Members of the Great Bend USD 428 Board of Education plan to tour the district bus barn at 12th and Williams St. at noon Tuesday, Dec. 6. Superintendent Brad Reed said the tour should take about 30 minutes.
Reed noted that the administration’s proposal to build a bus barn/maintenance building next to the District Education Center was presented at the last school board meeting, along with a proposal to remodel the Education Center.
The tour date was set when the board held a luncheon meeting on Wednesday at Jefferson Elementary School.
During that meeting, the board approved a $2,205 gift from the Panther Booster Club for purchasing WAC banners to be installed and displayed on the west wall of the Great Bend High School gymnasium. The banners will identify past and current Western Athletic Conference championships in 16 sports and will be a source of Panther Pride for students and community members, administrators said.
Jefferson Principal Kip Wilson and staff gave the building report. Like other schools in the district, Jefferson gives students tests in the fall, winter and spring to measure their levels of proficiency in reading and math. These tests show where improvement is needed.
“We get very specific at pinpointing what skills are needed,” Wilson said.
Jefferson’s instructional coaches elaborated on how the information is used.
For example, Math Coach Janell Foote’s wall is covered with sticky notes of various colors, each representing a student, that are arranged into groups of skill sets. She’s been told it looks like she’s a coach planning a football game and moving players around. This sorting process allows the staff to place each student in a 30-minute class that emphasizes an area where the student needs extra help.
The English Language Arts Coach, Becky Demel, has a similar system. So, whether a student needs to spend more time on phonics or mastering the tricky “silent E,” there’s a plan to master the skills and improve.
Wilson also talked about how Jefferson Elementary uses social media, noting most of the parents are on Facebook. The school’s Facebook page shows “Hard Work Selfies” and other photos. The school also has a tradition of inviting one student who has experienced a successful day to phone home each day with the good news. A photo of a girl making the “Good News Call of the Day” reached more than 4,300 people when posted on Facebook.
“It’s been a nice way to celebrate student achievement and let people know what’s going on,” Wilson said. The staff secured clearance from parents so it could post photos.