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January 18, 2010

Board expands cable connection in lieu of fiber optic
After getting more precise costs from consultants, School Board members decided to expand current cable connections to provide greater service to the elementary schools.

Fiber optic connections already exist between the high school and middle school, but elementary schools and Willow Spring Learning Center have cable and T1 connections that are in need of upgrading. The School Board previously approved hiring a consultant to help the district investigate the pros and cons of leasing or installing a fiber optic solution that would provide 1 GB of capacity. The five-year cost to lease a fiber optic network would be $493,335 versus $722,602 to install the network.

Instead of going with fiber optic, the district will expand its cable connection network to the elementary schools and Willow Springs at a five-year cost of $22,800. Capacity at the schools will go from 1 MB to 10 MB.

While significantly less than a 1 GB connection, Business Services Assistant Superintendent Bryan Ruud wrote in a report to the board that expansion of the cable connection will be a good interim solution.

“We feel the solution has very little downside and could be a very cost-effective solution for the short- to medium-term,” Ruud wrote. “If we wanted to expand the network into one of these other more robust solutions in the future, little work would be required to rebid this project.”

Marcy site plan approved
Principal Michele Trawicki reported on Marcy Elementary School’s Site Plan. In reviewing the school’s data, she noted that Marcy’s enrollment increased by 100 students in the past five years, with the enrollment going from 446 at the end of last year to 500 students as of Jan. 18.

She said Marcy students perform well academically in comparison to district and state data, but there has been a fluctuation in scores from year to year. Trawicki said that staff will look more closely at students entering Marcy in later years whose performance is not as high as students who have been at Marcy since kindergarten. The school will use a New Student Input Forum and have resource teachers assess students earlier so that staff will know what students need to catch up on to bring them up to Marcy standards for achievement more quickly. She said Marcy is seeing the enrollment of quite a few former parochial school students. In addition, the planning team recommended focusing on enrichment opportunities for students.

Marcy staff members will continue to work on the site plan’s tactics which state that:
• Students, staff and parents will attain the highest possible levels of achievement through the use of effective and innovative practices;
• The Marcy community will actively embrace its vision statement through implementation of Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports; and
• Students will receive the academic support they need through the creative and efficient allocation of time and resources by all members of the Marcy community.

Drivers’ education fee to increase
The cost for each component of drivers’ education will increase from $150 to $175, bringing the full cost of theory and behind-the-wheel instruction to $350 for students. Hamilton is one of a few high schools that still offers the course at the high school with a district instructor. At many high schools, students’ only option is to get drivers’ education from a private company. The fee will increase to cover rising costs.

Course catalogs approved
The School Board approved high school and middle school course catalog changes that reflected revised course descriptions, changes to course prerequisites, terminology adjustments, course deletions and textbook and material changes.

Templeton students present projects
Templeton students in Patricia Sankey’s reading classes and Kristy Laurich’s seventh grade mathematics classes presented projects they worked on before the winter break.

Sankey’s students described the process they used to interview seniors citizens about their Christmas memories and then write vignettes about them. They then showed the presentations they created using photos and their narration. (The presentations are posted on the district Web site.)

Laurich’s students explained their Holiday Shopping project in which they were given an imaginary $500 to shop for family members. Students needed to bargain shop by finding each item they wanted to purchase from three different vendors, including online retailers. They needed to factor in shipping charges and taxes and stay within their budget. They wrote checks and created their checkbook in which they entered amounts into the registry. Laurich showed students how to balance their checkbooks. Students concluded the project by writing reflections about the experience.

Personnel business
In personnel business, the School Board:
• Accepted the retirement request of Templeton eighth grade social studies and reading teacher William Steiner;
• Accepted the resignations of Willow Springs administrative assistant Claudia Guditus effective Feb. 5, district administrative assistant Heather Krisman effective Feb. 26 and Maple Avenue paraprofessional Jenny Inwood effective March 24; and
• Appointed Angela Kolesari as a Templeton special education paraprofessional. School Board President Gabe Kolesari abstained from the vote.