Goessel feted for 25 years with OWLS

The Goessel school board was told during its April 11 meeting that the school will be recognizing the 25th year of the Outdoor Wildlife Learning Station program.

John Fast, superintendent and elementary school principal, said George Potts and former Goessel teacher Bruce Stucky started the OWLS program at Goessel. They have both been invited to attend the 9 a.m. event. Fast said Kansas Parks and Wildlife will send representatives.

“We were the first school in the state” to launch an OWLS program, Fast said. Goessel elementary school has a garden that gives children a chance to study agriculture and the wildlife attracted to the garden area.

Teacher retirements

The board also heard plans to honor two teachers who are retiring after many years of teaching at Goessel. A staff reception will be held for Wes Schmidt-Tieszen, high school social studies teacher, and Mary Schmidt, a Title I teacher.

Fast received word that Schmidt-Tieszen has been accepted into the Kansas Teachers’ Hall of Fame.

In addition to teaching high school social studies, Schmidt-Tieszen is also the junior high Quiz Bowl coach and the high school Scholars Bowl coach. He has also sponsored the senior class.

State mandate

• The board discussed a new state mandate that requires teachers to grade assessment tests from other schools. In the past, the “Multi-disciplinary Performance Test” was given on a smaller scale and could be graded at the state level by a smaller group of people.

The test is now required statewide, and each school is required to grade exams from another school. The deadline is in early May. The grading will require online training for staff plus the actual grading time.

“It is a fairly involved process,” Fast said.

Consequently, the board decided to declare Friday, April 29 a “professional release” day so teachers can do the required grading.

Classes will not meet that day, but the art fair will be held that evening as planned. Board members expressed frustration with the grading requirement, and concern for parents who will need to arrange child care for that day.

Other business

In other business, the board:

• approved Brittany Hiebert as high school family and consumer science teacher. She is a Goessel graduate and had a strong participation in the FACS program as a high school student. Hiebert has been teaching junior high English at Goessel. The board accepted her resignation as assistant junior high girls’ basketball coach.

• hired Chrystiana Miller as Title I teacher. Miller, also a Goessel graduate, has been teaching in Manhattan. She was the recipient of the Horizon teaching award.

“We think she’ll do a great job,” Fast said. “There are so many needs for Title I.”

• accepted the resignation of Diane Leonard as high school Spanish teacher.

“We’re saddened by that,” Fast said. “She’s done a nice job for us.”

Scott Boden, junior high and high school principal, said he hopes to continue sharing a Spanish teacher with Peabody.

• heard from Boden that state assessments “have been progressing smoothly when the state system is on-line.” He said a cut network cable in Lawrence caused interruptions for several days. Boden commended teachers and students for their patience.

• Fast and board member James Wiens updated the board on legislative issues.

The new finance bill that the governor signed would transfer the tax burden to the local communities. The governor also borrowed money from KPERS, which adversely affects teachers.

• heard plans for a box-top grade school trip to Hutchinson April 28. Grades K-2 will go to the zoo, and grades 3-5 will go to the Dillon Nature Center. Both groups will see Gregory Popovich’s Comedy Pet Theatre at the Fox Theater in the afternoon.

Fast said the comedy group performs with animals that have been rescued from animal shelters.

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