The Great Bend USD 428 Board of Education recognized the Great Bend High School girls bowling team on Monday, celebrating their state championship with 3,161 pins. During the period of the meeting set aside for recognitions, the board also expressed its appreciation to the many volunteers who generously assist in various school capacities.
Bowling team members are Kaylin Wahlmeier, who had 584 pins; Sahara Rziha, 586; Aliyah Fryberger, 555; Zoey Mayberry, 591; Emilee Nelson, 565; and Paige Heine, 340. The board congratulated all team members, coach David Feldbauer and assistant coach Jordan Vsetecka.
When recognizing volunteers, Superintendent Khris Thexton noted that they provide, on average, 67 hours each week across the district, with many additional hours for special events. “USD 428 acknowledges the importance of all who volunteer their time for the benefit of students.”
Meeting at a glance
Here’s a quick look at what the Great Bend USD 428 Board of Education did at Monday’s meeting.
• Approved the next math curriculum for grades 7-12.
• Approved the 2024-25 school calendar.
• Had “first readings” of the GBMS Program of Studies, Student Handbooks, Teacher Handbooks and the Activities and Athletics Handbooks, all for the 2023-2024 school year. These will be approved in May after a second reading.
• Renewed the Kansas Association of School Boards membership. The membership cost for 2023-2024 is $11,718.35, $43.84 more than the previous year’s rate. The board also approved renewing participation in the Legal Assistance Fund at $2,750, a $450 increase from last year. The total cost for renewal is $14,468.35.
• Approved the Guaranteed Energy Performance RFQ (requests for qualifications).
Assistant Superintendent John Popp explained that, based on a Feasibility Scope Study by Willidan Inc., USD 428 has qualified for a grant that provides energy and operation assistance. Therefore, the district wishes to solicit proposals for the services of a Guaranteed Energy Performance Contract.
• Approved student insurance for 2023-2024.
The district maintains student insurance for school-sponsored and supervised activities. For 2023-2024 the administration recommended coverage through KERMP First Agency Student Accident with a plan providing no deductible and a maximum benefit per claim of $25,000, as scheduled. The fee for last year was $15,867.45. This year’s total is $18,073.50.
• Heard assistant superintendents’ reports from John Popp and Tricia Reiser. They focused on the Kansas Education Systems Accreditation (KESA) Outside Validation Team reviewing the district’s progress over the past year; state assessments, which are in full swing for reading, math, science and social studies; recent activities by the Vaping Task Force; last week’s Preschool and Kindergarten Pre-Enrollment Information Fair; plans for Summer School and summer professional development opportunities; and personnel. “We have a lot of positions open,” Popp said.
• Heard the Superintendent’s report from Khris Thexton. He gave the latest Legislative update; mentioned the Employee Recognition Banquet set for May 10 and the Interest-Based Bargaining (IBB) meeting set for April 27; and talked about project updates.
• Approved contributions and grant applications, as well as the financial report.
• Approved personnel changes.
• Met in executive session to discuss an individual employee’s performance pursuant to non-elected personnel exception under the Kansas Open Meetings Act.
Great Bend prepares for summer school
The 2022-2023 school year will be wrapping up in a few weeks and pre-enrollment has begun for the 2023-2024 year. Plans are also being made for another session of Summer School, Assistant Superintendent Tricia Reiser told the Great Bend school board Monday.
Pre-enrollment started last Wednesday with schools welcoming 200 new kindergartners and preschoolers to USD 428 during an informational event. All of the elementary schools and preschools were featured, with 50 USD 428 staff members giving their time to welcome families. There were also 14 community vendors there to provide educational and health resources to those families.
“Now our pre-enrollment packets are available on our website under the Early Childhood tab, and we’ve also made those available in the buildings,” Reiser said.
Moving onto Summer School, Reiser said the district is offering an invitation to incoming kindergartners and preschoolers to attend the first part of Summer School, which is by invitation only.
The middle school and high school summer program will be handled as it was in the past, with students able to finish or make up credits during the month of June.
“Then for the elementary, we’re doing something a little different this year,” she said. There will be three weeks of academic summer school by invitation only at the five elementary schools. Teachers will focus on reading, math, and social-emotional skills. Hours will be 8:30 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday.
After that, any student in grades 1-5 can attend three weeks of enrichment classes. The students can be from any school but the classes will only be offered at the Jefferson and Riley attendance centers. They will start during the last week of June, take a week off during, including being off for the Fourth of July, and then continue for two more weeks. These classes will run from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to noon on Fridays.
The district will provide free breakfast and lunch for all students.
In action items Monday, the school board approved the retirement of Great Bend Middle School Principal David Reiser and the resignations of four teachers: Ryan Zink, teacher of sports medicine and athletic trainer at Great Bend High School; Daniel Murray, science teacher at GBHS; Denton Lewis, social studies teacher at GBHS; and Kenzie Unruh, special education teacher at Lincoln Elementary School.
Grants and contributions
The board also approved a $5,914.65 donation from the Eisenhower Parent-Teacher Organization for the purchase of playground equipment.
Other grants and contributions approved included:
• $250 from Wheatland Electric to the sixth-grade band and orchestra program, for student T-shirts.
• USD 428 Director of Food Service Kristy Alvord will again apply for a USDA Fresh Fruits and Vegetable grant. This grant provides healthier snack choices in schools and introduces a variety of produce that students may not otherwise have the opportunity to sample.
• Travis Straub attended an AGC conference last week and was given a $250 grant. He would like the grant to go into the GBHS Woods account.