Goessel classes receive 21 state Standard of Excellence certificates

Goessel school counselor Janna Duerksen reported encouraging test scores at the Nov. 9 meeting of the Unified School District 411 Board of Education Meeting.

Duerksen said Goessel received 21 Standard of Excellence certificates. Students in grades three, four, five, six, seven, eight and 11 all earned the Standard of Excellence on their state assessments.

Duerksen said students ranked high in other subjects as well, but she noted some areas needing improvement. A ?school improvement plan? is in place to address those areas.

Duerksen also reviewed Adequate Yearly Progress scores with the board.

?Our scores definitely show that our teachers do a remarkable job,? she said.

Duerksen said the state target score in reading is 79.9 percent, while Goessel attained 97.8 percent. In math, the target score is 77.8 percent, while Goessel attained 97.8 percent. The state attendance target is 90 percent, and Goessel attained 96.8 percent.

?We meet those criteria very well,? she said.

Duerksen said the state?s target for high school graduation is 75 percent, while Goessel achieved 95.7 percent, with only one drop-out during a four-year span.

Duerksen also explained Measure of Academic Progress testing, which is written and maintained by the Northwest Evaluation Associa?tion. Goessel has used MAP testing since 2006 as a tool to assess strengths and weaknesses of individual students.

Fifth-grade teacher Ilona Abrahams said MAP scores determine which students could benefit from the ?Pass Key? program.

High school English teacher Crysta Guhr explained reading interventions and mentioned the writing emphasis at the high school. Students are required to follow the ?six-trait? writing model in every class. She also said the Pass Key computer program is helpful; a ?locator? test is used to determine the lessons for specific students.

Duerksen said 58 students are using Pass Key, and the school has a license for 60 students.

Superintendent John Fast commended Duerksen, Abrahams and Guhr for their leadership.

State update

Fast predicted ?every district will be hurt? by anticipated budget shortfalls at the state level. He noted that the Kansas Constitution states that the legislature shall provide public schools.

Fast reported statistics showing that the number of high school graduates in Kansas has increased every decade, as well as the number of people obtaining graduate degrees.

?Kansas schools rank among the best in the nation,? he said.

Fast compared education spending with other states: ?Of the top 10 states, we?re spending the least but getting the most value. Kansas is doing a very, very good job….?

He said Kansas ranks 23rd among the 50 states on tax rates.

On a related topic, Fast urged constituents to write to legislators to oppose consolidation.

?Consolidation is not good for us or our county,? he said. He suggested writing to Jay Emler, Bob Brookens and Ken Willard.

Other business

In other business, the board:

n voted to reward students and staff for their high state assessment scores by granting extra time off at Thanksgiving. A half-day of school had been scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 25, but the board decided not to hold school at all that day.

n heard Fast report that all grades at the elementary school reported 100 percent parent contact for Oct. 26 parent/teacher conferences, although a few contacts were by phone. Marc Grout, junior/senior high school principal, reported an 82 percent attendance rate for parent-teacher meetings at his school. He said it is an ?excellent? rate and is holding steady compared with other years.

n heard from Grout that 24 high school students would perform with the Heart Of America Honors Band at Little River.

n heard that 13 high school students were selected by audition for the Kansas Music Educators Association South Central District band, chorus and orchestra. These groups will perform in December at the annual South Central KMEA District Mini-Convention at Wichita State University.

n heard Grout say there would not be a junior high girls basketball team this year if sixth-graders would not be playing. Only one eighth-grade girl is playing basketball, and only three seventh-graders. Ten sixth-grade girls are playing. Twenty-two junior high boys are playing basketball; seven of them are sixth-graders.

n heard that 10 junior high students were selected for the Kansas Choral Directors Association Treble Honor Choir. In addition, seven junior high students were selected for the KMEA State Middle Level Choir. Both groups will perform in February during the annual KMEA State In-Service Workshop.

n heard that four eighth-graders had performed at Andover Central High School with the KMEA South Central Middle Level Honor Chorus.

n heard that seven high school FFA members and their adviser, John Bergin, had attended the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Oct. 20-24.

n heard that high school community service day is scheduled for Nov. 20, and the junior high band/choir concert is scheduled for Nov. 24.

n heard from Fast about the ?very good turnout? for the elementary school?s 50th anniversary celebration. He thanked the board for helping with the celebration.

n heard from Fast that the parent-teacher organization plans to sponsor an annual trip again, paid for by the collection of General Foods boxtops. Elementary school students will see the ?Nutcracker Suite? at Century II on Dec. 11.

n heard from the new junior high English teacher, Derrick Birdsell, who teaches reading and writing for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders, as well as study hall and academic skills. He also coaches high school cross country and is involved with the high school musical. Birdsell is married to Amy (Bachman) Birdsell, who was a student at Goessel. They have a 16-month-old son.

n heard Dan Miller, the board?s representative on the Marion County Special Education Cooperative board, report that laptop computers are now available in the MCSEC board room.

n heard Darla Meysing, the board?s representative on the The Learning Consortium, report that Hutchinson Community College is applying for a grant for upgrading equipment.

Goessel cooperates with HCC for inter-active television classes. Grout said the warranty on the Goessel equipment runs out this month.

n heard from Fast that there will be a wind-generator presentation at the December board meeting.

n heard Fast describe hail damage from the July 8 storm. Eight vehicles were damaged. Fast also reported roof damage; the agricultural education roof especially needs repairs soon.

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