January 21, 2008

Elementary boundaries shifted
School Board members approved an elementary school boundary change that will help slow future enrollment growth at Woodside Elementary School. The most southwestern section of Woodside’s attendance area – roughly bounded by Hwy. J to the west, Plainview Road to the north, Hillside Road to the east and the school’s most southern boundary – will be part of the Maple Avenue attendance area effective July 1.

While the area is mostly undeveloped now, municipal officials have projected that as many as 150 homes could be built in the coming years. Ultimately, the school district could see 35 to 38 students coming from the area when it is fully developed.

Current Woodside students who live in the area will have a “grandfather option” so that they may finish elementary school at Woodside. To assure that families do not have children attending two different elementary schools, current students’ younger brothers and sisters who have yet to enter elementary school also will be grandfathered as long as an older sibling is still attending Woodside. A total of 17 children who live in the area attend now attend Woodside including four fifth-graders who will attend Templeton Middle School next year. Parents may voluntarily choose to send their children to Maple Avenue.

The move was made to alleviate future growth at Woodside, which opened in 1999. With an enrollment of 678 students, the school is beyond its initial design capacity of 600. A relocatable structure was set up to house four sections of fifth-graders this fall as a temporary measure. The school had previously accommodated its growing enrollment by reconfiguring space within the school. Along with the new space, the school has an additional half-time administrator to help oversee the school.

A community Facility Advisory Committee studied growth and space needs in the district in 2006 and recommended holding off on a referendum for a new school. The committee reviewed data that showed that while Woodside will continue to grow, the rate has slowed and overall district elementary enrollment has been stable. The committee reconvened in October to review the most recent enrollment reports and concluded that shifting elementary attendance boundaries could alleviate future growth at Woodside.

Marcy site plan approved
Principal Donald Behrens, Ph.D., reported on Marcy Elementary School’s Site Plan. He noted that many Marcy students perform well academically, but significant numbers of students need additional support in particular grades and subject areas. The warm and welcoming school environment was identified as a strength. Challenges include serving children who struggle academically, enriching instruction of academically talented learners and explicitly identifying and promoting positive school culture.

Three tactics of the plan that staff members continue to address indicate that Marcy students, staff and parents will:

  • become a strong and cohesive community through enriching and memorable experiences,
  • attain the highest possible levels of achievement through the use of effective and innovative practices; and
  • actively embrace the Marcy School vision.

A fourth tactic was added that states “Students will receive the academic support they need through the creative and efficient allocation of time and resources by all members of the Marcy community.” The tactic was added to create a group that would continue previously informal efforts to find more creative ways to assist children who need academic support for remedial or enrichment purposes.

Business recognized
The School Board recognized Jerry’s Automotive Service, Inc. for its partnership with the district especially in the Youth Apprentice and Co-op programs. Hamilton Associate Principal and Extended Learning Opportunities Coordinator Peter Ferge said owners John and Pat Haunfelder have worked closely with the high school to make the partnership strong and successful.

“John has been very willing to take students and give them incredible learning experiences in the automotive industry,” Ferge said. “This desire to train and to teach is noteworthy, since many auto shops have become reluctant to hire students under the age of 18.”

Ferge also noted that Pat has provided valuable opportunities for students through the Business Co-op Program. She has actively recruited students to work in the office, and her standards are very high, Ferge said.

Personnel news
In personnel business, the School Board:

  • approved the retirement requests of Lannon library-media specialist Jane Rintelman and Templeton band director Bart Fojtik; and
  • accepted the resignations of Maple Avenue Special Services paraprofessional Nicole Winkelmann and Hamilton physical education-health teacher Laura DeStefanis.