Nov. 18, 2019 School Board Highlights

Hamilton’s overall achievement higher, but gaps exist

Achievement discrepancy between majority and minority students, students of low economic status, special education and English learners exists in education. While the Hamilton School District sees this to a lesser extent than state and national averages, gaps among the various student groups exist.School-Board-Highlights

Human Resources Director John Roubik and Instructional Services Supervisor Katherine Little, Ph.D. presented district data and initiatives concerning “Closing the Achievement Gap.” Hamilton students in disaggregated groups outperform their state counterparts on the Forward Exam.

Key findings of the report are:

  • Hamilton’s closing-gaps score on the 2018-19 State Report Card is 8.4 points higher than the state average for 2018-19.
  • All district student groups score higher on state and local assessments than the state average. The English language arts achievement gap of Hamilton’s socioeconomically disadvantaged, special education and English learner populations and their majority counterparts are greater than the state average. The mathematics achievement gap between special education and English learner students and their majority counterparts is greater than the state average. These larger discrepancies may be attributed to the high achievement levels of the district’s comparison groups. However, work is being done with individual students to increase the overall achievement for these populations.
  • When compared to the state, all Hamilton student groups had higher ACT composite scores. In all instances, achievement discrepancies are seen between the majority and their counterparts.
  • Black, special education and English learner students are underrepresented or not represented in Advanced Placement course testing data.

The district supports high quality instruction and assessment practices to ensure the success of all students including the following:

  • Title I services are allocated for direct instruction at targeted schools.
  • School site plans include articulated action steps using building-level student data to differentiate instruction and to inform intervention use for students with larger gaps.
  • A Response to Intervention model is in place across the district. Interventions are matched with student needs to ensure greatest academic gains.
  • A team of district interventionists meets regularly to discuss the effectiveness of current interventions and to expand the district’s menu of intervention options.
  • Training for effective use of the Comprehensive Intention Model, strategy-based interventions for reading and writing continues this year. The focus is on the Interactive Writing and Writing Aloud components of the intervention.
  • EduClimber, the district’s data visualization and progress monitoring tool is used more extensively across the district. This fall all teachers were trained in data wall creation to view student achievement trends for classrooms and individual students.
  • Additional intervention programming is offered at each school to meet students’ needs. The following are examples. The listing is not exhaustive:
    • Hamilton High School
      • Advisement curriculum (ACT test prep, financial literacy, college and career readiness planning)
      • Guided Academic Practice
      • Portable Assisted Study Sequence
      • Reading Resource
      • Club Success
    • Templeton Middle School
      • Advisement restructure that allows for the delivery of targeted interventions
      • Content Mastery
      • Study Center
      • Individual Student Achievement Plans
      • Success Club
    • Elementary schools
      • Intervention blocks
      • Writing support
      • Targeted individual and small group learning and practice sessions
  • Professional development opportunities for teaching staff focus on designing strategies and learning environments to meet the needs of all learners. Summaries of specific offerings are provided to the Board on a regular basis.

Personnel matters

In personnel business, the School Board:

  • accepted the resignations of Templeton associate kitchen employee Jennifer Bartelme, effective Nov. 7, Marcy literacy interventionist Amanda Lindstedt, effective Dec. 19, Woodside paraprofessional Beth Lueck, effective Nov. 15, Woodside paraprofessional Lisa Hauser, effective Nov. 18, Woodside paraprofessional Greg Winston, effective Nov. 18; and
  • appointed Jennifer Bartelme as a Templeton paraprofessional, effective Nov. 7, Crystal Mazur as a Maple Avenue special services paraprofessional, effective Nov. 11, Ryan Miller as Information Technology manager effective Nov. 25, Lisa Hauser as Lannon special education teacher, effective Nov. 25, Greg Winston as Woodside literacy interventionist, effective Nov. 19, Heidi Rakowski as Woodside paraprofessional, effective Nov. 25.
  • Added the equivalent of a full-time elementary school special education teaching position. At the beginning of the school year Lannon was allotted a total of 1.5 full-time equivalency (FTE) special education teaching positions and Marcy was allotted 2.5 FTEs based on special education enrollments. One of the teachers traveled between the two schools providing half-time service at each school. Since then more students with special needs were identified or moved into those schools. Lannon will hire another full-time special education teacher, and the teacher who traveled between the two schools will now work full-time at Marcy.

Open Enrollment recommendations for 2020-21

The district is unlikely to make new seats available for Open Enrollment students. Human Resources Director John Roubik reported that based on Open Enrollment policies regarding class size, enrollment projections and space calculations for the 2020-21 school year, no additional spaces will be available for Open Enrollment in the 2020-21 school year.

School Board election calendar released

The schedule for the 2020 spring election was released. Terms are up for School Board members Jay Jones, who holds the Lannon seat, and Michael Hyland, who is in the at-large seat.

The election schedule includes:

  • Jan. 7 – deadline for candidacy declaration and nominations papers;
  • Feb. 18 – primary election if needed;
  • April 7 – spring election; and
  • April 27 – taking of office.

Timeline established for 2020-21 budget

The School Board approved the district’s 2020-21 budget timeline that includes:

  • Dec. 4 – Employee forum to solicit input prior to development of the budget;
  • Feb. 7 – Administrators submit budgets;
  • March 16 and April 20 – Opportunity for community to provide input on the budget prior to School Board meetings;
  • May 18 – School Board approves final draft of the budget; and
  • July 20 – Annual meeting where citizens approve tax levy.

Athletic-activities report presented

Hamilton Athletic and Activities Director Michael Gosz presented the annual Co-Curricular Activities Report. He noted that 96 coaches and 82 activity advisors lead 69 interscholastic sports teams and 50 student activities. Some 42% of the coaches and 79% of the activity advisors are district faculty members.

In his report, Gosz recommended that the district:

  • work with the HABC to construct a new concession stand on Grove Field when fundraising efforts reach approximately $750,000;
  • replace the existing backstop on the baseball field and add additional netting;
  • explore adding synthetic turf to the baseball infield to prevent rain-outs now that baseball is a spring sport. Cost is expected to be about $220,000 based on a study that the Rettler Corporation conducted and presented at a School Board meeting last year; and
  • monitor athlete specialization and off-season programs as we are starting to see an overall decrease in participation in athletics and activities.