September 1, 2009

District technology plan moves ahead
Information Technology staff members worked throughout the summer making progress on items in the Technology and Literacy Plan. Instructional Technology and Assessment Coordinator Katherine Little provided School Board members with an update on actions taken which included:

  • 2009-2012 Information & Technology Literacy Plan received Department of Public Instruction certification – The plan combines the district’s technology and library-media program initiatives.
  • District network migrated from Novell to Microsoft – The change included a new domain name of www.hamilton.k12.wi.us, use of Active Directory and network back-up software of Symantec Backup Exec.
  • Computer and equipment replaced – 241 computers were replaced in the spring-summer season and 219 computers after July 1. All district machines were reimaged, 15 notebooks replaced, 16 laptops added, 13 printers replaced, six stand-alone projected replaced, seven document cameras added and a 15-machine Computer on Wheels station was added to support high school Advanced Placement students and the library-media center.
  • SMART boards installed throughout the district – With the installation of 28 new SMART boards, the district now has 30 permanently placed boards.
  • Numerous Classroom Web Pages training sessions were offered – A total of 137 staff members have received Level 1 training and 25 have been participated in Level 2 training which includes use of discussion forums.
  • Hamilton and Menomonee Falls districts hold joint training venture – The 2009 Technology & Learning Academy filled 151 seats. Courses were about integrating technology, interactive whiteboards, Web, and other software training.

ERE report given
Instructional Services Supervisor Robert Scott, Ph.D., reported on a program that has been in place in the district since 1994. The Early Reading Empowerment (ERE) Program is an early intervention program for first grade students who read below the average level of their peers. First grade teachers assess students at the beginning of the year to identify students in need of reading support. Students then work with an ERE-trained teacher for individual or small-group instruction four days a week.

In 2008-09, 95 students – or 31 percent of first-graders – were served. ERE was also part of the invitational summer school program with 43 students who participated this year.

Scott presented longitudinal achievement data from 2008-09 Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exams that showed the performance of students who had been provided ERE services as first-graders. He said the data show that ERE not only intervenes to help students when they received the services, but reading instruction continues to support students as they move further from the program.

No students admitted into kindergarten early
No students were admitted early into full-day kindergarten last year, according to a report presented by Special Services Supervisor Mardi Freeman. Last year four students were granted early admission, but typically one or two students each year were granted early admission kindergarten since 2001. Initially, two parents requested information, but no children participated in screening. There were no requests for early admission into first grade. Freeman said she believes a change the School Board made last year to allow principals to meet with parents prior to screening contributed to zero participation in screening.

District policy indicates children must be four, five or six years old by Sept. 1 to enter four-year-old kindergarten, regular kindergarten or first grade, respectively. While procedures exist for early admission to regular kindergarten and first grade, no early admission is granted for four-year-old kindergarten.

Mentor program supports new employees
Students of a new teacher who has had two years of quality mentoring demonstrate comparable growth as teachers with four years experience without an induction program. That data is a critical reason to offer the Mentor-New Teacher Program to staff in the district, according to Scott.

In addition, teachers involved in a quality induction program remain in the profession significantly longer than those who are not involved, and new teachers and mentors in such programs frequently evolve into leadership roles.

Evaluation results from those who participated last year indicate that the program has been successful in acclimating new staff to district and school strategic plans, school culture, curriculum, instructional and assessment expectations and school operations. To a lesser extent, participants said they were provided with feedback about their classroom instruction.

Scott reported that a new steering committee will be formed this year to review current practices and make recommendations to enhance the program. In addition, the district will continue to participate in the Southeastern Wisconsin New Teacher Project (SEWNTP), which will hold its five afterschool seminars at Hamilton. The cost of the stipends for mentors and SEWNTP fees and registrations was $16,175 in 2008-09.

Personnel business
In personnel matters, the School Board:

  • accepted the resignation of part-time Hamilton instrumental music teacher Justin Olson, who was only hired in August. He was assessed a fee for breaking his contract with the district;
  • appointed Jenny Inwood as Maple Avenue paraprofessional and Melissa Heckman as a Woodside paraprofessional.