Goessel School Board notes changes due to COVID-19

The Goessel school board met via technology on April 13, instead of in-person like always before. The board heard reports about school changes that have been taking place because of the Coronavirus. Superintendent/K-5 principal Dr. John Fast said that all teachers had submitted a “Continuous Plan for Learning,” as required by the state. Therefore, school can continue electronically through the remainder of the school year. Junior high/high school principal Scott Boden commended teachers for being “extremely flexible and innovative” in the transition to on-line learning.

In conjunction with the plans for changing the mode of teaching due to the Coronavirus, the board approved a waiver plan. Fast explained that all Kansas schools are required to provide a minimum of 1,116 hours of classroom time every school year. However, schools will not be able to meet that requirement this year because schools have been closed since spring break. Consequently, schools were required to document how they continue to provide instruction.

Fast said that most of the junior high and high school teaches are using google classroom, and they are sending e-mail assignments to students. Elementary teachers are doing some lessons on-line, and some lessons are paper packets that were sent home with the students. Fast reported that teachers are pleased with the response from students and parents. Teachers are working from home.

According to Fast, fourth through twelfth grade students were provided with a chromebook if they do not have a computer at home. Therefore, those students are all able to access the on-line lessons. Special education teachers, Title I, and classroom teachers follow up with phone calls to students and parents who need help. Paras are available for help as needed.

Fast noted an additional component to the waiver that the board approved. Schools are required to provide meals for any family who requests it. The school instituted a plan for “Grab ‘n Go” sack meals, which include three lunches and two breakfasts. These meals are provided for 135 students in 61 families. Fast explained that families drive by the front of the grade school between 11:30 and 12:00 every Tuesday in order to receive the food. Three cooks and three additional helpers prepare 675 sacks of food every week.

Boden told the board that locker clean-out had been scheduled before the stay-at-home order, and that process had gone smoothly. He also said all activities have been canceled for the rest of the school year. The school is hoping to arrange a recognition for seniors.

Turning their attention to another matter, the board listened to board member Bryant Miller’s report about the Marion County Special Education Cooperative. It was reported that Dr. David Sheppard, Marion County Special Education Cooperative director, plans to retire this summer. Therefore, the Co-op board has hired Kara Spittles as the new director. She will begin on July 1. She is a graduate of Kansas State University, where she earned an Elementary Education degree, Adaptive Special Education degree, and an Educational Leadership degree.

Spittles is currently the Assistant Special Education Director in Sedgwick County. She also has experience in Geary County, Wamego, and Chapman.

In other business, the board:

* accepted the retirement resignation of fifth grade teacher Ilona Abrahams. She has taught at Goessel 25 years. Board members and administration expressed appreciation for her many years of teaching.

* accepted the resignation of D. J. Freeman for forensics. The board expressed appreciation for her leadership with the forensics program.

* approved Brandon Lewis for the cross country coach position for the 2020 season. Lewis is a graduate of Wichita State University. He participated in cross country in high school and college. He is certified in CPR, AED (automated external defibrillator), and First Aid. He is working on his masters degree in Exercise Science at WSU.

* heard about work on the gym floor at the junior high, due to water issues several months ago. Lankford Enterprises has completed the work.

* heard a legislative report from board member Kyle Funk. He reported that Marion County is considering the addition of a county administrator. He mentioned state concerns related to COVID-19. He said the funding issue is unclear at this point.

* heard The Learning Consortium report from board member Sara Hiebert. She said the TLC board had approved routine bills.