Goessel school board reviews ‘Career Cruising’ program

The Goessel school board listened to school counselor Janna Duerksen explain at the Feb. 12 meeting the “Career Cruising” program that is set up for all students, K-12.

Duerksen described the various grade levels and what the students can discover about themselves.

For example, kindergarten through grade two students investigate roles in the school, home and community. They learn about jobs and also unpaid work. Using the Career Cruising computer program, Duerk­sen said students “can discover things they like, things they’re good at.”

Duerksen said grades three through five learn about life planning, various careers and also community happiness.

Middle school students complete an assessment to discover what they like to do.

High school freshmen and sophomores investigate careers, grouped around 16 career clusters. High school students profile their skills, abilities and learning styles.

Juniors and seniors make decisions about career planning and post-secondary education, including financial aid. They also work on writing their resume.

Duerksen said the Career Cruising program allows her to send electronic transcripts to colleges. She thanked the board for their support.

John Fast, superintendent and K-5 principal, commended Duerksen for her work: “We are one lucky school district to have Janna as our counselor.”

Preschool update

The board listened to kindergarten teacher Sheri Janzen talk about the school’s preschool program. Fast said Janzen is the liaison between the preschool and the school.

Fast and board clerk Joni Smith also handle some details. Bonnie Gaeddert is the preschool teacher and Rachel Boden helps.

Janzen said an event is being planned for families of preschool children. The goal is to have a meal with the families and activities for children. They also plan to have resources available for parents, such as county health, city library, bank and credit union, literacy kit, and Parents as Teachers.

Janzen and Gaeddert had attended meetings in Topeka. They heard statistics about at-risk children who don’t receive a high-quality early childhood education: they are 25 percent more likely to drop out of school, 40 percent more likely to become a teen parent, 50 percent more likely to need special education, 60 percent more likely to never attend college, and 70 percent more likely to be arrested for a violent crime.

Janzen told the board that the preschool has 20 children on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 16 on Wednesdays. She said they need “another set of hands” for 7.5 hours a week. Janzen said some of the children have toileting issues, some need to learn social skills and nine are “at-risk.”

Janzen talked about MTSS (multi-tiered systems of support) trying to find interventions to support every child and trying to address all the needs.

Maynard Knepp, board vice-president, said, “It sounds to me that to meet the needs, we need another person.”

The board approved hiring a preschool aide.

Knepp thanked Janzen for coming and for “keeping us up to date.”

Other business

In other business, the board:

◼ approved the school calendar for the 2018-19 school year. Fast said it is similar to the current school year and matches with other schools in the county.

The first day of school in fall will be Aug. 16. Parent-teacher conferences will be Oct. 18. There will be no school Nov. 21-23 because of Thanksgiving break. Christ­mas break will be Dec. 19 to Jan. 2, with classes resuming Jan. 3.

◼ offered affirmation for Dale Dennis, deputy education commissioner, who has worked for many years for equity in funding for school districts. The Legislature did not listen to Dennis and is now blaming him for the education mess they themselves created.

Schools across Kansas have come forward with support for Dennis and rejected the Legislature’s false claims against him.

◼ approved the annual junior high reward trip to Worlds of Fun in Kansas City. Each student will be in a group sponsored by a teacher. Students must earn the privilege of going on the trip.

Requirements include: no more than one behavior detention, two office referrals for negative behavior, two academic detentions, two ineligibilities, four tardies and one inappropriate use of technology (games, cell phone, creating memes, etc.).

Students must maintain an average grade-point average of 2.50.

◼ heard from Fast that the Marion County Spelling Bee was Feb. 7 in Peabody.

◼ heard about plans for “under the sea” reading night at the elementary school March 6. The annual art event will also be that evening.

◼ heard that Pam Abra­hams and Krista Graber are starting a “cartons to gardens” project at the elementary school.

◼ heard from Scott Boden, junior high/high school principal, that the junior high boys had placed third in the Wheat State League basketball tournament.

◼ heard that Scholars Bowl season is over.

◼ heard that FFA has many activities planned for FFA week, including a chili cook-off, teacher appreciation breakfast, movie night and pancake feed.

◼ heard from Boden that nothing illegal was found during the K-9 visit Feb. 2. Boden said the Marion County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition is planning a townhall meeting in Goessel in 2018.

◼ new board member Pat Flaming agreed to fill the meet and confer board position, and Bryant Miller will be the legislative liaison.