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Most positions filled at Great Bend USD 428
Pictured is Lacey Bonine’s kindergarten classroom at Eisenhower School, one of several areas in USD 428 that received new carpet this summer.

School starts next week in Great Bend USD 428, but staff and teachers have been busy throughout the summer, administrators said. The pace has picked up in recent days.

“There’s a lot going on,” Superintendent Khris Thexton told the school board Monday.

Tricia Reiser, the district’s director of teaching and learning, said the primary focus of the Professional Development Plan for the upcoming school year will continue to be the implementation of MTSS, or Multi-Tiered System of Supports. The district will also start the Visible Learning training on Aug. 16.

“We’re asking teachers to study their own teaching,” Reiser said, describing the Visible Learning program created by Professor John Hattie, a researcher in education.

Professional Development activities offered by the school district this month include:

• Tools for Teaching (Fred Jones Classroom Management), a three-day course for new teachers

• Five days of new teacher orientation

• Project Lead the Way training

Unfilled positions

While most positions at USD 428 have been filled, administrators said three elementary teaching positions – two at Eisenhower School and one at Riley School – will be filled by long-term substitutes, as will one position for a social studies teacher at Great Bend Middle School.

The district hired 32 new teachers, four long-term substitute teachers, one Kansas Reading Roadmap (KRR) program coordinator and one family support worker.

At this time, the district still needs one English language arts (ELA) coach for Great Bend High School and three school psychologists.  Renee Buntain will cover the ELA coaching positions at GBHS and GBMS this fall but will no longer be the assistant tennis coach at the high school.

Curriculum committee focus

USD 428 will pilot a new 7-12 English curriculum this fall with four GBHS teachers and three GBMS teachers using materials from publishing company Pearson. The curriculum committee will make a final recommendation on the next 7-12 English adoption after Christmas.

The adoption process will begin this year for new K-12 social studies curricula.

Online credit cards, donations

In other business, Thexton commented that online enrollment has helped make it easier to get students signed up for school. Board member Lori Reneau asked if the district could make an improvement to the system, which accepts payment using credit card but charges a 3.5 percent fee. (To avoid the fee, parents must pay by cash or check at the school.) Thexton said he would do some research.

“We’ll see what it costs and see if we can adjust for that,” he said.

The school board also approved three contributions at Monday’s meeting:

• Riley Booster Club will receive $100 from 10th Street Eyecare and $100 from Roger Krier to be used for a photo booth activity at the Open House on Aug. 31.

• Great Bend Recreation Commission has donated a football kicking net valued at $200 to the GBHS football program.