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Teacher team explains Common Core to Hillsboro board
They tell board members what the standards are and what district is doing to implement them
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What are the Common Core State Standards and what is the Hillsboro School District doing to encompass them into daily use in classes?

Many folks in the district have heard of the CCSS agenda, but know little about its implementation into daily use with students.

That problem is now behind those who attended Monday night’s School Board meeting, thanks to six teachers who comprise a team dedicated to “advancing rigor and raising student achievement” in the district.

Led by Curricular Reading Specialist Teresa Fanta, they each presented a different phase of the new program during a 75-minute Powerpoint presentation at the beginning of the meeting.

Sixth-Grade teacher Erin Jirschele, Middle School Special Education teacher Sue Donlan, Seventh Grade reading and 7th and 8th Grade social studies teacher Diana Marshall, 7th and 8th Grade reading teacher Chris Koopman, and high school English and 7th and 8th Grade reading teacher Erin Hora made individual presentations that combined to capture the overall significance of the major project.

Among the many interesting points discussed was the importance of teamwork among the teachers and the appreciated effort to allow time for teachers to meet on a regular basis to exchange experiences.

Pointing out the hours and hours of program development, Koopman stated, “I’m not isolated in the classroom anymore. I’m connected to fellow teachers.” He also reported that there is a “need to read more in writing classes and write more in reading classes.”

Donlan credited Common Core with “thoughtful and meaningful changes to the standards” that can cause a professional range of emotions and the importance of scheduling time for meetings with co-workers to discuss student needs.

The group, as a whole, appeared to be sold on the program changes, but also were very much aware of the need for peer support.

In fact, several of the speakers noted appreciation to the administration and School Board for quick assistance in the project when needed.

Readers can learn much more about Hillsboro’s introductory steps in the evolvement of the Common Core State Standards by checking out the important  information on the school’s website.

In his monthly report, School Superintendent Curt Bisarek said that the sealing of windows and doors is completed, although that is a very small part of the current building project. An update will be included in a report at the next meeting.

He also reported that roofing bids were out and one had been accepted. There are now steel roofs on all slanted areas at the Elementary School.

Elementary School Principal Cara Wood reported that the Fifth Grade Math Team competed in a competition in Sparta on Thursday. The team includes Cameron Huntley, Mitch Huntley, Grace Holthe, Colin Johnson, Billy Filler, and Chris Heidtman.

The 4-K class had a sledding party last Thursday. Their next event is a Winter story hour Jan. 24 from 1- 2 p.m.

Checks received from General Mills Box Tops were $1,885.60 and from Kwik Trip Milk Moola $1,503.60, Many thanks to the businesses, students, parents, and community members who bring them to the Elementary School, and to Velma Hora for collecting, counting, and shipping them for us.

During the business meeting, the Board:

• Unanimously approved updates and revisions to the Board Policy Book (Section 300) regarding instruction.

• Unanimously approved the revision of Policy 188 to allow a $100-per-day stipend for board members attending the Wisconsin Association of School Boards convention.

• Unanimously approved the available Open Enrollment spaces for the 2014-15 school year.

• Discussed the 2014-15 school calendar. Approval will occur at the Feb. 10 meeting.

After a placement drawing for two seats on the School Board, candidates will appear on the April ballot in the following order: 1. Brian Hora, 2. Denise Huntley, 3. Mike Jirschele.

Following a closed session, the Board approved hiring Heidi Thompson as an Elementary School Special Education Aide.

They also approved the hiring/assignment of Tom Lambries as a 50 percent Elementary School Music Teacher for the second semester.