Written by Cynthia Goerzen Tuesday, 17 January 2012 15:56
Goessel superintendent John Fast shared a letter at the Jan. 9 meeting school board meeting that Goessel Elementary School has again been awarded the Governor’s Achievement Award for being in the top 5 percent of Kansas elementary schools.
The letter was from Diane DeBacker, state commissioner of education.
Fast said Kansas has 812 accredited elementary schools. He said Goessel is in the top 40 of those schools on state assessments.
Specifications for receiving the Governor’s Achievement Award include reaching the Standard of Excellence in both reading and math in 2011, as well as ranking in the top 5 percent.
The school must also achieve adequate yearly progress in both reading and math, plus one other area, such as attendance.
Fast presented a certificate to board member James Wiens for achieving Honor Roll Level 1 for his work with Kansas Association of School Boards meetings. He was also commended for his work with legislative issues.
Wiens said Senate redistricting will be an important issue to watch.
In other business, the board:
• reviewed the board’s Dec. 12 visit with Ken Willard, Kansas State School Board member. The board expressed gratitude for Willard’s visit.
• expressed appreciation that Willard had also visited Bethesda Home, in addition to both school buildings. He also spent time meeting with teachers.
“I thought that was very important,” Fast said.
• heard Fast commend the board for inviting Willard in December, in addition to state legislators Bob Brookens and Jay Emler in November. Fast said it is important to establish those relationships.
• heard that Fast sent an e-mail to Brookens about visiting with the governor. Brookens suggested late February. He needs to know specifically who will come, how much time they would like with the governor, and what they intend to discuss.
In addition to Fast, board members James Wiens, Eric Schrag and Darla Meysing expressed interest in going.
Brookens will arrange the visit with the governor and with other legislators who are involved with education. Fast said he is hoping for 20 minutes with the governor.
• briefly discussed school funding and the state’s proposal for two years from now. However, Fast pointed out, "No one has said a word about next year."
Fast supports not giving an unfair advantage to large schools.
• heard that the elementary school students collected 418 food items for the Tabor Mennonite Church Food Pantry.
• heard from junior/senior high school principal Scott Boden that high school Scholar’s Bowl has a number of tournaments scheduled for January. Goessel is hosting a Scholar’s Bowl tournament Jan. 21.
• heard that a number of students were selected to perform in the Honor Band at KU Jan. 21.
• heard that Goessel will host the sub-state basketball tournament in March.
• heard from Boden that staff appreciate the computer work that was completed recently. They like the simplified network access when they use tablets and similar technology. Also, the transition from school to home computers is simpler now. Boden said some staff are exploring the use of iPads.
• heard the junior/senior high school student improvement team continues to look for ways to support students who struggle. Boden said tutoring is offered, as well as a structured study hall for students below grade level. Testing is under way to assess progress.
• heard from Boden that the school is making plans for state assessment tests.
• approved a request from Bethesda Home to use the school facilities if Bethesda Home becomes inaccessible for some reason. The grade school is the first designated option, with the high school as a second option.
Fast reminded the board that the school used Goessel Mennonite Church for eight days a few years ago when the elementary school had a gas leak. He said it is good for various community entities to assist each other.
• heard that the school had received a favorable letter from the state fire marshal. Fast commended custodians Londell Duerksen and Ben Schmidt for their work.
• heard that Schmidt and part-time custodian Donna Spoonmore had done some painting at the junior/senior high school during the Christmas break.
Boden said, “One area of concern being examined is the inefficient windows in the oldest parts of the building.”
He said that in addition to being wasteful, the situation also “creates some student comfort issues in some rooms.”
• listened to Booton’s Marion County Special Education Cooperative report. He said Prairie View has contracted for use of part of the co-op’s building.
• noted there would be no school Jan. 16 since that would be an in-service day.
• changed the dates of two board meetings because of conflicts. Since the regular March board meeting would be during spring break, the March meeting was changed to Tuesday, March 20.
Also, the May meeting is scheduled for the same evening as eighth-grade promotion. Therefore, that meeting has been rescheduled to Tuesday, May 22.
• approved the following board goals: Be a leader in accreditation, enhance teaching and learning through technology, provide adequate professional development, grow the school district, support and retain quality staff.