November 1, 2011

School Board gets update on blended instruction pilot

Hamilton communication arts teacher Kristi Stuesser and two of her students – seniors Madelyn Dailey and Alyssa Klug – demonstrated how technology is used in their “Multi-Genre Reading and Writing” class, a pilot that explores the feasibility of blended face-to-face and online instruction.

Stuesser had students create a Google doc, similar to a wiki, which allows more than one person to author a document at the same time. They also demonstrated how Moodle, the district’s classroom web management software, allowed them to easily upload documents for teacher review and grading.

The class offers students synchronous and asynchronous learning, Stuesser explained. Synchronous learning occurs through classroom lectures, assessments, group work, activities and discussion. Web technology makes asynchronous learning possible through 24/7 access to material, uploading files, discussion boards and forums, wikis, online subscriptions and chats.

The class meets face-to-face on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and then students are responsible the rest of the week to keep up with material that is posted, online participation and assignments. One section of the class is offered this semester, and another section will be offered the spring semester.

ELL enrollment stable while number of languages increases

At 88 students, the number of English Language Learners (ELL) is up by only one student compared to last year, but the number of different languages spoken in the homes of those students is at an all-time high of 27. Human Resources and Organizational Development Director John Roubik presented a written report to the School Board that included a chart showing the number of ELL students have leveled off in the past two years. The number of ELL students in the previous five years ranged from 104 to 115.

Lannon site plan presented

Lannon Principal Dick Ladd shared the status of his school’s site plan. After providing details about Lannon’s impressive achievement gains in state standardized test results, he described the reading and mathematics interventions that Lannon staff members have used to support student who struggle.

The school’s site plan has two tactics that focus on academic and social-emotional development. In the coming year the school plans to work on the following action steps related to the tactics:

  • set up instructional teams to meet on a regular basis to share information about students and brainstorm the best interventions;
  • work with parents in using Moodle as a communication tool;
  • research the best approach to handwriting and its importance to clear communication;
  • promote grade-to-grade staff discussion to address student needs and achievement;
  • present classroom and grade level expectations during open house; and
  • update and refine Moodle communication with parents.

School Board member Lynn Kristensen complimented the Lannon staff for placing a priority on Moodle as a communication tool.

“It’s a great way to introduce parents to it, start simple and get them to understand the benefit it is to them and their children,” Kristensen said.

Personnel news

In personnel matters, School Board members:

  • accepted the resignation of high school special education teacher Shane Bunek; and
  • appointed Kristi Last as a Marcy clerical and instructional paraprofessional, Joseph Schaeffler as a Templeton part-time cleaner, and Susan Blackford as high school special education replacement teacher.