November 19, 2007

Lannon celebrates successes
Lannon Elementary School has cause for celebration with the results of recent standardized test results. Principal Richard Ladd reported on the school’s site plan.

Compared to Waukesha County school districts in the percentage of students who were proficient and advanced on the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam, Lannon was at the top in third grade reading and math, fourth grade reading, math, science and social studies and fifth grade math. One area that the school will look into is fourth grade language arts results where it was 10th among 12 districts.

The site plan’s three strategies focused on developing communication and social skills and high-level thinking strategies in math and reading.

Ladd said the next steps for Lannon will be to:

  • analyze WKCE language arts results and other indicators to make adjustments in instructional practices;
  • explore the posting of student writing on the district Web site and in the school newsletter;
  • create opportunities for Lannon students, staff and parents to practice good communication skills;
  • maintain high expectations for good behavior; and
  • teach strategic thinking.

School Board members congratulated Ladd and the staff at Lannon for the outstanding achievement.

“These are great results,” School Board members Jim Long said.

Superintendent Kathleen Cooke said “these truly outstanding results did not happen by chance,” and she credited Lannon staff members with the accomplishment.

English learners get support
The goal of the English Language Learner (ELL) Program is to support students as they become proficient in English and successfully complete the district’s educational program.

ELL teachers Jeanna Tinus and Jackie Mauer provided an update of the program that is serving 115 students this year. Components of the program include:

  • assessment of potential ELL students;
  • instructional support;
  • student progress monitoring in academics and English proficiency;
  • sharing of ELL progress records;
  • staff development and teacher resources;
  • advocacy for ELL students;
  • communication with ELL parents;
  • professional development for ELL teachers; and
  • program progress monitoring.

The degree of ELL support provided to students is determined by their English proficiency level. Those who have low English language proficiency receive frequent instruction and support from the ELL teacher. Classroom teachers make modification and accommodations for them. As the student’s proficiency increases, the degree of support from the ELL teacher eases.

Tinus and Mauer work part-time as ELL teachers. Combined, their ELL hours would be the equivalent of 1.17 full-time positions. The district funds the cost of the teachers, and Title III federal funding provides $13,006 for professional development, interpreter services, after-school programming and materials to support ELL students.

District’s ethnicity diversifies
While the majority of district students are white, the student population is becoming more diverse. Nearly 90 percent of students are white while 4.4 percent are Asian or Pacific Islander, 3.2 percent are Black, 2.6 percent are Hispanic and .3 percent are American Indian or Alaskan. While the numbers may seem small, minority student enrollment has more than doubled since 1996.

Human Relations Specialist Erica Bova-Brown reported on multicultural activities and status of the Chapter 220 Program. In giving the multicultural report, she provided numerous examples of awareness activities, community connections and support for academic achievement.

Legislative and court activity this summer threatened the Chapter 220 Voluntary Integration Program between Milwaukee and suburban communities. State Legislators proposed phasing out the program, but the proposal was defeated after school officials and parents advocated for the program. The U.S. Supreme Court in June struck down voluntary school desegregation programs in two other cities stating that initiatives that take a student’s race into school-assignment plans are unconstitutional. While the decision is case-specific, it may set precedence for a challenge to the Chapter 220 Program in the future, according to the report.

Cocurricular activities report given
High school students participated in 23 interscholastic sports and 39 student activities in 2006-07. New during the year was implementation of random drug testing for students who violated the athletic-activities code.

Monitoring use of athletic space will continue at the high school which experiences high demand for facilities for school and community use. The high school main gym is recommended for major renovation including addressing the basketball hoops, backboards, wall padding, divider curtain, tile, paint, bleachers, locker rooms and floor. The report also recommends repairing the track on Grove Field.

Three high school coaches recognized
The School Board presented certificates of recognition to three high school coaches who experiences successful seasons. Girls Varsity Volleyball coach Alison Miller was recognized in her first year at Hamilton for turning the program around. Principal Candis Mongan noted that Miller motivated her team which drew crowds of support to its games.

Varsity Football Head Coach John Damato and Assistant Coach Chris Botsford were recognized for being named Head Coach and Assistant Coach of the Year by the Greater Metro Conference. Mongan said the two are known for “doing a great job of teaching students on the field.” She credited them for providing motivation to their players and teaching them life skills.