November 17, 2008

Lannon site plan in second year
Lannon Elementary School Principal Richard Ladd reported on progress made in the second year of the school site plan. The school is focusing on developing communication and social skills and high-level thinking strategies in math and reading.

Among the school’s initiatives include development of language arts resource packet for each teacher in grades 3-5. The packets are designed to assist students think more comprehensively in language mechanics, paragraph analysis and construction and the writing process. Skill practices were used daily at the beginning of the school year to review material, vocabulary and structure found in many testing situations and the curriculum.

In addition, the “Fair Play” program was implemented in which fifth-graders are chosen to be playground facilitators based on their behavior, grades and teacher recommendation. During recess for students in grades K-2, facilitators help students play cooperatively incorporating good sportsmanship.

Also, the K-5 “Problem Solver” program was introduced last spring and implemented this fall to assist in the teaching of strategic problem solving.

Ladd reported the next steps for Lannon will be to:

  • Continue use of language review packets in grades 3-5;
  • Investigate the need for language materials in grades k-2;
  • Determine opportunities in which students are required to speak in front of their peers;
  • Display “Give Me 5” listening skills posters;
  • Continue the “Play Fair” program;
  • Post good manners posters;
  • Continue monitoring student progress in math through WCKE and MAP test scores and question analysis; and
  • Assess the effectiveness of the “Problem Solver” program.

School Board member Lynn Kristensen complimented the school for teaching students skills they will need for success in the 21st century.

District’s ethnicity diversifies
National demographic changes underscore the importance of multicultural education in the Hamilton School District. The majority of district students are white, but the student population is becoming more diverse. Some 89.4 percent of students are white while 4.4 percent are Asian or Pacific Islander, 3.2 percent are Black, 2.6 percent are Hispanic and .3 percent are American Indian or Alaskan. While the numbers may seem small, minority student enrollment has more than doubled since 1996.

Human Relations Specialist Erica Bova-Brown gave highlights of activities that included staff in-service opportunities and student activities that heighten cultural awareness. Staff members experienced a poverty simulation and in-services focused on Hmong culture and Muslim and Sikh religions. Students took part in many assemblies and presentations, but Bova-Brown described the interactive experience of the “Living Exhibit Celebrating Martin Luther King Day” has being especially powerful.

State budget to affect district
In her report, Superintendent Kathleen Cooke, Ph.D., said the district will continue to monitor the state budget situation. State officials have predicted that there will be a $5 billion deficit. Cooke said the state budget is likely to have an impact on district finances because state aid funds 50 percent of the budget.

Personnel matters
In personnel business, the School Board accepted the resignations of Hamilton High School Special Services paraprofessional Amanda Pinnow and Woodside Special Services paraprofessional Kathryn Wissing.