November 1, 2005

Committee forms to study facilities

A committee will form to study issues affecting facilities in the Hamilton School District. School Board members approved convening a 2005 Facilities Advisory Committee to look at growth, building capacity and facility needs.
The committee will begin meeting in November and is expected to present its findings and a recommendation to the School Board next February.

The School Board charged the committee with reviewing:

  • subdivision growth;
  • district enrollments;
  • space utilization and facility physical conditions;
  • implications for school funding and revenue caps; and
  • potential public support for identified recommendations.

School Board member Gerald Schmitz said he would like the committee to take special notice of Willow Springs Learning Center because of its heating, ventilation and electrical systems.

Four similar committees were formed in the past 12 years — each resulting in referendums for new facilities or operational costs.

School Board members hope to have broad community representation on the committee. Members will include parents, senior citizens, community members, business, staff, administration and School Board members. School Board President Gabe Kolesari encouraged community members to contact the superintendent’s office if they are interested in serving on the committee.

Transitions program successful

The Willow Springs “Transitions to Success” program was as much a success for the 4-year-
old students it was intended to serve as it was for parents and staff members. John Vitale, Willow Springs principal and Special Services program support, reported on the program that allowed parents to attend a transitions conference with their 4-year-old kindergartner before their first day of school.

Nearly 99 percent of parents attended the conferences that were set up Sept. 1, 2 and 6 — the first three days of school for other students in the district. Instead, Willow Springs students’ first day of school was Sept. 7. Because of the transitions conferences, Vitale said students were more at ease on their official first day of school.

Normally the first day of school for 4-year-old kindergartners means a lot crying students and parents with many children coming to school in their parents’ cars, Vitale said.
This year it was evident that “students felt more comfortable being in school than in previous years,” Vitale reported. Having the younger students ride buses after the rest of the district had three days to establish routines created a smoother experience for the Willow Springs kindergartners.

In addition to building trusting relationships between students, parents and teachers and alleviating parent and student first-day anxieties, the program had added benefits, according to Vitale. They included increased speech and language screenings, verification of bus information, efficient collection of emergency information and school fee payments from 93 percent of families before school started.

With overwhelming ratings of satisfaction in parent surveys, Vitale recommended that “Transitions to Success” be continued. School Board members accepted the recommendation and complimented the Willow Springs staff for coordinating the opportunity for students and their families.

Matthiesen recognized

Marcy physical education teacher Andy Matthiesen was recognized by the American Heart Association for his many years of coordinating the “Jump Rope for Heart” fund raiser. He was presented with a 2005 Outstanding Volunteer Service Award.

Personnel matters

In personnel business, the School Board approved the appointments of Elizabeth Berry as a Woodside replacement third grade teacher effective Oct. 31 and Tracey Stanislawski as a Maple Avenue Special Services paraprofessional effective Nov. 14.