Hillsboro Elementary School Principal Evan Yoder and Hillsboro Middle School Principal Greg Brown reported Monday to USD 410 Board of Education that their schools have increased enrollment this year.
The information was part of quarterly reports from each school.
Yoder said elementary enrollment is perhaps the highest it has been in his nine years at the school. He said the school has 260 students in kindergarten through fifth grade. There are 47 students in kindergarten; first grade, 44; second grade, 46; third grade, 43; fourth grade, 39; and fifth grade, 41.
A couple of grades have a higher concentration of students with special needs than normal, which has required some creativity from the staff to meet students’ needs. Yoder said the school is fortunate to have an excellent group of paraprofessionals.
“I wish I had as much patience as they do,” he said.
Brown said enrollment at HMS has increased a little this year as well. There are approximately 48 students in sixth grade, 43 in seventh grade, and 37 in eighth grade, he said.
Both principals said the longer school day, now beginning at 8 a.m., has created some challenges. Brown said teachers have told him the day feels significantly longer, especially the morning. The day begins earlier, and the lunch period starts later, he said. That has resulted in teachers having four classes before lunch, he said.
The new schedule has middle and high school students changing classes at the same time. Although there is a little overlap between the two schools, so students meet some in the hallways, there has only been one negative incident among the two student bodies, Brown said.
Superintendent Steve Noble said Hillsboro High School is still adapting to the change from block to daily schedule. He said the faculty is working together to avoid clustering big groups of exams together in response to complaints by parents.
Classes are larger at HHS this year, especially in core subjects, but that is because of a decrease in faculty size, Noble said.
However, the class sizes aren’t out of line, he said. Class sizes are around 22 in algebra I and II, 20 in American government, 24 in freshman and sophomore English and 27 in junior English, and 18 in biology. Business classes have some large classes, up to 29 students, Noble said.
The large junior class is keeping class sizes high. After the class of 2013 graduates, class sizes will be more manageable, he said.
The new schedule has teachers in class a larger portion of the time, he said. The teachers are working harder but not complaining, Noble said.
The board began its meeting in the Technology Excellence in Education Network distance learning classroom and studio at HHS. TEEN director Brandi Hendrix gave a presentation to Hillsboro, Marion, Peabody-Burns, and Centre school boards simultaneously, using the distance learning technology from the Hillsboro classroom.
Among all five member districts — Herington didn’t participate in the teleconference — Hendrix estimated a couple hundred high school students receive classes over the network.
After the presentation, the board reconvened the meeting at the district office.
Out-of-state trips approved
Four organizations received approval to go on out-of-state trips in the upcoming year.
Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America will send five members plus a sponsor to a National Cluster meeting Nov. 11 to 13 in Denver, Colo. The members will compete in a quiz bowl competition, attempting to qualify to compete at the national convention in July in Orlando, Fla.
Choir will travel May 12 and 13 to Branson, Mo., to perform and see the sights. Adviser Lynn Just predicted the choir will need two buses for the trip, but the choir pays for the trip with its own fundraisers.
FFA will take 10 students to FFA National Convention, Oct. 17 to 22 in Indianapolis, Ind. Because adviser Sonya Roberts will miss a few days of school, the trip carries an extra cost for a substitute teacher.
Technology Student Association plans to attend TSA National Conference, June 21 to 25 in Nashville, Tenn., provided members qualify to compete, adviser Creigh Bell said. It is too soon to know how many might go.
The board approved all of the requested trips, including the use of district vehicles and a substitute teacher for Roberts. All other expenses, including driver pay, are the responsibility of the organizations.
Progress seen on district goals
Noble reviewed goals the board set for the district one year ago. The five major categories of goals were to increase enrollment, meet educational needs of all students, increase community involvement, ascertain alternate forms of revenue, and keep current with technology.
Under each category, the board had identified several indicators or steps to show progress toward the goal. Noble said he thought the district had made progress toward all five goals in the past year, but none are completely finished. The board will have a special goal-setting meeting Oct. 5.
In other business:
- Preliminary results showed the district met Adequate Yearly Progress standards for No Child Left Behind in all areas, Noble said. There was no indication whether the district met Standard of Excellence levels. More information will be available in October.
- An annual board agenda was approved. Among the items on the agenda will be a State of the District report in November, superintendent evaluation in December and contract renewal in January, principal evaluations in January and contract renewal in February, and teacher evaluations in February.
- Board policies were updated as recommended by Kansas Association of School Boards, with some revisions and notes by Noble. Among the policy updates was one clarifying that the district must report to law enforcement any instances of sexually inappropriate or explicit text messages or photos by students either on school grounds, during school activities, or using school equipment — including the laptop computers issued to students.
- Participation in an entrepreneurship grant in partnership with area businesses and organizations was approved. The partnership will be mutually beneficial with the community and the district’s new entrepreneurship curriculum, Noble said.
- Contracts were approved for middle school scholars’ bowl sponsor Darlene Bartel, PATHS coordinator Mike Moran, PATHS assistant Rhiannon Miller, PATHS, CHUMS, and SPED bus driver Charlene Pschigoda, and assistant HHS musical director Alexia Hall. None of the positions are new.
- Jill Hein and Kathy Carr had their contracts increased by 15 minutes each day.
The next regularly scheduled board meeting will be 7 p.m., Oct. 10.