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One person received what were described as critical injuries in an explosion reported at 3:08 a.m. Wednesday at 705 10th St. in Great Bend.
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Changes seen as positive at USD 428
new slt school board
School board members take quizzes based on things taught to Great Bend elementary students, Thursday during the USD 428 Board of Education meeting. They could choose pen-and-paper or Chromebook quizzes from various grade levels. Park Schools technology coach, Brocke Funke, is seen looking over the shoulder of board member Susan Young, a former teacher. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

It’s Humphrey Day

Superintendent Brad Reed reminded board members that One District-One Book officially launches at 8:15 a.m. Friday, Sept. 25, when all of the elementary schools will hold assemblies. Students will watch a video of Reed reading the first chapter of the book, “The World According to Humphrey,” by Betty G. Birney.
Schools all over the country are reading about Humphrey the classroom hamster with everyone in their communities.

School board members met three new instructional coaches during a luncheon meeting Thursday at Park Elementary School. Principal Phil Heeke introduced English Language Arts (ELA) coach Lacey Hofflinger, math coach Kelsey Perry and technology coach Brock Funke.
Heeke taught math for several years, and said he prefers the new EnVision math program over the former system, Direct Instruction.
“I love this program,” he said. The coaches – added this year at each learning center – help teachers integrate technology into their daily lessons and target areas of instruction where students need help.
One new program this year is Kansas Reading Roadmap, an after-school program designed to make sure students read at grade level by third grade. The program has a component called FAST – which stands for Families And Schools Together. For one evening a week, eight to 12 families will participate in FAST. The families will change after eight weeks.
“We really don’t want any student every left behind,” Heeke said.
Superintendent Brad Reed said there are several changes going on at schools. “The changes are built into the system and everything works together,” he said. “This is what is best for our students.”

Phone system
In action items, the board awarded the bid for USD 428’s new telephone system to The Phone Connection in Salina, for $48,700. Assistant Superintendent Khris Thexton said two other firms were invited to submit bids, but only The Phone Connection was able to meet the district’s specifications.
The new system is expected to improve service and cut the district’s monthly telephone bill in half, to about $1,500. At that rate, the system should pay for itself in less than three years.
The board approved Park Elementary School teacher Kyle Vierra’s request to submit a grant application to Pet Smart for a fish aquarium, valued at $200-$250. The aquarium, if granted, will be placed in Vierra’s sixth grade classroom.
The board also approved four donations to the district:
• Orscheln Farm and Home donated an outdoor thermometer to Riley Elementary School. The thermometer will be used as a door prize for the FAST program.
• Lincoln Elementary School’s Parent Teacher Organization donated four microwave ovens to the school for use by students who bring sack lunch meals and wish to warm their food. The four new microwaves replace four previously donated ones which were ruined in recent storm damage.
• First Kansas Bank and Farmers Bank & Trust each contributed $500 to USD 428 for the district’s One District-One Book program.