USD 428 Board of Education officials Monday met in regular session at the District Office where they heard from Great Bend High School basketball and football coaches Chris Battin and Tony Crough about the summer weights program and from Athletic Director David Meter about the summer athletics program plans for the coming months.
Through consultation with Andrea Hudy, Kansas University strength coach, Battin and Crough have designed a new, non-linear training program that they plan to implement with all students, both athletes and non-athletes.
“Our goal is to improve the overall fitness of the entire student body,” Crough said.
The new program will be better suited for training athletes who compete in more than one sport, and will be adjustable depending on where the students are in their year, Battin said.
“This will allow us to individualize a plan for students,” he said. “Right now, our kids are breaking down and wearing down.”
Athletic director Dave Meter echoed Battin.
“Our kids have always worked hard,” he said. “Our problem is, we’re burning kids out. Over time, this hasn’t paid off. Our goal this year is to train hard, but train smarter.”
The new program will be open to all students. Zero hour, before school, will be an important part of the program, but students will not be required to take part. It will be up to them. Crough hopes it will also help turn around the culture of the school. Currently, male and female athletes have self-segregated when it comes to weight training, he explained.
“We hope to reunite the whole school and get everyone lifting together,” Crough said. “We feel this will purl our student body together.”
In a related discussion, the board voted in favor of a motion by Dwight Young to pursue an athletic trainer class curriculum and develop a letter for students that receive training and serve as team student trainers. Khris Thexton brought up a proposal for an athletic training class with Ryan Zink, which would be an introductory class, and could be the first step stepping stone for students interested in pursuing a career in physical therapy.
Great Bend Middle School students in Bobbi-Jo Grieb’s science class presented their research to the Board of Education’s regular board meeting Monday night. They provided food for thought about what the district spends in paper towels and the money that could be saved by switching to air driers in restrooms instead. The pros included not only savings from the purchase of paper towels, but also the garbage bags that are used to dispose of them, not to mention the time and labor by janitorial staff, and the elimination of vandalism by students clogging toilets when flushing paper towels.
The cons included increased spending on electricity, too much time spent in the bathroom during already short passing periods for middle and high school students, and noise pollution.
Board members asked questions and praised the students for their thorough inquiries and research. Grieb thanked the board for giving the students the opportunity to present and for the chance to make their voices heard.
Khris Thexton, USD 428 Director of Finance and Operations, presented bids for a new 2014 school bus to be used by Special Services. The 59 passenger bus will have for wheelchair spaces. Two bids were received, and included the trade-in of a 1991 bus. Kansas Truck Equipment bid $103,414.00 on a Bluebird model and Midwest Bus Sales bid $102,121.00 on a Thomas model.
Board member Doug Bender asked if the district could do better selling the used bus privately. Thexton’s response was it would be a hard sell, and the benefits of the trade-in outweighed any gain that could be realized from disposing of it independently.
Thexton recommended approval of the Midwest bid because the body specifications for the two buses were equal in quality, and
Marketing Health Insurance
Thexton suggested the district market their independent health insurance, but the cost of doing so led board members to question whether it was time to make a more drastic change might be at hand. . It will cost the district $12,375 plus a per-hour charge for time beyond specifics for the consulting, advertising and bidding process to find the most efficient administrator of the district’s self-funded plan. Board member Wade Babcock inquired if the district should include a comparison of other insurance plans to determine if the self-funded plan was still the best option.
The district is currently self-insured through a plan that is “grandfathered” under the Affordable Care Act, meaning it does not require full compliance with the minimum requirements of the Affordable Care Act, provided significant changes to the plan or adoption of a new plan does not occur. Should changes be made, it could require the current plan comply with the new standards, which another plan might provide at a cost savings. Changing third party administration will not violate the grandfather clause. Thexton will provide new data at the June meeting.
John Popp, Director of Curriculum, gave a report on teacher activities for Curriculum Day, which was April 21. Teachers focused on Building Improvement Plans and worked on mapping curriculum for the transition to the College and Career Readiness Standards, which include the Common Core.
