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USD 428 celebrates School Psychology Awareness
School board notes band, teacher accomplishments
Denise Boone national certificate 2019
School psychologist Denise Boone, right, is pictured with Barton County Special Services Cooperative Director Christie in Gerdes, Monday at the Great Bend USD 428 school board meeting. Boone received the “Power of One, Creating Caring Connections” certificate from the National Association of School Psychologists. The school district is also celebrating School Psychology Awareness Week.

School psychologist Denise Boone, Ed.S., was recognized at Monday’s Great Bend USD 428 Board of Education meeting, in conjunction with the National School Psychology Awareness Week. Boone, who works for the Barton County Special Services Cooperative (BCSS), was presented the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) “Power of One, Creating Caring Connections” certificate.

Christie Gerdes, BCSS director, said this recognition is for Boone’s demonstrated commitment to creating meaningful and transformative connections with others.

“Denise is that connection,” Gerdes said.

The special services cooperative has faced a shortage of school psychologists in recent years, and there is also a national shortage, Gerdes said. “We appreciate all the leadership and the strength (Boone) brings to us.”

November celebration

“Find Your Focus” is the theme of the 2019 School Psychology Awareness Week, going on this week across the county, said Andra Bauer, public information director for USD 428. Bauer provided more information about the observance.

The theme reiterates the daily work of school psychologists as they strive to help educators, students and families to engage in conversations and instruction that help students discover their gifts, interests and abilities. School psychologists serve a vital role in supporting the wellbeing of students, both emotionally and academically. 

The Barton County Special Services Cooperative operates under USD 428, but serves approximately 835 students across four school districts, Otis-Bison, Ellinwood, Hoisington, and Great Bend. BCSS employs eight staff members consisting of a combination of school psychologists, coordinators, and paraprofessionals, with Boone, Ed.S., at the head of the department.

Boone noted that school psychologists address exceptionalities that include speech, gifted, learning disabilities, developmental delays and more.  

“I have known Denise Boone since she started as a school psychologist for the cooperative,” Gerdes said. “This year has been particularly challenging with the shortage and two practicum students but Denise brings a sense of professionalism and consistency to the department that pulls the group together as a team.”

In addition to Boone, USD 428 administration extended it appreciation to: 

• School psychologist practicum students Gene Garrison and Cathie Haberman

• Special education coordinators Ashley Riley and Deanna Curtis

• Special education school psychologist paraprofessionals Kelly Hart, Morgan King and Jana Miessler

Other recognitions

Also at Monday’s meeting, GBHS band instructor Grant Mathews talked about the fall accomplishments of band members. Mathews and assistant Don Regehr recently accompanied honor band students Dalton Dicks, Sienna Cauley and August Siefkes to the Southwest District KMEA District Honor Jazz Band in Dodge City. Earlier this fall, the Panther Pride Marching Band performed at the Hoisington Labor Day parade, a 123-year tradition. They also attended the WAC Marching Festival in Dodge City and the Central States Marching Festival at KSU, receiving  II ratings at each event. At the Kansas State Fair, they received a I- and a II+.

Instructors Brandy Proffitt and Stephanie Stephens were recognized as this year’s USD 428 Horizon Award winners. They are now state nominees for the Kansas Horizon Award program, which identifies and recognizes exemplary first-year elementary and secondary classroom teachers across the state.

Angie Orth, the teaching assistant at Eisenhower Elementary, was presented with a certificate celebrating her nomination as a National LifeChanger of the Year.

Horizon teachers 2019
USD 428 Horizon Award Nominees for 2019, Stephanie Stephens, Jefferson Elementary School, and Brandy Proffitt, Great Bend Middle School, were recognized for excellence in their first year of teaching by the Board of Education. Both teachers are now in their second year of teaching in USD 428.
Angie Orth with Tandi Mai and Christine Boepple
Angie Orth, the teaching assistant at Eisenhower Elementary, was presented with a certificate celebrating her nomination as a National LifeChanger of the Year. Also pictured, Tandi Mai, left, and Christine Boepple, right, from Eisenhower Elementary.

Meeting at a glance

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

• Recognition was given for recent GBHS band honors; to this year’s Horizon Award winners, Brandy Proffitt and Stephanie Stephens; to school psychologist Denise Boone, Ed.S., in conjunction with the National School Psychology Awareness Week; and to Angie Orth, the teaching assistant at Eisenhower Elementary, for her nomination as a National LifeChanger of the Year.

• Lincoln Elementary School Principal Misty Straub, chairperson for the Great Bend Reading Initiative, provided information about the Great Bend Reading Initiative, a combined partnership between Great Bend schools and the Great Bend Public Library.

• Sue Cooper was named as the board’s next representative on the Great Bend Recreation Commission Board, after Polly Unruh’s board membership expires on Dec. 31.

• Great Bend High School Principal Tim Friess presented Curriculum Steering Committee recommendations for the 2020-2021 Program of Studies to the Board. The board will be asked to approve the changes at the December meeting. Healthy Living Committee GBHS representatives also made presentations.

• Assistant Superintendent John Popp reported that district administrators will meet with the district site council to gather feedback on re-prioritizing ballot questions on the failed bond proposal on Dec. 12. They will also discuss the Kansas Education Systems Accreditation (KESA) process and the direction and goals of the district for the next five-year cycle.

• Superintendent Khris Thexton said there will be a Community Feedback Meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 3, at the Great Bend Middle School Commons area. He also noted that the annual Kansas Association of School Boards convention will be Dec. 6-8 in Wichita, and that the school board will complete a superintendent’s evaluation before the end of the year.

• Grants and contributions were approved, along with the monthly financial presentation.