Graves hired as Goessel principal for grades 7-12

The Unified School District 411 Board of Education hired Curt Graves as principal for grades 7 through 12 following an extended executive session at the April 12 meeting.

Graves has been teaching science at Sterling Junior High School. He attended the meeting and was introduced to the board.

John Fast, who is currently K-8 principal, will retain K-6 principal duties, as well as filling the superintendent position.

The board hired Chet Roberts, who resigned as superintendent and 9-12 principal, to continue on a two-year, 3/10 contract as business manager.

The board also hired Allen Pinkhol as the new high school math teacher and approved tenure for high school teacher Curtis Guhr. The board approved the resignation of Mandi Jordan as assistant girls’ basketball coach.

All new employees are subject to a background check.

Board member Richard Drake reported on the recent Marion County Special Education Cooperative meeting he had attended. He said contract negotiations are under way.

Fast said Gordon Mohn and Fred Miller had prepared a review of the special ed co-op’s enrollment and percentages. Fast said the actual number of certified staff has been declining, while the number of paras has increased from 70 to 83. Student enrollment in special education reached a high point of 537, although 500 are enrolled this year.

Fast reported that all schools in the county have been declining in enrollment in recent years, some by as many as 100 students. However, he said that behavior problems have increased.

OD (oppositionally defiant) and BD (behavior disorder) students need tighter supervision with 1:1, 1:2 or 1:3 ratios. Drake said the special ed board is emphasizing interventions before the special education co-op becomes involved.

Board Chairman Lynel Unrau asked about para certification. Fast, Roberts and Drake said the legislature might require paras to have an associate of arts (two-year) degree, probably in any area. But the issue has not been decided.

Drake said the federal government has issued a lot of mandates but not provided funding to implement them.

Fast said the special ed cost will go up for the 2004-05 school year, and Goessel’s share will be 12.36 percent. He said the district’s cost will increase even though enrollment is declining.

In other business:

— Roberts mentioned moral issues, “ethics in the workplace,” and emphasized, “You can talk the talk all you want to, but you have to live it… It’s one of the most important things” schools should stress.

— Roberts reported on the regional music solo/ensemble festival held April 3. The school received 21 I ratings, 12 II ratings, and one III rating. “Once again, you can see all of the good ratings that our students achieved,” he said. “It was a fun day.”

— Fast reported that students did well at the junior high league music contest. “Both the band and choir received straight I’s…. Nearly all of the solos and small groups received I’s.” Twenty-eight entries received I ratings and one received a II rating.

— Roberts said the Heart Of America league forensics meet was held at Goessel April 5. Moundridge, Remington and Berean Academy were the top three schools. He commended teachers Shelia Buller and Sheri Janzen for their work in organizing the meet.

— Roberts reported Goessel students did well at the league art festival on April 7. A Goessel student won “Best of Show.”

— Fast reported on junior high honor roll and VIP students. He expressed appreciation to businesses that provided coupons for the VIP students.

— Fast said a Goessel student competed in the statewide geography meet in Abilene.

— Fast reported the Goessel Gear Grinders sixth-grade robotics team competed in the fourth annual robotics competition at Wichita State University March 20. Sixteen teams competed; most of them were junior high teams. The Goessel team earned second place overall, second place in the missions contest, first place in the oral presentation and won the school spirit and sportsmanship award.

— Fast said the elementary teachers have begun the process of “mapping” their science curriculum on-line. This will help the teachers plan and will provide information to parents who wish to access it.

— Fast said that nationally recognized children’s author Patricia Polacco would present a program at the grade school on April 19. He said Goessel, Hesston and Newton worked together to invite the author.

— Fast announced the eighth-grade play, “Happy Daze,” will be performed April 23. He said the K-3 spring music concert is scheduled for 9:20 a.m. and 7 p.m., April 29.

— Janna Duerksen explained her job as school counselor. She said she does individual and group counseling. Divorce, depression, grief, friendship and social issues are the most frequent needs for counseling.

— The board approved the request from high school teacher Don Dailey for an April 28 to 29 biology trip. Roberts said this will be the same trip Dailey leads every year, and the school district will be responsible for transportation. Roberts assured the board the trip is covered by the school’s insurance.

— The board approved the Sports Connection bid for junior high basketball uniforms for $2,094.75.

— The board appointed Dewayne Voth to hand out diplomas at the high school graduation May 22 and Lynnette Duerksen to hand out diplomas at the eighth-grade graduation May 27.

— The board discussed bus bids but made no purchase decision at this meeting.

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