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March 15, 2010

Student parking fee to increase, but lunch prices remain

Most student fees in the district will be unchanged for the 2010-11 school year. The exceptions both relate to student driving. Earlier in the year the School Board increased drivers’ education fees from $300 to $350 to cover higher costs. At its meeting on Monday, the School Board OK’d a $10 increase in student parking fees from $90 to $100 a year.

The Food Service Department requested no increase in lunch prices for the coming school year, and so prices will remain at the level they have been at since 2008-09, which are:

  • $2.10 for elementary students;
  • $2.50 for middle and high school students;
  • $3.25 for adults; and
  • 30 cents for milk.

Board approves participation in CESA programs

The district continued using services provided by the Cooperative Education Services Agency (CESA) #1 to help students who are at risk, not succeeding in a traditional school environment or have specialized needs. CESA services which have been used during the 2009-10 school year were:

  • Empower Academy – a program for high school students at risk or not succeeding in high school, (seven students served);
  • Turning Point – an alternative school for elementary-age children with emotional behavioral disabilities (one student served);
  • Passages Charter Middle School – for middle school students who are at risk (one student served);
  • SOAR – an alternative high school program that offers a comprehensive program to meet students’ academic and behavioral needs while offering them an opportunity to graduate (two students served); and
  • Fresh Start – provides an option to expulsion or services for students who have committed an expellable act and need to continue to receive services (four students served).

The School Board approved participation in CESA alternative programs for 2010-11.

Secondary schools given OK to continue accreditation

The School Board authorized participation in the North Central Accreditation (NCA) process for Templeton Middle School and Hamilton High School, but the district may consider other accreditations, including the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence, in the future.

At a cost of $650 for the middle school and $775 for the high school, the accreditation process helps schools focus on school improvements related to student outcomes. It aligns with the district’s site planning process and responds to the public’s demand for greater accountability. Hamilton has been a part of the NCA accreditation process since 1966 and Templeton since 1997. Two years ago, NCA changed the name of the evaluation component of its services to AdvancED.

Students get approval for Youth Options Program

The applications of 18 Hamilton students were approved for enrollment in the Youth Options Program for the first semester of 2010-11. The students qualify by completing their sophomore year, having good academic standing and no record of disciplinary problems. The students are able to take technical college or university courses at district expense if they have exhausted the curriculum offered in the district. Principal Candis Mongan reported that some students who apply to take Youth Option Program courses are not able to follow through on their intentions because of scheduling conflicts or full classes at the colleges they wish to attend. Students often list several courses on their application in case classes are full.

Summer workshops set for staff

Summer curriculum projects, professional development and technology course offerings will be available to staff during the summer. School Board members approved a wide range of curriculum projects and professional development opportunities presented by Instructional Services Supervisor Robert Scott, Ph.D. The budget for the summer work is $26,854, which is about $7,000 less than last year.

Curriculum projects involve 21st century skills and academic standards at Willow Springs; pre-algebra, advanced math and science at Templeton; and AP studio art, fitness, health, leadership, advanced algebra and German at Hamilton.

Professional development includes literacy curriculum training for elementary staff at the new teacher training, data analysis and 21st century learning for middle school staff, data analysis workshop at the high school, and SMART Board train-the-trainer and new teacher-mentor workshop districtwide.

Technology professional development will include sessions on integrating technology, Moodle, Teacher Pages SchoolFusion, PhotoShop, UDL Cool Tools, Inspiration, Podcasting, SMART Board, Boardmaker Plus, CoWriter/Write Out Loud, Pixie, PhotoStory, Word, Excel and Web 2.0 tools.

Personnel news

In personnel business, the School Board:

  • appointed Christina White as a Marcy instructional paraprofessional for three hours a day, and Dewan Grant as a Marcy special services paraprofessional for hour hours a day; and
  • accepted the leave of absence request of Willow Springs kindergarten teacher Kathryn Gengler during the 2010-11 school year.