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Students earn Seal of Biliteracy
biliteracy seal
Three of the nine Great Bend High School seniors who earned a Kansas Seal of Biliteracy certificate attended Monday’s school board meeting. Pictured are, from left: Carlos Franco, Mayra Vega and Ruth Reyes.

Nine Great Bend High School seniors have earned the “Seal of Biliteracy” certificate awarded by the Kansas State Department of Education. Zusseth Pinillo, the GBHS Spanish instructor, introduced three of the students at Monday’s USD 428 Board of Education.

This is the second year for GBHS to offer the certificate to recognize any student who has attained proficiency in English and one or more other world languages by the time the student graduates. The recognition for attaining biliteracy becomes part of a student’s high school record.

KDSE notes the seal is a statement of accomplishment that recognizes a student’s readiness for career and college, and for engagement as a global citizen. It explicitly addresses the Career and Technical Education foundational skill of communicating “respectfully and effectively with people of different cultures and diverse perspectives.”

Great Bend migrant facilitator Gui Burley documented the students’ achievements and submitted them to the KSDE for review. Pinillo noted that this entailed a lot of work as the relatively new program “went through major changes” this year.

Seniors Carlos Franco and Ruth Gonzalez earned the Platinum Seal of Biliteracy. Seven others earned the Gold Seal: Jesús Bujanda, Paola Martinez, Monica Perales, Priscilla Ramirez, Ruth Reyes, Eric C. Vazquez and Mayra Vega.

Personnel report

Assistant Superintendent John Popp said the district typically hires about 30 new teachers each year, as about 10 percent of the staff retires or resigns. Teachers have until May 31 to announce if they do not intend to renew their contracts.

The board approved the following licensed teacher appointments: MacKenzie Fabrizius, grade 6 at Jefferson Elementary School; Elizabeth Hartshorn, grade 6 at Riley Elementary School; Gwen McDonald, grade 5 at Riley; Kayla Jones, grade 8 math at Great Bend Middle School; Dorothy Leidig, grade 4 at Park Elementary School; Hannah Sites, Special Education for Barton County Special Services; Rhonda Mock, grade 7 science at GBMS; and Cassidy Childs, music teacher at Jefferson.

The board also approved the appointment of EuGene Garrison, a school psychologist for Barton County Special Services.

The board approved the following teacher resignations: Miranda Drouillard, grade 4 at Jefferson; Dr. Sherri Brantley, math coach at GBMS; Renee Buntain, literacy coach at GBMS; Rae Allman, teacher at Helping Hands Preschool; Robert Brungardt, Special Education teacher at Hoisington Middle School; Lacey Bonine, kindergarten at Eisenhower Elementary School; Joseph Bliven, grade 7 science at GBMS; and Lauren Turner, Special Education teacher at Lincoln Elementary School.

Contributions are grant submissions

The board approved the following contributions and grant submissions:

• School Mental Health Initiative (SMHI) Grant through the Technical Assistance Systems Network (TASN). Acceptance of the grant would align mental health efforts between the district’s trauma-responsive schools and mental health community partners. The stipend provides $5,000 the first year and $2,500 the second year for both the district and the community partners.

• $4,300 in contributions on behalf of multiple donors for the Perfect Attendance Bicycle Giveaway program (7th year) to purchase bicycles for the incentive program previously approved by the board.

• GBHS Vocational Technical Club (VTC) received $50 from Bob and Jan Elliott, $200 from Murphy Tractor and Equipment Co., $400 from Desmarais LLC, $500 from Jeff and Susan Milholland

• GBHS received $6,380.50 in anonymous donations to purchase athletic equipment.

• GBHS received $2,363.74 from Golden Belt Community Foundation to purchase two touch pads for the Barton Community College swimming pool.

• Dana Wilson, Helping Hands Preschool nurse, will apply for a Golden Belt Grant for $4,140 to purchase an OAE (Otoacoustic Emissions) hearing-screening machine.

• Kroger contributed $282.69 to Riley Elementary and $382.66 to Lincoln Elementary for reward card incentives.

• First Baptist Church donated $50 each to Jefferson and Eisenhower Elementary Schools for their lunch program.

• Eisenhower Elementary received a $25 contribution from Patricia Wolf.

• Schools received Box Tops for Education checks from General Mills: Lincoln Elementary, $237.10; Riley Elementary, $75.40; Washington Early Education, $15; and GBMS, $50.