In the afternoon, Popp said teachers met within their buildings to look across grade levels to find gaps in CCRS content.
While Kansas State Assessments are over for the year, the data collected is not considered valid or useful, other than for the purposes of testing out the testing system, Popp said. Still, the district needs to be able to assess students. The AimsWeb assessment is helping make that possible, he said.
The district is also beginning to implement facets of the Multi-Tiered System of Supports, a statewide system for ensuring students are not falling through the cracks.
MTSS will help more kids will be successful, because all children will get access to the full curriculum, Popp said, because those who don’t fall behind. The guiding principle of MTSS says students get the full curriculum, and they receive extra tiers of support through small group interventions and one-to-one tutoring to help them keep up with their peers. The middle school is working through ways to schedule interventions currently.
“The most important thing is, teachers will not be basing decisions off feelings,” Popp said. “Now, they will have data to base decisions on.”
Other discussion and action included:
* Thexton provided an update on the Great Bend Middle School handrail project and the Riley Elementary School HVAC project. The handrails at the new gymnasium have been installed, with painting yet to be completed. At Riley, work has begun and will continue after hours through the end of school.
* Board member Doug Bender commented on volunteers from several high school activities groups who came out to volunteer their service and talents at the grand opening of the Ace Hardware store in April.
* Approval of the Board of Education meeting schedule for the 2014-2015 school year.
* Approval of the District Education Center weekly schedule for summer. Beginning May 30, the office will be closed Friday afternoons until August 1. Employees will have the opportunity to work their number of contracted hours.
* Approval of an administration request to republish the district 2013-2014 budget to include increased FTE weighting. This republishing is for an additional $40,299.00 in state aid, which does not increase the local effort.
* Thexton presented four bids for the district paper contract for the 2014-2015 school year, with the low bid provided by Contract Paper Group from Uniontown, Ohio for $25,490.00 for 960 cartons of paper. The local bid by Office Products, Inc. was also the highest bid at $26,696.00.
* Approval of a request to set a brief special meeting on Friday, June 27 at 7:30 a.m. at which the administration will propose expenditures, transfers and closing balances for the 2013-2014 budget.
* Approval of a grant for Riley Elementary School awarded by the Kansas Department of Transportation for a Walking School Bus project. The grant of $2,000 will fund a coordinator’s stipend as well of other costs of marketing and student volunteer incentives.
* Approval of acceptance of a $100 gift certificate for Eisenhower Elementary School to US Games from the American Cancer Society. The school raised $1,592 during their Jump Rope for Heart event, and the gift recognizes their effort.
* Approval of a $4,500 contribution from Janis Link through Chase Well Service for Park Elementary School. The funds will be used for three expenditures: a cooking range for teachers’ use for celebrations of student successes; three additional outside tables for the playground area; and external lettering for clearer east-side Park Elementary School identification.
* Approval of the resignations of Mr. Jess Rutledge, social studies teacher at Great Bend Middle School and Ms. Shauna Young, second grade teacher at Riley Elementary School; Cody Lee, business teacher at Great Bend High School; and Josh Lee, math teacher at Great Bend High School.
* Approval of the appointments of five teachers: Mr. Rae Allman, second grade teacher at Park Elementary School; Ms. Katie Jo Lear, math teacher at Great Bend Middle School; Ms. Jennifer Meitler, SFA teacher and tutor at Lincoln Elementary School; Mrs. Cara Negaard, family and consumer science teacher at Great Bend High School; Ms. Amanda Stansfield, second grade teacher at Eisenhower Elementary School.
The board entered into a 15 minute executive session for the discussion of negotiations. No action was taken.
The next regular meeting of the board will be Monday, June 9 at 5 p.m. at the District Offices. Board members will meet at 4:30 p.m.,May 18, at the Great Bend High School gymnasium for participation at the GBHS Commencement ceremony at 5 p.m.