Goessel rewards scores with day off

As a reward for the performance of students in state assessments, the Goessel school board decided at its Nov. 12 meeting to give them an extra day off for Thanksgiving break.

Superintendent John Fast reported the district reached the Standard Of Excellence awards on 13 tests taken in the previous school year?more than had previously been reported.

The board approved the administration?s recommendation that teachers and students be rewarded for their effort and hard work with a day off from school.

Fast had chosen three possible dates and met with staff later in the week to decide which one would be chosen. Teachers preferred Nov. 26, which would extend the Thanksgiving break by a day.

With the board action, the Thanksgiving break will begin after lunch on Wednesday, Nov. 21; classes will not meet that afternoon. Classes will resume Tuesday, Nov. 27.

Fast publicly acknowledged Citizens State Bank for providing treats for staff on Monday and the Credit Union for providing treats on Tuesday of ?Education Appreciation Week.?

He also expressed appreciation to the parent-teacher organization and the booster club for treats on Wednesday. The administration took care of Thursday, and the district office provided treats on Friday.

In other business, the board:

n heard Fast, who is also principal for kindergarten through grade 5, report ?100 percent contact? with parents at each elementary school grade level for parent-teacher conferences, Oct. 22.

Marc Grout, principal for grades 6 through 12, reported an 83 percent attendance rate at junior high and high school parent-teacher conferences.

n heard Grout say Friday, Nov. 16, would be community service day at the high school.

n approved hiring a second assistant coach for high school boys? basketball. As of board meeting time, Grout said 29 boys had signed up for basketball.

Fast said, ?We?ve got all three gyms (high school, junior high, elementary school) being used to full capacity.?

Asked about the availability of players for C games, Grout said most of the schools Goessel will play will have a C team.

He also said most schools hire a third coach when they have between 22 and 30 students playing. The administration plans to have a name to submit to the board at the next meeting.

n heard Fast say the county emergency director had met with the county schools to discuss storm shelters.

n heard Fast report that Nov. 21 would be ?Grandparents Day? in the third-grade class. ?We typically get 30 to 40 guests that day,? he said. The grandparents come for the morning and stay for lunch.

n heard from Fast about the ?Walking the Fast-Track? program he has started at the grade school.

?Currently I have over 85 percent of the students walking with me twice a week on a regular basis,? he reported. They walk around the playground several times.

?Most of them end up running,? Fast said of the children. In cold weather, they walk inside.

n listened to Lori Soo Hoo, coordinator/parent educator for the Marion County Parents As Teachers program. She said 81 families (114 children) are being served every month by the program. Seven of those families?nine children?are in the Goessel district. Soo Hoo would like to raise that number. The goal would be 12 percent of the county PAT children coming from Goessel.

Soo Hoo said PAT offers personal in-home visits. The program suggests activities to promote learning. PAT also offers monthly group meetings and some field trips.

PAT has a resource library at Hillsboro Elementary School that is available to parents. Soo Hoo listed a number of advantages for the families enrolled.

n discussed transportation needs and options with Fast. Besides schoolbuses, the district has three vans, one car and one suburban. All vehicles are used frequently. Fast said the 2001 Lumina car has 110,000 miles and either needs to be replaced or be repaired. One van takes students to vocational education classes at Newton High School every day, and the car takes students to special county classes every day.

The school also has a 1991 mini-bus that is not used right now because it is not dependable and needs to be replaced. Even with increased needs, ?we have not changed the number of vehicles that we have through the years,? Fast said.

n heard Fast report ?we?re in great shape with route buses.? Since bus driver Lois Janzen retired, the bus routes were reconfigured from five to four.

Fast described the the need for substitute drivers who are certified to drive air-brake buses.

n discussed requests from parents who would like tennis, soccer and gymnastics to be offered at the high school level.

n heard board member Darla Meysing report on the Marion County Special Education Cooperative. She said all five county superintendents saw a need to move the program to a different facility. But with declining enrollment, the schools could not justify building a new building.

The superintendents will check on location options. The Oasis program might need to be at Florence next year yet. Fast said the three levels of the Oasis program?elementary, junior high and high school?work together and need to share resources. It would not work well to separate them into different towns.

n heard Grout report that 14 GHS students had participated in the Heart Of America Honors Band at Canton-Galva Nov. 5.

n met in executive session to discuss personnel matters.

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