USD 410 board hears from administrators

USD 401 building administrators delivered beginning-of-the-year reports at the regular Sept. 9 meeting of the board of education.

After reviewing the weekly class schedule at Hillsboro High School, principal Max Heinrichs said project-based learning is part of Project Lead the Way with its emphasis on technology and engineering, and it complements Career and Technical Education Path?way programs and three of four STEM?pathways.

?I feel blessed with the staff I?m working with,? Hein?richs said about the changes in curriculum, schedule and teaching assignments over the past year.

Superintendent Steve Noble said in light of these changes, he received notification that Hillsboro High School has been recommended as a model school for Success Showcase at the CTE Pathways Annual Conference in November.

Evan Yoder, Hillsboro Elementary School principal, introduced a video featuring the Walton Rural Life Center as an example of using real-life projects to connect learning math, science and other subjects.

?We?re close to doing that already,? Yoder said about the garden project at HES.

He described three initiatives at HES: raising funds for new playground equipment, expanding garden learning to other areas and a second-language proposal using a website that is available at no expense.

Principal Greg Brown said enrollment numbers at Hillsboro Middle School indicate a slight decrease.

The project to update math curriculum has been completed, he said, and now work will begin on English and language arts.

Brown said he and his staff will explore team teaching opportunities this year and intentionally address student behavior, ?working on habits of the mind.?

Noble affirmed the principals as being ?change agents? in educating USD 410 students, adding that he will be using a new instrument that includes that criterion to evaluate the princi?pals.

In the Learning Show?case, Lena Kleiner, director of Technology in Excellence Education Network, reported to the board. She said online classes offered this semester serve 127 students in five districts, including 42 in USD 410.

She also explained the Lip Balm Project, a TEEN Online Marketing and Applied Business project in which students will develop, produce and market a product.

Other business

In other business, the board:

? approved four out-of-state trips for the academic year and the use of district vehicles: National TSA Convention this summer in Washington, D.C; Robotics class competition in Novem?ber to Ponca City, Okla.; National FFA Convention, Oct. 29-Nov. 2 in Louisville, Ky.; a choir trip in May to Branson, Mo.; and the FCCLA National Cluster meeting, a qualifying event, Nov. 21-24, in Omaha, Neb.

Noble clarified for board members that the district pays gas for trips that are part of the curriculum, but not those that are extracurricular.

? heard a review of several Kansas Association of School Boards policies that vary with local ones, including reimbursement of expenses incurred by board members, such as travel; board approval of all consultants used by the district, and self-evaluation of board members. The board will vote on Noble?s recommendations next month.

? met in executive session to discuss personnel.

? accepted the resignation of Mike Woelk as mechanic.

? approved work agreements for John McMinn as mechanic, Tanner Lacy as bus driver, and an additional 7.5 hours per week for Tim Isaac as bus driver.

? received a copy of Public Education Fact Book compiled by the Kansas Policy Institute, which compares how funds are spent in others states.

KPI is an independent organization that advocates monitoring government spending for public education in Kansas.

?These facts are facts?real numbers,? Noble said about the information in the booklet. ?(But) they are the numbers (KPI) chose to put there.?

Noble said the goal of KPI is to privatize education because the Kansas public education system is viewed as broken.

Board clerk Jerry Hiner?man explained several factors that affect the numbers.

?There?s nothing wrong (with the facts) in here,? Hinerman said, adding that ?not all the facts? are included.

Board members Joe Sechrist and Deb Geis were absent from the meeting.