September 2, 2008

Reading revisions approved
The Hamilton School Board approved revisions in the reading curriculum based on the recommendation of the 33-member K-12 Reading Committee. Instructional Services Supervisor Dee Bauman, Ph.D., presented the revised reading curriculum that teachers from all grade levels and content areas reviewed and revised over the past year.

Bauman reported that the most significant changes in the document include:

  • “Reading Beliefs,” a summary of reading research and a description of instructional practices to define how research is applied in the classroom;
  • a four-year-old kindergarten literacy component based on the state’s Early Childhood Standards for Literacy Development;
  • revision of grade level reading expectations to reflect current reading research and to more fully define what students will know and be able to do at each grade level;
  • a “Reading in the Content Area” section that identifies the instructional expectations for grades 6-12 teachers as they work with students on reading tasks related to their content; and
  • an electronic reading resource guide located on a shared drive for middle and high school teachers that contains templates, strategies and activities that reflect best practice in reading instruction.

Bauman noted that professional development will be a key in the curriculum development process. Reading specialists and other committee members will present the revised curriculum to staff this fall.

“We have outstanding reading specialists in this district,” Bauman said. “They are instrumental in making this happen.”

Technology plan making progress
Information Technology staff members have been busy working on technology initiatives. Information Technology Services Assessment Coordinator Katherine Little reported on a wide range of actions that were completed or are in progress. Among the items she noted were:

  • replacement of 255 5-year-old computers throughout the district and installation of 30 new computers for Templeton’s Project Lead the Way and Family and Consumer Education lab;
  • expansion of the InterChange project for selected Advanced Placement classes that provides an online content management tool;
  • participation of 12 teachers in the “Integrating Technology into Existing Curriculum” in-service which was taught by two district teachers; and
  • offering all teachers three workshops that focus on classroom assessment.

Four students admitted into kindergarten early
Four students were admitted early into full-day kindergarten last year, according to a report presented by Special Services Supervisor Mardi Freeman. Typically, one or two students were granted early admission kindergarten in each of the past seven years. Initially, nine parents requested information, but only six children participated in screening. There were no requests for early admission into first grade.

District policy indicates children must be four, five or six years old by Sept. 1 to enter four-year-old kindergarten, regular kindergarten or first grade, respectively. While procedures exist for early admission to regular kindergarten and first grade, no early admission is granted for four-year-old kindergarten.

Summer workshop status given
Bauman presented the 2008 Summer Workshop Report. The summer provided extended time for district staff to participate in curriculum and professional development. The business education, applied engineering and technology and reading curricula were revised as part of the ongoing five-year curriculum cycle. A host of other curriculum projects and professional development opportunities were described.

Personnel business
In personnel matters, the School Board:

  • accepted the resignation of Lannon paraprofessional June Prestin and Lannon special education teacher Kristine Wetherall;
  • appointed Stacie Benson as Maple Avenue paraprofessional, Crystal Hoffmann as Marcy special services paraprofessional, John Hervert as Templeton part-time physical education teacher and Alicia Ide as Maple Avenue replacement fourth grade teacher;
  • modified the contract of Templeton speech-language specialist Kristin Netzel-Muehlenbach from 50 to 60 percent.