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USD 428 teachers take ACT training
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Great Bend USD 428 students should be better equipped to maximize their scores on ACT testing, thanks to an in-service workshop attended by several teachers.
Great Bend High School English teacher Kayci Scott and math teachers Alyssa Kroeker and Andy Wesner addressed the school board Monday evening to talk about their workshop coordinated by Carolyn Devane. Devane addressed such topics at practice testing, and English, reading, math and science test-taking strategies.   
“It’s one of the most beneficial in-services I have been to,” Wesner said.
Scott, an English teacher, endorsed the idea of progressing toward achieving the Common Core standards.
“Our movement towards the Common Core standards will really help our ACT scores, especially as we focus on those standards as an English department. Our Kansas Reading assessment focuses very little on what the Common Core standards will address. We don’t have a lot of grammar questions on the reading assessment that we will have on the Common Core standards.”
Scott believes the state reading assessment relies a large part with reading comprehension.
“A large part of ACT testing is heavily based on grammar and usage and that’s not found on reading assessment,” she said. “Some of that will be brought back with Common Core. We will have to immerse ourselves back into grammar.” 
Kroeker said it’s good strategy to take rigorous math classes such as Algebra II to fare well on the ACT. The 60-minute test features 60 questions.
“You should do all the easy ones and mark off the ones you know in about 45 minutes,” she said. “You need to know when to switch problems. You do the most difficult ones in the remaining 15 minutes. When you get stuck, she talked about back solving. When you are given a multiple choice answer, you should look at an answer in the middle and see whether it’s too low or too high.”
Kroeker said a student should always have a game plan to taking multiple choice tests.
“You need to know how to take a multiple choice test. The answer is there,” she said. “You should eyeball the figure. They are drawn to scale. If they have a triangle and if you measure it, it should be exact.”
Wesner said his department is working on ACT test results and trying to implement strategies that help improve scores.
“Using strategies can help,” he said. “We have a plan to increase overall scores, but especially ACT scores. ACT is at a higher level of learning than state assessments. We need to continue to raise the bar from where we set it. We need to continue push our students to do the best they can be.”
Wesner said he is mindful that Great Bend High School has changed its vision statement to properly work on getting the best out of students.
The vision statement reads, “GBHS staff and students will maintain a culture of respect while taking responsibility for setting high expectations for all to reach their full potential.”
In other action:
• ROSE Award — Alana Blessing was recognized for the monthly Recognizing Outstanding Support of Education Award. Blessing, a Family Support Worker at Park Elementary School, realized on Dec. 22 that a student and family would have no Christmas because of financial circumstances. Blessing acted promptly and with money from herself and three others purchased Christmas presents and delivered the wrapped gifts to the family’s garage, thereby giving this student, two siblings, and the mother a happy Christmas surprise.
• Athletic Training — Great Bend currently employs Ryan Zink of Advance Therapy as athletic trainer for 930 hours of service for $21,948 per year.  In addition, the district pays $25 per hour for each full hour worked in excess of the 930 hours per contract period.
Great Bend adminstration has recommended development of USD 428’s forthcoming Request for Proposal, language be added indicating that the selected athletic trainer will let students shadow the trainer and will provide basic information to student trainers regarding injuries and treatments.
Garden City, Liberal and Dodge City employ full-time athletic trainers who ares paid by the school districts. The Dodge City trainer also teachers health career classes. Hays contracts with High Plains Sports Medicine, a similar arrangement as Great Bend.
• District Calendar — An option of four calendars is available for public input on the district’s website.
The calendar Committee developed Calendar Option 4 and removed Option 3 from consideration. A survey for staff, students, parents, and community members was placed on the district’s website for interested persons to provide feedback. The BOE will be asked to approve a district calendar for 2012-2013 during the March meeting.
• BOE Luncheon Meeting will be held at noon Feb. 21 at Park Elementary School.