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USD 428 celebrates a year of accomplishments
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Great Bend USD 428 held a Back-To-School Celebration for its employees last Thursday. Superintendent Brad Reed told them that Kansas educators – and especially those in Great Bend – can take pride in what they do.
Earlier in the week, at Monday’s Board of Education meeting, Reed  provided this list of district-wide accomplishments in 2014-2015:
1. Restructured the Human Resources Department at the district level to include primary administrative responsibility, consolidation of tasks, and new procedures.
2. Contracted with new third-party vendor on HR software and data collection.
3. Implemented on-line enrollment district-wide.
4. Conducted a comprehensive staffing audit which allowed for staffing upgrades and new programming with a coinciding reduction of four staff positions district-wide.
5. Created a new position of ACT/Career Counselor at Great Bend High School.
6. USD 428 became a United Way Pacesetter organization by finishing as the fourth highest United Way contributor in the community.
7. Increased communication with the community at large using technology, through 12 installments of the “Supe Talk” video magazine.
8. Put in place the pieces to administer the One District-One Book program this fall. USD 428 will be the first district in Kansas to roll out the OD-OB program.
9. USD 428 was selected as one of three Kansas school districts to be in the first statewide multi-tier system of supports (MTSS) cohort group. As a result of this selection, the district will receive top-notch professional development and training on the MTSS model, free of charge, for three years.
10. Began the process of securing all elementary school buildings in USD 428 with electronic entry systems. This will improve the safety of students and staff.
11. Purchased the Skyward Financial package to bring all internal systems under one umbrella.
12. Deepened district involvement and commitment to the Charlotte Danielson Instructional Model. This is one of three major initiatives district-wide.
13. Developed the first-ever Great Bend Business Showcase by partnering with the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce. The Showcase rolled out to teachers on Aug. 13 at the Back-To-School Celebration.
14. Will implement three-person cadres of Instructional Coaches for Technology, Math and Literacy at all seven USD 428 Education Centers.
15. Restructured the Great Bend Education Foundation to make it a true community volunteer organization.
16. Significantly improved staff morale of all district employees.
17. Became a charter member of a new middle school athletic and activities league.
18. Deepened district commitment to the Professional Learning Communities (PLC) model. This is one of three major initiatives district-wide.
19. Conducted an extremely smooth and collegial interest-based bargaining (IBB) negotiations process.
20. Secured a long-term (12 years) lease agreement with Barton Community College for the use of its swimming pool facility.
21. Instituted the Walking School Bus program at all five of district elementary schools. This program was recognized as the most successful WSB program in the state of Kansas.
22. Instituted a program for parents to be able to pay for fees, student lunches, and enrollment fees online.
23. In the process of partnering with the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce to develop a new distinction for GBHS graduates called A Diploma of Promise.
24. Deepened district commitment to the MTSS process. This is one of three major initiatives district-wide.
25. Worked with the Great Bend Education Foundation to award a record amount of over $30,000 in mini-grants to the USD 428 staff. (Total gifts to the district from the foundation was closer to $40,000).
26. Began a three-year process of implementing a full package of Advanced Placement (AP) courses at GBHS.
27. Agreed to institute an After School Program and Summer School Program at all elementary schools.  These programs will be staffed, supported, and maintained with funding and assistance from the Kansas Reading Roadmap initiative.
28. Worked to restructure the School Resource Officer agreement with the City of Great Bend for increased coverage and an improved safety environment in our schools.
29. Upgraded technology capacity throughout the school district by increasing Internet capacity from 75 mg. to 500 mg. USD 428 also upgraded its wireless capacity at Great Bend Middle School and Great Bend High School.  Approximately $600,000 was committed toward new technology across USD 428 last year.