Goessel School Board hears about Gold Standard Award

The Goessel School board met on December 13 and heard of state recognition that Goessel received. Superintendent/elementary principal Mark Crawford told the board that Goessel earned a Gold standard award based on the school’s exceptional graduation rate. He said the award is for schools with a graduation rate at or above 95 percent.

Junior high/high school principal Scott Boden explained what the school does to support students and encourage graduation. He said the school provides academic support and offers extended school days, an extra hour three days a week. An “individual plan of study” can help individual students. Boden said the school’s attendance policy supports graduation.

Boden talked about “trauma-informed practices” to help with challenges at home. He said the school tries to “get kids involved” and “feel connected.”

Boden explained that the school has to “claim” every new student, even if that student is only at Goessel for a short amount of time. For example, he reported on a 10-year span, noting students who did not graduate from a public school. During that span of time, one student transferred to a non-accredited private school. “A couple” of others quit as freshmen or sophomores and decided to be home-schooled. He said they’re doing fine, and they went to college, but Goessel had to count them as drop-outs. Boden said that a GED (General Educational Diploma) also counts as a drop-out. He said two other students were “transient:” one was a Goessel student for less than a month, and one was at Goessel for three months.

Boden said “We have to do a drop-out report” if Goessel is the last public school a student attended. He said he went with a student who moved to be sure he registered at another school so Goessel did not have to claim him as a drop-out.

Board chair Kelly Booton commended Boden for his efforts to help students graduate.

Crawford commented, “The amount of bureaucratic reporting can be overwhelming.”

Turning their attention to another matter, the board listened to 5th-grade teacher Emily Gibson’s report on the experience of her class at the Starbase program in Salina, which consisted of one day a week for five weeks. She said the students were able to do things there that cannot be done in a school classroom. The students made a hovercraft with a leaf blower, built rockets and launched them, made a space crawler and space shuttles, learned about chromatography and green energy, programmed a robot, studied Newton’s laws of motion and Bernoulli’s principle, and learned about nanotechnology. The activities were STEM-based (science, technology, engineering, and math).

“It was a super experience,” Gibson said.

In other business, the board:

* accepted a $1,000 Wal-Mart Community Grant donation to be used for the music department trip. The board expressed appreciation for the money.

* approved the resignation of Brittany Hiebert as assistant junior high girls volleyball coach.

* approved Zach Esau as second assistant for high school boys basketball.

* heard a COVID-19 report from Crawford. The elementary school is in “yellow” protocol, which means masks are recommended but not required. The junior high/high school is currently in “red” protocol, which requires masks.

* commended students for the food they collected for the Tabor Mennonite Church food pantry.

* heard from Boden about service day that was held before Thanksgiving. He said high school students cleaned the garden at the grade school, split firewood, cleaned trucks and tractors, worked at Mennonite Central Committee and New Hope Shelter in Newton, made decorations for residents at Bethesda Home, decorated classroom doors, and raked leaves in the community. Junior high students helped rake leaves. Boden commended the students for their work.

* heard about staff and volunteers who helped with the Bluebird Classic basketball tournament. Boden wished to thank them for their effort.

* heard a Marion County Special Education report from board member Maynard Knepp. He said the director resigned, and the MCSEC board will look for a new director. In the meantime, school administrators will be in charge. Knepp said, “We do have a good staff that can carry on day-to-day.”

* discussed ideas for the west entrance area of the high school gym. Crawford said the school is exploring options for using ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund) money to create a multi-purpose area that could be used as an outdoor classroom.

* heard that the staff Christmas banquet had been held at the Meridian Center in Newton on December 5. A total of 76 people attended.

* heard from Crawford that the KESA (Kansas Education Systems Accreditation) visit will be in spring. The accreditation committee consists of Crawford, Boden, Janna Duerksen, Crysta Guhr, and Russell Pauls.

* changed the date of next month’s meeting to Jan. 18, the third Tuesday, because of ball games that some would like to attend on the regular meeting day (the second Monday, Jan. 10).

* approved the expenditures of $176,956.83.

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