The Goessel school board heard a report at its Dec. 9 meeting from John Fast, superintendent and elementary school principal, about donations that grade school students had collected for typhoon victims.
Fast said a fourth-grade student had expressed concern for typhoon victims several times. Acting on the student?s concern, Fast contacted Maynard Knepp, who works for Mennonite Central Committee. Knepp helped coordinate donations.
Within a week and a half, students collected eight boxes of supplies, including 91 towels, 151 bars of soap, 210 bars of laundry soap, 212 tooth brushes, 20 boxes of adhesive bandages, 24 bottles of shampoo and 14 nail clippers. The students delivered the supplies to the MCC center in Newton.
Currently, elementary students are collecting food for the Tabor Mennonite Church Food Pantry, which assists people in need. Fast said the students had already reached their goal of 400 items for the food pantry.
Scott Boden, junior high and high school principal, said high school students also collected canned food for the food pantry. In addition, the high school?s service day had included raking leaves for people in the community, playing games with elementary school students, singing carols for Bethesda Home residents, making cookies to share in the community and cleaning up in the school and community.
Turning its attention to another matter, the board listened to a report about the Kansas Association of School Boards, which met in Wichita, Dec. 7-8. Fast and board members Lynnette Duerksen, Kelly Booton and Dan Miller attended the meetings.
Booton said he had attended a session about the ?personalized learning program,? in which parents and teachers work with students to choose a project and develop a project plan. He also attended a session on technology development. For example, Burlington North?ern needs workers who have the ability to work on large engines.
Duerksen said she attended a session about bullying prevention, led by the Kansas Children?s Service League. She heard a speaker explain ?catabolic? energy (negative) and ?anabolic? energy (positive).
?It was very interesting,? Duerksen said. ?The speaker was excellent.?
She also attended a session led by the USD 365-Garnet about successfully marketing a school and dealing with the media.
Miller said he attended a session about technology. He said that in addition to teaching how to use technology, students need to be taught ?how to use it responsibly.? Miller said that students learn differently now. The students ?coming into our schools are gamers,? he said.
Fast said the session he attended about school finance showed ?no light at the end of the tunnel.?
Miller advised the board, ?This will be an important legislative session. With all this uncertainty, we continue to do our job.?
He commended the students, parents, administrators, teachers and board for doing well. Acknowledging that the board members have their own jobs, Fast thanked them for all they do for the school.
The board heard a report from new special education teacher Todd Weeks. He said he had taught math and science at Larned, and special education at Hillsboro. He said his teaching career also included teaching prison inmates for a while. This is his first year teaching at Goessel.
Weeks said special education is now called ?inter-related.? He said, ?The No. 1 thing that makes kids succeed is parent involvement.?
It can be hard for middle school students to ask for help to get their school work done, he said. He prefers ?full inclusion? in the classroom and works toward that goal, although sometimes he works with students separately to make sure they get their assignments done and turned in. He said he tries to make it a positive learning experience.
In other business, the board:
? approved the band and choir trip to Dallas, Texas, March 27-29, to participate in the American Classic Music Festival. The students also plan to visit the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas and Six Flags.
? heard a report about construction and remodeling progress from project manager Seth Martin. Electri?cian Kyle Funk and Martin had met with the telephone company to discuss details. Martin said that McPherson Wrecking would be coming later in the week to begin its work. Flaming?s Plumbing would come soon to work on gas issues. Fast expressed appreciation to Martin for his work, noting Martin?s prompt communication.
? heard from Boden that some students had asked about cheerleading. Boden said the 2009-10 school year was the last year the high school had cheerleaders.