Other items of discussion and actions taken at the USD 428 BOE meeting Monday included:
•Reed presented a list of professional development opportunities available for teachers over the summer.
•Approved a request by Khris Thexton to set a special meeting on June 29-30 at which the administration will propose expenditures, transfers and closing balances for the current school year. This is an annual occurrence, allowing the district to clear its books at years end.
•Approved a flooring bid for Eisenhower Elementary School. Three bids were received. Kustom Floor Designs was awarded the contract as it submitted the low bid of $18,600. Harry Street Carpet bid $21,162.11, and Vitzum Commercial Flooring, Inc., bid $20,500. The flooring will be completed before the start of school in August. The material is carpet tiles, which can be replaced individually if stained or damaged.
•Approved the BOE meeting schedule for 2015-2016. Regular meetings will continue to be held the second Monday of the month at 5 p.m. at the district office. Luncheon meetings will be held once monthly on Thursdays during the school year, with the exception of December and May. Each district education center will host the meeting once throughout the year.
•Approved a request to alter summer hours at the District Education Center from May 29 through July 31. The office will close on Friday afternoons, and employees will have the opportunity to work their number of contracted hours.
•Approved the resignation of licensed teacher Amber Hundley, Technology Coach at GB Middle School
•Approved the appointments of the following licensed teachers: Jessica Geist, grade 6 at Lincoln Elementary School; Kyle Kriegh, Social Studies at GB Middle School; Maggie Miller, Adaptive Special Education Teacher at Riley Elementary School, Laura Schlessiger, Math at GB High School. Two additions, Signe Cook, Clarissa McCormic, were added at the beginning of the meeting.
•Approved proposed concrete projects at the high school, including a ramp by the vo-ag shop and at the southern entrance to the school, north of the student parking lot. Total cost would be $18,700 for the project. This summer project should take care of any existing concrete issues at the high school. Several questions about ADA accessibility were discussed before action was taken.
By Veronica Coons
USD 428 Superintendent Brad Reed reported to the board of education Monday night about a recent meeting he had with Barton Community College President Dr. Carl Heilman, to discuss use of the pool. He proposed a cash investment on behalf of USD 428, and the use of the district facilities to help the college get its wrestling program off the ground.
“This is a great opportunity to partner with the college,” Reed said. He has not received a response yet, but is hopeful to hear something back soon, he said.
The fate of the pool, and by extension the fate of the high school swim team, has been up in the air since a Feb. 10 Barton Community College Board of Trustees meeting, at which the administration brought up concerns about the cost of maintaining the pool versus the revenue that comes in from the pool. At that meeting, Reed and Andrew Murphy from the Golden Belt Swim Squad voiced support of the pool. Both swim teams use the pool for practice and competition.
Assistant Superintendent John Popp updated the board on assessments. This was the baseline year for the new state assessments, and kindergarten through grade eight has completed testing at this time. Popp said he doesn’t expect official results until November at the earliest.
This was also the first year students took the multi-disciplinary performance tasks part of the assessment, and it proved to be a challenge. Three information sources are presented related to a chosen topic, and can come from any of the disciplines. These may include news articles, narratives, videos, graphs and charts. Students may research take notes as they study the information. Then, during a separate test session the next day, they receive a prompt to compose an on-demand writing assignment to be completed in one session. The results produce usable scores for all content areas, according to the Kansas State Department of Education.
“I do like the concept of testing in some way different than multiple-choice,” Popp said, “But it is a big deal and takes long time.”
Checking test will be done by volunteers this year, Popp said. Only a sample needs to be tested this year, but next year every test needs to be graded, and it will take a lot more than a few volunteers, Popp said.
Aimsweb is what is the test for the K-8 level. At the high school level, the district has decided to purchase the MAP assessment for next year. These tests allow screening for math and language arts, and are tied closely to the ACT, indicating how students will perform on the ACT test. They are 40 minute tests for both English Language Arts and Math, given three times a year.
Rather than basing teacher evaluations off one test taken on one day, the district has developed a three-pronged approach that figures state data, national data and classroom data into teacher evaluations. This was an important factor in receiving a waiver from the No Child Left Behind Act. In order to qualify for the waiver, the district had to tie teacher evaluations to measures of student growth.
Popp also reported middle school math teachers have agreed to pilot the new Pearson Math products in their effort to adopt new textbooks and online curriculum for next year.
In August, thanks to a financial gift from the USD 428 Education Foundation, the new teacher orientation on Aug. 13 will be special, Reed reported. First, breakfast will begin at 7 a.m., and Gary Anderson of One District, One Book, will be addressing the entire staff, with Humphrey the Hamster as his topic. This is the book teachers selected for the coming fall’s community-wide reading program. Dr. Monte Selby, a motivational speaker from Denver and a native Kansan, will also provide inspiration and motivation, Reed said. There will also be a business vendor fair planned for later that morning.
“This has been a spectacular year for the USD 428 Education Foundation,” Reed said. “They have worked hard, stepped up to the plate and taken on a huge responsibility donating time and effort and an investment of themselves into the district and the students.”
Financially, the foundation provided in the ball park of $30,000 in mini grant funding and an additional $8,000 for technical upgrades. Most recently they have donated another $3,000 to the back-to school kick-off.
“When you add that together, that’s north of $40,000,” he said. “Normally, they give $10,000 to $15,000. That makes this a banner year, and we can’t thank them enough.”
The board entered into two separate executive sessions, one, 30 minutes, for discussion of non elected personnel, and the other, 30 minutes, for the discussion of negotiations. No action was taken for either session.
The next regular meeting of USD 428 Board of Education will be on June 8 at 5 p.m. at the district office. Great Bend High School commencement will be at 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 17 at Memorial stadium. BOE members will assemble at the GBHS gymnasium at 4:30 p.m.