USD 410 board hears of playground progress

Hillsboro Elementary School principal Evan Yoder  reviews plans for the proposed school farm during the Dec. 8 USD 410 school board meeting. The project hit a speed bump the following Thursday when the Hillsboro Planning Committee tabled action on a conditional-use permit because of resident concerns. See story, Page 1. Aleen Ratzlaff / Free PressUSD 410 building administrators gave their quarterly reports to the Board of Education at its regular meeting Dec. 8.

Evan Yoder, principal at Hillsboro Elementary School, reported the playground committee has been meeting almost weekly to review grant options and discuss decisions that need to be made.

US Cellular of McPher?son, which is considering coming to Hillsboro, will donate $1 toward the project for each unique ?Like? on its Facebook page through Dec. 12, Yoder said.

Also, he urged board members to spread the word that Lang Diesel will donate $1,000 to a local charity with the most votes by Dec. 25 on its Facebook page at

?Click on it, vote and then share the link with others,? he said.

Two teachers?Lenna Knoll and Rod Just?have completed Project Lead the Way training, Yoder said about the program?s implementation at the elementary school level.

Finally, Yoder reported the Hillsboro Planning Commission will consider the zoning application to allow creation of a school-to-farm area northeast of the elementary school at its meeting Dec. 11. He also reviewed drawings of the plans for the school-to-farm facilities at Monday?s board meeting.

Principal Max Heinrichs reviewed board reports for both Hillsboro Middle/Senior High School.

Highlights included a new middle school book club and Darlene Bartel?s Project Lead the Way classes with seventh and eighth graders.

?Mrs. Bartel has been thrilled about how engaged the students are in the classroom,? he said.

Heinrichs also reported on recent ACT scores, which he said are sound measures for students? readiness for college.

In all areas?English, math, reading and science?students have scored above the mark designated as being ?college ready,? Heinrichs said.

?I think the emphasis on application and problem-solving have caused our students to do better,? he added about their scores.

Under the leadership of Heinrichs and Diana Holub, Noble said, USD 410 has had multiple opportunities to showcase its engagement and success with implementing all the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) pathways in its curriculum.

Heinrichs said, ?I like what (PLTW) is doing for us.?

Superintendent Steve Noble said the district is being transformed into project-based learning.

David Sheppard, executive director for Marion County Special Education Cooperative, presented his annual report to the board.

Sheppard distributed a letter template he intends to send Kansas legislators regarding issues MCSEC faces, including academic challenges, health needs, transportation and funding.

?Special education services are federally mandated and cannot be cut,? Noble said about the significance of the issues.

?Special education services delivering at the current level is unsustainable,? he said.

Anything not funded by the state must be met by the district, he added.

By consensus, the board agreed to sign the letter in its final version.

Jakob Hanschu, HHS Student Council president, shared a video that highlighted the Nov. 25 community service project of raking leaves.

He thanked the board for its strong support as well as that of the city, which provided a trash truck to haul the leaves. More than 160 students, 14 faculty and six non-faculty participated, he added.

Other business

In other business, the board:

? approved supplemental contracts for Glenn Ratzlaff and Alex Baumgarner as assistant coaches for HHS boys? basketball, and Gretchen Regier as drama assistant.

? approved disposal of four district vehicles?a 47-passenger 1995 Ford bus, a 20-passenger 2006 Ford mini-bus, a cargo van and a Parents as Teachers car that was totaled in a deer/vehicle collision in September.

? approved half-day off with pay on Christmas Eve for staff contracted to work that day, which applies largely to 12-month employees, Noble said.

? heard a recap of last month?s facilities tour report by Noble, which included numerous projects such as the playground, windows and parking lot repairs at HES; roof and guttering work and upgrading restrooms at HMS and HHS; HMS gym subfloor and replacing the district phone system.

The projects will need to be prioritized, Noble said.

? heard that the HHS weight room is open to the community from 6-8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

? heard reports from board members Mark Rooker for TEEN and Joe Sechrist for MCSEC.
Board member Kim Klein was absent from the meeting.

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