September 2, 2003

Board votes to add kindergarten teacher at Lannon

Hamilton School Board members approved adding another kindergarten teacher at Lannon Elementary School. At the Aug. 18 meeting, more than a dozen Lannon Elementary School parents spoke out about class size concerns. Parents were worried about kindergarten class sizes of 25 and 26 and fourth grade classrooms at 28 and 29 students.

In addition to large classes at Lannon, School Board members learned at the August meeting that kindergarten and fourth grade classes would be high at Woodside and Maple Avenue elementary schools and in Marcy and Woodside fifth grades. While on the upper end, the fourth and fifth grade classes are within district class size policy which states that classes for students in grades 4-12 should not exceed 30. The policy indicates that kindergarten through third grade classes should not exceed 25 students.

Because the Woodside and Maple Avenue kindergarten classes were larger than Lannon, the School Board had planned to allocate the only two contingency positions available in the 2003-04 budget to those schools. Administrators recommended to School Board members on Tuesday that federal Title I, other personnel funds and additional state aid from possible higher-than-expected enrollments should be used for an additional kindergarten teacher at Lannon.

The additional kindergarten positions will create kindergarten class sizes of 17 and 18.
“We heard from Lannon parents two weeks ago,” School Board Member Gerald Schmitz said. “We are not able to address all of their concerns, but at least we could address their concerns at the kindergarten level.”

Educational Services presents accomplishments, priorities

Three administrators who head up Educational Services reported on the past year’s accomplishments and presented priorities for 2003-04. Educational Services and Human Resources Assistant Superintendent Dean Schultz, Instructional Services Supervisor Dee Bauman, Ph.D., and Special Services Supervisor Charlene DeGroot presented the report.

Among the Educational Services accomplishments in 2002-2003 were:

  • assessment development — involving Wisconsin Alternative Assessment Program training, Academic Progress Profile implementation and training and student database use;
  • technology — student database interface with the Department of Public Instruction and on-line employee application implementation;
  • professional development — supervision-evaluation process changes, extension of mentor program to include coaching component and requirements met for instructional aide ESEA certification;
  • curriculum — new K-8 science pogram implemented with Einstein Project training and Learning Strategies curriculum revised to align with best instructional practices; and
  • planning — ESEA mandates and funding studied and communicated to staff and School Board, new Strategic Plan completed and new program for cognitively disabled students planned at elementary level and implemented at high school.

Priorities in the coming year are:

  • Strategic Plan — finalize, monitor and communicate new plan;
  • professional development — link to classroom, foster collaboration, increase coaching skills, align mentor program to new state mandate and use district “experts” for training;
  • curriculum — continue 5-year curriculum plans (now in their second and third cycles), identify grade level information and technology leteracy standards and modify curriculum to meet needs of students with sever disabilities;
  • ESEA — monitor state standardized tests to measure adequate year progress requirements;
  • student and program monitoring — present data, define how to share it among schools and use in Individual Education Program goals;
  • supervision-evaluation — increase administrators classroom observation, coaching and supervision practices skills, align administrative evaluation with Wisconsin Admnistrative Standards and work with Supervision-Evaluation Committee in differentiating district model.

    Two early admissions granted

    DeGroot reported that of the three children whose parents requested early admission — two for the 5-year-old program and one for first grade — all were screened and two were granted admission based on their readiness for school. A student at Lannon was granted early admission in the 5K program and a Marcy student was accepted early into first grade.

    DeGroot said the number of parents applying for early admission seems to be leveling off since the district implemented the 4K program several years ago.

    “Parents are realizing that children in the 4K program are stretched and challenged,” DeGroot said.

    The district’s policy states that no child may be admitted to 4K, 5K or first grade unless he or she is four, five or six years old, respectively, on or before Sept. 1 of the year they attend school. The early admission policy allows parents to request early admission to 5K and first grade. School staff base their approval or denial of an early admission request on results from academic, social, physical and emotional development screening.

    Personnel matters approved

    In personnel matters, the School Board:

    • appointed Karen Walters as Templeton teacher aide, Tanina Lea as Maple Avenue Special Services teacher aide; Rebecca Romeis as half-time Maple Avenue kindergarten teacher; and Melissa Mortl as Woodside kindergarten teacher.