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January 18, 2021

Summer Opportunities will limit in-person offerings, most enrichment classes will be virtual

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With the goal of prioritizing instruction for students with most significant needs, Summer Opportunities 2021 will offer in-person instruction that will be focused on course recovery, promotional and academic support opportunities. Enrichment and extension programs will be offered in a virtual format.

Those were the recommendations the School Board accepted from Summer Opportunities Coordinator Brian Balfany.

“This will not be our full robust program of two years ago,” said Balfany, referring to Summer Opportunities programming offered before the pandemic.

In addition to the academic support classes, “Strength, Agility and Speed” fitness classes will be considered for in-person, outdoor instruction. K-8 virtual courses are expected to include literacy, math, visual arts, theater and drama, foreign language and karate. The program will be offered from June 21 to July 16 with no classes on July 5.

Camps in late July or early August may be offered depending on public health recommendations. Among the half- and full-day offerings being considered are outdoor club, 4K and 5K transition, outdoor exploration and arts camp.

Families will receive information in February, with registration through Infinite Campus in March. Schedules will be available in May. The district plans to offer the program at no cost to families.

Catalogs approved with course additions, split

The annual submission of Templeton Middle School and Hamilton High School course catalogs had the usual edits and updates to clarify and reflect current policies and practices. Of significance was the addition of three high school courses: “Advanced Placement Human Geography,” “Advanced Placement Microeconomics” and “Advanced Placement Psychology.”

Earlier in the meeting the School Board accepted the recommendation to add a Templeton music class and split one high school class into two that were indicated in the approved course catalogs.

With the addition of “Music Studio” to its course catalog, Templeton will offer students an opportunity to take a music class that does not require group performance or evening concerts. The elective class meets alternating days for the school year, and students will listen to, analyze, compose and improvise music using guitars, keyboards, handbells, computer composition and drumming.

The high school’s “AP Government and Politics” course will become two so that students have more flexibility in choosing one or both classes. The new classes will be “AP U.S. Government” and “AP Comparative Government” and will available to juniors and seniors. Each class will be semester long. The change will remove the need for high school honors-level courses and a more equitable approach to social studies for all students.

District unpaid school fees up

The last five years has seen an uptick in the amount of unpaid student fees for high school seniors compared to the five years before. Unpaid student fees from 2011 to 2015 were between $99 and $460 compared to a range of $803-$1,409 in the last five years.

Assistant Superintendent Shelli Reilly reported that district policy requires clearance of all unpaid fees and fines before a student is issued a parking permit. She said families with outstanding balances are sent notices every six weeks, and families with balances over $150 are turned over for collection in January and July. The district is flexible with families to minimize the impact of them when possible.

No space to take Open Enrollment students

School administrators calculated that the district will not have enough classroom space to take additional Open Enrollment students for the 2021-22 school year due to projected resident enrollment and space available for special education open enrollment. Open Enrollment is a statewide program that allows students to attend public schools outside of their districts if space is available.

5 students approved for early graduation

The applications of five seniors – Benjamin Herschleb, Isabella Sanchez, Grace Thao, Ethan See and Tarynn Lassiter – who requested to graduate early were accepted. The students met School Board policy requirements and will be eligible to graduate in January 2021.

Personnel news

In personnel business, the School Board:

  • approved an additional full-time technology support specialist in the Informational Technology Department. The number of technology support specialists is now four, serving eight schools and the district office. Cost for salary and benefits for the new position is estimated at $80,000 – 85,000;
  • approved retirement requests of Marcy Grade 1 Teacher Christine Sapa, Marcy Grade 3 Teacher Kelly Flanagan, Marcy Literacy Interventionist Kathleen Nienow, District  Program Support Kathleen Mesick, Templeton Grade 7 Teacher Katherine Whitlock, Maple Avenue Custodian Edward Giese (effective Feb. 2), Lannon Grade 3 Teacher Jodi Bowe (effective Jan. 15) and Willow Springs Paraprofessional Stephanie Christofferson (effective Feb. 25). All are effective at the end of the 2020-21 school year except as noted;
  • appointed Darlene Hood as Maple Avenue special services paraprofessional and Lindy Mueller as Maple Avenue associate kitchen employee; and
  • modified the contract of District Nurse Tracy Gordon from 81% to 92%, effective at the start of the 2020-21 school year.