September 19, 2016

New website presentedalt

Public Information Coordinator Denise Dorn Lindberg gave School Board members a tour of the district’s new website that was launched this summer. She said a new website was in order for the district after operating the previous one for nearly nine years. Pressing the decision to update the website was a need for better security, functionality and web presence.

Created as a responsive website, information displays correctly regardless of users’ web browser and whether they are on a computer, tablet or smartphone. Information is organized so that visitors can easily navigate the site and find information they need.

Importantly, the new site better reflects the nature and quality of the school district by using many photos of students and staff engaged in learning. Lindberg said the goal was to create a site that was unique to Hamilton – one that was like no other.

Among the highlights of the site are:

  • lunch menus that feature a special diets filter and a carbohydrate count page;
  • staff directory that filters by various categories;
  • Find it Fast section on each school page with links to most commonly requested information;
  • icons on the top of each page that link to search, Facebook, Infinite Campus, resources and lunch; and
  • greater emphasis on news content and images.

Board hears about 2016-17 district strategic tactics

Human Resources and Organizational Development Director John Roubik reported on the strategic priorities and tactical planning areas that will be addressed in the coming year. Tactics include:

  • implementing personalized learning and differentiated instructional practices to promote engaged, persevering, responsible learners;
  • using universal screeners and specific progress monitoring tools to assess students’ response to selected and intensive interventions and close achievement gaps;
  • analyzing district enrollment and housing growth trends in relation to existing building capacity and developing a plan for addressing future space needs; and
  • investigating and analyzing student access to technology and developing a plan to enhance student learning by using technology to support the instructional practice of the district.

Use of federal funds detailed

The district expects to receive approximately $195,315 in federal funds through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act Initiative for 2016-17. This is an increase from $185,696 in 2015-16. The funds will be used for paraprofessional support in reading and mathematics at Lannon, Maple Avenue and Templeton; literacy software, translation services for families, English Learner teacher training; professional development in technology and reading and writing for high school staff members; training for teachers to integrate technology into instruction; and afterschool tutorials and coordination of services for minority and limited English proficient students.

Balfany reports on summer school, Lannon site plan

In his first appearance before the School Board as Lannon Elementary School principal, Brian Balfany presented two reports – one for the Summer Opportunities Program and the other was Lannon’s site plan.

A total of 2,066 students in grades 4K to 11 enrolled in classes, an increase of 73 over 2015. Combined, 137 teachers were employed and 57 of them were Hamilton School District staff. In all, 267 employees were employed including four administrative assistants, 37 paraprofessionals, 83 student teaching assistants, one coordinator and five assistant coordinators.

Recommendations for the 2017 program are to:

  • be in session June 19 – July 14 with Monday and Tuesday, July 3 and 4, off for the holiday;
  • continue to enhance course offerings for enrichment and academic support;
  • continue to train invitational math instructors in Everyday Math strategies and Soar to Reading Success teachers in Reader’s Workshop strategies;
  • further explore recovery credit make-up and credit acquisition opportunities;
  • increase enrollment numbers for students invited to take math and reading; and
  • balance revenue and expenditures to make the program self-sustainable through class size and staffing adjustments.

School Board President Gabe Kolesari encouraged Balfany to continue the good work of the program.

“It’s a beautiful program and it’s a good thing that we can do that for so many kids,” Kolesari said.

In Lannon’s Site Plan report, Balfany gave an overview of data from standardized tests and other assessments. Although Lannon students perform well on all testing measures in reading and mathematics, site planners determined that the school should continue its literacy goal.

Lannon tactics for 2016-17 follow:

  • Lannon students will meet or exceed their projected growth targets in literacy based on the 2015 NWEA normative standards as measured from fall to spring using 2016-17 MAP.
  • Lannon staff and learners will maintain a highly supportive and respectful environment as measured by the 2016-17 Lannon fall and spring culture and climate surveys.

Willow Springs’ site plan covered

Willow Springs Learning Center Principal Erin Steiner gave a report on progress of the program for 4-year-old kindergartners. Steiner reported that the Willow Springs’ team thoroughly examined past practices, strategies and initiatives. She noted that in the past year the school investigated new curricula, created activities to foster social-emotional development, utilized iPad technology and analyzed PALS and other pre-academic data to influence teaching decisions.

She also stated that to her dismay, many people in the community are not aware that Willow Springs is part of the Hamilton School District and offers a 4-year-old kindergarten program.

The tactics for 2016-17 state that students completing Willow Springs 4-year-old kindergarten program will continue to:

  • develop social-emotional skills and an understanding of their individual role as a learner in the Willow Springs community; and
  • develop pre-academic skills in literacy and mathematics.

Board takes personnel action

In personnel matters, the School Board:

  • accepted the resignation of Templeton associate kitchen employee Mary Johnson; and
  • appointed Jodi Zillmer and Marie Shoemaker as Templeton associate kitchen employees, Jenny Galbavy as Templeton paraprofessional and Sarah DeCraene as Lannon special services paraprofessional.