Goessel meetings draw almost all parents

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CYNTHIA GOERZEN
Chet Roberts, Goessel superintendent and high school principal, and John Fast, elementary and junior high principal told the Goessel Board of Education at its Nov. 10 meeting that nearly 100 percent of Goessel’s students were represented by one or both parents at parent-teacher conferences Oct. 27.

“We had close to 100 percent participation, and our staff is still in the process of contacting those who did not come that night,” Fast said.

School board members received a handout that showed the percentage of parent participation for each grade level in the junior high and high school. Juniors and seniors had 100 percent participation, and others were close.

“As you can see, we had a fantastic participation rate,” Roberts said. “It still amazes me to see total participation this high.”

Roberts told the school board the state is changing graduation requirements, which will affect in-coming freshmen starting in 2005.

Students will be required to acquire three math credits and three science credits. A fine arts requirement has also been added, for a total of 21 graduation credits.

But Roberts pointed out that Goessel requires 28 credits for graduation from USD 411.

Roberts said he is not in favor of raising the math and science requirements. College-bound students are already taking those classes.

“It’s a one-track system,” he said of the new requirements. “It takes away from kids who need more time in shop, home economics and Newton. Some of those other classes have saved some kids.”

He said the new requirement takes away from a two-track system.

Board member Dan Miller asked, “Can we meet the needs of kids?”

Roberts responded: “I don’t think it’s kid-friendly. That’s my opinion.”

He thinks the new requirements could hurt the fine arts because some students will have to give up some fine arts participation in order to have time for the new math and science requirements. Roberts also said teachers will have to be 100 percent certified in what they teach.

Roberts reported on the exploited and missing children and drug abuse conference he had in Virginia with Lee Becker, Marion County sheriff. Roberts said the conference was “intense” and “well worth my time.”

Roberts said people came from all over the country, but Tribune was the only other Kansas school represented at the conference.

Roberts said Becker is working on a grant for a resource officer for all Marion County schools.

“If they get the right person, schools feel it’s one of the best things they’ve done,” Roberts said.

Board chair Lynel Unrau asked about the Region 5 meeting. Roberts said discussion centered around the lawsuit that could mean loss of capital outlay for smaller schools. He said mid-size schools are suing because they do not feel they are getting their share of the state money. The issue will likely go to the Kansas Supreme Court.

Board member Richard Drake said he had read an article stating that mid-size schools pay higher salaries than small schools do. Other cost-saving measures were discussed at the meeting. For example, it was pointed out that Goessel buys used vehicles and has no extra administration.

In other business:

n The board voted to hire Matt Flaming as an assistant basketball coach.

n Roberts reported the track is nearly done. Warmer weather is needed in order to finish it.

n Roberts reported the ag mechanics team placed 20th out of 45 teams from across the country at the national FFA convention in Louisville, Ky. Zane Unrau, who graduated in May, received the national champion Emerging Ag Technology Proficiency Award based on his supervised agricultural experience involving the global positioning system and yield mapping. He received $500 for college. Channels 12 and three will have video footage, and two radio stations will air interviews.

n Roberts reported Goessel’s runner at the state cross country meet placed 12th.

n Fast said the junior high football team placed second in the league in the eight-man division.

n Board member Maynard Knepp asked how many girls would be on the high school basketball team. Roberts said the number is not finalized yet, but perhaps 15 to 17 girls will participate.

n Roberts said wrestling practice will begin Monday. Goessel will have three students participating in a joint program with Hillsboro.

n Roberts told the board that KPERS will need to make some changes as a result of the drop in the stock market. He said that in the mid-90s KPERS changed its plan to 85 points, and because of that some teachers retire at 55. Roberts said KPERS might need to change the points to 90 instead. School contribution might become necessary.

n Roberts said high school students would have their annual community clean-up day on Nov. 21.

n Fast said the junior high choir and fifth- through eighth-grade bands would present a concert at 7 p.m., Nov. 25, in the high school auditorium.

n Fast reported that Red Ribbon Week (drug awareness) went well. Elementary students helped plant a “promise tree.”

n Fast described activities on School Bus Drivers Appreciation Day, which was observed Oct. 22. All bus drivers, including substitutes, were recognized.

n Fast reported that Nov. 11 would be Book It Readers Day. He said a dozen community members would come and read to the classes at the elementary school. It will be possible to apply for a grant as a result of the reading activities.

n Fred Miller of the Marion County Special Education Cooperative attended the meeting to briefly discuss special ed with the board.

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