Goessel board accepts two resignations

The Goessel school board reluctantly accepted two teacher resignations at its March 3 meeting, which was held one week earlier than normal because of the timing of spring break this year.

Marc Grout, junior/senior high school principal, presented the two letters of resignation. The first one was from Bruce Stucky, highly respected junior high math and science teacher. Stucky also is the junior high Quiz Bowl coach and assistant high school Scholar?s Bowl coach. In the past, he coached football and track.

Stucky taught at Goessel for 18 years, having previously taught at Sedgwick. Stucky qualifies for early retirement.

?He?s an excellent teacher; this will be a huge loss to our teaching staff,? board chair Lynel Unrau said. ?He touched the lives of a lot of people in the community.?

Superintendent John Fast told the board how much he appreciated Stucky?s advice during Fast?s first year as an administrator at Goessel.

Grout also presented the resignation letter of another well-liked teacher, Joel Hesed. This is his second year at Goessel. He teaches junior high English. He is also the forensics coach, head junior high girls? basketball coach and assistant junior high Quiz Bowl coach.

?Mr. Hesed has been an excellent teacher,? Grout said.

Board member Darla Mey?sing echoed that sentiment: ?He really connects with the kids.?

Board member Maynard Knepp added, ?He?s a talented teacher,? and said he hopes Hesed makes a career of teaching.

Sixth-graders in sports

Following an extended discussion, the board approved the inclusion of sixth graders for junior high volleyball and basketball. The possibility of doing so had been presented at the February board meeting since there might not be enough girls for junior high volleyball and basketball next school year unless sixth-graders are included.

Grout said he had sent a letter to this year?s fifth-, sixth- and seventh-grade parents about the matter and had received numerous comments. He said there is overwhelming support for including sixth-grade girls in the program. Support for including the boys is about 50/50, he said, with some strongly for and some strongly against.

Benefits parents had mentioned for involving sixth-graders included: providing a team for the girls, more experience for high school, bonds between grades and regular exercise.

They also acknowledged possible negative aspects: sixth-graders playing against older students, late nights, over-emphasizing sports and concern for the Biddy Ball program.

It was mentioned that sixth-grade boys could have less time playing with the junior high than they would in their own sixth-grade Biddy Ball team.

Knepp asked how the sixth-grade Biddy Ball program compares to the junior high season. Fast said the junior high season is longer.

Chad Lindeman, head coach for junior high boys? basketball, attended the meeting and said his program had 41 practices and 14 games.

Some parents were concerned about students who might not be ready mentally or physically to play at the junior high level. The administration stressed that the school would only provide an opportunity for sixth-graders to participate, not requiring participation. They would support families who decide to wait.

Knepp cautioned that if sixth-graders are included, ?More will be required of our staff. It will take some learning for coaches.?

He also cautioned, ?We can do more damage than good? for sixth-graders. ?If you go out there and get pounded every night, that?s not going to be a lot of fun.?

Concern was expressed that students could ?burn out.? Unrau acknowledged the ?validity in all those concerns." He commended the coaches, administration and athletic director for doing their homework.

Grout summarized the discussion: ?Based on all of the information that we have been able to gather, it is the recommendation of the administration and the athletic department to offer the opportunity for both sixth-grade boys and girls to participate in junior high athletics next year.?

He said only volleyball and basketball would be included, not track or football.

Grout addressed the concern of possible reduced playing time for older boys at the few games when no C-team game is available. He was concerned that including sixth-grade girls but not the boys ?would create an issue of gender inequity and would only serve to further isolate a small group of sixth-grade boys from feeling a part of the junior high.?

Grout said the program will be evaluated in the future if student numbers begin to climb and could be successful without sixth graders.

?We would like to thank all of the parents who took the time to offer their thoughts and concerns,? he said.

Other business

In other business, the board:

  • heard Fast commend high school science teacher Donna O?Neill for the science fair she organized. ?Every single one of those items was excellent,? he said.

  • heard Fast report that the elementary school?s family reading night would be March 4, and the fourth- through sixth-grade musical, ?In Quest of Colum?bus,? would be March 6.

  • approved hiring Kelli Merritt as assistant golf coach since 18 students are participating in the golf program.

  • heard from Fast that the Kansas Association of School Boards projects a reduction in the growth of the state?s economy and a reduction in taxes. He cautioned there could be challenging times in the future.

  • heard that school custodians Norman Schmidt, Londell Duerksen and Rod Boese had removed the old bleachers from the junior high gym and the metal has been recycled. ?We are ahead of schedule? on the gym project, Fast said.

  • heard from Fast that a bus heater hose broke on the way back from the sub-state basketball tournament in Emporia Feb. 28. Fast expressed appreciation to the bus drivers, students and patrons for handling the situation well. He said almost every patron stopped to offer help. The bus has already been fixed.

  • heard Fast say the band, team and coaches did a ?super job of representing Goessel at sub-state.?

  • heard Meysing report on the Marion County Special Education Cooperative meeting she attended. She said a good portion of the meeting consisted of executive session. The board also listened to the psychologist?s report and reviewed board policy. Meysing also said that Kelli Merritt had resigned her special education position.

  • heard board member Dewayne Voth say ?things are running pretty smoothly? with The Learning Consortium.

  • heard Chet Roberts, business administrator, report that the school?s finances ?look pretty good.?

More from Hillsboro Free Press