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November 17, 2003

Students in English Language Learner Program growing

The number of Hamilton School District students who are learning to speak English as a second language has grown from 38 to 63 in the past three years. Instructional Services Supervisor Dee Bauman, Ph.D., and Human Relations Specialist Erica Bova-Brown reported on the district’s comprehensive English Language Learner (ELL) program. The program, which was established in the last four years, helps students develop English language skills so that they can be successful in their classes.

Key elements of the program are student assessments administered by reading specialists to determine language proficiency, training for classroom teachers who provide most of the direct support for students, instructional aide time and interpreter services.

Students identified for the program speak a variety of languages, the most popular being Hmong spoken by 54 students, Spanish – 15, Arabic and Laotion – five each. There are 18 other languages spoken by four or fewer students including Bulgarian, Dutch, Filipino, Albanian, French, German, Greek, Guamanian, Hindi, Malayalam, Mandarin, Polish, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Telugu and Vietnamese.

Funding for additional ELL aide time has come from more than $8,000 in federal grants — most of it allocated specifically to help districts meet the needs of ELL students. In addition, training costs and program supplies come from various district budgets and departments.

Maple Avenue retires site plan, develops new one

After serving the school for five years, the Maple Avenue Elementary School site plan was retired this fall and a team of staff members and parents created three new tactics to maximize academic achievement. The tactics are to:

  • implement a schoolwide writing program with common expectations;
  • implement an elementary reading scope and sequence of instructional strategies and assessments and develop common expectations within and across grade levels; and
  • develop and implement intervention programming for students at risk of academic failure.

Maple Avenue Principal Kristin Koeper said the next step in the site planning process is to develop action steps to accomplish the tactics.

Board members noted the school’s outstanding accomplishments in increasing writing proficiency. One grade increased proficiency from 25 percent to 100 percent in two years. Koeper credited a teacher whose has had a strong influence on the direction of writing instruction at the school.

Grove presents energy report

As much as $60,000 has been saved in energy costs over the past few years, thanks to conservation measures the Buildings and Grounds Department has implemented. Building and Grounds Manager Jeff Grove presented the 2003 Energy Report that indicates consumption of natural gas and electricity is down four percent due to conservation. Among the recent initiatives are:

  • inspection, cleaning and recalibration of all boilers this summer;
  • Focus on Energy software training that allows staff to access real-time energy usage record;
  • reclassification of Maple Avenue’s electric rate classification because of energy-efficient measures implemented with the school’s renovation; and
  • new and automated chemical control to improve heating and cooling transfer and prolong the life of equipment.

Future plans include:

  • phase in of new HVAC equipment controls for greater conservation and better equipment control at the high school;
  • a master coil maintenance plan to increase efficiency and prolong the life of rooftop units; and
  • exploring a districtwide computerized maintenance management system to track all maintenance phases.

    Budget schedule given

    Business Services Director Bryan Ruud presented a written report outlining the 2004-05 budget time line. Among the dates for input are:

    • Dec. 10 — open forum for employees at 3:45 p.m. in the high school library;
    • March 15 — community input at 7:15 p.m. at Templeton;
    • April 19 — community input at 7:15 p.m. at Templeton;
    • May 4 — community input at 7:15 p.m. at Templeton; and
    • June 21 — Annual Public Hearing at 6:30 p.m. with Annual Meeting to follow at Hamilton High School.

    Personnel matters approved

    In personnel matters, the School Board:

    • appointed Lisa Koll as a temporary Special Services aide at Maple Avenue; and
    • approved a leave of absence for Woodside first grade teacher Shareen Cartwright for the second semester of the 2003-04 school year.