HHS reaches ‘Excellence’ in three of four test subjects

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ALEEN RATZLAFF
Hillsboro High School students have earned the Standard of Excellence in three of four areas tested last spring, Superintendent Gordon Mohn reported at the Unified District 410 Board of Education meeting Monday evening.


“It’s a remarkable feat,” Mohn told board members. “Students performed particularly well in math.”


Out of 388 high schools in Kansas, HHS was one of eight to reach that standard, achieving recognition in the areas of reading, math and social studies.


The entire school system needs to share the credit, Mohn said.


Two state high schools earned the ranking in all four areas, including science.


Mohn also reported on the rating of 150 statements from this year’s state of the district report, based on input from a group of USD 410 staff members and the board.


The following areas received priority:


–?maintaining a positive school climate;


–?enhancing student learning;


–?employing quality people;


–?providing adequate staff;


–?training and supporting employees;


–?promoting effective public relations;


–?maintaining and enhancing facilities;


–?meeting financial needs;


–?using technology to support learning.


Mohn asked the board for feedback concerning the value of the information.


“I thought (the activity) was a useful tool to identify concerns,” said board member Brent Barkman. “As a new board member, it was good to have input from the leadership team.”


Mohn also reviewed the annual report on the status of the school plant and related facilities.


Highest priority items, totaling $65,000, include the following:


–?sanding and refinishing the Robert C. Brown Gymnasium floor, at an estimated cost of $30,000;


–?replacing carpet in the middle and elementary schools, at an estimated cost of $10,000;


–?repairing outside lines of the south curve on the running track at Tabor College, at an estimated cost of $10,000;


–?annual cost of replacing existing air conditioning in a couple of buildings, at an estimated cost of $10,000;


–?annual ADA modifications, at an estimated cost of $5,000.


Another anticipated expense is the kitchen project at the elementary school. Mohn said he would bring more information about the options to the board.


Dennis Boldt, chair of the business education subject area committee, presented proposed revisions for the business curriculum. Boldt said 152 students are enrolled in business courses.


The board voted to place the revised business curriculum on the agenda for the next meeting.


The public has 30 days to review the curriculum and submit any questions or concerns, Mohn said.


In other reports, HES principal Pat Call said he had received feedback about the accreditation visit.


“Basically, we need to improve more on focusing on goals and then keep doing what we’re doing,” he said.


Call also said CHUMS, a tutoring program that targets elementary children, will be extended to the sixth grade. The anonymous donor who supports the program has donated more money. Tabor College students tutor participants in the program.


HHS principal Dale Honeck said the district’s counselors are working on a comprehensive counselor program for kindergarten through 12th grade.


According to Honeck, end-of-the-semester activities include a service trip to Wichita by the peer helpers-16 high school students who assist other students. The group will take presents to the Children’s Home, volunteer several hours at a Ronald McDonald House and eat at a restaurant. On the last day of classes, Dec. 21, students will view several films that focus on civil rights issues to prepare for planned events on Martin Luther King Day, Jan. 21.


Board member Debbie Geis, who represents USD 410 on the Marion County Special Education Cooperative board of directors, reported that school districts will be allowed to have special-ed teachers teach only children with special needs.


“The special-ed board is concerned that we don’t twist the rules to use (funds designated for) special education for regular education,” Mohn said.


In action taken, the board approved purchasing an eight-passenger van and a sports utility vehicle after soliciting bids from Hillsboro’s car dealerships.


Low bids were submitted by Wright’s Chrysler-Plymouth-Dodge-Jeep for a 2002 Dodge van at $18,000 and Hillsboro Ford-Mercury for a 2002 Excursion at $24,165.


The bids also included trade-ins of a 1988 Chevrolet Sport Van and a 1994 Chevrolet Suburban.


Irv Schroeder County Motors also submitted bids for both vehicles.


“We were pleased that all three of the (local dealers) could bid,” Mohn said.


The board also approved a contract issued to Rene Matz to work with the Going Adventurous Places club-referred to as GAP. Mohn said the club, sponsored by the same donor who funds CHUMS, focuses on cultural activities for high school girls.


Business manager Jerry Hinerman reported that the state aid payment received this month was $254,200, only 75 percent of the amount due.


Because of cash-flow problems, all of the state’s school districts received reduced amounts at the beginning of the month, he said.


Hinerman said the additional 25 percent for USD 410-$84,740-is expected in about 10 days.


The meeting concluded with the board voting to go into executive session to evaluate the superintendent and receive a report on the evalution of the building principals.

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