Houghton-Portage Township gives Hill high marks

HOUGHTON — Anders Hill’s first evaluation as Houghton-Portage Township Schools’ superintendent was a good one.

The board gave Hill a “highly effective” rating. It’s the highest of the four categories for Michigan evaluations, followed by effective, minimally effective and ineffective.

Hill was named superintendent in November 2021 after former Superintendent Doreen Klingbeil announced she would be retiring midyear.

Board President Amanda Massaway said Hill had scored well both in professional practice and student growth. The board will also look to Hill to develop district goals as it gets further into the strategic planning process.

“I just appreciate the feedback,” Hill said after the meeting. “I know that there’s room for improvement and I’m grateful to work with such a great, supportive board.”

The board also approved the audit from Anderson, Tackman & Co. The district received a clean unmodified opinion. The district fund balance is at $3.4 million, which business manager Sara Marcotte said falls within the recommended percentage range of 15% to 20% of expenditures.

In other action:

• The board approved the hiring of additional winter athletic coaches: Ginny Sirard for sixth-grade girls basketball, Wilson Sprier for sixth-grade boys basketball and Riley McKay and Cale Markham for junior varsity hockey. The list originally included a freshman boys basketball coach, which was removed due to not having enough players for the team.

• Principals spoke about recent parent-teacher conferences, upcoming professional development days and other events at their schools:

• Elementary Principal Cole Klein reported on recent events at the school. For Fire Prevention Day, kindergarten students went on a field trip to the fire hall; the department then came to the school and gave two presentations on fire safety and prevention. The school also hosted the Rock Your School event, where local musicians greeted students and played during recess. Klein played drums with Rewind and also played accordion for students during lunch.

• Middle School Principal Julie Filpus said the school will have a Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) rewards assembly where students can win prizes by competing in various games.

• High School Principal Tiffany Scullion said for the first time, parents and guardians may get letters from the state superintendent’s office encouraging them to look at challenging courseworks. That can include Advanced Placement classes, dual enrollment or career and technical educational courses. The school will also have three student-teachers for the upcoming semester, all originally from the Copper Country; one will also teach in the middle school.

• Athletic Director John Sanregret said Gladstone, Menominee and Kingsford will join the WestPAC football conference next season.

• The board adopted September 2022 policy updates from Neola, which provides guidance to schools through a partnership with the Michigan Association of School Boards. Trustee Nels Christopherson said at the Copper Country Intermediate School District meeting there had been discussions about moving to getting guidance instead to the Thrun Law Firm.

• During public comment, resident Ginny Hemmer asked the district to increase support for environmental stewardship as part of its three- to five-year strategic plan. As an example, she suggested the can and bottle recycling program be extended to indoor athletic events. Brian Irizarry also spoke to the board about offering boys and girls varsity soccer. He also read a letter to Michigan High School Athletic Association asking it to include Houghton County programs in MHSAA soccer.


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