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Great Bend Middle School and High School student job site
GBMS to offer city planning elective.
bgms job site
Great Bend High School students in Adam Cline’s Consumer Math class recently visited the job site of the future Little Panthers Preschool/District Education Center at 1809 24th St. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

The next program of studies for Great Bend Middle School includes a new elective class called City Planning and Disaster Relief. When GBMS Principal Myron Ellegood showed the USD 428 school board the proposal last week, board member Randy Wetzel expressed concern about one elective removed from the program for 20242025.

“You got rid of Career Exploration,” Wetzel said.

Wetzel was an assistant principal in charge of Career Technical Education (CTE) at Great Bend High School until he retired in 2021. He was elected to the school board last November. From his experience at GBHS, he said career exploration needs to start at earlier age.

“What about job shadows?” he suggested. “It’s something I’d like us to look at.”

“We don’t have anything like that at the Middle School but I would certainly be interested,” Ellegood said. However, he said the logistics could be more challenging for middle school students. High school students are often able to provide their own transportation for jobshadowing.

GBMS job site

City Planning & Disaster Relief

Ellegood described courses that include career exploration, including City Planning & Disaster Relief, a two-semester course. Students will use the simulation game Cities Skylines to plan, develop, and maintain a simulated city. They will address issues such as transportation, zoning ordinances, utilities planning, geographical layout, planning for flooding, wastewater treatment site selection, and water pathways. Ellegood’s proposal states that this allows for an inquiry-based study of different issues that many cities face.

Other courses

• Video Gaming Concepts, for eighth-graders, replaced Interactive Electronic Arts, for seventh-graders.

Using the STEM Accredited “Gaming Concepts” curriculum, this course will build and develop students’ online social/emotional and physical health awareness skills. It will also teach them how to navigate network and PC maintenance and assembly, improving awareness of STEM career fields and boosting student inclusion in the electronic arts.

• ESports Social and Multimedia Development.

As a continuation of the content for Video Gaming Concepts, students will explore some of the career opportunities related to being involved in ESports.

There will be units regarding Communications via Social Media, Streaming, Shoutcasting, Website Maintenance, and Team Strategy for ESports.

Other changes

GBMS will drop algebra this fall, a decision that was made a year ago. In its place, a PreAlgebra class will be offered to eighth graders. Also being dropped are Intro to Graphic Design and Coding Robots and Drones, although skills taught in the latter will still be offered in other courses.

Waiting for approval

Courses in the program have been approved by the Curriculum Steering Committee, with the exception of the City Planning and Disaster Relief class. Ellegood said it had not been to the steering committee for approval at the time of his presentation. No action was taken by the school board when he made his presentation on Monday. Programs of study are typically presented for a first and second reading. The board is expected to approve the 2024-2025 Program of Students in March.


CTE is emphasized at Great Bend High School, as was mentioned more than once at the board meeting. Orchestra teachers talked about careers in the arts as they described the programs and workshops students will see on a trip to New York, N.Y., in 2025.

GBHS drama students Anna Bitter and Sheridan Johnson talked about their class and Johnson said she was learning technical skills and time management skills by running the spotlight in the winter play.

They attended the Kansas Thespian Conference Jan.

5-7 in Wichita and brought back a trophy, which is why they were at the board meeting. GBHS placed second in Creative Costuming, a contest where teams were handed a bag of unknown items and challenged to create a costume, showcasing their ingenuity and adaptability.

Assistant Superintendent John Popp told the board instructor Adam Cline asked McCown Gordon Construction to send a speaker to his Consumer Math class, company offi cials responded by inviting students to visit the job site of the future Little Panthers Preschool/District Education Center at 1809 24th St. “to see math in action.”

Last week, the students were hosted by McCown Gordon Construction and numerous trade partners and skilled labor union representatives to share career insights and details on apprenticeship programs.