May 6, 2008

Vertical teaming successful
Two years into its vertical teaming initiative, the district has two groups well into the process and another one set to begin in the fall.

Instructional Services Supervisor Dee Bauman, Ph.D., reported that teachers are working in grades 6-12 in communication arts and social studies to identify essential skills and concepts in their areas. They then ensure that the skills and concepts are taught sequentially across the grade levels. Each of the teams met three times with a facilitator during the year and will meet three more times next year. An additional vertical team will be launched in science next fall.

School Board member Lynn Kristensen said she was impressed with vertical teaming because it created efficiency of learning.

“You are giving children the gift of efficiency,” Kristensen said, adding that the groundwork for the vertical teams was well planned.

Students involved in work-based learning
More than one-quarter of Hamilton juniors and seniors participate in work-based learning programs at the high school. Hamilton Associated Principal Peter Ferge updated School Board members on the Extended Learning Opportunities Program that he coordinates. Some 27 percent of juniors and seniors are involved in work-based programs that include Youth Apprenticeship, co-op, work experience, job shadowing and academic assistantship.

Ferge also reported that 94 percent of the 194 students who take transcripted credit courses successfully complete them. Transcripted credit agreements provide students the opportunity to take Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) courses in high school. They earn WCTC and high school credit. Hamilton’s completion rate is above the county average.

Tech initiatives described
Various technology initiatives have gotten attention in the past year. Information Technology (IT) Services Coordinator Katherine Little updated School Board members on those projects which include:

  • Computer and networking hardware replacement – approximately 255 computers have reached their 5-year lifespan and will be replaced along with 30 additional new computers for the Project Lead the Way and Family & Consumer Education lab at Templeton. The 5-year replacement cycle eliminates movement of machines during their lifespans and supports stable budgeting for computers
  • HelpDesk – All buildings are using the web-based help desk ticketing system that allows employees to report technology difficulties that require support from the IT team.
  • eFunds – The program that allows parents to pay school fees online now includes a link to Lunch Box, an automated lunch program. Funds can be deposited into individual student Lunch Box accounts. Some schools use eFunds during the registration process and for field trip payments.
  • GradeCheck – Hamilton and Templeton students and their parents can use the online system to track student grades.
  • TechLiterary assessment – The assessment will measure technology proficiency of fifth- and eighth-graders and employees. The assessment will also satisfy a No Child Left Behind reporting requirement. Eighth-graders were tested in January and fifth-graders in April. More than 87 percent tested proficient.
  • InterChange – The online teacher content management tool was piloted with Hamilton Advanced Placement teachers and students. It is being used for threaded discussions and a place to access supplemental course materials. In addition, students in multiple-section classrooms are teamed with students across sections to broaden communication and knowledge.
  • Technology in-services – Staff members participated in various staff development opportunities focused on technology.
  • Information and Technology Literacy (ITL) standards – ITL standards will be integrated into curricular areas to improve students learning. Staff members have been working on a research project that includes a standardized research format and mini lessons.
  • Destiny – The union catalog that centralizes all district libraries under one system was implemented at all buildings. Students and staff are using it and have improved access, increased efficiency, greater student learning and less district-level technology support.
  • Storage Area Network (SAN) data recovery solution – Installation of the back-up system – designed to provide data recovery, greater network resiliency and lower hardware costs – is complete.
  • Staff resources – The district Web site provides a convenient place where staff members can access GroupWise e-mail, token access, Hamilton Matters intranet and NetStorage.

Computer purchases approved
In related technology matters, the School Board approved the replacement purchase of 253 computers throughout the district and 30 new machines for the PLTW/FACE lab at Templeton. The board accepted the low bid of $846 per computer from Dell Computer. In addition, other computer purchases that were approved were 13 graphic arts MacIntosh computers at a cost of $1,284 per unit, 10 Dell replacement notebooks at $1,1106 each, one PLTW Dell notebook for $1,241, 50 nComputing workstations for elementary areas at $299 each and a router for the high school Applied Engineering Department for $22,910. Total cost for the hardware purchases was $308,271.

DECA students recognized
School Board members recognized members of the high school Distributive Education Club of America (DECA) Chapter who competed at the international DECA conference based on their success at state competition. The students who were honored were Cody Ellis, Halley Greeneway, Kyle McClone, Chris McCormick, Emily Rindfleisch, Holly Rindfleisch, Sonya Ruminski and Ryan Zahn. They also honored Alex Woodington, who took first place in the state for an online marketing program.

Personnel business
In personnel matters, the School Board:

  • approved a leave of absence for Hamilton band director Jon Waite for the 2008-09 school year;
  • appointed Sherri Morrill as the Lannon library-media specialist; and
  • increased Ryan Otten’s Hamilton fitness education-health contract from half- to full-time.