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Teachers return to USD 428
School starts Monday, Aug. 19
428 new logo 2019

Bond issue meetings

Great Bend USD 428 Superintendent Khris Thexton said he is happy to answer people’s questions about the upcoming bond election. He will be at the Great Bend Senior Center, 2005 Kansas Ave., at 11:30 a.m. today. He will also speak at noon Wednesday at a Barton County Young Professionals luncheon at Gambino’s Pizza, 1309 Main.

Great Bend public school teachers will report for duty Wednesday, Aug. 14, for the annual Back-to-School Kick-off. Preparing for the start of a new school year on Monday, Aug. 19, was a topic at Monday’s USD 428 Board of Education meeting.

The Back-to-School Bash starts with breakfast at 7 a.m. in the GBHS Commons and a business showcase at 8:30 in the Panther Activity Center. The showcase, sponsored by the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce, will allow approximately 65 local businesses to welcome USD 428 staff.

The GBHS Band, led by the new band director, will perform shortly before 8.

Monday will be the first day of school for elementary students, although kindergartners will only attend for half-days on Aug. 19 and 20 before starting the routine of full days on Aug. 21. Monday will also be the first day of school for seventh graders at GBMS and freshmen at GBHS. Eighth graders and high school sophomores, juniors and seniors won’t start school until next Tuesday, Aug. 20.

Also coming up is the public budget hearing, set for 7:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 16, at the District Education Center, 201 South Patton Road.

Professional development

Teachers will be at work this Tuesday, and new teacher orientation was held Monday. 

Director of Teaching and Learning Trish Reiser said Visible Learning expert Kristin Anderson will work with teachers and administrators Thursday on planning and implementing Kansas State Department of Education learning standards for each content area. The focus will be on “Teacher Clarity (Rigor) and making the learning visible to students.”

“Visible learning” is the title of a book by education researcher Dr. John Hattie (who has previously visited the school district). The website describes it as a method of self-evaluation for teachers. “Visible Learning and Teaching occurs when teachers see learning through the eyes of students and help them become their own teachers.”

Assistant Superintendent John Popp added, “The next thing is really increasing the rigor — elevating what happens in the classroom to take them to the next level.”

Personnel update

Popp reported that most of the district’s personnel positions are filled. “I wish I could say all of the positions are filled,” he said. The district received a late resignation from the elementary school librarian, Joy Boyd, that will be covered by staff, including a “library tech.” The district has not received any applications for the elementary library position.

There are five open positions that will be filled with long-term substitute teachers: two high school English positions, one middle school science position, a sixth-grade teacher at Eisenhower Elementary and a fourth-grade teacher at Riley Elementary. Positions for a school psychologist, a middle school teacher of English as a Second Language, and the elementary librarian remain open.

Meanwhile, Reiser reported that the district is working on a five-year plan for all school libraries. “We want kids to really enjoy coming to the library,” she said. At the middle school and high school, the plans will include using the libraries as a Maker Space.

Action items

In other business, the board:

• Gave approval for the administration to release bid specifications for a 10-passenger van and two full-size sport utility vehicles, to upgrade the district fleet.

• Approved accepting contributions to the district, including $28,943 from the Park Elementary School Booster Club for the construction of a canopy structure over the picnic area/outdoor tables in the playground area next to the school. First Presbyterian Church of Great Bend donated student clothing to the elementary school offices. Lincoln Elementary received $24.48 from Consumer Relations for label rebates and Riley Elementary received $279.54 from Kroger for incentive rebates.

• Kelly McClure was hired as a family support worker at Eisenhower Elementary and Melissa Schlegel was hired to teach special education for Barton County Special Services at Hoisington Middle School. The board accepted the resignation of elementary librarian Joy Boyd.

Open houses, printed calendars

Parents and students can meet teachers at school open houses:

• Lincoln Elementary, 6-7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15

• Eisenhower Elementary, 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 22

• Jefferson Elementary, 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 22

• Riley Elementary, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 22 (open house and carnival)

• Park Elementary, 6:30-8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 27 (open house and barbecue)

• Great Bend High School, 5:30 p.m. meal and 6:30 p.m. meeting  Tuesday, Sept. 3

• Great Bend Middle School, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24

Large school calendars are now available for $3 each at the District Education Center, 201 South Patton Road.

Meeting at a glance

Here’s a quick look at Monday’s Great Bend USD 428 Board of Education meeting:

• The administration received the board’s approval to release bid information for new fleet vehicles.

• Assistant Superintendent John Popp and Director of Teaching and Learning Trish Reiser reported on items including curriculum items, the district’s library program and vision, professional development, and personnel.

• Superintendent Khris Thexton reported on the upcoming bond election, summer projects, enrollment and more.

• The board approved contributions and personnel changes.