May 2, 2006

School Board approves Project Lead the Way
Templeton Middle School and Hamilton High School students will have more opportunities to learn rigorous technological skills through a new program that the Hamilton School Board approved at its May 2 meeting.

Project Lead the Way (PLW), a program developed by professional engineers to help schools give studentsthe knowledge they need to excel in high tech fields, will be implemented at Templeton next fall. The program will expand at Templeton and Hamilton in 2007-08.

Timing for the shift in Templeton’s Technology Education Department was good because of a retirement that brought in a new staff member to help launch the pre-engineering program there. The new teacher and an eighth grade science teacher will participate in an intense two-week training session at Duke University this summer so that they will be qualified to teach components of the “Gateway to Technology” program for middle schools. Modules of the program are “Design and Modeling,” “Automation and Robotics,” “The Magic of Electrons” and “The Science of Technology.”

The first two modules will be integrated into a required nine-week technology education course for seventh-graders beginning in the fall of 2006. The following year, three modules will be in the eighth grade technology education elective curriculum. Also in 2007-08, the modules will be infused into the required eighth grade physical science course.

The high school will implement the program in 2007-08 in its Applied Engineering and Technology Department. Six potential high school courses are offered through the PLW program. One of them, “Introduction to Engineering and Design,” will be infused in the high school’s “Mechanical Drawing” course, in effect replacing it. In 2008-09, “Principles of Engineering” will be introduced to expose students to a broad base of technology systems and engineering processes through this upper level engineering course.

One-time costs to implement the program in 2006-07 at Templeton are $45,980 for professional development, curriculum writing, hardware, software, furniture, remodeling and project kits. Yearly costs after the first year will be $1,500.

Start-up costs in 2007-08 at the middle and high schools will be $113,535, with subsequent annual costs between $6,500 and $7,000.

Assistant Superintendent Dean Schultz said the district will pursue grants that have been offered to develop the program in schools. Some 99 Wisconsin schools are involved in the PLW program.

School Board members supported the change to the curriculum. Lynn Kristensen said the new program will take technology education curriculum to a higher level for students.

Deborah Briggs said she did not want existing technology education programs that provide hands-on opportunities for students to be lost. Administrators said PLW will not have an impact on successful technology education programs such as printing and graphics.

Mike Hyland said he liked the program, but said he was concerned about funding.

“Yes, I want it, but we may find that we do not have the money to pay for it,” he said.

Superintendent Kathleen Cooke, Ph.D., said the School Board concerns were legitimate. She said the board will have to establish priorities for the district that include having a comprehensive program that also prepares students to go into the workforce at livable wages.

Business Director Bryan Ruud noted that many of the costs were one-time and would occur over three years.

Network engineer hired in-house
The district will have one more position in the Instructional Technology Department after the School Board approved the hiring of a network engineer. The engineer will oversee staff from MPC, the company that provides technology support for the district, and report to the instructional technology assessment coordinator and assistant superintendent.

In the proposal for the position, Ruud said that the MPC contract will expire in June and the district needed additional technical support because of the complexity of the new student databases, web-based services and additional software applications, such as MAP testing. The report also noted that when personnel changed within MPC, retraining was required and having the position in-house would provide greater consistency.

“We believe our need can best be met by hiring a network administrator in-house, since hiring a third technician through MPC would be costly,” the report said.

MPC will continue to provide one full-time and one part-time technician at a cost of $144,628 per year. Total expenses will be $239,413 for the contracted technicians and in-house network engineer. The cost of contracting all three staff through MPC would have been $256,653.

Survey company approved
School staff members were given the OK to work with Market Strategy & Analysis to survey residents about their opinions concerning the construction of an athletic center at the high school. In response to the recommendation from the Community Facilities Advisory Committee, Public Information Coordinator Denise Dorn Lindberg requested proposals from several independent companies to conduct the scientifically random telephone survey.

Two companies submitted proposals. Wood Communications Group from Madison suggested sampling 400 residents at a cost of $18,000. Market Strategy & Analysis proposed a sample size of 200 for a cost of $9,750. In addition to providing the lowest cost, Lindberg noted that Market Strategy & Analysis was recommended because it provided accurate data for a previous referendum recommendation and offered the option to survey additional residents if more data was needed.

Students and staff recognized
Hamilton Principal David Furrer recognized coaches and students of the Hamilton Bowling team. In its second year as a club, the team had a 16-3 record, competed at state and took third place. Those who were recognized were coaches Mark Nihoris, Randy Krajewski, Guy Starz and Landon Carus, and students Marcus Carus, Samuel Figarino, Brandin Helmers, Joseph Knueppel, Matthew Korek, Daniel Michalek and Aaron Syverson. One of the coaches, Joe Sanders, was not able to be at the meeting.

Furrer also recognized Tom Konkol for serving as the high school as a “truly phenomenal soccer coach” for 22 years. Konkol decided to step down as coach this year.

Personnel business
In personnel business, the School Board:

  • Accepted the resignation of Templeton cleaner Dennis Schaefer; and
  • Appointed Kelly Golyzniak as Hamilton art teacher, James Nelson as Hamilton learning disabilities teacher, and Danielle Karr as Hamilton Spanish teacher.