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USD 431 receives wellness grant; students help district with computer maintenance
new vlc Hoisington pic 3
USD 431 Tech Squad members learn how to attach components to a smart board. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

HOISINGTON — The USD 431 Board of Education met Monday night and heard a wellness committee report from Krisa Schneider, 3rd grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary School. The USD 431 Wellness Committee will focus on modeling good wellness habits in 2017, and will implement policies that will put the district in line to be eligible various grants, like the one that will bring water bottle filling stations to Roosevelt Elementary and Hoisington High School this year. With Clara Barton Hospital’s receipt of a Pathways grant in 2016, the district may be eligible for up to $30,000 in grants, she added.
She provided an overview of ways the district is in adherence with the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010, including requiring any entity selling snacks in the district to use the Smart Snacks Calculator, an online tool, to determine what snacks may be sold to students based on grade. The Red Zone at the high school is in compliance with this policy.
A presentation of the wellness plan will be presented to teachers on Wednesday during a professional development session.

Student techs helping district
Becky Andereck, Integration Technology specialist, reported on achievements of the Tech Squad, a student group made up of middle and high school students handpicked for their interest in technology. The students not only help with training students and staff how to use Chromebooks and iPads, but also help to troubleshoot basic technology issues.
“They are also a valuable resource because they bring to us issues the students have with technology, and also some of the things students are doing with their computers that they should not, and they are like our voice to the students,” Andereck said.
Over the past semester, the Tech Squad has received training to be able to fix screens on Chromebooks and iPads, and make other minor repairs. They have conducted seven new student orientations to the Chromebook. They have repaired 10 iPads and four Chromebooks, and one high school student, Zack Bitter, has installed GPS computers and set up a network. Bitter, Andereck said, would like to pursue technology as a career, and can frequently be found in at the tech room. The Tech Squad meets for 35 minutes every Tuesday during Seminar B. The students can visit the tech room during other seminar sessions if they are able.

First reading of new policies
Superintendent Bill Lowry gave a brief legislative report and conducted the first reading of a slate of policies recommended by the Kansas Association of School Boards for inclusion in the district’s policy manual for 2017-2018. Every Student Succeeds Act requirements make most of the policies mandatory, and mostly deal with how foster care and homeless students are treated when enrolled. Others deal with collection or unpaid school lunches, and one deals with how teachers receive aid in finding new employment following a separation or settlement. The board will have a month to review proposed policies before the second reading in February, and final action will be taken in March.

Other items of discussion and actions taken included:
• Approved a request to hold a Senior Honors Banquet. The date is to be announced.
• Approved renewal of the district’s Hoisington Chamber of Commerce membership for 2017.
• Determined that Board Recognition Night will be Monday, Jan. 16, during Winter Jam. Board members will be recognized during halftime of the boys varsity game. The game starts at 7:45 p.m.
• KASB legislative days are Jan. 12-13 in Topeka.
• Area in-service in Lyons during the day on Jan. 16.
• Wednesday, Jan. 4, teachers report back to school. Thursday, Jan. 5, students report back to school.

Board President Dan Stoskopf requested a 20-minute executive session for the purposes of discussing non-elected personnel. There was no action upon return to regular session, and the meeting was adjourned. The next regular meeting of the USD 431 Board of Education will be at 7 p.m., Monday, Feb. 6 at the District Office.