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October 5, 2004

District awarded $230,000 grant for fitness education

Encouraging lifelong physical fitness and good nutrition is the focus of a program that Hamilton School District students will experience, thanks to a $230,851 Carol. M. White Physical Education Program grant. School Board members learned that the U.S. Department of Education grant will fund “Fitrition — Bridging the Gap Between Fitness, Nutrition and a Healthy Lifestyle.” The program is the inspiration of Hamilton fitness education teachers Kathy Block and Jerry Cibulka who want to turn the tide of young people who are increasingly overweight and obese because of poor nutrition choices and lack of exercise.

Block and Cibulka collaborated on the proposal that will provide more than $216,000 worth of exercise equipment at the high school to build core body strength, increase cardiovascular training and provide individual feedback. Students will be able to use the equipment as part of their fitness education classes, during advisement and before and after school. Block is the project director.

The remaining funds from the grant will be used primarily for staff development among fitness education teachers. The state-of-the-art program is will create an integrated functional training program from kindergarten through grade twelve that aligns with state standards.

The program, part of the No Child Left Behind Act, provides grants to local school districts and community-based organizations to initiate, expand or improve physical education programs for students in grades K-12. This year, the program awarded a total of 237 new grants worth nearly $69 million.

Hamilton graduate earn Bronze Star

School Board members learned that 2002 Hamilton graduate Lance Corporal Michael J. Ludin was awarded the Bronze Star Sept. 21 for his actions in Iraq. The 20-year-old from Butler received the citation for his heroic achievement under fire.

Ludin is a mechanic who was in a patrol of vehicles enforcing curfew when one of the vehicles was struck by an explosive device. He provided cover fire as crew evacuated from the damaged vehicle. He acted as a messenger between the vehicles, becoming the target of enemy fire. When he noticed that vehicles headlights were on — indicating the Marines’ position for the enemy — Ludin ran through heavy fire to shut them off.

District sees greater needs, more diverse languages among students

Students enrolled in the district’s English Language Learners (ELL) Program have greater needs for support and speak a greater variety of languages than in the past, according to Instructional Services Supervisor Margaret Bauman, Ph.D.

Bauman presented an ELL programming report that indicates Hamilton, like communities throughout the state, is seeing a rise in the need for ELL services. A district ELL Committee meets monthly to discuss assessment, resource and professional development needs.

The district has not hired staff exclusively to work with ELL students.Reading specialists conduct assessments that determine needed services and teacher training. Classroom teachers, reading specialists and paraprofessionals support ELL students, Bauman said.

In addition to a $10,000 grant from the Hamilton Education Foundation for instructional resources, the district uses a $5,699 Title III federal grant and some Title I funding to provide services that support ELL students.

AODA programming increases

The amount of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA) programming will double in 2004-05 compared the previous year, according to Educational Services and Human Resources Director Dean Schultz. Last year Kristin Hasbrook served as an AODA consultant one day per week. She accepted a district position as coordinator for the 2004-05 school year working two days each week. Her position is funded through federal and state grants.

Hasbrook will continue to coordinate services that were provided in the district last year including student screening and referrals, AODA elementary school lessons, grant writing and peer mediation. This year she also will spend more time working directly with students and families affected by AODA. She plans to provide training and support for secondary level parents, increase community outreach, offer parenting support for 4K families, help middle school students use assets to avoid alcohol and drugs, and expand the peer mediation program.

Templeton earns accreditation

Templeton Middle School Principal Patricia Polczynski reported that the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA – CASI) gave is seal of approval to the school.

NCA-accredited schools are required to develop and implement a 5-year school improvement plan. An NCA Documentation Team visited Templeton last February and provided positive comments about the school’s accomplishments and recommended full accreditation.

Board election calendar presented

School Board President Gabe Kolesari presented the 2004-05 election schedule. Among the dates are:

  • Jan. 4 – deadline for candidacy declaration and nominations papers,
  • Feb. 15 – primary election if needed,
  • April 5 – spring election and
  • April 25 – taking of office.

The terms of Lannon representative James Long and at-large representative Michael Hyland are up for election this year.

Personnel matter approved

In personnel matters, the School Board appointed two Special Services paraprofessionals including Julie Cook who will work at Templeton and Jayne Krajewski who will work at Marcy.