Graduation rates may be on the rise at Great Bend USD 428. Assistant Superintendent John Popp reports the four-year graduation rate rose to 82.7 percent in 2018, the highest it has been since 2013. The five-year graduation rate was 84.5 percent.
“Significantly fewer kids withdrew from the high school this year compared to years past,” Popp said in July 2019.
In 2018-2019, 13 of the 872 students at Great Bend High School dropped out — about half of what the school has seen in the past, Popp said. The most common reason listed for withdrawal is that they quit. The district also counts those who leave to attend the Barton County Academy or earn a General Equivalency Diploma, those who run away and those expelled, as well as those who leave for “unknown” and “other” reasons.
“I’m anticipating we’re going to see some graduation growth in the next two years,” Popp said.
Popp said he isn’t really sure why fewer kids dropped out, but he suggested a few possible reasons.
“We have increased focus on attendance, and focused on helping kids pass their freshman classes with the freshman academy the JAG program for students who may struggle, and so on.”
That information was shared at Monday’s Great Bend USD 428 Board of Education meeting, where Popp also summarized the personnel turnover and new hires for the past year. There were:
• 65 position changes
• 5 retirements (three fewer than the previous year)
• 35 resignations (up two from last year)
• 25 transfers
• 33 new-to-district hires
• 2 position reductions
• 0 positions added
There are 14 positions yet to be hired. These are:
• Great Bend High School - instruction coach, two English teachers and a math teacher
• Great Bend Middle School - 7th-grade English, English as a Second Language, 8th-grade math
• Eisenhower - grade 6
• Riley - grade 4
• Special Education - three school psychologists and one special ed teacher for Hoisington Middle School
Grant applications and contributions
At Monday’s meeting, the school board also approved the following contributions and grant application requests:
• $13,500 in donations from the GBHS Booster Club to purchase “The Gun” Shoot-A-Way basketball machine, soccer goals with wheels for turf use, and a soccer scoreboard for Cavanaugh Field
• $650 from the GBMS Booster Club to purchase league championship banners
• Contributions from the Sunflower Bank ABC Program: $270.65 to Eisenhower, $249.30 to Jefferson, $159.00 to Lincoln; $247.90 to Park; $222.80 to Riley; $189.25 to GBMS and $519.15 to GBHS
• Abigail Jonas at Jefferson Elementary applied for and will accept a $1,000 grant from Animal Medical Center. The grant provides funds to purchase Flexible Seating for her kindergarten classroom.