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February 21, 2005

Templeton course catalog sees changes

The state’s budget deficit will have a direct impact on students at Templeton Middle School in 2005-06. The School Board approved the school’s course catalog that incorporated a seven-period day instead of the current eight-period format. Classes in core academics will be lengthened and the number of allied arts classes — such as family and consumer education, technology education, art, computer and health — will be reduced.

Templeton Principal Patricia Polczynski said the revised middle school program continues to include the house concept and a comprehensive exploratory curriculum of allied arts offerings. In addition, the course of studies at Templeton will include:

  • longer class periods at each grade level;
  • an increase from 230 to 265 minutes of instruction in academic content areas;
  • a more flexible, elementary-like format in sixth grade;
  • an integrated literacy block that includes writing and reading standards in sixth grade;
  • increased elective choice beyond music in seventh grade;
  • continued choice of two electives in eighth grade – with one an alternate day opposite fitness education;
  • the addition of drama as a daily elective in eighth grade; and
  • the addition of alternate day band ensemble and chorus in eighth grade.

Polczynski noted that reading will remain a required class for all in seventh grade, while it is required for eighth-graders who do not demonstrate reading proficiency based on the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) reading tests.

Content Enhancement in eighth grade has a new name and focus. Content Reading and Application is for students demonstrating reading proficiency on MAP testing in sixth and seventh grades.

Existing support interventions and enrichment opportunities will be continue, according to Polczynski.

“Though change is never easy, we are confident that the Templeton Middle School course of studies for 2005-06 will continue to provide our students with a strong, challenging, rigorous and comprehensive educational program,” Polczynski concluded.

School Board member Jennifer Rude Klett said the changes were a “solid step in the right direction.” She said she liked the emphasis on the core academic curriculum and the move to a longer class period which will allow teachers to dig deeper into the curriculum. She supported having fewer health and computer classes, which she said parents had questioned in the past.

Noting that additional changes may need to be made in the future to perfect the middle school program, Rude Klett suggested eliminating the requirement for exploratory world language in sixth and seventh grade so that students had more elective options including full-year study of a world language.

Energy usage drops, rate increases go up

Energy consumption in the district dropped 13 percent from 2003-04 to 2004-05. That’s in spite of nearly 50,000 additional square feet of facilities and including temporary heating and electric for construction projects. Conservation measures are clearly having a positive impact for the district. The bad news is that utility rates have driven up the cost of energy more than 10 percent over the same time.

Buildings and Grounds Manager Jeff Grove gave a detailed written report comparing square-foot utility costs for each school. Some noteworthy points in the report include:

  • high school gas usage is down 9.45 percent;
  • Willow Springs gas usage down 44 percent;
  • Templeton gas usage down 5.62 percent;
  • Maple gas usage down 34 percent; and
  • electrical usage up generally — especially at Marcy where usage increased 91 percent because of air conditioning.

Tile abatement and replacement approved at high school

Asbestos floor tiles in the high school cafeteria and wrestling area will be removed during Spring Break and will be replaced in the cafeteria before Summer School begins in June. The wrestling area will have concrete floors because they are typically covered with mats. The School Board approved the asbestos abatement project at a cost of $16,038 and tile replacement expense of $32,500. The projects needed special approval so that workers could complete the removal while students are not in session.

Students recognized

School Board members recognized four Templeton students for their perseverance and extraordinary effort for earning the right to coordinate the 2006 Wisconsin Association of Student Councils state competition. The students were Jessica Doyle, Andrew Kristensen, Jeannine Hall and Corie Spankowski. Templeton Student Council Advisor Arlyn Clarksen nominated the students for the award.

School Board accepts DeGroot’s retirement request

The School Board accepted the retirement request of longtime Special Services Supervisor Charlene DeGroot, effective July 8, 2005. Hamilton Superintendent Kathleen Cooke, Ph.D., said DeGroot has been an important factor in the district’s ability to meet the needs of all students.

“She has been an exceptional child advocate, a leader who is completely committed to high quality education for all students,” Cooke said.

DeGroot became part of the Hamilton staff in 1979 when she accepted the position as special education coordinator. She was a diagnostician and special education teacher in the Whitnall and Racine school districts and taught children with learning and emotional disabilities in Illinois before joining the district. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in special education from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb.

The School Board is expected to fill the position this spring.

Personnel matters approved

In other personnel matters, the School Board:

  • approved the resignations of Willow Springs kindergarten teacher Jackie Beers and Templeton reading specialist Ann Meyers; and
  • appointed special services paraprofessional Kathryn Drabowicz at Woodside, Toni McLaughlan at Templeton and Monica Dorsey at Marcy.