June 2, 2009

Wind turbine project highlighted
Hamilton High School science teacher Alan Simays wanted to provide his students with hands-on experiences related to wind turbines. WE Energies wanted to build awareness among students about renewal energy and was willing to support teachers who could demonstrate it with real examples.

As a result of their mutual interests, Simays secured the first $1,500 grant from the WE Energies Renewal Energy Education Program. At the School Board meeting, WE Energies’ Jacquelyn Haas expressed gratitude to Simays for his work by extending the grant.

“I have enjoyed working with such a professional teacher who works so hard with his students,” Haas said as she handed a $1,000 check to Simays. Haas, a scientist by profession, has been in Simays science classroom to support lessons that promote in-depth knowledge of how renewal energy works.

Before receiving the original grant, Simays told School Board members that his initial lessons about wind turbines involved “raiding kitchen cabinets” to create small-scale turbines. The grant allowed him to purchase standard material and build additional turbines so students could experience the physics behind turbines. He set up an engineering competition in which students tested the apparatus.

“The kids loved it,” Simays said. “It was a win-win for everyone.”

Simays said the additional funding may allow him to explore solar energy concepts with students.

Maple Avenue completes final year of site plan
Maple Avenue Principal Kristin Koeper-Hamblin reported on the final year of her school’s five-year site plan. In attempting to maximize the academic achievement of all Maple Avenue students, the plan included three tactics.

The plan indicates that Maple Avenue will:

  • adopt and implement a schoolwide writing program that provides a set of common expectations to ensure students reach their maximum capabilities as writers;
  • implement the K-5 reading scope and sequence of instructional strategies and assessments and develop common expectations within and across grade levels; and
  • develop and implement intervention programming for students at risk of academic failure.

“I am so proud of the progress that has been made at our building,” Koeper-Hamblin said. “The main reason we have been so successful is because of staff commitment and ownership of our plan. They are always looking for ways to improve our tactics.”

Koeper-Hamblin said she looks forward to developing a new five-year plan that will align with the district Strategic Plan as her staff continues to address the 21st century needs of Maple Avenue learners.

Behavioral expectations defined in Co-Curricular Handbook
Language was added to Hamilton High School’s Co-Curricular Handbook that more clearly defines behavioral expectations for student who participate in co-curricular activities including sports, clubs and organizations.

Under the topic of “conduct,” the following statement was added: “The Hamilton School District encourages each student to pursue excellence not only in academic and activity areas, but also in the areas of conduct and behavior.”

In addition to 10 specific items listed as unacceptable behaviors, “behaviors that result in misdemeanor/felony convictions” was added. The section was further augmented to say, “In addition to the penalties indicated below, if an athlete/participant engages in behavior that is so severe to likely result in expulsion or incarceration, including a single severe act, the issue may result in suspension from athletic/activity participation.”

In addition to changes in the Co-Curricular Handbook, minor revisions were approved for high school, middle school and elementary student handbooks along with the National Honor Society Handbook.

DECA students honored
Hamilton DECA students who competed at state and beyond were recognized for their success. Those who were presented with School Board certificates at the meeting were Lukas Ballo, Supriya Talway, Carson Leet and Halley Greeneway.

Personnel news
In personnel business, the School Board:

  • reduced the contracts of five teachers due to enrollment shifts;
  • appointed Kerry Wagner as a Templeton special education teacher, Stacy Corso as a Templeton replacement special education teacher, Kristine Gielow as a Hamilton mathematics teacher, Susan Moll as District Office executive assistant and assistant board clerk, and Sarah Theune as a Lannon second grade replacement teacher; and
  • recognized Marilynn Schumann, who attended her last School Board meeting as District Office executive assistant and assistant board clerk, with a standing ovation for her dedication to the district. School Board members accepted her retirement request at the last meeting with regret. Her last day on the job is June 5.