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Teachers tell district why they stay
Survey presents good information to help in retention
new deh school board pic web
The Unified School District 428 School Board listens to a report about a teacher retention survey given to district educators last spring. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

Board adopts over-the-counter medication policy

Effective this school year, parents may grant permission for their children to receive over-the-counter medications administered by Unified School District 428 nurses. A note from the student’s doctor is no longer required after the policy was approved by the School Board Monday night.

“This just makes its easier for parents,” Assistant Superintendent John Popp told the board. The schools have the forms for parents to sign, forms that will also be available on the USD 428 website.

The medications must be brought into the schools in their original marked containers, he said. This does not apply to prescription medicines and nurses will not administer non-Federal Drug Administration-approved medicines, such as essential oils or homeopathic treatments. 

Popp said the district will not stock medicines. 

 Historically, Unified School District 428 has surveyed teachers leaving the district. But, for the first time, teachers staying were asked why they wanted to remain in Great Bend, Assistant Superintendent John Popp told the USD 428 School Board Monday night.

“This gave us some good information,” Popp said of the survey taken last spring. “There’s a lot of take-aways from this.”

Mostly, these were positive, Popp said.

The district has 24 new teachers this school year and that is the lowest number in a long time, meaning more instructors are opting to stick around, he said. “It’s a good sign we are headed in the right direction.”

Teachers were asked for the top reasons why they first wanted to work with USD 428 and why they are staying. They were also asked about why they might leave and for suggestions to improve retention.

The top three reasons for coming to Great Bend included: It was their hometown; their spouse/significant other had a job here; and it was the first district to offer them a job. Other factors included the quality of the district, the competitive salary and the district’s reputation. 

Other comments included the liking the health insurance, thinking it was good city to raise a family, the athletic program and its location.

As for staying, the top three reasons were: They had established ties to the community; their spouse/significant other had a job here; and It was their hometown. They also considered the district’s quality and reputation, as well as pay as important.

Additionally, they liked their co-workers, the district’s leadership, the insurance, the use of technology and the fact Great Bend has become home.

Salary, benefits, available planning time, work load, district vision, professional development, and resources were mentioned as both top reasons for staying by some and why other might consider looking at going to another district.

To help keep teachers in the district, the respondents suggested: larger salary increases; salary schedule that rewards longevity; smaller student-to-teacher ratio; value individuals – “pat on the back”; increase planning time; decrease workload; remove ineffective teachers; be open to staff ideas/suggestions; support teachers; improve leadership; longevity bonuses – five years, 10 years, etc; more community opportunities (shopping, restaurants, etc.)

Popp said some things are already being implemented. Also, he said, the teachers said they appreciated being asked for their opinions.

“I think we’ve got a lot of good things going on in this district,” board member Susan Young said. “I think we are on the right track.”