May 5, 2009

Board approves employee agreements
School Board members approved salary-and-benefit package agreements with three employee groups. The teacher contract was approved with United Lakewood Educators that provides a 3.55 percent increase for the 2009-10 school year and 3.46 percent increase in 2010-2011. One-year contract adjustments for 2009-10 were approved for administrators and confidential support staff. The total aggregate salary-and-benefit increase for administrators is 3.55 percent and 3.8 percent for confidential support staff.

School Board member Deborah Briggs praised the work of employee and district representatives who negotiated the agreement. State law requires school districts to offer a minimum of a 3.8 percent increase to avoid going to arbitration unless a voluntary settlement can be reached.

“The fact that we have finalized a contract at this point in the year is amazing,” Briggs said.

Lions Club support new press box
The Sussex Lions Club is providing $55,000 to support the Hamilton Athletic Booster Club’s initiative to build a new press box in the high school stadium. The press box is expected to be completed by the fall football season and will be located on the east side of the stadium near the visitors’ section.

The booster club plans to provide funds as well as volunteer labor for the project. The Lions Club has helped make several Hamilton athletic facilities possible through its contributions including construction of the soccer stadium and lights.

High school sees more students taking honors, AP courses
High school students took an additional 130 honors courses compared to last year. A total of 590 honors classes were taken by students. Instructional Services Supervisor Dee Bauman, Ph.D., updated the board on the district’s Spectrum Programming for gifted and talented students. Bauman attributed more than half of the increase to students who are taking new honors courses in physics and chemistry. Bauman predicted that the students taking honors courses will lead to an enrollment increase in Advanced Placement courses in those subject areas. More students also are taking AP courses which are offered in chemistry, biology, calculus, statistics, English language/literature, U.S. history, European history, comparative government and studio art.

Bauman reported that Spectrum goals at the elementary level are to offer professional development on specific enrichment and thinking strategies, increase resource time for very high-ability students and provide appropriate programming for students who are accelerated in mathematics. At the middle school level, a new Spectrum teacher will be hired and transition into his or her role as resource teacher. The high school will continue to expand AP enrollments and increase the percentage of students scoring 3 or higher on the exams, and increase participation of minority and students from low socio-economic backgrounds in honors and AP courses.

Peer coaching teachers want it to continue
Ten teachers who participated in a pilot of peer coaching recommended that the district offer the opportunity to other teachers who could benefit from the collaborative, non-evaluative coaching model that provides feedback about classroom practices.

Five middle and high school coaching pairs attended an afterschool training session in September that introduced them to the concept of peer coaching and strategies for being an effective coach. They also participated in a two-day workshop and met throughout the school year to share their experiences and sharpen their coaching skills.

The peer coaches evaluated their pilot recently and recommended that the voluntary peer coaching experience be made available to more teachers next year. They shared information about the pilot with their respective staffs, and plans are underway to provide information to elementary teachers. The concept will be presented to the Supervision-Evaluation Committee this month.

Personnel news
In personnel business, the School Board:

  • appointed Emily Farley as a Hamilton special education teacher for the 2009-10 school year; and
  • increased the contracts of Hamilton Spanish teacher Kaila Feudner from 67 to 100 percent and Templeton physical education teacher John Hervert from 20 to 33 percent.