Written by Cynthia Goerzen Tuesday, 20 February 2007 18:00Superintendent John Fast told the Goessel Board of Education at its Feb. 12 meeting that USD 411 had received the Governor's Achievement Award in reading and math.
Fast said that of the 355 Kansas high schools in Class 1A through 6A, only 5 percent (18 high schools) received the honor. A presentation was made at the Feb. 6 basketball games.
Junior/senior high school principal Curt Graves said the plaque is now hanging between the two gyms by the water fountains.
"It is a complimentary award to the district," Graves said. "It takes grade-school teachers, too, to get high school students to this point."
Title I teacher Mary Schmidt described her work with elementary students. She said this is her 30th year of teaching at Goessel and the fifth year of teaching full time.
She said her reading program works best when parents help their children at home. She tries to help children comprehend what they read.
"In an ideal world, there would not be any need for teachers like me," she said.
Schmidt is also in charge of testing. She tests kindergarten, first-graders, second-graders, some third-graders and sometimes a few older students.
Schmidt said she works with children who need help and prepares them for Kansas Sate Assessment tests. She said she is the secretary for the Student Improvement Team, which is aimed at helping children understand reading and numbers.
As part of that responsibility, Schmidt monitors the progress of specific children through one-minute tests. She explained how the testing works and said this method of testing is used in the other Marion County schools.
Schmidt said she was preparing for the "blast-off" reading night scheduled for Feb. 13. An inflated space station would be erected in the grade-school gym. Children and their parents would be encouraged to bring pillows and books and read together inside the space station.
In other business, the board:
-- heard that the high school Scholar's Bowl team placed eighth out of 96 schools in state competition.
-- heard that Goessel's eighth-grade Quiz Bowl team had placed first in competition that day, and the seventh-grade team third.
-- approved a supplemental contract for Sheri Janzen as assistant forensics coach because of the large number (22) of participants. Joel Hesed is the head forensics coach.
-- accepted the resignation of David Goerzen, high school science teacher.
-- approved the plan for counselor Janna Duerksen's maternity leave. She plans to use maternity leave and sick days until the end of the school year. However, Duerksen will be available to help with assessments and scheduling.
-- heard Graves report that 45 junior/senior high school students had missed school that day due to illness. That number climbed higher in subsequent days. Not as many were sick at the grade school.
-- heard Graves express appreciation for the four or five people who volunteered to read with students. He is hoping for 15 volunteers.
-- heard Fast report that two people have volunteered to help with tutoring after school at the elementary school. He also said that some staff already have been using parent/grandparent help during the school day.
-- briefly discussed key dates on the proposed 2007-08 school calendar. A total of 180 student- contact days will be included. Aug. 13, 14, and 15 will be teacher work and in-service days. Classes begin Aug. 16.
-- heard Fast update progress on roof repair at the elementary school. He said the upper decking had been stripped, and the first layer of tar had been applied. The sub-wall will be sealed, and the pitch will be built up.
At the time of the meeting, buckets were set out at various places in the building to catch rain water.
-- heard Graves report that Goessel would host Class 1A regional basketball games on Monday and Tuesday of the following week.
-- heard Fast report "exciting things are happening" in regard to the Goessel Area Task Force's KSN Channel 3 TV spot about Goessel that will run 30 times during 20 or 30 days.
-- heard Fast say the task force is putting together a slide show to be shown as a leader at Chisholm Trail 8 movie theater in Newton.
-- heard Fast say and Unrau would be going to Topeka Feb. 14 to meet with State Rep. Don Dahl about No Child Left Behind and school-finance issues. He said Darla Meysing, Justin Schrag, and Mary Rosfeld were also planning to go.
-- heard that Lee Buller is preparing all laptop and desktop computers for Kansas State Assessment testing. A Web page has been developed for employment applications.
Graves reported, "We are doing some remodeling in our computer lab and also in the library."
-- heard board member Richard Drake report on the Marion County Special Education Cooperative. He said the school boards of the county would have a joint meeting at 6 p.m. Feb 19.
"I'm looking forward to this meeting," Unrau said. "Since its inception in 1980, they've never had such a meeting like this with all the school boards."
-- heard Drake say 21 percent of Marion County students have been identified as needing special education services, compared to the state average of 15 percent.
"We're down some this year," he said, comparing 423 students identified in the county this year to 449 last year.
-- discussed the importance of maintaining strong staff relations. Drake planned to meet with grade-school staff before school Feb. 16. Lynnette Duerksen would meet with high school staff.
-- met in executive session to discuss personnel issues but had taken no action in open session.