May 17, 2004

High school Honors Program grows

The number of honors courses Hamilton High School students have taken since they were first offered has jumped from 116 in the 2001-02 school year to 295 in the current year.

Hamilton Principal David Furrer said the Honors Program was developed to challenge top students identified as being intellectually capable, motivated, possessing a deep interest in the content and seeking a highly rigorous learning environment.

Student survey results show positive perceptions about honors courses from those who took them.

Furrer said students who take honors courses are likely candidates to take Advanced Placement (AP) courses, also on the rise at Hamilton. Enrollment in AP classes increased from 132 students in 2003-04 to more than 164 students in 2004-05. More students are expected to participate in 2004-05 AP classes when enrollments for English, government and calculus are finalized.

Ten AP courses are scheduled for the 2004-05 school year, compared to six in 2003-04. Low enrollment forced the school to drop five AP courses that were offered for 2003-04, but only two were dropped for 2004-05.

At previous School Board meetings, two parents asked that the school reconsider a decision to drop the AP computer programming course that 13 students signed up to take. Because of scheduling issues, some students were likely to drop the class which would leave the class with fewer than 10 students when classes began in the fall.

Furrer said that when classes are dropped, the school tries to provide other avenues for students to get the high-level courses including jointly offering the classes with neighboring districts, allowing students to take classes at a college or university through the Youth Options Program or finding on-line coursework.

School Board finalizes budget for June 21 Annual Meeting

Community members will have an opportunity to vote on the district levy June 21 at 7:30 p.m. at Hamilton High School. The School Board approved a $38.4 million budget that is up 4.38 percent over the current budget. The local levy is expected to increases 5.22 percent, but the mill rate is projected to go from $11.40 to $11.42 per $1,000 of property value. The budget was built assuming the district will see an additional 56 students.

Hamilton Education Foundation, retirees, student representatives recognized

The School Board presented its annual Community Service Award and recognized this year’s retirees and student representatives to the board.

Hamilton Education Foundation board members who served within the last five years were recognized with the Community Service Award, which is presented to an individual or organization that has provided outstanding service and assistance to the entire district.

A dozen employees were recognized for providing 289 combined years of service to the district. Hamilton Superintendent Kathleen M. Cooke described the career contributions of the following retirees and School Board President Gabe Kolesari handed them a clock, a citation from the state Legislature and a certificate from the Department of Public Instruction: Hamilton science teacher John Alexander, technology and assessment executive assistant Midge Anton, elementary guidance counselor Sam Gabell, Templeton physical education and health teacher Bobbie Husak, speech-language specialist Kathleen Keller-Weber, Maple Avenue instructional aide Pat Manyo, Maple Avenue kindergarten teacher Patricia Olberg, Willow Springs custodian Arthur Rude and Hamilton administrative assistant Diane Schroeder. Retirees who were mentioned, but were not able to attend the meeting were special education teacher aide Judy Duquaine, Hamilton physical education teacher David Fink and Templeton science teacher H.Jay Johns,

Cooke presented high school students Jeralee Briggs, Nicole Guenther and Abbey Paton with a pen set for providing reports to the School Board in 2003-04 as board representatives.

Staff Development Plan approved

District staff development in 2004-05 will focus on informative writing, reading strategies, mathematics instruction, diversity, assessment practices and research-based instructional practices for new teachers, and specific building site goals and content-area needs. The School Board approved the Staff Development Plan after Instructional Services Supervisor Margaret Bauman, Ph.D., presented it. The Professional Development Advisory Council (PDAC) helped create it.

The goal of professional development is to improve student learning and achievement. The PDAC identified specific goals that include:

  • Student learning needs drive professional development.
  • The impact of staff development on student achievement will be measured through a result-based model.
  • Professional development is closely tied to classroom curriculum, instruction and assessment.
  • Professional development involves collaboration among teachers and between teachers and administrators in solving problems related to student learning.

Summer curriculum projects, workshops approved

Bauman also presented information about the projects and activities that will keep many school district staff members busy throughout the summer. She reported that the summer curriculum work will focus on:

  • building site plans;
  • K-12 music and mathematics curriculum revision;
  • middle and high school enriched and honors science and communication arts curriculum alignment;
  • middle school science classroom-level curriculum development;
  • learning strategies curriculum completion;
  • kindergarten curriculum development to address literacy standards;
  • 4K curriculum mapping project;
  • Computer Application course update for transcripted credit to Waukesha County Technical College;
  • 10th grade health curriculum update;
  • Chemistry, Earth Science and AP Biology new materials curriculum alignment;
  • healthcare occupations curriculum update; and
  • School-Age Parents Program update.

The professional development workshops will include:

  • informative writing;
  • a Wisconsin Mathematics Council offering;
  • development of implementation plan for learning strategies;
  • middle and high school data analysis;
  • Einstein science units for new teachers;
  • literacy instruction in grades 2 and 3;
  • mentor-new teacher training;
  • CPR, defibrillator and first aid training; and
  • specific software training for administrators.

The cost for the curriculum work and workshops total $18,500.

Education for Employment Plan presented

School Board members approved an Education for Employment Plan presented by Hamilton Associate Principal Candis Mongan. Mongan reported that the plan is a Department of Public Instruction requirement that compiles all of a district’s career education programming in one report. The plan must be approved each year by the School Board before it is submitted.

Personnel matter approved

In personnel matters, the School Board:

  • accepted the retirement of Hamilton physical education teacher David Fink, effective at the end of the 2003-04 school year
  • increased from 67 percent to full-time the contract of Hamilton physical education teacher Kathleen Block;
  • appointed Lori Schlapman as part-time Marcy counselor, Kimberly Kowaleski as Marcy second grade teacher, Julie Greenwald as Marcy fifth grade teacher, Kelly Flanagan as Woodside fifth grade teacher, Melissa Sosic as Woodside first grade replacement teacher, Jennifer Fellman as Marcy first grade replacement teacher, Angela Walechka as Templeton eighth grade science teacher, Colleen Casper as Maple Avenue guidance counselor and Heather Thompson as Templeton physical education and health teacher; and
  • approved the lay-off of Woodside cognitive disabilities (CD) teacher Melissa Neuharth. The lay-off was due to a reduction in the need for CD teachers, but Neuharth is being considered for other open teaching positions in the district.