Goessel schools plan events to mark state?s 150th birthday celebration

The Goessel school board listened during its Jan. 10 meeting to John Fast, superintendent and elementary school principal, describe plans for Kansas Day activities.

Kansas Day is Jan. 29, which will be a Saturday this year. As a result, Fast said the elementary school will celebrate Friday, Jan. 28. This will mark 150 years that Kansas has been a state.

Fast shared plans for four presentations for grade school children. He said that Kevin Hiebert, a local resident, will give a presentation on life in Kansas before the pioneers arrived.

The children will learn about early pioneer life at the local Mennonite Heritage Museum.

Representatives from the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame plan to come. Fast is hoping Jack Parr, a well-known Kansas athlete, will be able to come, too.

The fourth presentation will be by the Great Plains Nature Center.

Crisis plan

On another matter, the board reviewed the school?s crisis plan, which needs to be updated every four years, according to Fast.

Marc Grout, junior/senior high school principal, said the biggest change in the plan would be the contact people.

The plan covers crises such as a bus wreck, bomb threat, health emergency, run-away, assault, abduction, hazardous material and other possible emergencies.

The school has a specific plan for each possibility. A counseling plan is in place.

Fast said the crisis plan was in place and was beneficial a number of years ago when a fifth-grader died in a car accident.

Board member Lynnette Duerksen asked, ?Do you ever have drills? Once you practice it, it?s much easier when you need it.?

Fast said the school does have lock-down drills, tornado drills and fire drills.

Fast mentioned an agency that can come and perform a crisis audit. He said the security cameras help and mentioned the possibility of identification lanyards for teachers.

Fast explained teacher and student identification information for trips.

He said the two outside doors on the east and west wings at the elementary school are locked after 8 a.m.

Board member Dan Miller commended the administration for all they do to ensure safety at the schools.

Other business

In other business, the board:

? approved a ?sheltering agreement? with Bethesda Home, which is across the street from the elementary school. Fast said, ?Through the years we have had an ongoing agreement with Bethesda that our facilities could be used for emergency sheltering if there were a serious emergency with their facility.

He said the gym at the grade school is designated as an emergency shelter, but, considering the proximity of the two facilities, a disaster could affect both.

In that case, the high school would be the emergency shelter site for Bethesda Home.

Fast added, ?If neither school can be utilized, then it is Bethesda Home?s responsibility to find other shelter.?

? heard from Fast about the Dec. 20 Christmas program.

?We had one of the largest audiences that I can recall,? he said.

He said the elementary school gym was ?packed wall-to-wall.? He commended the ?excellent, very attentive audience.?

? heard from Grout that the high school Christmas concert was well attended also. He said the concert ended with the tradition of community members joining the choir on the stage for the ?Hallelujah Chorus;? the stage was packed.

? heard that Rob Tierney (band teacher) and Renae Peters (junior high/high school vocal teacher) are on paternity/maternity leave. Their babies were born within a day of each other.

Jerry Toews is substituting as the band teacher. Julie Kreh?biel is substituting as the vocal teacher.

? heard from Grout that 24 Goessel students were selected through auditions to perform at Century II in Wichita at the Kansas Music Educators Associ?a?tion conference Feb. 25.

? heard from Fast that Monday, Jan. 17, would be a county-wide in-service day called ?TEEN Mash-Up In-Service.?

? heard that fourth and fifth grades would be getting blog cameras to use with the Smart Boards and laptops. Fast expressed excitement with teacher Tom Krehbiel?s work with the technology.

? heard that the Jan. 10 League Scholar?s Bowl tournament would be rescheduled. Although Goessel had school that day, most league schools did not, because of snow.

Grout said the junior high basketball game that was scheduled for that evening also would likely be rescheduled.

? heard from Fast about a government relations seminar planned for Feb. 16 and 17. He said it would provide a school finance update and information about common core standards, career technical education, 21st century skills, a graduate drop-out report and new directions for education.

Board members James Wiens and Miller expressed interest in attending.

? noted that Miller and Darla Meysing are planning to run again for board positions in the upcoming election.

? voted to reschedule the March board meeting to Monday, March 7, because of spring break.

? reviewed the proposed 2011-12 calendar. Enrollment would be Aug. 10 and 11, with Aug. 25 the first day of school. There would be no school on Labor Day; Sept. 21 would be a half-day of school, with teacher in-service in the afternoon. Students would be released at 12:30 p.m. Oct. 24 for parent-teacher meetings, and Oct. 28 would be a compensation day with no school. Nov. 23 would be a half day of school, and Christmas vacation would begin Dec. 21. Teacher work day would be Jan. 2, and classes would resume Jan. 3.

This calendar has yet to be approved.

? heard Miller report about the Marion County Special Education Cooperative: ?It appears that everything is moving forward in a positive manner.?

With school board elections in the near future, Miller said, ?There may be one or two returning to that (MCSEC) board,? and the mix of new and returning board members could be interesting.

He expressed affirmation for the ?very positive director.?

? approved a bid from Don Hattan for a Chevrolet Suburban for $31,100.

Fast said this is a basic nine-passenger vehicle with tinted glass and power doors and windows but no carpet and no CD player.

? met in executive session to discuss personnel but took no action in public session.

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