September 7, 2010

Five goals set for district

The School Board approved five broad goals that it and the superintendent will focus on in the 2010-11 school year. They are:

  • Develop resources and implement strategies and initiatives to enhance student achievement;
  • Update the district’s Strategic Plan;
  • Monitor status of Wisconsin’s public education funding and prepare 2011-12 district budget;
  • Monitor district enrollments and community growth; and
  • Update School Board policies and position descriptions.

District technology plan moves ahead

The district’s Information Technology & Literacy plan is moving ahead.  Instructional Technology and Assessment Coordinator Katherine Little provided School Board members with an update on actions taken which included:

  • The first phase of the network infrastructure upgrade that saw upgrades and replacements of switches, server connectivity and a reconfigured link between Templeton and Hamilton;
  • Other network initiatives such as wireless installation that reaches more than two-thirds of the high school, Woodside wireless access for computers-on-wheels stations, new storage area network, upgraded bandwidth between the high schools and elementary schools and updated operating system of all VMWare servers;
  • Software deployment of Microsoft Office 2007 to all district machines, utilization of Web-based FitnessGram throughout district fitness education classes, Adobe CS5 upgrade at the high school, Scholastic Keys 2007 upgrade at elementaries, AutoDesk 2011 upgrade for Project Lead the Way curriculum, SMART Notebook 10.0 upgrade throughout district, Destiny library management upgrade districtwide and various special education software upgrades;
  • Installation of an additional 65 SMART board projection systems and four document camera projection systems leaving the district with a total of 99 SMART boards and six document camera systems;
  • All teachers trained in Moodle technology in preparation for the fall of 2011 deadline when all teachers must maintain a basic Web page;
  • Placement of the HelpDesk technology trouble ticketing system on Hamilton Matters, the employee intranet; and
  • Enrollment of 262 staff members in the 2010 Technology & Learning Academy, a cooperative training effort between the Hamilton and Menomonee Falls school districts.

Mentor program supports new employees
The district’s Mentor-New Teacher Program helped 11 new-to-the-district teachers with support and guidance from veteran teachers of the district. Research shows that 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. 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.

Educational Services and Human Resources Director John Roubik reported that evaluations from last year’s program prompted changes this year that provided specific activities to help new teachers understand district curriculum, instruction and assessment expectations and acclimated them to the district’s strategic and school site plans.

The district will continue to participate in the Southeastern Wisconsin New Teacher Project (SEWNTP), which will hold its five afterschool seminars. The cost of the stipends for mentors and SEWNTP fees and registrations was $15,956 in 2009-10.

Revised art curriculum approved

Revisions to the art curriculum were approved that ensure alignment with state and national art education standards and addresses Advanced Placement student outcomes. The curriculum has three overarching learning targets that provide a focus at each grade level or course including:

  • understanding of art and design elements and principles;
  • production of original artwork and design to develop problem-solving skills, creative thinking and visual intelligence; and
  • production of quality images and objects that communicate ideas using varied media, techniques and processes.

Two students admitted into kindergarten early

Two students were admitted early into kindergarten for 5-year-olds last year, according to a report presented by Special Services Supervisor Mardi Freeman. Initially, four parents requested information, but a change to early admission procedures allows principals to evaluate if a student should be screened. Only two of the children participated in screening, and both were granted early admission. There were no requests for early admission into 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.

Freeman noted that a new state law now stipulates that completion of a 5-year-old kindergarten program is the prerequisite for enrollment into first grade at a public school.

 Personnel business

In personnel matters, the School Board:

  • accepted the resignations Marcy special education paraprofessional Dewan Grant, Woodside paraprofessional Jane Lang, Templeton Title I paraprofessional Kimberli Bretzel, Maple Title I paraprofessional Holly Luczak and Maple part-time Early Reading Empowerment teacher Allison Serceki, who was assessed a fee for breaking her contract with the district;
  • appointed Whitney Newman as a Marcy grade five replacement teacher, Lynn Friske as a Hamilton learning disabilities replacement teacher, Khaimook Guidinger as a Lannon special education paraprofessional, Amanda Schiller as a Maple Title I paraprofessional, Lisa Boucher as a Marcy special service paraprofessional, Caryn Deeken as a Maple grade four replacement teacher, Margaret Cleary as a Maple part-time ERE replacement teacher, Angela Nolan as a Marcy special education paraprofessional and Lisa Polaske as a Woodside paraprofessional;
  • approved a total aggregate salary and benefit compensation package of 3.35 percent for 2010-11 and 3.54 for 2011-12 for administrative assistants.