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High school will work on-line with Barton CC
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Kim Heath, left, and Laurie Harwood, join Dwight Young, USD 428 board president. The teachers will represent USD 428 in the 2012-2013 Kansas Teacher of the Year program at the elementary and secondary levels. - photo by JIM MISUNAS Great Bend Tribune


Great Bend High School students will be able to take two courses through Barton Community College on-line next year instead of traveling to the college.
High school officials are working out the details to allow students to take on-line courses in psychology and sociology that count for both high school and college credit. Auto mechanics is also offered through Barton County, but is not featured on-line.
Ruth Heinrichs, USD 428 director of curriculum, said on-line courses are becoming more popular. She said on-line education is an additional learning option for at-risk students.
“Students who go to colleges and universities take on-line courses and we thought about whether we need to give them that exposure,” Heinrichs said. “We need another avenue for students who are thinking about dropping out or to fit into a work schedule. We want as many opportunities as possible for students to graduate.”
Instructor Brian Vesta, Alternative Learning Center, said it’s an advantage to take dual credit courses, especially for some non traditional students. Some students could also use the on-line course to add an additional course on their own time.
“Psychology and sociology are already offered on-line. For those parents and students who want the on-line experience before college, here’s two avenues that you can take,” he said. “We don’t have to develop anything. It provides the parents and students a choice, which is good. It could serve the student who can’t come to school.”
Heinrichs said the high school has worked to increase its partnership with Barton Community College,
Math Facilitator
The board approved the administration’s recommendation to hire a math facilitator for Great Bend High School for 2012-2013. The school district is already using a middle school math facilitator who assists students under the direction of math teachers.
“We’d like to add a position of math facilitator at the high school to piggyback on what they’re getting at the middle school level,” said Tom Vernon. USD 428 superintendent. “We can always improve. That’s what this idea is all about. The high school facilitator may see that the math teacher needs help in some area and they would provide it.”
Integrated Improvement
Internal peer review groups review what is working best for the Integrated Improvement Plan that is being used at two elementary schools.
“It’s a good solid process and we want to make it available at all our schools,” Heinrichs said. “We’re getting suggestions on what’s being successful. The principals can see that process first hand and see the improvement plan.”  
Resolution Passes
The board passed a resolution authorizing the offering for sale of general obligation refunding bonds, Series 2002-A, of USD 428.
The bonds will be eligible for refinancing this spring. Potential savings for the district could be up to an estimated $40,000 per year or a total of $200,000 for the next five years.
George K. Baum & Company was approved as the facilitator.  A bond rating from Moody’s and the bonds will be sold. At the May meeting, sales results will be presented to the BOE, and the final bond resolution will be finalized.
George K. Baum proposes to charge a fee equal to 0.60 percent of the principal amount of the new issue. The fees would be paid from proceeds of the sale of the new bond issue and are contingent upon the successful closing thereof. George K. Baum has helped district’s administrators numerous times since the district’s successful bond referendum in 1997.

The BOE heard first readings March 12 on the following 2012-2013 handbooks, and Vernon reviewed each proposed change.
There was discussion on the student handbook topics of cell phone usage, body piercing and its related health issues, and personal appearance.  Following BOE recommendation, some changes have been made to the elementary student handbook and to the middle school student and teacher handbooks.  Board members having additional questions may contact the DEC administration prior to the 4/9/12 meeting. The board approved the administration’s recommendations as revised.
KASB Membership
The BOE has utilized the services of the Kansas Association of School Boards during the past year, receiving assistance in such areas as policy development, personnel, negotiations, school improvement, and legal services.  The membership cost for 2012-2013 is $10,848, which matches the previous year’s rate.  The district’s 2012-2013 budget includes dollars for this expenditure. The administration recommends approval of membership as well as the Legal Assistance Fund at $1,400. The cost for renewal is $12,248.