The Goessel school board heard during its April 9 meeting about a Monsanto grant the FFA had received.
According to Zana Manche, Goessel’s vocational agriculture teacher, the grant program is called “Grow Your Community.” DeAlan Unrau of the Goessel community applied for the grant and was awarded $2,500 to be given to a non-profit organization of his choice. Unrau designated the Goessel FFA as the grant recipient.
Both of Unrau’s sons were FFA members during their years as Goessel High School students.
Plans are to use some of the money for improvements in the shop area, some for leadership growth and some for projects for the community and school.
The board expressed appreciation for Unrau’s contribution.
Turning its attention to another matter, the board welcomed David Sheppard, director of the Marion County Special Education Cooperative.
Goessel school board chairman Dan Miller affirmed Sheppard’s work in the co-op: “We’re thrilled with the service we’re being provided…. Though we’re all stretched on our finances, you’re able to work within your budget.”
Sheppard said he appreciates the support from the individual school boards.
Miller asked, “Is there some way we can continue to enhance an excellent program?”
Sheppard responded, “You have to have a little bit of vision,” and he mentioned using technology and communicating with staff, emphasizing that the “chief responsibility” is personnel.
“I think we’re doing fine,” he said.
Goessel superintendent John Fast commended the MCSEC staff for doing “an outstanding job” of meeting the needs of the students. The district staff and county staff work together “seamlessly.”
Sheppard agreed: “We have outstanding paras,” noting that many have college degrees and some have teaching certificates. “They do an excellent job.”
Miller said MCSEC is serving 450 people. Even though school enrollments have dropped through the years, Sheppard said special education needs are increasing.
Board member Darla Meysing asked if more students have special needs or if more students with needs have been identified.
“That’s the question,” Sheppard said.
Fast said those who work with kindergarten screening are seeing more students with special needs.
In regard to the MCSEC building, Sheppard acknowledged “a little bit of concern,” and mentioned the old heating and cooling system in the unoccupied portion of the building.
“We’re looking at all options,” he said.
Sheppard said Prairie View is using part of the building.
Fast reported about the Goessel Community Builders, a group of 20 to 30 people. Board members Lynnette Duerksen and Eric Schrag are part of the group, as well as the school administrators.
Other leaders who participate include Mayor Peggy Jay, City Clerk Anita Goertzen and pastor Linda Ewert.
Fast expressed appreciation for all who participate.
“There’s a lot of energy,” he said. “It does take a lot of energy, it does take a lot of time.”
Dan Miller said art teacher Brian Stucky is “elevating tourism of the community.” Fast said the group is looking at child-care and housing needs. He said Bryant Miller shared a PowerPoint presentation about the possibility for corporate growth. Fast mentioned plans for a cafe in the “Sunflower” building.
In other business, the board:
• heard a report from Fast about the Goessel Community Foundation. He said the group identified a goal of raising $117,000 by 2017.
• heard from Scott Boden, junior and senior high school principal, that staff in that building are addressing the issue of bullying and have taken measures to reduce it. “We have a lot of hallways and blind corners,” he said.
Teachers are now accompanying students to their lockers between classes, and Boden has talked to classes about bullying. He said that Kristi Lackey, student support worker for the MCSEC, has offered to address the issue.
• heard that some state assessment testing is complete, and results seem positive.
“We’re probably about one-third of the way done with assessments,” Boden said, noting that preliminary results indicate that 100 percent of the juniors passed the reading assessment.
• heard from Fast that elementary school teachers have expressed a need for summer school. Fast said there was no summer school the last three years because of budget.
“We really see a need for it,” he said, and suggested reinstating summer school for three weeks, from 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday with two teachers and 20 students.
• heard that Goessel had hosted a high school art festival. Boden commended Stucky for his work in organizing the festival and commended other staff for their help.
• approved hiring a fifth helper for track. Fast said nearly 70 students are participating in the program, which is more than had been anticipated.
Boden confirmed the number: 29 high school students and 38 junior high students.
• approved the purchase of 30 high school football jerseys for a cost of $5,370. The purchase includes the home and away shirts and the pants and follows the school’s policy for uniform replacement. The old jerseys will be used as back-ups.
• heard from activities director Tyler Schroeder that the junior high girls’ sports jerseys will also need to be replaced.
• heard from Fast that elementary students are scheduled for a trip to the Crown Uptown in Wichita to eat lunch and see the “Jungle Book” production April 27. Students earned the trip by collecting box tops.
• heard a presentation by Barb Banman, food supervisor, and Sandra Duerksen, elementary school cook. The board expressed appreciation to them for providing outstanding meals, for meeting nutrition audits, and for attending to the needs of at-risk students.
• heard about problems with the interactive-television system. Boden said students from the high schools can hear the Hutchinson Community College teacher, but the teacher cannot hear the students.
• approved the FCCLA trip to national competition in Orlando, Fla., in July. The board commended the students and Gina Bergin, family and consumer science teacher.
• approved the senior trip to Kansas City April 23-24.
• heard about upcoming events: high school prom April 14, high school large group music festival April 18, and the spring music concert and fundraising barbecue May 3.
• discussed graduation duties. Board members Darla Meysing and Kelly Booton each have a child graduating from the eighth grade May 14 and will hand out diplomas. Booton has a senior graduate, too, and will hand out the diplomas at the high school graduation May 12.
• heard a legislative report from Wiens. He said the Legislature is in recess, and nothing has been decided. “We’ll see what happens,” he said.
• approved use of a bus for a junior high trip to Camp Wa-Shun-Ga under the direction of Ben Schmidt.