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Turnover in GBMS Music Program coming
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Mr. Kurtis Koch, Teacher of Instrumental Music at GBMS, will retire at the end of the school year. Here, he previews a piece to be played by the Eighth Grade GBMS band at the 2013 Spring concert. Mrs. Andrea Gardner, Teacher of Vocal Music at GBMS will also leave at the end of the school year, as the USD 428 B.O.E. approved her resignation on Tuesday. - photo by Veronica Coons

The USD 428 Board of Education met for a noon meeting at Lincoln Elementary school Tuesday, and approved requests that will mean a major turnover in the music programs at Great Bend Middle School for the next school year.  Board members approved the certified teacher retirement of Mr. Kurtis Koch, Teacher of Instrumental Music, and the certified teacher resignation of Mrs. Andrea Gardner, Teacher of Vocal Music at Great Bend Middle School.  Gardner and her husband will be moving to the Goddard area.

Koch has enjoyed a 38-year career, 34 of them with USD 428.  For at least the last 10 years, he has been primarily the middle school instrumental teacher while also helping at the elementary level and high school as well.  It will be a challenge to fill his shoes, but the district will look for someone who can fill his schedule, Superintendent Vernon said in an email following the meeting.  

“Mrs. Gardner has done a very good job and will be hard to replace,” Vernon also said.

Mrs. Amanda Jaworsky, Teacher of Grade 6 at Lincoln Elementary School, and of Ms. Kelly Laudermilk, Teacher of Grade 4 at Riley elementary also received approvals for their resignations.  Vernon said Jaworsky and her husband will be moving to the Newton area, and of Ms. Kelly Laudermilk will be moving to the Hutchinson area.

Lincoln Elementary School Principal Misty Straub and staff members shared information about progress being made with the school plan.

“We’ve identified our strengths and our areas of concern, and created goals for where we want to be in the next year,” Straub said.  

The school is a Success for All school, and Straub explained how their success network is helping teachers to make changes needed to implement Common Core practices by next year,  

Board president Dwight Young inquired about changes in demographics at the school.  Straub said she is a product of Lincoln Elementary School, and she remembers from a child’s perspective that they were different at the time she attended school.  Today, the number of students who come from single parent families are on the rise.  Five years ago, 48 percent of students qualified for the free and reduced lunch program, while today that number has increased to 56 percent.  The number of students that are considered English Language Learners and/or migrant students is very low, but the number of foster children and students with disabilities has increased.  Regardless, Straub says the school continues to have a solid 300 student enrollment from year to year.

Other board actions taken included:

*  Approval of Jefferson Elementary School Principal Art Baker’s request to approve an application for a Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center School Field Trip Grant for Jefferson students.  The grant funds up to $500 in travel expenses to send 31 students and up to five sponsors to the center in Hutchinson for a spring field trip.   
*  Approved receiving a supplemental 21st Century Grant for $55,000 awarded to the district for use at Riley and Park elementary schools.  The money will purchase mini iPad trays, pay for summer school, and provide guitars for a guitar club planned for Park Elementary.
*  Updated on progress of acquiring the new Special Education bus the board approved purchase of using grant money earlier this year.  The new bus has passed all EPA specifications, and has now been ordered and will be delivered after the first of July.
*  Appointed board member Doug Bender to sit on the City of Great Bend’s E-3 committee, a joint effort between the city and Barton Community College to utilize the current convention center as both a convention center and a job training facility.  
The board met in executive session for 20 minutes for discussion of non-elected personnel.  No action was taken.  

The next meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m., April 8, at the District Offices.