January 8, 2002

Willow Springs’ first site plan presented

In its third year of operation, Willow Springs Learning Center teachers, parents and support staff created its first site plan on Oct. 30, 2001. That plan — including a mission and three tactics to guide school improvement over the next three to five years — was presented to School Board members.

Willow Springs serves 215 children who participate in the district’s optional half-day kindergarten program for 4-year-olds.

Instructional Services Supervisor and one of the acting administrators for Willow Springs, Dee Bauman, Ph.D., described the plan. The tactics for improvement were to:

  • establish an administrative role at Willow Springs for smooth operations, program improvement, staff supervision and support, and parent involvement promotion in student learning.
  • use effective communication between Willow Springs kindergarten teachers and other district kindergarten teachers, and the community;
  • develop parent outreach program to meet student and family needs.

Bauman and Educational Services Assistant Superintendent Dean Schultz each spend some time each week working at Willow Springs to provide administrative leadership. The center’s site plan calls for greater administrative presence and Willow Springs staff members who attended the board meeting supported that idea.

Additional staff are approved through the district’s annual budgeting process which is presented to the public at the Annual Meeting in June.

Staff development initiatives lead to results

A push for staff development linked to results and strategic planning has been under foot in the district for nearly two years. Schultz reported on training and activities at each school and at the district level. Many of them are directly related to individual site plans, he said.

Staff have been involved with writing training, grammar workshops, mathematics projects, technology break out sessions, PLAN and ACT test alignment workshops, data analysis training, instructional strategies and technology discussion, reading groups, differentiation and articulation education, establishing a professional learning community and developing music curriculum and large motor activities for 4K students.

Student data moves to eSchool

Progress of eSchool, the district’s new student management system, has had its ups and downs. Instructional Technology Coordinator Katie Little provided an update of the tasks accomplished as the district rolls over student data from a DOS-based system to one that is Windows-based.

About half of the district’s elementary school teachers used a computerized report card with mixed feedback from those using the new system. While some found the digital report card system a benefit once they learned it, the greatest frustration stemmed from a major software glitch that lost grades after teachers entered them. For some, it happened more than once, Little said, but noted that the problem was fixed.

Middle and high school teachers will be trained in taking attendance and grade entry at the beginning of second semester. Elementary school administrative assistants were trained to use eSchool in the first semester, and those at the secondary level will begin training second semester.

Little said custodial staff will be trained to use e-mail and Microsoft’s WORD program.

Personnel news

In personnel business, the School Board approved the appointment of Jessica Spuhler as a Hamilton High School physical education teacher for the second semester.