federal technology funds.

Instructional Technology and Assessment Coordinator Katie Little and Instructional Services Supervisor Margaret Bauman, Ph.D., summarized the plan based on data collected from surveys. The surveys gathered information from teachers, students, parents, School Board members and administrators related to six conditions that strongly influence the effectiveness of instructional technology. They are:

  • forward-thinking, shared vision;
  • educator proficiency with effective teaching and learning practices;
  • digital age equity;
  • effective teaching and learning practices;
  • robust access anywhere, anytime; and
  • systems and leadership.

The District Technology Committee reviewed survey data and developed recommendations that became the goals and action steps of the plan. They include:

  • Vision goal
    – Communicate the vision and mission for technology in the district.
    Action plan
    – Share the enGauge survey results with staff members
    – Inform staff members of mission and vision for technology
    – Use the vision and mission to focus staff development on effective technology integration in teaching and learning
    – Use the vision and mission to guide technology initiatives
  • Educator-proficiency goals
    1. Provide professional development to strengthen effective use of technology
    Action plan
    – Communicate ISTE Teacher Standards to all staff
    – Create a systematic, comprehensive plan for on-going technology professional development
    – Investigate tools to measure effectiveness of professional development on student achievement
    – Provide ongoing training for non-certified staff
    – Demonstrate new technologies and software at district technology meetings

    2. Provide staff development to ensure effective use of new hardware and software applications
    Action plan
    – Provide training related to new curriculum, program adoptions and special education assistive technology

    3. Create comprehensive, professional growth opportunities for administrators related to effective use of technology
    Action plan
    – Provide administrative leadership supporting technological professional development for all staff
    – Develop a schedule for administrative training in student database and analysis software
    – Remain current on new and innovative technologies related to instruction and data management

  • Systems-leadership goal
    – Administrators will understand and effectively use student database and analysis softwre to monitor and enhance student achievement
    Action plan
    – Use technology-based management system to access and maintain student records
    – Continuously monitor and analyze performance data to direct the design and improvement of program initiatives and activities
    – Use district-wide and disaggregated data to identify improvement targets at the school and district levels
    – Monitor annual yearly progress of ESEA-required disaggregated groups
    – Include effective use of technology in the learning and teaching process as one criteria in assessing the performance of instructional staff

  • Access-equity goals
    1. Improve efficiency of district technology systems
    Action plan
    – Reorganize the network tree
    – Implement an automatic virus update for all networked computers
    – Increase network speed by investigating and reducing the Internet for non-educational purposes
    – Purchase and install updated installation/distribution software (ZenWorks)
    – Investigate software purchase for timed automatic computer shutdown
    – Evaluate student management system and investigate alternatives
    – Investigate portable devices allowing for remote access of student management data
    – Provide remote access to media specialists, allowing online catalogs access all buildings
    – Design or implement an existing process for rating and choosing instructional software
    – Create a comprehensive plan to evaluate and update network hardware
    – Provide students with consumable materials and supplies necessary to utilize district technologies
    – Update Marcy infrastructure and install new wiring and hardware

    2. Effectively use district technology resources and facilities
    Action plan
    – Create plan to increase the use educational access channel to communicate district current events and instructional initiatives
    – Investigate additional RAM and Windows 2000 added to High School labs to eliminate students bypassing Fortress security

    3. Maximize computer lab use
    Action plan
    – Investigate use of inexpensive portable devices in classrooms
    – Implement daily usage log in all labs to track lab and software use and potential troubleshooting
    – Investigate opening some computer labs to the public after school hours

    4. Investigate use of educational technologies to improve student achievement, parental communication and accountability
    Action plan
    – Conduct a survey to determine computer and Internet access in the home
    – Investigate the potential for students, teachers, parents and administrators to remotely access student management system
    – Investigate and recommend upgrade or replacement of elementary productivity tools
    – Investigate technology to differentiate curriculum and provide online instruction options
    – Investigate assistive technology to support special education needs
    – Investigate costs and security risks involved in providing remote access to network files for students and staff
    – Investigate virtual learning experiences such as virtual fieldtrips and videoconferencing
    – Review district policies on technology gifts and donations

    5. Ensure all students are engaging in an educational program supported by technology
    Action plan
    – Disaggregate enrollment in technology courses by gender
    – Investigate resources to promote gender equity in technology education programs

    Little said a committee will be formed this spring to begin addressing the action plans associated with each goal.

    In other technology business, Little reported that technical support in the district has improved greatly. The district is served by OmniTech Corporation, which responds to weekly work lists submitted by staff in the district’s seven schools. The technicians service hardware, software and network matters, recommend potential efficiences, participate in Tehcnology Committee meetings and meet with Little twice a month. The contract with OmniTech expires in June. Little said she will seek bids for a new contract and report back to the School Board.

    Elementary report card sees changes

    Parents of elementary school age children are seeing refinements in report cards, based on results from a parent survey and committee recommendations. Bauman reported that the Elementary Report Card Committee recommended changes that were incorporated in report cards parents received in fall. They changes included:

    • changing first and second grade content area key to better describe the developmental nature of student progress at these grade levels;
    • revising the standards key for grades 3-5; and
    • consolidating and revising content standards.

    The report card provides information about a student’s academic progress, social and emotional development and work habits.

    Art curriculum revisions get OK

    The work of district art teachers was approved as the School Board accepted the revised K-12 art curriculum. Bauman reported that the curriculum was revised to reflect the Wisconsin Model Academic Standards for the Visual Arts. The standards involve traditional fine arts and design arts, media arts, visual learning skills and understanding of the role of art in society. The document identified important basic skills, critical thinking skills, communication skills, work habits and connections to the community that are extended and reinforced in art classes.

    School Board member Jennifer Rude Klett said she was disappointed that required art classes end at seventh grade and she would like to see more art classes available to students.

    Bauman said that offering art as an elective beginning in eighth grade is typical among school districts.

    School Board members Deborah Briggs said she has seen an increase in the number of secondary level art teachers because of the high school’s move to a 4-period day which allows students to take more elective classes. Briggs complimented the staff for including lesson plans in the curriculum document that describe how students will learn concepts.

    The quality of student artwork as reflected in the district’s Community Calendar has improved in the last 12 years, Schmitz said. He said he was impressed with the student art display at last year’s Spring Fest event held at the high school. He said he believes the new high school auditorium will offer addtional opportunities for the public to see the quality of student art.

    Marcy site plan accepted

    Marcy Elementary School’s site plan was accepted with accolades from School Board members on the outstanding achievement of its students. Principal Donald Behrens, Ph.D., reported that the plan’s tactics are to:

    • created and disseminate a vision statement;
    • improve communication among Marcy community members;
    • increase student achievement ; and
    • improve individual achievement through use of effective and innovative practices.

    Behrens reported that action plans were developed for each tactic last winter and are underway. Briggs complimented staff when Behrens pointed out that they meet in the early morning to discuss best practices.

    The fact that staff are getting together before school so they are better able to help students achieve shows the teachers’ level of dedication, Briggs said.

    Personnel changes approved

    In personnel business, the School Board appointed Michael Figueroa as Woodside cleaner and Kellie Nagel as Woodside teacher aide.