Goessel enrollment higher than was projected, board hears

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CYNTHIA GOERZEN
Members of the USD 411 Board of Education heard at their Sept. 11 meeting that enrollment numbers were higher than had been projected last month.

Superintendent John Fast said the head count is still 269, with the full-time equivalent of 260.5.

“This is not quite as low as we anticipated,” Fast said, adding that it is lower than last year.

The freshman and senior classes are the largest, with 32 students in each. The fifth-grade class is the smallest with 11 students. Ninety-four students are enrolled in the K- 5 building, and 175 students are enrolled at the 6-12 building.

Board member Richard Drake, reporting on the Marion County Special Education Cooperative meeting he had attended, mentioned classroom positions that have been filled.

He also reported that a speech teacher who will graduate in December plans to start working for the Co-op in January. He said a speech teacher from Council Grove plans to help a few hours at Centre.

The MCSEC board is researching location options.

“Everything is being considered,” Drake said. The board is looking at services and mileages. “Right now, our meals are prepped in Marion and shipped to Florence,” Drake said.

A decision whether to continue the lease or look at another building for next school year has to be made by Dec. 15.

“We’ll look at what’s best for the students,” he said.

In response to a question by board member Mary Rosfeld, Drake said 16 students are enrolled in the Oasis program.

“Last year we finished with 23,” he said, although the year had started with 15 students. Five students are in the very special needs class.

In other business, the board:

approved Brian Holloway and Dale Wiens as assistant administrators. These are unpaid positions that involve supervision, discipline, and curriculum.

“We certainly appreciate it,” Fast said.

listened to new high school math teacher, Rachel Hein, introduce herself and explain her teaching goals.

“My personal goal is to integrate technology more,” she said. She described a teaching device that allows her to move around the classroom and “teach from anywhere.”

heard Graves report on computer needs. “We’re looking at 32 machines,” he said. He described a “white box” type of computer that would allow Lee Buller, the district’s computer technology employee, to replace defective parts in-house.

The total cost would be $16,544, without shipping. This recommendation would cost $4,800 less than another option, or $150 less per unit.

Graves said flat-screen monitors would be purchased.

heard Fast report that Measures of Academic Progress Survey (MAPS) testing would begin on Wednesday.

“As soon as students are done, teachers get immediate results,” he said.

At the elementary level, each grade takes a one-hour test, one for reading and one for math. The students will take the exams again in spring to measure growth.

approved hosting the junior high league music festival on March 6, 2007. Plans include dismissing students at the junior high/high school building for the day, but staff would need to be available to supervise rooms.

heard Fast report that in-service on Sept. 20 at the elementary school would include a presentation by Chris Cezar, MCSEC director, on response to intervention. Ilona Abrahams will lead a workshop on six-trait writing. Denise Brown of MCSEC will lead a session on special education needs at the high school.

heard Fast report that physical education teachers Brian Holloway and Curtis Guhr are planning to host a PE workshop at the elementary school for area teachers Oct. 18.

The workshop will include teaching ideas, management suggestions, state standards and new activities. There is no cost to USD 411.

heard Dewayne Voth report that The Learning Consortium budget was approved with no changes and a $6,700 carry-over, “which is less than we had in the past.” However, TLC made some purchases this past year.

“We should be fine with a $5,000 contribution from each district,” he said.

approved the purchase of a minivan. “Right now, we’re short on vehicles,” Fast said. He explained that the Lumina, which has 190,000 miles, would be traded.

Fast said a minivan can be used for driver’s education and would get better gas mileage than the Suburban.

heard Fast report that the gas had been turned off at the high school at 4:30 that day because of a gas leak. Also, the 200-gallon water heater needs to be replaced.

decided to eat with staff at 7:30 a.m. on the first Friday of the month starting Oct. 6. One board member will be at each school building.

met in executive session and then accepted classified staff wages with a 3 percent increase.

decided to send school personnel to a national middle school convention.

Graves said he had been to a national conference seven years ago and is using classroom management ideas he received there.

The administration is considering a national convention in Nashville. It would not be limited to middle school teachers.

Drake affirmed getting ideas from peers. “Once in a while it is worth our time and dollars. I strongly support it. We rarely do this,” he said.

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