Goessel kids reading their way to Winter Olympics award

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CYNTHIA GOERZEN
Goessel superintendent and elementary-school principal John Fast described his elementary school reading goal to the USD 411 board at its Feb. 13 meeting.

The teachers set reading goals for each student. Fast said a “Winter Olympic” event in the gym will celebrate the accomplishments with modified “ice hockey” and “bobsled runs” and other activities.

All students who reach their reading goal will receive sundaes.

Sheri Janzen, who teaches kindergarten and second grade, described the work of the Student Improvement Team. Janzen is chair of the elementary school team. The program began about six years ago.

“We’ve serviced about 40 students,” Janzen said. “The whole purpose is to make sure a child is receiving the best education…. Students can be referred by the teacher or by the parents.”

Information is collected from every teacher who has contact with the student. Students are then referred to programs for extended learning, learning disabilities, speech and language, or social behaviors. A plan is developed for each child in the SIT program.

Janzen said this is a state mandated committee, and everything is documented.

Fast commended the SIT team: “They’re doing a very, very good job.”

The board spent a considerable time discussing freezer options. Barb Banman, lunch supervisor cook at the junior/senior high school building, said the current freezer is 8 feet by 8 feet. The cooks requested an 8-by-16-foot model.

Banman said food for both schools is stored at the high school. She also explained the difficulty of working with a freezer that is too small. She requested an inside entrance to the freezer so the cooks would not have to go outside to access it.

Administration and cooks had viewed freezers at other schools. Fast presented detailed information at previous board meetings.

The board approved the freezer at a cost of about $20,000 for the whole project. Plans are to install the freezer in June.

Fast reviewed technology needs with the school board. He said Goessel shares a technology person, Jeff Enns, with Burrton. Enns spends Tuesdays, Thursdays, and every other Friday at Goessel.

“We’ve increased the number of computers in the last year and a half,” Fast said. He also described detailed student-tracking data reports that are a new requirement this year, as well as the transition to Power School.

“I see our tech needs continue to climb,” he said.

In other business, the board:

  • approved the band and choir trip to Dallas for a competition April 7-8. Junior/senior high school principal Curt Graves said there would be no expense for the school because a spring concert fund-raiser meal pays for the trip.
  • discussed a possible bus purchase with no decision.
  • heard Duane Unruh’s report on the possibility of a housing development across the street from the elementary school. Unruh presented an overview of the proposed project and showed a copy of the tentative lot layout. The development is currently in the preliminary platting stage.

    Unruh said the purpose is to stimulate growth in the community, and that growth could impact the school. Unruh has also been in contact with the city.

  • heard Fast report that interviews have been scheduled for three vocational-agriculture teacher candidates. To date, no candidates have applied for an opening in Spanish. Graves said the administration is looking into options.
  • heard Graves introduce student teacher Bryce Larson, who “has been doing a great job.”
  • discussed transportation to Hillsboro for wrestling practices. Graves said the junior high season lasts five weeks. “I think it’s a good program,” he said.
  • heard board member Richard Drake’s report the negotiation process is under way at the Marion County Special Education Cooperative.
  • heard in board member Dewayne Voth’s report on The Learning Consortium that the TLC board is still working through some issues with the new equipment, including some fuzziness in picture quality. Funding for TLC might not be available in the future. Fast said it is a federally funded program, and Voth urged board members to contact legislators to voice support for it.
  • heard Graves report that handbook policies are under review. He is working with a student advisory committee so that student concerns can be taken into account.
  • heard Graves report that he has talked to the Kansas State High School Activities Association and the Kansas Music Educators Association about scheduling state band/choir events and regional basketball tournaments on the same weekend.

    “It’s not fair to our students,” he said, noting that two of the four Goessel students who qualified for state KMEA would be also be involved in the regional basketball tournament. Graves said the GHS band will perform at the KMEA convention at 8 a.m., Feb. 24, in Century II in Wichita.

  • heard Fast say three grade-school students would receive awards for conservation posters.
  • heard Graves report on a possible dairy vending machine for the junior/senior high school. “There is grant money available,” he said. The only cost to the school would be the wiring.

    He said the FFA is willing to oversee a dairy vending machine. The wellness committee has discussed limiting use of the pop vending machine until after lunch.

  • heard about progress on the 2006-07 school calendar. Fast said parents seem to like the second week in March for spring break. He said that corresponds with Hutchinson Community College’s spring break. Some high school students are enrolled in on-line courses through HCC. Adding teacher in-service days is being considered.
  • heard Graves say the administration is considering including in next year’s calendar an early-release day on some Fridays as a reward for high school students who have no absences or tardies, no incomplete or late assignments, no detentions or discipline referrals, and maintain a B average or higher.

    Students meeting those requirements would be released at 3 p.m. on specified Fridays. No decision has been made on this suggestion.

  • heard that Fast and board chair Lynel Unrau would attend the governmental relations meeting in Topeka, Feb. 15-16.
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