Goessel School Board Hears of Career Readiness Emphasis

The Goessel school board met on Nov. 12 and listened to a report by Steve Wyckoff of Education Services and Staff Development Association of Central Kansas (ESSDACK). Wyckoff has talked with numerous school administrators and is going to many schools to share information and statistics specific to each school. He spoke about graduation rates and career readiness.

Wyckoff also talked about the importance of social/emotional growth.

He said the biggest risk factor for children is poverty. Chronic absenteeism, mobility (children moving from one school to another), and disabilities were also noted as risk factors. It was pointed out that the 1996 poverty rate of Goessel students was 13.5 percent; now it is 38.5 percent.

Wyckoff told the board that students who do not graduate from high school have a three percent chance of attaining middle class income. Therefore, he also spoke about kindergarten readiness, which he said is critical. The school’s preschool was mentioned.

Wyckoff said that high school graduation rates are very important. “Yours are outstanding, by the way,” he said.

While the emphasis in the past had been on test scores, Wyckoff said the emphasis now is changing to career readiness. He said that raising test scores did not raise the “effective success rate” for students. Now students are asked about their interests and what they can do well; they are now encouraged to enroll in high school courses accordingly.

Wyckoff also said that in the past, the emphasis had been to prepare all students for college. However, not all careers require a college education; instead, some require some other form of post-secondary education, such as an apprenticeship program or a specialized two-year certificate. Therefore, schools are now encouraged to help students determine what option will be best for them.

Junior high/high school principal Scott Boden said that sophomore, junior, and senior students had attended a Career Expo hosted by ESSDACK at the Hutchinson Mall on Nov. 7. He said it was a good opportunity for students to explore careers within their individual plans of study.

Turning their attention to another matter, superintendent/K-5 principal Dr. John Fast told the board that 100 percent of the elementary school teachers had contact with parents of each of the children in their classes at the recent parent/teacher conferences. Boden reported that 98 percent of the junior high and high school students were represented at the parent/teacher conferences.

In other business, the board:

* heard from Boden that about 100 people attended the recent Substance Abuse Prevention Townhall meeting.

* heard from Fast that food collection for the Tabor Mennonite Church Food Pantry will begin after Thanksgiving. Fast said the theme this year is “I Can, We Can, We All Can Help Each Other.”

* noted recent cross country and music accomplishments.

* noted basketball participation as follows — junior high girls: 19 players and one manager, junior high boys: 27 players and three managers, high school girls: 19 players and two managers, high school boys: 33 players and two managers.

* heard from Boden that the high school basketball teams are connecting with younger basketball teams as buddies and role models.

* approved Jesse Brown as the second assistant for high school boys basketball.

* heard that the new bus has arrived; it has been assigned to Jim Schmidt’s route. Therefore, an old bus, number 18, will be advertised on Purple Wave. There is no cost for the school to advertise on Purple Wave.

* heard that school improvement day had focused on being trauma informed. Teachers also worked on ideas for teaching competencies to prepare students for college and careers.

* noted that the blue Ford Fusion car the school is purchasing from Hillsboro Ford will have a teacher brake and will be available for driver’s education classes. That car replaces the school’s Ford Taurus that had many miles and was no longer dependable.

* listened to teacher/coach/athletic director Brian Lightner’s update about his research for sound systems. He said the high school gym is a priority for a sound system. He had contacted a number of companies and shared that information with the board. The decision was made to hire Electronic Contracting Company to install 12 speakers, four on the sides and four in the middle. Electronic Contracting Company had provided a detailed explanation of what they will do. They can get the project done during Christmas break. The cost is $18,804. The board discussed updating the football sound system at a later time.

* heard that the third grade class will be hosting grandparents on Nov. 20.

* heard from Boden that the Wheat State League is working on a Sportsmanship Creed.

* noted that the Kansas Association of School Boards convention will be Nov. 30 to Dec. 2. Fast encouraged board members to attend.

* briefly discussed plans for the board retreat, possibly in February. The board plans to discuss short-range and long-range goals.

* approved the financial statements of $49,140.04.