School Board Hears Technology Report, Accepts Resignation

By REX ZIMMERMAN

U.S.D. 255 School Board members got a technology update and took care of several other items of business at its November 9 meeting. Board members present were Mark Pollock, Deb Helfrich, Mike Anderson and Melissa Simpson, along with board president Steve Allen.

In opening action, the board approved previous minutes and the agenda, and paid bills totaling $430,457.81.

Technology in Our Schools

The board heard a report from Luke MacKinney, Director of Technology and Information Services, who reported on current and planned technology improvements for the district.

Mr. MacKinney said the district has 150 Windows computers, both desktop and laptop, and 224 Chromebooks, which are primarily used by the students individually. He said that number will soon be 249, which will allow all 4th, 5th and 6th graders to now have Chromebooks. The are also 44 older model iPads.

The district is also getting 33 new computers for teachers and now has 18 new wireless access points throughout the buildings.He added that summer projects include new network cable lines throughout the district if the funds can be found.

Principal Reports

Both high school principal Brent Shaffer and elementary principal Marcia Cantrell were not at the meeting due to a basketball game that evening, but Superintendent Dr. Andi Williams presented their reports.

The high school report focused on athletic achievements during the fall semester, and the recent honor roll that had 34 high school and 12 middle school students listed.

Several FFA students attended the National Convention in Louisville, and the FFA Work Auction raised over $25,000. Work is beginning on the Ag Farm, and the Poland Angus judging team of Trenton Jahay, Kacee Hostetler and Dale Hoch placed third.

FFA PAL’S has started with about 30 little PAL’S. At their last meeting they made ears of corn out of popcorn.

Four students made it to the KCDA Honor Choir this year – Savannah Hughbanks, Haylie Drake, Taylor Pollock and Georgiana Wilhelm. They were part of the 220 students accepted out of 540 that auditioned. They will perform at Century II in Wichita on Friday, Feb. 26, at 5:00 p.m.

Marcia Cantrell’s report for the PreK-6 building noted that Cheryl Washburn, Diana Albright and Deb Hitchcock had recently undergone Crisis Intervention Training.

The following teachers received $100 grants from South Central Community Foundation: Katt Scheck for supplies, Diana Albright for test tubes, Samantha Nicholes for books and Deb Hitchcock for an XBox 60 wireless controller.

Retired teacher Delores Diel has received a grant for new stage curtains for the grade school, and her efforts are thanked and appreciated by the district.

Upcoming events include:

Nov. 20- PTO Paint Night at the Community Building at 7 p.m.

Nov. 23- CPR for elementary staff at 4 p.m.

Nov. 24- Jump for Heart, 4th-6th grades at 12:30 p.m.

Nov. 25-27- Thanksgiving Break.

Dec. 7- Elementary Music Program at 7 p.m.

Dec. 9- Vision checks.

Superintendent Williams said in her report that the district is still looking for a van, and new outside doors for the locker rooms and boiler room should be replaced over spring break. More bids will be sought for replacing the roof on the district office.

The Career Pathways program was also explained which will allow students to gain extra credits in various fields of interest by taking certain classes or a group of classes.

Policy Updates Approved

The board next approved Kansas Assn. of School Board policy updates pertaining to Emergency Safety Interventions, Graduation Requirements, Financial Literacy, Enrollment and Disruptive Acts at School or School Activites. They also did first reads on other KASB policies that will be acted on next month.

In other business, the board approved Jenny Cantrell as emergency substitute teacher.

Following several short executive sessions, the board:

  • Approved a facility use request by Mark Pollock for the South Barber Recreation Commission to use the gym for basketball practice and a couple of games;
  • Approved a request by Hometown Market to use the auditorium for its annual meeting November 30;
  • Approved a request from Barber County 4-H to use school facilities for its annual meeting;
  • Approved a request from Studio Pro to use school facilities for its Christmas program;
  • Accepted the resignation of first grade teacher Holly Cook, effective on February 19, 2016.