February 19, 2007

Woodside to get portable classrooms
Administrators got the OK from Hamilton School Board members to establish a 5-year lease for portable classrooms to house Woodside Elementary School students beginning next fall.

With an enrollment of 656 students, Woodside has seen steady growth since it opened in 1999. By moving a computer lab into the library, claiming the Large Group Area for instructional space and using a music room for kindergarten classes, the school has accommodated growing enrollments for the past few years.

The portable classroom structure will have four 900-square-foot classrooms, two restrooms and handicapped accessibility. The cost is expected to be about $99,000 to lease the structure for five years and $120,000 for utility hook-ups including water, sewer, electricity, fire protection and data cabling.

School officials will monitor enrollments and decide which classes will use the portable structure.

The Facility Advisory Committee studied growth and space needs in the district last year and recommended holding off on a referendum for new school. The committee reviewed data that showed that while Woodside will continue to grow, the rate has slowed and will not likely justify a new school within the next five years.

Administrators met with Woodside parents earlier this year to learn what their preferences would be in accommodating the growing student body. Parents overwhelmingly stated a desire for portable classrooms over busing students to other schools.

The portable structure will give Woodside more room and provide planners with time to determine long-term enrollment trends.

Woodside Site Plan approved
Woodside Elementary School Principal Linda Jorgensen presented her school’s site plan. The school will continue to work on the existing strategies which indicate that the school will:

  • emphasize ownership and shared responsibility among students and staff to enhance respect within the school community;
  • increase the problem-solving abilities of students to strengthen critical thinking skills beginning with mathematics; and
  • help student communicate effectively with an emphasis on writing skills and strategies.

A staff book study on “Parents and Teachers Working Together” is emerging to address the first tactic. Much of the building in-service will be dedicated to creation of math unit pre-assessments and reading-writing extensions.

Personnel news
In personnel business, the School Board:

  • accepted the resignation request of Marcy kindergarten teacher April Showalter at the end of the school year;
  • approved one-fifth of a full-time equivalency (FTE) position for speech-language staff to meet the requirements of new IDEIA requirements that stipulate 3- through 5-year-olds must receive an additional evaluation upon entrance to Special Education; and
  • approved one-quarter of a custodial FTE so that lunch times can be staggered at Woodside to meet current and future enrollments.