Goessel school board hears of myriad student achievements

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CYNTHIA GOERZEN
Goessel K-8 Principal John Fast reported to the USD 411 Board of Education at the March 8 meeting that Goessel students had achieved the standard of excellence in four state assessment tests.

Fourth-grade students achieved it in science (only 122 out 877 schools achieved that level); sixth grade students in social studies (98 out of 659 schools); seventh grade in science (55 out of 508 schools) and seventh grade in math (85 out of 521 schools ).

Fast commended the teachers and students for their work.

Fast announced the eighth-grade play, “Happy Daze,” has been rescheduled to April 23. A performance is planned for the morning and one for 7 p.m.

The play had been scheduled for March but was changed since the director hosted a large forensics meet in March and will host another one in April. Also, state assessment tests will be administered in March.

Fast said that grades four through six would perform a musical, “Lewis and Clark,” at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., March 11.

Superintendent and high school principal Chet Roberts highlighted recent student accomplishments. He said two students participated in the Kansas Music Educators Association concert on Feb. 28, one in the band and one in the choir.

One student participated in the state wrestling tournament in Hays Feb. 27-28.

The scholar’s bowl team, coached by Bruce Stucky, placed third in state competition Feb. 14.

“We’re very proud of our students,” Roberts said.

Fast said a seventh-grade student has qualified for the state geography bee, which will be held in Topeka in April.

Fast’s team of 12 students will participate in the fourth annual Mindstorms competition at Wichita State University on March 20.

Fast said the students “have been working very hard, preparing after school and on Saturdays to get ready for this competition.”

High school teacher Wes Schmidt-Tieszen attended the meeting and briefly explained activities he uses in his classes. He uses hands-on simulations, role playing and debates to help students develop critical thinking skills.

For example, Schmidt-Tieszen said his American History class simulates a Constitutional convention, and the students are asked what they would have put in the Constitution.

In other business:

— The board accepted the resignation of Troy Kemling as 9-12 math teacher and all supplementals. Kemling plans to move to Nebraska to be closer to family. In addition to teaching math, Kemling has also been a class sponsor and junior high and high school football coach.

Board Chair Lynel Unrau said Kemling “has contributed very much” to the education of Goessel’s students and will be missed.

— The board accepted the resignation of Megan Duerksen as fifth grade teacher. She plans to stay home with her baby. Unrau said Duerksen has taught three years and was asked to move along with a large class as they progressed from grade to grade.

“We appreciated her willingness to adapt to a new environment each year,” Unrau said.

— The board approved the resignation of Debbie Schrag as junior class sponsor for the 2004-05 school year. The board also approved the resignation of Jay Goering as junior class sponsor.

— It was reported that 51 applications have already been received for the 7-12 principal position and seven applications for the math position.

— The board approved a pay increase for substitute teachers for the 2004-05 school year.

— Roberts said the new athletic track has been marked. He said the temperature has to be at least 50 degrees for three days in a row for further work to be done.

Fast said a representative of the track construction crew came to Goessel on a rainy day to check drainage and was pleased that is was working.

“I’m really pleased with these people,” Roberts said, “Their service has been fantastic.”

He said he thinks the track will be completed by the end of April.

— Roberts said he is working with the parents of a student who has been truant. The student has had 10 unexcused absences.

“We are trying to make sure that this person is here so that the student is successful in school,” Roberts said.

— Roberts reported the seniors have asked him to be the commencement speaker. This will be the third time he has been the speaker.

— The board approved a bid of $84,062 from Wickham Glass Company for grade-school windows.

— Roberts presented data comparing utility costs of the 2002-03 school year with this year. His comparison showed the school’s utility spending has increased slightly in water/sewer and heating expenses.

The greatest increase has been the trash expense, which has increased by 35.8 percent. But the electricity total so far this year has been a little lower.

— Board member Richard Drake reported on the Marion County Special Education Cooperative meeting he had attended. He said the co-op will begin negotiations with staff next week.

— Roberts and board member Dewayne Voth reported on The Learning Consortium. They are expecting a carry-over of funds for next year.

— The board met in executive session to discuss personnel but had nothing to report to the public following the session.

— Roberts mentioned board enrichment opportunities: budget meetings in Topeka March 11, Kansas Association of School Boards boardsmanship seminar March 16, KASB student rights, responsibilities and discipline seminar March 18 and an employment law seminar April 6.

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