Fourteen Great Bend USD 428 teachers across grades K-6 will pilot two math programs this fall before the district chooses which program will be adopted for the next seven years.
The programs are “HMH Into Math,” from publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and “enVision Mathematics,” which is also the program currently in use.
Director of Teaching and Learning Tricia Reiser told the school board Monday that two teachers from each school will try out both programs, testing one in the first quarter and the other in the second quarter.
“Every school will have two if not three teachers piloting the programs. All grades will be represented,” Reiser said.
Both programs are similar to what the district currently uses, with print and digital materials. The curriculum study committee looked at how the materials compare with the district’s standards. They also look at the success of these programs, and Reiser said enVision has worked well for the district. The district anticipated last year’s scores on the state math assessment would surpass the state average, but testing was curtailed due to schools shutting down in March because of the pandemic.
State assessments resume
Assistant Superintendent John Popp said this year’s state assessments will begin April 1 and continue through May 18. All students from grades 3-8 and grade 10 will be taking math and English assessments, and those in grades 5, 8 and 11 will be taking science assessments.
State Assessments in Kansas are a program of the Kansas State Board of Education. They are a rigorous assessment of what students have learned and are used to predict college readiness and are comparative to the ACT, Popp said.
The state wants school districts to offer the assessments to all students, including those not attending classes in person. USD 428 currently has 150 students receiving remote learning. While there are remote students in grades K-12, most are in high school.
Popp said parents might not agree to bring their remote-learning students to school for the tests, however. The tests must be proctored on-site, and each test has to be administered on a different day.
School nurse added
In other business Monday, the school board approved hiring an additional nurse to work at district schools.
“This is a significant cost – and a significant increase in service you’re giving kids,” Popp told the school board.
Superintendent Khris Thexton said CARES Act, the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund, will cover the cost for now. Administrators cited the additional demands from COVID-19 procedures, increasing student medical needs, and the addition of the Little Panthers Preschool to justify the need. Another nurse in the district will allow Great Bend High School and Great Bend Middle School to each have a full-time RN in their buildings.
Currently, the district has four nurses split among eight buildings. At this time, one nurse covers Great Bend High School and Park Elementary School, and one covers Great Bend Middle School and Park Elementary School.
“We used to only have three nurses,” Popp said. In the last five years, the district has added a fourth nurse and four Certified Nursing Assistants.
Board member Don Williams asked if the population of school-age children warrants the extra nurse. Thexton said class sizes are staying steady. On the other hand, the workload of school nurses has increased.
Director of Teaching and Learning Tricia Reiser said there are more school-age children today with health issues, such as child diabetes.
The motion to hire another nurse passed with a unanimous vote.