GREAT START CONFERENCES
What are Great Start conferences?
Great Start conferences will allow students, parents and teachers to meet face-to-face before students’ first day of school Sept. 6 enabling teachers to gather information through a parent questionnaire and collect initial student literacy data.
How will families sign up?
When families receive emails in August with teacher placements, they will get instructions on how to sign up for a 30-minute Great Start conference. The conferences will be scheduled from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 3 and from 7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 4. Other than their individual 30-minute session, students will not be in school on these days.
Why are they being implemented?
Traditionally, student assessments were done throughout the month of September, having a significant impact on instructional time. Teachers will be better equipped to meet all students’ needs from the start of school and crucial instructional time will be maintained in the first few days of school.
BEFORE AND AFTER SCHOOL DAYCARE
Will Y-Care be offered?
If there is enough interest from families, YMCA Before and After School Programming will be offered at Silver Spring in the same manner it is at the elementary schools. Families contact the YMCA directly at https://www.ymcamke.org/child-enrichment-and-camp/beforeafter-school-care/
Will there be an advanced math class?
Yes. Students will be able to take advanced math as they have previously. Students will be placed in advanced math based on their grades in math, MAP testing results and teacher recommendation. The district will continue to use the same process and procedures that have been used previously within the district.
Will there be an advanced reading (humanities) class?
The district will continue using the elementary model, readers’ workshop, to teach reading. This model allows teachers to differentiate instruction to reach all students where they are at which means there will not be an advanced reading “class.”
What will be the structure for lunch?
The daily schedule will include a 30-minute period for lunch and activities. All fifth-graders will eat together during one period and sixth-graders during the other. Students will have choices during their lunch period. They may remain in the Commons to socialize with friends, participate in intramural activities in the gym or go outside to play on playground equipment. In comparison, lunch at elementary schools consists of 20 minutes for lunch and a 15-minute recess. Silver Spring will mimic Templeton, which also has a 30-minute lunch period, and provides greater flexibility in how students use their time.
What food choices will be available?
All food for elementary and intermediate schools will be prepared at Silver Spring, replacing Maple Avenue as the current prep kitchen for elementary schools.
As is the case throughout the district, lunches at Silver Spring will meet the state standard for nutritional values offering whole grains, protein, low fat milk options, fruit and a vegetable with every meal. Weekly vegetable offerings rotate as required between dark green, red or orange, beans or legumes, starch and other vegetable groups.
What will lunch cost?
Bistro Boxes and hot lunch will be offered. New for students will be the addition of a self-serve salad bar for those who take hot lunch. The tentative costs (pending DPI approval) for hot lunch will be $2.95 and $2.60 for Bistro Boxes.
Can parents visit for lunch?
Parents who make arrangements in advance will be able to visit their children for lunch.
How will you keep students safe and engaged in class?
Chromebooks are configured so that internet content is filtered when students use the device at school or at home. In addition, students in the Hamilton School District sign a Technology Acceptable Use Agreement. Students agree to not: reveal or post identifying personal information and files; communicate to unknown persons through email or other means using the internet; share their password; download or install programs, files or games; attempt to view or share material that is unacceptable in a school (pornography, obscenity, violence or vulgarity, etc.). Teachers are provided a software tool to manage and monitor Chromebook use while in class.
What happens if devices are damaged or lost?
Students will learn about properly caring for and maintaining the district-provided device. If students damage or lose a Chromebook due to negligence, they will be responsible for paying the appropriate repair or replacement costs.
What will it cost families?
Insurance for devices, which would be $75 per year, is not offered. Individual repair costs range from $6-85, while full replacement for a Chromebook is $200. Grades 5-8 student fees will increase from $25 to $40 per year to partially cover the cost of issuing each student a Chromebook. When students enter high school, they will be issued a new device for school use and will be able to keep their old one.
What security measures will be in place?
Silver Spring Intermediate School will have the same security measures that are in place at other schools in the district including a school crisis plan with safety procedures and protocols that are coordinated with local emergency and law enforcement officials. In addition, each school has interior and exterior security cameras, laminated glass entrances, fire alarms and sprinkler systems, Raptor visitor management system, employee badge requirements, Tattletale emergency response devices, fire-tornado-intruder drills, employee crisis preparedness training and other practices that promote safety of students, staff and visitors. Additional specific security measures are not revealed publicly so as to not compromise student safety. In addition, Silver Spring was designed so that the classroom wings can be isolated from the front entrance and commons areas – allowing school staff to remotely lockdown classroom areas in case of an intruder.
What music choices will students have?
Grade 5 students choose from chorus or band, and grade 6 students choose from chorus, band and general music.
Can students take band and chorus?
With teacher approval, students may be able to take both chorus and band. Time will be split; they will take band one day and choir the next. Contact the Silver Spring principal this summer about this option.
If they did not take it in elementary school, can students sign up for band?
Students are encouraged to begin instrumental music prior to grade 6. Those who want to participate in grade 6 band but did not participate in grade 5 band should participate in private or summer band lessons.
Is jazz band an option?
Jazz band is not an option for students until middle school.
Where will concerts be held?
All concerts will we held in the Silver Spring gym.
What is general music?
Variety is the key for general music students. Students will explore elements of music such as rhythm, harmony, melody, movement, timbre, musical style and composition. They will also learn about music through a combination of playing instruments, singing, listening, creating, discussing and writing.
Will grade 5 band be graded?
Yes, students will receive a grade in band.
CLASS AND HOUSE PLACEMENTS
How will staff make class and house placements?
Staff will put considerable time and effort into the development of class and house lists so that students are given the consideration they deserve. Factors that are considered include boy-girl ratio, balancing the number of students in each class and house, student personalities, academic skill level, peer interactions, special education needs, current teacher input and parent information.
