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February 21, 2011


Simays recognized for national certification

School Board members recognized Hamilton High School science teacher Alan Simays for attaining his National Teacher Board Certification, an advanced teaching credential that complements a teacher license.


Hamilton Principal Candis Mongan said that Simays characterizes the five standards that the certification process promotes. Those standards state that teachers:

  • are committed to students and their learning;
  • know the subjects they teach and how to teach those subjects to students;
  • are responsible for managing and monitoring student learning;
  • think systematically about their practice and learn from experience; and
  • are members of learning communities.

Superintendent Kathleen Cooke, Ph.D., said that Simays’ accomplishment is a validation of what his students and colleagues already know about him, that “he’s an incredible teacher.”

Simays thanked several Hamilton board-certified teachers who supported him in the process including his mentor Steve Akin and Kim Leannais and Debbie Figueroa.

National Board Certification is available nationwide for most preK–12 teachers. As part of the certification process, candidates complete 10 assessments that are reviewed by trained teachers in their certificate areas. The assessments include four portfolio entries that feature teaching practice and six constructed response exercises that assess content knowledge.

Six approved for early graduation

Six students met stated requirements and conditions and were approved for early graduation in January, 2012. They are Stephanie Gouin, Melanie Hahn, Alison Laszkiewicz, Jessica Paul, Elizabeth Selestow and Chi Vang. The students, who applied in January, had their transcripts reviewed and met with staff to discuss their future plans. Even though their requests were approved, they will have the opportunity to change their minds next year.

Summer school plans underway

Plans for the 2011 Summer Opportunity Program are underway even though school staff are not certain if the state will continue to provide funding to support it. Summer Opportunities Director and Lannon Elementary School Principal Dick Ladd reported that the district intends to offer a 19-day summer school enrichment program, a 29-day middle school promotional program and two 19-day high school credit make-up sessions, similar to what had been offered in the past.

Fees for classes will range from $4 to $12, which covers consumable materials. In the past the district received state aid that allowed the program to operate. The district will know better after the governor’s budget proposal is released next week if funding will continue.

Ladd said depending on level of state aid available to run the program, fees and the number of classes offered could change.

He noted that there has been behind-the-scenes work to avoid online registration problems that created difficulty in the last two years. He said outside technology companies were brought in to ensure that the system will not overload, especially in the first several minutes when registration opens.

Curriculum revisions on track

The K-12 mathematics and 6-12 communication arts-writing curriculums are on track for approval at the May or June School Board meeting, according to Educational Services and Human Resources Director John Roubik.

In the mathematics curriculum, staff members have looked closely at preparing students for “Algebra” at eighth grade, designing sixth grade transitional math sequence and using “Everyday Math” materials for fifth grade enrichment. In the communication arts-writing curriculum, changes include modifications to the Advanced Placement sequence and newly structured “Business and Technical Communications” electives.

Roubik presented an extended timeline of future curriculum revisions which include:

  • 2011-12 – social studies, guidance, family & consumer education, K-5 communication arts-writing;
  • 2012-13 – applied engineering and technology education, business education, reading-learning strategies, K-5 spelling;
  • 2013-14 – art, fitness education, health, science, world languages;
  • 2014-15 – music and information & technology literacy.

Personnel action

In personnel matters, the School Board approved a leave of absence for Lannon first grade teacher Heidi Vorndran for the 2011-12 school year.