High schoolers may get a few extra zs next year thanks to a proposal approved at the USD 428 board meeting Monday night. But not for teachers. Board members approved a series of late starts for the high school during the 2013-2014 school year that would give teachers the time they need to collaborate, but take away two hours of student contact time a month
“Weren’t we just debating whether or not adding a few minutes to the day would make a difference in what could be taught over the course of the year,” asked Board President Dwight Young. “Now, we’re talking about a series of late start days?”
Great Bend High School principal Tim Friess stated he felt the time would be beneficial to students, and then made his proposal. The building leadership team has proposed a late start schedule for the next year, staring in October. Two Wednesdays a month, teachers will meet for a one hour professional development and teacher collaboration time from 7:45 a.m. to 8:45 a.m., and school on those days would begin at 9 a.m. This late start option will allow the faculty to move forward with critical components of the School Improvement Plan, Friess said. He also pointed out that aids had been hired at other grade levels to allow for similar collaboration previously, but this would be too difficult at the high school level, thus the proposal.
Friess said students would still be able to be dropped off as usual, and breakfast would still be served. He and others would be available to supervise. The board approved the proposal unanimously.
Doug Bender shared his impressions of a series of music events showcasing the district’s several singing and instrumental groups. The Great Bend Middle School Music in Motion and Women in Harmony singers went on tour, and the sixth grade bands from all five elementary schools, GBMS and Great Bend’s two private schools also recently showcased their work over the past year in recent Spring concerts.
“This gave me a chance to see what Gardener, Cook and Enochs had done with the kids,” he said. “It was neat. If you get a chance to go next year, go see.”
Joyce Carter also commented on the recent Job Olympics. “What a wonderful opportunity it’s been for our special needs students,” she said. “In the last few weeks we’ve run into several of the students who are continuing in employment.”
Superintendent Tom Vernon offered praise for the recent GBHS Community Service Day. He invited Principal Tim Friess to give a wrap up on the day. Students who went out into the community that day numbered 657, with an additional 114 who stayed at the high school to work. There were 172 students absent that day, or about 18%. Though that is higher than normal, all were excused absences, Friess said. Students helped at Sunflower services, the Great Bend municipal airport, downtown, and performed cleanup on roads and by the river. Some of those students returned to the school after lunch due to inclement weather and cleaned out boiler rooms and closets, while other groups went to city dept. and worked on street signs.
“It was really neat to get see all the different places they went,” Friess said. “It was a big success. They did a really nice job of representing the school, and no big issues outside of the building.”
Feedback from the community has been positive. Friess has received suggestions that the school plan a fall day to avoid inclement weather. Friess, however, stressed the service day was the brainchild of the Student Council organization.
“Many said they would like to see it done every year,” he said. “The service they did was important and well appreciated by a lot of people. “
Board member Kevin Mauler said it was very heartwarming to hear how student’s eyes were opened--at the food bank, the airport, etc. Friess pointed out one thing that went unnoticed was the mix of kids working together.
“They may never have done this sort of thing together, so that alone was very unique to see,” he said. Board member Cheryl Rugan said a huge pat on the back was in order for the teachers and the student council for making it happen.
Vernon informed the board a new community representative to serve on the Education Board of Trustees would need to be found. Kim Sells, the current president, notified him of her resignation recently. According to Vernon, business that was requiring more of her time out of the area was the reason. The Trustees will meet again on May 22 at 4 p.m., and it is hoped at that time a new president will be elected and a new nominee will be presented to fill the position.
ACT Testing Update
Popp said Caroline Devain, an ACT consultant, spoke to and trained high school students about how to take the test. Already shown a dramatic difference can be seen. The most positive has been the science scores. GBHS has scored below average in recent years. Now, it is above the state average. The majority of kids who take the test in April are Juniors, he said. Four seniors took it previously, and all four raised their scores. The high school would like to have Devain come back to train staff and students again.
GBMS Gym Construction
Dan Brungardt reported construction of the GBMS gymnasium is two weeks behind schedule due to weather. The contractor, Compton Construction, hopes to make up time during the remainder of process. The foundation is in and electricians and plumbers are working hard to complete setting lines and pipe before pouring the floor. Two change orders need to be addressed, Brungardt said. The second, an old boiler platform will need to be removed, or additional concrete will need to be poured to level a floor. The board will discuss options and take action at the next meeting. Meanwhile, brick layers are working at the college, and should be ready to move to the middle school as they finish that job.
In other business, the board:
* Approved the spending of $179,399.56 for new computers for the middle and high schools, and an additional $18,380 to purchase two additional carts for the middle school.
* Approved republishing of the 2012-2013 budget. By doing so, the district will be able to access an additional $156,590 in state aid money set aside for additional students.
* Approved the FBLA trip to national competition and to make up difference on cost of trip following upcoming fundraiser. There will be 10 students and two sponsors attending. Perkins money will pay for sponsors travel and students are holding a 5K Color Run to raise additional funds. The trip is expected to cost $10,000.
* Approved a motion to alter the district office summer schedule. Going forward, the district office will close on Friday’s at noon during the summer.
* Approved a request from the Lincoln Elementary School PTO to purchase a new school sign. The PTO will dedicate the sing to former principal Alvena Spannenburg, who died Aug. 13, 2012.
* Approved renewal of contract with OPI, Inc. for copier leases.
* Approved board meeting schedule for 2013-2014.
* Approved renewal of membership with KASB and the KASB legal assistance fund.
* Presented preliminary information about the proposed HVAC renovation at Riley elementary school. The board will discuss it further and take action at the June board meeting.
* Discussed the upcoming proposal to renovate the track at the high school. More information will be presented and action will be taken at the June meeting.
* Received an update on Curriculum Day from John Popp, the district’s curriculum director. He reports the teachers are beginning to gain a better picture of how they will be able to incorporate Common Core into their particular teaching disciplines.
* Scheduled a special board meeting for 7:30 a.m. on June 25 to approve transfers for end of the year budgeting purposes.
The board met in executive session to discuss the 2013-2014 negotiated agreements. They returned to regular session after five minutes and approved the negotiated agreement.
The board will meet again for a noon meeting on May 28 and the regular June meeting will be held at 5 p.m. on June 10 at the district offices.