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GBHS may expand program of studies
Proposed courses explore medical, teaching careers
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Two new “career pathways” may be added to the Great Bend High School program of studies next year. The Great Bend USD 428 Board of Education is looking at a proposal to add a biomedical pathway and a teaching pathway for Career and Technical Education courses.

A pathway is a cluster of related courses. A student who takes three or four of the courses in high school is a pathway completer. Students may also take one or two courses without completing the pathway.

Randy Wetzel, the CTE coordinator at GBHS, said the proposed courses are the biggest changes to the 2019-2020 “Program of Studies” book that lists offerings at the high school. The school board had its first reading of the book Monday and will approve the final draft in January. Board members voiced approval for the changes presented.

The biomedical pathway involves adding four new classes in the coming years for students who want to explore possible careers in biomedicine.

“It’s a very rigorous program,” Wetzel said. Students who follow this path will double up on science courses. So, while 150 students have indicated they’d be interested in the new courses such as “Human Body Systems,” the pathway would be limited to students with at least a 3.0 grade point average, good math scores and a science teacher’s referral. They might have to write an essay explaining why they want to follow the course of study and what they hope to get out of it.

Science teachers Travis McAtee and Andrea Stalcup talked about the courses they hope to teach. McAtee said “Human Body Systems” takes the lessons taught in Anatomy and Physiology and applies them to medical professions. In the fourth year of the program, a student might work with a medical professional.

This isn’t just for future doctors, the teachers said. “There are hundreds of fields in biomedicine,” Wetzel said.

The second proposed career pathway would provide basic teacher education. Some of the courses in the pathway are already offered at GBHS, but a new class would explore teaching as a career and the final course would be a sort of teaching internship, where a student would plan a unit with a teacher and actually teach it to a class.

Community Service Day approved

The board also approved the next GBHS Community Service Day, to be held April 24, 2019. Andrea Stalcup has coordinated this in the past. This year, she will receive a supplemental salary for the work she does as the coordinator. Stalcup said she spent more than 80 hours organizing the event last year.

Clean Audit

The board also approved the audit as presented by Vickie Dreiling from Adams, Brown, Beran and Ball. She said the district had received an “unmodified opinion, ... the highest we can give.” The district ended the last fiscal year with $19.5 million in unencumbered cash.

“As of right now the school district is debt-free,” Dreiling added.

In other business, the board:

• Approved three contributions: $120 donated anonymously to Great Bend Middle School to pay for students’ lunches if they cannot afford them; $100 donated by the Great Bend Evening Lyons Club to the GBMS music programs Music in Motion and Women in Harmony; and $10 in donations to the Lucille Lucas Memorial GB Middle School Library Book fund.

• Approved specifications for two coach-style activity buses that will replace two buses. The specs are for “ultra coachliner” buses that carry 51 passengers in individual seats with seat belts.

• Approved the personnel report with changes effective at the end of the semester. Madison Ragar will teach special ed for Barton County Special Services. Three teachers were allowed to resigning at semester since replacements have been found for them. The resigning teachers are Kristina Garza, grade 2 teacher at Eisenhower Elementary; Amber Wolking, Family Consumer Science teacher at GBHS; and Carli Denning, kindergarten teacher at Riley Elementary.

USD 428 Board of Education meeting at a glance

Here’s a quick look at what the Great Bend USD 428 Board of Education did Monday:

• Recognized the achievements of All Conference Student Athletes and of teacher Traci Miller, who has earned National Board Certification through Emporia State University.

• Heard about Learning Walks, implemented by K-12 teachers.

• Heard an update on a grant contribution to Park Elementary School.

• Heard and approved the 2017-2018 audit report.

• Approved bus specifications for a bid release.

• Approved a supplemental job position for a Community Service Day Coordinator, and the date of the next Community Service Day.

• Conducted the first of two readings of the GBHS Program of Studies Book with proposed changes for 2019-2020.

• Heard an update on Visible Learning.

• Heard an update on progress made for the upcoming curriculum adoptions.

• Heard a superintendent’s report on Rotary Club dictionaries for 3rd graders, USD 428 Education Foundation mini-grants, a governmental relations seminar next month in Topeka, summer projects, and board retreat plans.

• Approved contributions.

• Held an executive session to discuss confidential student information.

• Held an executive session to discuss an employee’s performance.

• Approved a consent agenda that included meeting minutes, bills and financial reports, and the personnel report.