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November 20, 2017

Athletic-activities report presented

Hamilton Athletic and Activities Director Michael Gosz presented the annual Co-Curricular Activities Report. He noted that 91 coaches and 67 activity advisors lead 60 interscholastic sports teams and 42 student activities. More than half the coaches and 88 percent of the activity advisors are district faculty members.

In his report, Gosz recommended that the district:

  • work with the Hamilton Athletic Booster Club to construct a new concession stand on Grove field;
  • replace existing baseball field backstop and netting;
  • resurface and reline the track on Grove Field;
  • explore the possibility of adding synthetic turf to baseball infield to prevent rainouts as baseball will become a spring sport in 2019;
  • install a scoreboard for the softball field;
  • resurface the tennis courts;
  • monitor athletic specialization and off-season programs;
  • replace pole vault pits that are more than 15 years old; and
  • consider coach and advisory salaries that have not been adjusted in more than 15 years.

IT Department lays out future work

At his last School Board meeting as Information Technology Manager, Ryan McMillan updated the School Board on hardware and software updates, networking initiatives, assessments and testing, student information system news and operation of the HelpDesk ticketing system. McMillan submitted his resignation at the last School Board meeting to take a new position outside of education. Joining McMillan to present the report was Ben Hawley, who was hired as McMillan’s replacement.

Future initiatives include a network switching and firewall project, plan to increase bandwidth, more network security training, streamlining printers and copiers, replacing smartboard and projectors as needed and developing a plan for state funding that matches $125 per device for ninth-graders beginning in July.

3 classes under development for HHS Course Catalog

Three new classes are under development to be included in the 2018-19 Hamilton High School Course Catalog. They are:

  • Oral and Interpersonal Communication – focused on developing public speaking, interpersonal and nonverbal communication skills through individual presentations, group activities and other projects;
  • Drama in Literature and Production – a class that explores the world of theater beyond acting. Students will gain skills in set design, construction, lighting design, sound reinforcement and design, costume design, make up and theater management; and
  • Performance Conditioning – a course in the Fitness Education Department designed to increase performance in all aspects of fitness. Students will be exposed to various methods to improve overall health with opportunities to increase muscle strength, endurance, flexibility, speed ability and core strength. The curriculum will balance exercise, nutrition and leadership skills.

Hamilton’s achievement higher, but gaps exist

Achievement discrepancy between majority and minority students, students of low economic status, special education and English learners exists in education. While the Hamilton School District sees this to a lesser extent than state and national averages, gaps among the various student groups exist.

Human Resources Director John Roubik, Instructional Services Supervisor Katherine Little, Ph.D., and Special Services Supervisor John Peterson presented district data and initiatives concerning “Closing the Achievement Gap.” In all areas except English learners, Hamilton students in disaggregated groups outperform their state counterparts on the Forward Exam. While Hamilton special education student performance is higher than the state, the district’s achievement gap between special education students and their peers is greater than the state level gap.

Action steps to ensure the success of all students include:

  • allocating Title I services for direct instruction at  targeted school;
  • differentiating instruction to providing interventions for students with larger gaps;
  • matching Response to Intervention actions with student needs to ensure greatest academic gains;
  • meeting of district interventionists to review effectiveness of current interventions and expand intervention options;
  • implementing EduClimber software to monitor student progress and identify interventions;
  • using Oasys EIP software to monitor annual IEP goals for students with disabilities;
  • offering specific intervention programming at each school to meet students’ needs;
  • implementing learner profiles and student goal-setting strategies to support personalization of student learning; and
  • training staff on designing strategies and learning environments to meets the needs of all learners.

Bid documents to be prepared

The School Board voted to allow development of bid documents for referendum projects that will be on the ballot Feb. 20. Business Services Assistant Superintendent Bryan Ruud explained that work on the projects needs to begin immediately in the spring in order for classrooms to be occupied in the fall of 2019.

Timeline established for 2018-19 budget

The School Board approved the district’s 2018-19 budget timeline that includes:

  • Dec. 6 – Employee forum to solicit input prior to development of the budget;
  • Feb. 9 – Administrators submit budgets;
  • March 19 and April 16 – Opportunity for community to provide input on the budget prior to School Board meetings;
  • May 21 – School Board approves final draft of the budget; and
  • July 16 – Annual meeting where citizens approve tax levy.

Special education teacher hired

A dozen students with disabilities transferred into Maple Avenue and Marcy elementary schools since the start of the school year, and additional special education referrals are pending at both schools. To accommodate increased special education enrollments, the School Board approved hiring one special education teacher who will be assigned equally to both schools.

In other personnel news, the School Board:

  • accepted the resignation of Hamilton Guidance Office administrative assistant Donna Goetsch effective Dec. 15; and
  • appointed Kelly Huegel as a Lannon part-time special education paraprofessional  and Paul Westwood as a Templeton kitchen employee.