Schools can help city’s growth, USD 410 board hears

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ALEEN RATZLAFF
The district’s schools can be an asset for promoting economic development in the Hillsboro community, a Wichita State University research team told Unified School District 410 board members at their Monday meeting.

“There’s a strong sense of sharing and respect between the school and community,” said team member Chuck Stockton, superintendent of USD 379 in Clay Center. “Support and commitment contribute to student success.”

Stockton, a doctoral student in educational administration and supervision at WSU, and three other team members conducted a study to determine the potential impact of economic growth on school characteristics that promote student success.

The study was done as a service to the district because Superintendent Gordon Mohn is participating in the Ed.D. program at WSU.

Through a series of interviews and focus groups in the community, the team also found conflicting attitudes toward population growth and economic development.

Some recognized potential benefits of a diverse population.

“There’s also a sense of wanting to control growth and diversity,” Stockton said, because uncontrolled growth could have negative effect on educational quality.

Team member Randy Turk, associate professor of educational administration at WSU, said, “There’s a caring thread that runs through the community that recognizes the need for value-added industry.”

Value-added industry refers to smaller businesses that provide employment opportunities for skilled workers at good wages and attract young families.

Based on the team’s conclusion, strong support for progressive educational programs can attract new residents and industries to Hillsboro, Mohn asked board members to consider what future implications might be.

At the meeting, the board acted on the following personnel issues:

accepted the resignations of certified HHS teachers Brian Kennel, social studies, and Corey Burton, business, effective at the end of the 2002-03 school year.

released technological assistant Tawnya Siebert from the remainder of her classified contract. Her last day was May 2.

adopted resolutions to nonrenew contracts for Sharon Jost and Michelle Faul.

accepted Bruce Winkler’s resignation from teaching and approved a part-time contract as Hillsboro Elementary School technology facilitator.

approved a teaching contract for Stuart Holmes, Goessel High School principal, in social studies.

approved supplemental contracts for staff members. Each person has until May 21 to accept or reject the contract. Supplemental contracts for a number of vacant positions are subject to continuation of the activities.

During the meeting, Hillsboro High School principal Dale Honeck presented three policy changes that will be included in the handbook for the upcoming year. He asked the board to give feedback about the policies.

The three policies dealt with:

scholastic eligibility for participation in extra-curricular activities determined on a weekly basis. Students must be passing six out of eight classes to be eligible.

The current requirement is five, a standard that was established when the daily schedule consisted of only six classes, Honeck said.

inappropriate behavior and subsequent disciplinary action for athletes for “use or aiding/abetting during HS career.”

Using a four-tier level, the policy addresses action and consequences taken for tobacco, alcohol and drug violations that occur while a student is a member of an extra-curricular program or activity governed by the Kansas State High School Activities Association.

Repeated infractions, particularly for drug use, result in more serious consequences such as suspensions from scheduled contests.

procedure for earning credit toward graduation by testing out of classes.

The policy establishes appropriate classes for performance-based credit and requires that course outcomes be mastered, meaning the student must have at least 94 percent to earn a passing grade.

Curriculum director Joyce Loewen distributed copies of the curricular standards for listening, viewing and speaking for the board to review.

They will take action on the curriculum at a future meeting. She also reported on second-language curriculum, which starts in seventh grade.

“We hope at some time to introduce (second-language study) at a lower grade,” Loewen told the board.

In other action, the board:

approved the low bid of $27,134 to Data Pro Corp. for computers.

approved creation of a cooperative wrestling program between HHS and Hillsboro Middle School and the Goessel district to begin during the 2003-04 school year.

Costs for the program will be divided between the two school districts based on the number of students participating from each school. Practices and contests will be at HHS, and the team will continue to be the Hillsboro Trojans.

In other business, the board:

recognized and gave plaques to outgoing members Cal Jost, Reg Matz and Brenda Enns, who have each served the past eight years.

accepted a tentative plan for new board member orientation during the summer months.

requested to see proposals for the auditing firm for the district. Currently Knudsen-Monroe from Newton serves as the auditor.

considered a request from Keli Chisholm that the board consider renting space at the HES for her to hold pre-school sessions two days a week.

Mohn said granting the request is contingent on several factors, including the potential impact on area preschools, whether space would be available at the school, what precedent would be established if Chisholm’s request was granted, and whether the preschool would be for profit or not-for-profit.

The board will act on the request at its June meeting.

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