Goessel superintendent John Fast, who also is the elementary school principal, told the school board at the Jan. 14 meeting that Weston Hiebert had come to the elementary school the previous week to talk to each class.
Hiebert is a Goessel High School graduate and a Kansas State University football player. His visit was a reward to the elementary students for reaching their goal of donating 375 food items for the Tabor Mennonite Church food pantry before Christmas.
Hiebert wore his football uniform and brought his football along. He told the students about the importance of working hard and learning in school.
Turning to another matter, Scott Boden, junior/senior high school principal, reported to the board that laptop computers have now been assigned to individual students as of Jan. 3, the day they returned to school after the Christmas break.
For now, students may use their computer only at school. Boden said the next step is to develop policies and procedures that will allow students to take their assigned computer home.
The intent is to provide more computer access for junior high school students. Boden said most schools charge a fee for providing individual computers to students.
In other business, the board:
• heard that Zana Manche, high school agriculture education teacher, received the 2013 Kansas Horizon Award, sponsored by the Kansas State Department of Education and the Kansas Cable Telecommunications Association.
Boden said to be eligible for the award, teachers must have successfully completed their first year of teaching and must have performed in such a way as to distinguish themselves as outstanding. Boden said the award goes to 32 first-year teachers. The board acknowledged Manche’s achievement.
• heard that Ann Voth died, and her funeral was planned for Jan. 16 at Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church. Fast said Voth was a much-loved school cook for 31 years, from 1966 to 1997.
“She worked very hard for our school system,” Fast said. He encouraged board members to show support to Voth’s family.
• heard that Tina Schrag and Darcy Nickel have agreed to chair the KIDS (Keep Improving District Schools) committee. They will be planning the campaign for April 2.
• heard that students would not have school Jan. 21, Martin Luther King, Jr. day. Teachers would have an in-service day on common core training. They also would be updated on the facility renovation plan. Crisis training, discipline strategies, technology integration and student improvement teams were also on the agenda for the day.
• heard that Goessel’s invitational Scholars’ Bowl would be Saturday, Jan. 19.
• heard from Boden that the junior high spelling bee would be Jan. 22.
• heard from Fast that the Marion County Spelling Bee will be in Peabody Feb. 6.
• heard from Boden that Goessel will host the Wheat State League junior high music festival Tuesday, March 5. He said it will be a large event and will require the use of many classrooms. Regular classes will be canceled that day at the junior/senior high school building, but staff will work that day. The elementary school will be in session as usual.
• discussed security efforts at both school buildings. Fast and Boden said doors are locked after school is in session. Fast mentioned training for lock-downs and security drills. Parents and constituents need to sign in at the office before entering the school hallways.
Fast said the remodeling plan will make the junior/senior high school entrance safer.
“We’re doing what we can to provide a safe environment,” he said.
• considered a proposed 2013-14 school calendar that lists 167 student contact days, plus nine more days for teachers. Enrollment is listed for Aug. 7-8, with in-service Aug. 19-21 and the first day of school Aug. 22.
Parent-teacher conferences likely will be Oct. 21, with a “comp” day Oct. 25.
The board discussed Thanksgiving and Christmas break, noting that Christmas Day and New Year’s Day both fall on a Wednesday.
Possibilities are under consideration for spring break 2014, as well as graduation day. However, staff will be asked for their input on the school calendar, and their suggestions will be taken into consideration before the calendar is finalized.
• heard that Boden is a member of the Marion County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition. He plans to attend the Community Anti Drug Coalitions of America National Leadership Forum in National Harbor, Md., in February. The trip is funded by a grant.
Ashlee Gann, Max Heinrichs and Linda Ogden plan to attend the event also.
• heard that three board members plan to run for re-election: Lynnette Duerksen, Kelly Booton and James Wiens. The filing deadline is Jan. 22.
• noted that the current school brochure was produced seven or eight years ago. The board viewed a proposal for a new school brochure and made a few suggestions.
• heard a legislative report from board member James Wiens. He said the governor would give the State of the State Address Jan. 15, and a webinar was planned for Jan. 16. He mentioned a school funding lawsuit.
• heard the Marion County Special Education Cooperative report from board member Kelly Booton. He said the board is looking into energy system savings. Fast reported trouble with the water system at the MCSEC building.
• heard The Learning Consortium report from board member Darla Meysing. She reported “business as usual” and “nothing out of the ordinary.”
• voted to approve the financial statements of $125,812.16. Fast said the school district’s cost was actually lower because of “flow-through” money to the MCSEC.
• heard from Boden that there had been a “major leak” in the junior high restroom area during the recent rain.
• met in a special meeting Jan. 7 to discuss the proposed bond issue for school building improvements. Steve Shogren reviewed the bond project with the board and presented the paperwork that will be sent to the state board of education regarding the project.
The board voted to approve the election documents. Shogren offered campaign strategies and suggested a time-line for the next few months.