Other items of discussion included:
Heard a report from Karla Reisner and FCCLA members Kirk Reisner, Jada Clone, Spencer Romeiser, and Kayleigh Bitter on projects students completed and competed with at the state and national levels of competition.
Adopted new KASB policy recommendations.
Approved the republishing of the district’s budget for 2014-2015. This is to cover flow-through from KPERS, which flows in and out on a daily basis, in order to avoid an audit penalty. Approved republishing of the budget with a hearing coming up in June.
Approved the extension of the district’s contract with Providence Working Dogs.
Approved extending the Superintendent the authority to approve all bus trips. This was necessary due to a change in insurance.
Approved funding for the Walking School Bus program to continue through the 2015-2016 school year.
Two teachers who have served the district for many years are retiring and the district will host receptions for them. Lincoln Elementary School teacher Deb Dehaven’s will be on Wednesday, May 13. Hoisington High School custodian Lloyd Harms’ will be on Thursday, May 14.
“Pathway” is another buzz word parents of middle and high school students will need to get used to in coming years. Picture clusters of classes, with each class being essential to a particular group of similar careers. This was the main focus of new business at the USD 431 Hoisington Board of Education meeting Monday night.
High School counselor Amanda Brack explained how recoding some classes will allow her to include them in two new career pathways at the high school. They include a government and public administration pathway and a science, technology, engineering and math (S.T.E.M.) pathway. By doing so, some classes will offer different content, while others will now be obsolete and will be eliminated. In addition, some classes will have different descriptive names which better reflect the content to be taught. This will better inform students when it comes time for registration, Brack said.
Finally, peer mentoring will now be recognized as a pathway “completer” class, and go by the name “project management.” By participating in this class, students will be able to complete more than one pathway. The board approved her request to make the changes to the high school class listings so registration could move forward.
Board member Maggie Alderdice, concerned about a trend towards scaling back history in texts, asked Brack if textbooks for the classes mentioned would be the same. Superintendent Lowry interjected that they would, and additional curriculum would be added.
By increasing the number of career pathways offered at the high school, in addition to helping students make more informed choices about their future careers, the district is positioning itself to receive more funding years down the road. Especially if block grant funding is approved, Lowry said. He cited legislators who were strong supporters of the pathways concept.
Later, in his legislative report, Lowry expanded. The Kansas Supreme Court has authorized the three-judge panel hearing motions on the Ganon case Thursday has the authority to make a decision on whether block funding is adequate or not. In addition, he foresees the potential for HB 2104, having to do with school funding, and HB 2107, having to do with statutory restrictions on schools both becoming “gut and go bills,” in which the original content is replaced with revised content after the period for which further debate and changes can be made. This will force the legislature to vote, either for or against the bill, a tactic used at the end of the 2014 legislative session to in effect eliminate teacher due process. Closer to home, Lowry reported information on the coming school bond issue election will be printed in The Hoisington Dispatch for the next two weeks, leading up to the mailing of ballots on May 29. The election will be to approve a bond to build a new school to replace Lincoln Elementary School, and to remodel all other district schools for better security. The last day to register to vote is May 26. Ballots must be returned by June 16.
Changing career search programs
Brack explained why the district is switching from Kansas Career Pathways to the ACT Profiles for career inventory. Pathways is an expensive program compared to Profiles, and when students register for the program, she can receive access to the data in order to better help them with their career search. In the future, she may be able to assist students as low as grade six to begin focusing on their career paths.
The USD 431 Board of Education will meet next on June 1 at 7 p.m. at the district office. High school graduation will be at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 10, at the Hoisington Activity Center.