Senator becomes a student

Sen. Jerry Moran goes to one knee for a closer view as sophomore Kaleb Spencer operates the robot he is developing in class as instructor Creigh Bell provides some commentary. Moran made an impromptu stop at the school Oct. 12.USD 410 Superintendent Max Heinrichs welcomed a new student to Hillsboro High School last Wednesday, if only for a brief stay.

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran visited the school for about an hour to learn more about Career Technical Education and the school’s Path­ways program, according to Hein­richs, who led Moran’s unscheduled tour.

“Sen. Moran was in Wichita and had an hour of free time in his travel to Fort Riley, so he gave us a call for a tour of HMHS,” Heinrichs said.

Principal Clint Corby and Robert Rempel, activities director, were out of the building at a league meeting when the request came in.

“I was more than happy to show him around HMHS,” Heinrichs said.

After serving as HHS principal for seven years, and before he was hired this spring as superintendent, Heinrichs focused on CTE programs as a consultant for ESSDACK, which provides training and support for area school districts.

During the tour, Hein­richs brought Moran to three classrooms that exemplify the CTE model of hands-on, real-world learning as well as the school’s Path­ways programs.

The first stop was Nathan Hiebert’s Entrepreneurship class, where he visited with Hiebert about class strategies and goals, and with sophomore Caleb Rempel about the T-shirt business he has launched as a result of his participation.

“He was very impressed that Caleb had a business card to provide him,” Hein­richs said. “Sen. Moran said it was a first for him to receive a business card from a high school student in a class.”

The tour came next to Scott O’Hare’s classroom, where O’Hare described learning objectives and activities in his Meteor­ology, Princi­ples of Engin­eer­ing and Geographic Information System Spatial Applications classes.

The last stop was Creigh Bell’s Robotics classroom.

“Sen. Moran visited with the students about their robots and the competitions available for our students to compete with other schools’ robotic teams,” Heinrichs said.

During informal conversations, Moran said he liked the direction HHS is heading.

“He was very impressed with all the offerings we give to our students and the relevant and hands-on learning our students receive at HMHS,” Heinrichs said.

“He was very impressed with the college and career opportunities our students have and also our TEEN Network.”

Last school year, the Technology Excellence in Education Network began offering online classes for adults age 19 and older as TEEN Virtual Academy. It was created cooperatively in by the school districts of Herington, Hills­boro, Marion and Peabody-Burns.

Moran asked if every high school student in Kansas has the same type of engineering curriculum Hillsboro uses. Heinrichs said he showed the senator the data of HHS students’ post-secondary success.

“He was really impressed with our success rate,” Hein­richs said.

Near the end of the tour, Moran asked Heinrichs if he would prefer to go back to teaching the “old stuff” from years past.

“Everything we teach our students is important to us and to their future,” Hein­richs responded. “If we can find a way to put the old stuff (core curriculum) into hands-on relevant learning and teach students all the ‘old stuff’ they need through our career education classes, our students would be more authentically engaged and better equipped for their future.”

Written By
More from Don Ratzlaff
Gray, Funk to lead HHS tennis
With the graduation of four-year state qualifier Allison Weber, the Hillsboro tennis...
Read More