December 4, 2018

Board ratifies contract with ULE

The Hamilton School Board ratified a one-year contract with United Lakewood Educators (ULE) which represents district teachers. Under the contract, base salaries will increase by 2.13 percent for 2018-19, retroactive to the beginning of the school year. In addition, the regular supplemental compensation for Hamilton teachers will increase by $400 per teacher, prorated based on percentage of full-time employment, plus position adjustments for identified staff.

The tentative agreement was reached Nov. 28 between the district and ULE representatives and was presented to ULE members last week for a ratification vote. The increases do not apply to teachers on replacement contracts or plans of assistance.

IT Department lays out future work

Information Technology Manager Ben Hawley updated the School Board on hardware and software updates, networking initiatives, assessments and testing, student information system news, operation of the Help Desk ticketing system and security grant initiatives.

New this year is a student-run help desk system created at the high school to assist Informational Technology Department staff with overall workload and 1:1 support. Four students are located in the library and closely working with IT on day-to-day work and escalations. IT staff created a Google Classroom for the student helpers along with a separate Help Desk website to track tickets and assets.

Future projects include completion of the district’s one-to-one Chromebook initiative in grades 5-12, setting up the new intermediate school with internet-fiber and equipment, provide network and security training for staff, streamlining printers and copiers, replacing smartboard and projectors.

Hawley noted in his report that with the addition of a new school, additional rooms at the high school, one-to-one Chromebook initiative at Templeton Middle School and Silver Spring Intermediate School, IT is projecting a total of 9,000 devices in the district, which is a 30 percent increase. Hawley warned that IT staff is stretched thin.

EL teachers create guidebook identifying services

The number of Hamilton School District students who are English Language (EL) learners increased by seven students from last year for a total of 74 students in the program that provides interventions for students with language difficulties. The number of EL students has ranged from 61 to 79 in the past five years, and before then it was as high as 106 students.

A total of 26 different languages are spoken including Russian, Mandarin and Punjabi with the two most prevalent languages being Hmong and Spanish. Jelena Kapetanovic and Katie Kasper, whose full-time equivalency is 1.5 positions, serve EL students throughout the district. This year Kapetanovic and Kasper collaborated with other teachers in the region to identify resources and instructional strategies for classroom teachers to assist their EL students. Work on that project influenced the state to create an EL Policy Handbook. Later, Kapetanovic and Kasper used their experience working on the project to create a district resource guidebook for Hamilton teachers.

Lannon gets started with student-led conferences

Lannon Elementary School Principal Brian Balfany and second grade teacher Sarah Cromos presented on how student-led conferences are making an impact in the classroom. balfany-cromos-300Rather than the traditional parent-teacher conferences, where the teacher does most of the talking, student-led conferences has students leading the discussion, informing their parents about how they’re doing, what their goals are going forward and what kind of learners they are.

Verizon to set up cell tower at high school

The district has negotiated an agreement with Verizon to install a cell tower on the southwest light pole on the high school soccer field. The tower would mirror the U.S. Cellular tower already installed on the northwest tower of the field. The agreement states that the district would receive a $20,000 signing bonus and $15,000 a year for five years. Installation will begin in the spring or summer of 2019.

Personnel action

In personnel business, the School Board:

  • accepted the resignations of Marcy associate kitchen employee Theresa Aron, effective Nov. 20, and Templeton part-time custodian Ryan Dow, effective Dec. 21; and
  • approved the appointment of Samantha Nehls as Hamilton High School administrative assistant, effective Dec. 10.

Strategic Plan update presented

Human Resources and Organizational Development Director John Roubik gave a quarterly update to the School Board on the priorities of the 2017-2020 Strategic Plan. The four priority areas of the plan are:

Systems of learning & assessment — All students will be challenged and supported to maximize their learning and achievement.

Recent progress includes:

  • Nov. 5 in-service focused on understanding the “why” behind using the Backward Design unit planning process. Content and grade level teams met to begin redesigning one instructional unit, ensuring that standards and assessment are the focus. Assessment Team members facilitated the learning.
  • Assessment Team is in the process of providing feedback to teams on the work completed at the in-service.
  • English-language arts curriculum team is in the process of unpacking and prioritizing the state standards.
  • K-8 science curriculum team has completed drafts of the practice rubrics and is in the process of pilot testing them.
  • 9-12 science curriculum team is reviewing the practice standards in preparation for rubric creation.

Social & emotional wellness — All students will be supported to develop social and emotional wellness related to academic, career and life experiences.

Recent progress includes:

  • Anna Silberg, Ph.D., conducted mindfulness workshops for teachers.
  • The Social Emotional Wellness (SEW) Committee met Oct. 23 with Response to Intervention (RTI) consultant Yuliana Manriquez to discuss the next steps of planning for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), a systematic approach of teaching and reinforcing behavioral expectations through the lens of RTI. Each school had its PBIS leadership team in attendance.
  • The PBIS leadership teams met Nov. 14 with Manriquez and received training on the PBIS system. These teams will come back together for day two of this training Feb. 14.
  • Marcy and Woodside elementary schools’ classroom teachers completed the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA) on all of their students between Oct. 15 and Nov. 15. School teams are reviewing the data and are in the process of aligning supports with students who were identified with social emotional needs.

Workforce & organizational wellness – All staff will engage in continuous professional learning and be provided opportunities to improve personal wellness.

Recent progress includes:

  • A total of 25 staff members are participating in the “Maintain Don’t Gain” weight loss challenge through Aurora Health Care. They are receiving weekly health tips and healthy recipes to support them through the holidays.
  • Another 30 staff members are participating in yoga classes.
  •  Flu shots were offered to all employees in October and 217 participated.
  • “Access to Wellness” resources were provided to all staff in the following areas:
    • Domestic violence awareness
    • Surviving holiday gatherings
    • Giving the gift of time
  • Some 127 teachers and administrators are participating in the alternative evaluation process.
  • The district sent out Top Workplaces surveys to gather staff engagement data.
  • Human resources sent an interest survey to support staff regarding employment opportunities at Silver Spring Intermediate School.
  • Business services conducted HRA support seminars.
  • Educational services conducted after-school staff input sessions as part of the school calendar development process.
  • A “gourmet greens” salad bar emphasizes power foods and antioxidants has been offered to high school students and staff.

Facilities & technology — The district will enhance student learning by providing adequate classroom learning space while maintaining existing buildings and infrastructure and optimal student access to technology.

Recent progress includes:

  • Masonry walls and steel nearing completion with temporary weather tight condition scheduled for December at the high school addition and Silver Spring Intermediate School.
  • Raptor visitor management system installed at each school’s main office for visitor management.
  • Current camera security system expanded from 75 cameras and one server at the high school to 250 cameras and three NVR servers across the entire district.
  • Voice over IP (VOIP) servers and phones are being prepared for Marcy and Woodside implementation second semester.
  • Axis door control cameras and visitor buzz in implemented for all schools, including the Y-Care entrances at the elementary schools.