Can parents provide input?
Parents are able to provide input on their child’s learning style, personality traits, physical or emotional needs that could help guide decisions about classroom and house placement. Please do not request a specific teacher or house. Letters should be sent to: Silver Spring Guidance c/o Templeton Middle School, N59 W22490 Silver Spring, Sussex, WI 531089
SCHOOL EXPECTATIONS, STRUCTURE
What will school be like? How much time will be spent on each subject area?
Intermediate school will be a blend between the self-contained classrooms at the elementary level and full-scale house system at middle school. Students will be in two-teacher teams – one humanities teacher will cover English language arts and social studies, and another will teach math and science. Approximately 50 students will be in each team. Each teacher will have a block of approximately 120 minutes to deliver instruction. Because each block is integrated, teachers will have the flexibility to extend or abbreviate instruction in a subject as needed.
Each day students will have two 41-minute allied arts classes – one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Allied arts classes include music, fitness, art, family & consumer science, applied engineering & technology and health & wellness. Guidance lessons will be integrated through some allied arts classes. World language classes will not be offered until students are at the middle school where French, German and Spanish languages will be introduced to grade 7 students during a 9-week exploratory class for each language.
Students also will have a 33-minute advisement period where they can access academic resources, meet with teachers, receive academic interventions, complete homework and develop organizational skills.
Teams will start the day with about five minutes in homeroom where organizational matters will be handled. They will transition among classes at teacher direction and will not use a formal bell system.
Two teams will form a 4-teacher house which will allow for student groupings to better meet instructional needs of each student.
Will parents be able to see assignments online?
Students and parents will be able to see student work and progress through Infinite Campus.
Will lockers have combination padlocks?
Student lockers are located in their houses. They will not have padlocks.
What extracurriculars will be offered?
Students will have many of the same opportunities that they currently have, depending on advisor availability. Details are still being determined as to grade level offerings.
SCHOOL HOURS & BUSING
What will school hours be?
With the opening of Silver Spring Intermediate School next fall, new bus patterns will be established. Students in grades 7-12 will be on the early bus run and grades 4K-6 will be on the later one. Except at Hamilton, school start and dismissal times will be adjusted as well. School hours will be:
- Hamilton High School, 7:20 a.m. – 2:25 p.m. (unchanged)
- Templeton Middle School, 7:30 a.m. – 2:45 p.m.
- Silver Spring Intermediate School, 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
- Willow Springs (am/pm sessions), 8:45 -11:30 a.m., 12:45 – 3:30 p.m.
- Elementary schools, 8:50 a.m. – 3:50 p.m.
How will this affect busing?
Morning: Buses will drop off grades 4K, 5 and 6 at Silver Spring, and then elementary students at their home schools. A shuttle bus will take 4K students from Silver Spring to Willow Springs.
Afternoon: Silver Spring students will get on buses first then students at the elementary schools will be picked up. A shuttle bus will take 4K students from Willow Springs to the elementary schools.
For Willow Springs students, this plan minimizes bus travel, ensures timely arrivals and adds instructional time, which has been problematic in the past.
Elementary students may have shorter travel times in the afternoon, but longer in the morning. If additional travel time occurs for elementary students, it is not expected to be more than 20 minutes on average. A number of actions were taken to mitigate an increase in student travel time:
- Additional buses have been added to the grades 4K-6 run.
- Using routing software, bus routes will be completely reconfigured to ensure the greatest efficiency for travel. While bus routes are continuously reviewed and updated, the entire system has not been reconfigured from scratch in decades.
Can’t there be three separate runs for grades 4k-4, 5-8 and 9-12?
The cost to add another bus run for grades 5-8 would exceed $800,000 per year. Realistically, every dollar spent on transportation is less money going into classrooms – likely to result in fewer teachers and paraprofessionals and class size increases.
Already, a statewide bus driver shortage exists. If additional funds were available to add another run, it would be highly unlikely that bus companies could produce 25-30 more drivers.
Why not have Silver Spring on the same earlier schedule as Templeton and Hamilton?
Starting Silver Spring at the same time as Templeton and Hamilton would add more than 350 additional students (grade 5) and the corresponding vehicles they are traveling in to an already burdened traffic mix. Starting Silver Spring later means there will be at least 350 (grade 6) fewer students and corresponding vehicles and improve early-morning traffic conditions at Templeton and Hamilton.
The county would have required expansion of Silver Spring Drive to four lanes to accommodate the increased traffic – at district expense. Land acquisition and road work would have been cost prohibitive for the district. Because Silver Spring Intermediate School will have a different start time than Templeton and Hamilton and traffic will be alleviated, the county granted access to Silver Spring Drive without major road modifications.
If Silver Spring were on the earlier schedule, grades 5 and 6 would be on buses with middle and high school students. During referendum meetings, parents expressed strong support for fifth-graders riding with elementary rather than high school students.
This option would add further expense because more bus routes would be required.
Can’t Templeton and Hamilton start earlier?
Currently, Hamilton High School has an early start time of 7:20 a.m. and Templeton’s is 7:25 a.m. Any earlier and students would be getting on morning buses before 6:20 a.m.
Will all elementary students have longer bus rides?
Not necessarily. It depends on individual circumstances. Because bus routes will be reconfigured from scratch and extra buses will be added, efficiencies will be gained over the entire bus run. Afternoon routes will probably be shorter. Morning routes could be longer, but on average, it is not expected to be more than 20 additional minutes.
Will there be enough time to drop off and pick up my children who will be at Silver Spring and an elementary school?
Yes. There is a 20-minute difference in start times between Silver Spring and elementary schools.
Details about traffic patterns and parking lots at Silver Spring Intermediate School and Templeton Middle School are being finalized. Information will be provided to parents before the start of school.