Enrollment going up

HOUGHTON – Houghton-Portage Township Schools have more students this year, Superintendent Doreen Klingbeil announced at Monday’s school board meeting.

As of Friday, the district has 1,387 students, up two from what was projected in August. Last year’s blended count, which includes the October and February counts, was 1,375 students.

“We’re slightly up, and not less, so that’s always good,” she said.

The fall head count, which is used for state funding, is on Oct. 2. Houghton also has 87 new school-of-choice students this year.

“That’s a good healthy number for Houghton,” Klingbeil said.

Kindergarten typically accounts for a third of that total, Klingbeil said.

In other action, the board:

approved hiring Darice Taylor as U.P. Kids teacher.

heard a report from Elementary School Principal Anders Hill. The school finished DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) testing. K-2 students are also taking part in the Michigan Behavior and Learning Support Initiative, helping to teach them what to do in different school situations.

heard a report from Middle School Principal Julie Filpus. The middle and high school policy on cell phones has been revamped. Cell phones can now be used during lunch in the multi-purpose room. Filpus said the policy has been working well.

“I don’t see the entire student body on their devices at lunch,” she said. “Some kids are playing games, some kids are listening to music, but overall they’re socializing and doing the things they’re supposed to do at lunch.”

Friday, seventh and eighth-grade students will attend ArcAttack, which Filpus said blends heavy metal, technology and a light show.

heard from High School Principal Patrick Aldrich. Four students have been named as National Merit Scholarship semi-finalists: Wynter Bethel, So-Jung Kim, Isabel Sharp and Anton Smirnov.

recognized Curriculum Director Deb Fedewa, who is retiring.

heard a technology and building update from Klingbeil. Access points to improve wireless Internet arrived on Friday and are being set up. The computer lab in the middle-high school will be set up with Google Chromebooks. Several roof leaks have been fixed.

went into executive session to discuss contract negotiations. No action was taken when the open meeting resumed.