Goessel to begin all-day kindergarten

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CYNTHIA GOERZEN
The Goessel school district will be offering all-day kindergarten beginning this fall.

The board education approved the move at its June 12 upon the recommendation of Superintendent John Fast.

Fast said in January the state board recommended funding all-day kindergarten.

“Most school districts around us have all-day kindergarten,” he said, adding that it provides additional learning opportunities for those who need extra help.

“No one would be required to participate,” Fast said.

According to Fast, most schools are funding all-day kindergarten with at-risk funds.

Sheri Janzen has been teaching kindergarten in the morning and second grade in the afternoon. At this meeting, the board voted to approve Janzen as full-time kindergarten teacher.

The board also approved increasing Ann Hiebert to full-time second-grade teacher. Hiebert had been teaching second grade only in the morning. The school will advertise for a kindergarten aide.

Janzen attended the meeting to explain plans for all-day kindergarten.

“The morning would be very similar to what it is now,” she said. Reading and math would be taught in the morning, as well as computer, music and physical education in addition to other subjects.

Janzen said all-day kindergarten students would stay for lunch and recess. The afternoon would include a rest time that would be long enough so children could either fall asleep or read. She also plans to include “free choice” time.

“Right now, I don’t have a lot of time for that,” she said.

During that time, she would work individually with the children.

Afternoon kindergarten would provide time to reinforce sounds and pre-reading skills that are taught in the morning.

“I’d like to be able to include more science and social studies,” Janzen said.

Afternoons would provide time to help those who need extra help in academic and behavioral areas, color recognition, writing their own name, buttoning and zipping coordination, learning how to line up, and entertaining themselves.

At this point, 19 or 20 children are enrolled for kindergarten. Since all-day kindergarten would be a new program at Goessel, the plan is to start with a few children for the afternoon session and add more later.

By January, it would be offered for all kindergarten children. However, kindergarten students will not be required to enroll for the afternoon.

Janzen said the majority of the children coming into kindergarten this fall have been at home all day with a parent or grandparent.

On another matter, the board discussed capital outlay projects. The discussion centered around a van, football field irrigation, family and consumer science equipment, junior high computer lab, air lock entry at the east end of the grade school, restrooms at the grade school, and grade school roof.

The board approved the purchase of a 2006 six-cylinder, automatic van with 13,000 miles for $15,985. The school was allowed $500 trade-in on the old van.

Fast reported the new bus has arrived. Therefore, bus No. 9 will be sold. Bids will be accepted until June 30.

In other business, the board:

heard Fast, in his role as elementary school principal, report that the end of the school year went smoothly. The last day included fifth-grade promotion, awards assembly, play day, and annual soaking of the principal.

n heard junior/senior high school principal Curt Graves report on accomplishments at the Heart of America league track meet hosted by Goessel. He expressed appreciation to all who helped with the meet.

Graves said the golf team placed second at regional and seventh as a team at state.

“We will be hosting state golf next year at Hesston,” he said.

approved the administration’s recommendation to hire Carla Proctor as assistant high school girls’ basketball coach.

approved the recommendation to hire Jeff Penner as the third high school football coach since there could be as many as 24 or 25 football players in fall.

heard Fast report that Lee Buller has begun his assignment as the new technology coordinator. He will likely need to receive training in Linux, which is free computer programming that many schools are using.

heard that the school is in the final stages of the transition to Power School, with training scheduled for the following week. Among numerous advantages, parents will be able to check on their children on-line.

heard that Rod Boese is the new custodian working with Norman Schmidt at the junior/ senior high school. Boese will continue his school bus driving duties during the school year.

Fast said that Londell Duerksen is working on cleaning and repairs at the elementary school.

heard junior/senior high school principal Curt Graves report a handbook change: all students will now be required to enroll in eight units every year.

Seniors will be required to participate in senior seminar. Some of that class time will be used to talk with college representatives. Counselor Janna

Duerksen will help students fill out forms and build resumes. High school science teacher David Goerzen will teach the class on Fridays. Some project-based activities will be included.

heard Graves report that the school is looking at Pass Key Web-based curriculum for the contemporary literature class.

“We’ve heard very positive things about it,” Fast said. The program would cost about $40 per student.

heard Graves review book rental and class fees for art, photography, family and consumer science, nutrition, agriculture classes, physics, chemistry, roller skating for physical education class, calculator rental, and band rental of certain instruments.

He expressed concern about the costs and said it could cost some students $90 to $175. However, he said that feasibly, the fees should be higher in some areas.

Board member Dan Miller said, “They seem reasonable. They seem fair.”

The board discussed requiring that fees be paid before class begins. Graves said the $40 yearbook fee will have to be pre-paid.

heard board member Richard Drake’s report about the Marion County Special Education Cooperative. He said the co-op has six positions to fill. The lease agreement with Marion has been finalized for $50,000, compared to $3,000 in the past.

heard board member Dewayne Voth’s report about The Learning Consortium. He said the equipment has been improved. Fast agreed: “This is about the best I’ve ever seen it.”

heard business administrator Chet Roberts’ financial report. Since the price for natural gas is lower now than it has been, he suggested locking in some now and more later if the price drops.

scheduled a public hearing and amended budget approval session for 7 a.m., Tuesday, June 27. This meeting is necessary because the state has released additional money.

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