September 21, 2020

Blackwell, Ubert honored with Community Service Award

IMG_2003Hamilton Education Foundation officers Sandi Blackwell and Ann Ubert were honored as the district’s 2020 Community Service Award recipients at the Sept. 21 School Board meeting. Superintendent Paul Mielke, Ph.D., said both long-time officers were responsible for this year’s decision to move HEF’s dinner-auction fundraiser to a virtual event because of the pandemic. The online auction raised a record-breaking amount of almost $70,000 — the most ever for that event.

Ubert has been HEF executive director for 14 years, and Blackwell has been on the board for 10 years, currently serving as secretary. 

“Your hard work and dedication has allowed students and staff to experience opportunities that never would have existed without the generosity of the Hamilton Education Foundation,” Mielke said. “You have made a significant difference in the lives of our students and staff.”

Offering in-person, virtual options requires staff increase

The district added the equivalent of more than 15 staff members, mostly due to schedule changes required to offer in-person and virtual instruction during the pandemic. Most staff were allocated at the elementary level where the equivalent of 7.1 staff were hired. The high school increased by 4.67 full-time equivalencies (FTE), middle school increased 3.95 FTEs, and intermediate school by .9 FTEs. Because of the restructuring of coaching staff positions, district staff dropped by 1 position. Total FTE in the district went from 321.22 to 336.84.

Curriculum review cycle adjusted due to COVID-19

The Hamilton School District uses a 5-year curriculum review process to analyze the standards for each content area. Instructional Supervisor Catherine Drago presented a report on the cycle in place designed to create a more cohesive, united system that provides clarity around what high quality learning looks like in each content area. 

Work on English-language arts, which was reviewed last year, will continue this year. Future areas in the curriculum cycle will be:

  • 2021-22 – information technology literacy, world languages and social studies (7-12) and continuation of science;
  • 2022-23 – fitness education-health, mathematics (5-12) and social studies (K5-6);
  • 2023-24 – art, music, mathematics (K4-4) and science (K4-6); and
  • 2024-25 – family and consumer science, applied engineering and technology, business education, guidance and science (7-12).

Some content areas originally were scheduled for review earlier, but because of school shutdowns and added responsibilities due to the pandemic, they were postponed in the cycle.

No students accepted into early admission

No students were admitted early into kindergarten for 5-year-olds or grade 1, according to a report presented by Special Services Supervisor John Peterson. Two students participated in the early admission 5K screening process but were not recommended for placement. No parents requested early admissions for first grade.

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. Peterson’s report provided 19 years of data about early admissions requests and approvals.

Assessment schedule interrupted in 2019-20

School closures due to COVID-19 last spring led to significant changes in teaching and learning expectations for both last year and this. Testing windows were adjusted for many tests and ACT offered an online option. Drago presented a summary of 2020-21 state and local assessment windows which includes assessments such as FASTBridge reading and math, PALS, MAP, ACCESS, Dynamic Learning Maps, Forward Exam and National Assessment of Educational Progress. 

ESEA report given

Human Resources Director John Roubik presented a report 2020-21 initiatives of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Programs that comprise ESEA are: Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged; Preparing Training and Recruiting Licensed Teachers, Principals and Other School Leaders Grants; Language Instruction for English Learners and Immigrant Students; and Support and Academic Enrichment Grant.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction estimates that the district will receive about $177,000 of federal funds for these programs, but the final amount will not be known until later. 

Personnel matters

In personnel business, the School Board:

  • accepted the resignations of Woodside paraprofessional Danielle Strong, Silver Spring associate kitchen employee Jamie Brzezinski, Woodside speech pathologist Sarah Clement, Woodside literacy interventionist Elizabeth Berry and Silver Spring special services paraprofessional Roberta VonAsten;
  • accepted the retirement request of high school art teacher Lorene Lisherone; and
  • approved the appointments of Jessica Montiho as Marcy K5 replacement teacher, Kayla Petrie as Woodside special services paraprofessional, Stephanie Dillemuth as Woodside paraprofessional, Summer McEvoy as Maple Avenue special services paraprofessional, Megan Henning, high school social studies replacement teacher, Catherine Seifert as Willow Spring paraprofessional, Rebecca Leibiger as Templeton paraprofessional, Dana Marklund as high school communication arts replacement teacher, Nicole Piette as Maple Avenue grade 2 replacement teacher, Carrie Grossman as Templeton grade 7 replacement teacher, Sarah Pichler as Templeton special education replacement teacher, Sophia Piotrowski as high school special services paraprofessional, Annette Busalacchi as Templeton special services paraprofessional, Dawn Knollenberg as Woodside paraprofessional, Sally Schmeling as Templeton grade 8 replacement teacher, Rebecca Schlieder as Templeton grade 8 replacement teacher, Rebecca Hirsch as Silver Spring special services paraprofessional, Georgette Dermody as Marcy associate kitchen employee and Brianne Strelow as high school art replacement teacher.
  • modified the contracts of high school math teacher Andrew Fagan from 50 to 100%, Willow Spring speech-pathologist Angela Poulsen from 80 to 100%, Willow Spring special education teacher Melanie Vonachen from 80 to 100%, Woodside literacy interventionists Greg Winston and Nicole Tiutczenko each from 40 to 60%.