Bluebirds qualifying in a variety of endeavors

Goessel BOE hears of state students

Curt Graves, principal for grades six through 12, highlighted student accomplishments at the March 12 meeting of the Goessel school board.

“Goessel High School is experiencing great success in many areas academically, athletically, and in the fine arts,” Graves said.

Goessel students qualified for state competitions/performances in boys’ basketball, Kansas Music Educators Association, forensics, wrestling, scholars bowl and FCCLA (Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America).

With the fourth-place at the state boys’ basketball tournament recently completed, Graves read part of a letter he had received from the general manager at the hotel where the team stayed in Hays: “They are one of the nicest groups we have had.”

Graves said a restaurant manager also commended the team for their exemplary behavior.

The board approved the calendar for the 2007-08 school year. It includes one-half day of school Nov. 21. The last day of school before Christmas will be a whole day on December 20, with the high school Christmas program that evening.

Spring break will coincide with the Canton-Galva district and Hutchinson Community College online courses.

Board chairman Lynel Unrau questioned the timing of spring break since it is “out of sync” with the rest of Marion County.

Graves said it is harder to work things out for students who are taking classes from HCC.

Board member Dan Miller commended the administrators and clerk Patsy Schmidt: “This is a lot of work.”

Board member Mary Rosfeld suggested putting the calendar on the school’s Web site.

Superintendent John Fast presented irrigation bids for the football fields. The board approved the bid from Vern Dreier for $18,551.75.

Dreier has a crew who can get all three fields done in a week possibly before the end of April.

Each field will have a separate computer control panel. The system will run primarily at night and will shut down at the end of the season.

The system will be more efficient than the water wheels that have been used until now.

In other business, the board:

n approved the resignation of Rachel Hein, high school math teacher. Hein wants to spend more time with her young children.

“She has done an outstanding job,” Fast said. “We’re sorry to see her go.”

n heard Fast report that fourth and fifth graders are done with their state assessments. He said the third graders will begin after spring break.

n heard Fast report that about 80 to 90 people attended the “Blast-Off” reading night at the grade school.

n heard Fast report that Red Wheel pizza fund-raising is under way.

n listened to Fast’s plans for teacher in-service day the afternoon of March 28. He said Josh Anderson, Kansas Teacher of the Year and one of four finalists for the National Teacher of the Year award, is planning to come and speak to the staff at no cost to the district. The Kansas Association of School Boards will pay for the service.

 n heard Fast report that roof repairs at the grade school are done.

n heard Graves describe implementation of the Pass Key reading and math program for high school students who are not performing at grade level.

The program uses MAPS testing. He said students who use the program have been motivated and have given positive reports about the program.

Fast said Pass Key might be used during summer school at the grade school.

n heard Graves describe remodeling plans for the 6-12 library. He said it will be updated and will be more user-friendly by August.

n heard Fast and Unrau report on the sessions they attended in Topeka Feb. 14 and 15. Fast said Mary Rosfeld and Justin Schrag went the following day. He said one session centered on the relationship between tax structure and community development.

Rosfeld said, “Businesses are looking for work force more than tax breaks” as well as quality of life and education opportunities.

n heard Fast report that No Child Left Behind was also discussed at the Topeka sessions. There is talk that NCLB conflicts with the Individuals with Disabilities Act.

“Some under IDA claim that NCLB is discriminating against them,” he said.

n heard Unrau Fast report that Lee Buller has installed more work stations in the computer lab. Fast mentioned a problem with spam e-mail. He also said the laptops had not been keeping their Internet connections. That problem has been fixed.

n heard Fast briefly describe community task force efforts. He mentioned the hope for a walking trail and water play park. Plans are to apply for a grant from the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.

“We’re really excited about making the city more attractive,” he said.

n heard Fast report on the joint meeting of the school boards of the Marion County Special Education Cooperative. He said the MCSEC board received approval to continue to “fact find"“to determine whether to build or to use available facilities.

n heard Fast say the MCSEC is experiencing a shortage of speech teachers.

“Our salaries are not competitive,” he said. Speech teachers can earn more in urban schools, where they do not have to travel between schools like they do here.

When board member Lynnette Duerksen asked how MCSEC is providing speech services, Fast said some students are going to Newton Medical Center for speech therapy, and some to McPherson.

n heard treasurer Chet Roberts report, “On the cash side, we’re where we were last year. We’re doing fine.” He reviewed the general and supplemental funds, vocational and special education payments, and utilities.

n met in executive session to evaluate and discuss administrative contracts for Fast (superintendent and K-5 principal), Graves (6-12 principal), and Roberts (part-time business administrator).

In open session, the board extended the contracts for all three through the 2008-09 contract year.

n set the schedule for board members to visit with staff before school on two Fridays. Unrau and Dewayne Voth will be at the grade school and high school March 23. Duerksen and Miller will visit April 13.

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