Board of Education Meeting Recap June 1

The USD 457 Board of Education met Monday, June 5, during a regularly scheduled meeting. The meeting was held in the Educational Support Center Board Room, 1205 Fleming Street.

 The board recognized the Garden City High School forensics students that qualified for state and National competition. The students that were recognized include Kira Roth, Jordan Humphreys, Benjamin Mahoney, Kourtney Kneeland, Savemore Nyamakope, Emma Banwell, Julia Facio, Christy Donovan, Jackson Kingston, and Pierre Madlangbayan.

Josh Guymon, Special Education Director, David DeLoach, principal at Gertrude Walker Elementary School, and Brandy Ochs, principal at Edith Scheuerman Elementary School, provided an update on changes that were implanted during the 2022-23 school year. The district closed seven Self Contained classrooms at Edith Scheuerman Elementary, Alta Brown Elementary, and Florence Wilson Elementary. Two LEAP classrooms opened at Alta Brown Elementary School and there was also work to transition students back into the general education classroom. Overall, students made progress in their new placements, as indicated by testing data.

Steve Nordby, Principal at Garden City High School, Lucas Sullivan, Principal at Garden City Achieve, and Kathleen Moorman, Principal at Virtual Academy, discussed changes to the graduation requirements for the Class of 2028 as directed by the Kansas State Board of Education. Changes by subject will be from four units of English Language Arts (ELA) to 3.5 units of ELA and .5 Communications, from three units of math and science each to three units of math and science each and one unit of STEM elective, from one unit of PE and six units of electives to six units of Employability and Life Skills. Employability and Life Skills that includes .5 PE, .5 Health, .5 Financial Literacy, and 4.5 units of Individual Plans of Study (IPS) choices, which emphasize Career and Technical Education and career pathway courses. Students will complete two or more postsecondary assets that align with their IPS that may include apprenticeships, workplace experience, participation in athletics/activities, college hours, ACT/SAT, and more.

Heather Stegman, Curriculum and Instruction Coordinator, and Michelle Baier, District Instructional Coach, provided an update on the data from the Spring portion of the school year. The district showed progress on phonemic awareness in our elementary schools. This was tied to the buildings’ Wildly Important Goals that were worked on during the 2022-23 school year.  Phonics continues to be an area that the district needs to enhance and grow and will be a focus for next school year.

There was discussion of proposed updates to the Discipline Policy. The policy was last updated in 1998. Currently, there are four levels of discipline and there is a focus on punitive punishment rather than teaching appropriate behaviors. The current system is a one size fits all for PK-12th grade. The committee is recommending separate policies for PK-2nd grade, 3-6th grade, and 7-12th grade. They also recommend moving from 4 levels of discipline to 5. The focus would be on behavior modification rather than punitive consequences. It would include support for student needs and their families. Updates to the policy will also allow administration more flexibility with consequences while still following board policy. The board will vote on policy updates at the next board meeting.

There was discussion on separating the operation of the Girl's Wrestling and Boys' Wrestling programs at the high school level. Two years ago, Garden City High School and KSHSAA added girls wrestling as an official sport. When it was added at the high school level, there was no additional staff or budget added to the program. The idea was to study how the sport would progress and re-evaluate. It has been determined, at the end of the 2-year evaluation process, that the program is here to stay as an independent team. We currently use the same coaches and budget to fund both boys and girls wrestling. To make things more equitable, the GCHS athletic department is requesting that girls and boys wrestling be separated and allow them to be financed independently. The separation of programs is already being done at the middle school level; this move would align the district at all levels.  No action was taken on this item.  It will be voted on at the next board meeting.

The board voted to advertise the school property at Friend for sale and to accept closed bids. The deadline for the sealed bids to be returned to the school district will be June 21, 2023.

The board approved the following items during the meeting. They include the minutes of the May 15, 2023, Board of Education meeting. Purchase of a ¾-ton pickup truck for the Grounds department from Western Motor for $56,936.00. Out of state travel (GCHS) to Bloomington, IN June 17-24 for the International Thespian Festival. Out of state travel (GCHS) to Mesa, AZ June 9-17 for the National Speech and Debate Association national tournament. Disposal of the following obsolete instructional materials: Math text books and 30 Psychology in Everyday Life: 2nd Edition (2012) text books. Revised school lunch prices for the 2023-24 school year. Purchase of grounds equipment from Professional Turf Products for $113,288.53. Purchase of Indoor Air Quality Sensors from Delos for $108,450.00. An agreement between American Tower Corporation and the district. Special Education Process and Procedural Handbooks. Out-of-state student travel for Garden City High School for the 2023-24 school year.

There were two executive sessions held at the end of the meeting. The first one was on matters relating to employer-employee negotiations whether or not in consultation with the representative or representatives of the body or agency.  The second one was on personnel matters for non-elected personnel. No binding action was taken after the executive sessions.

The next meeting of the Board of Education will be Thursday, June 22, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. in the Educational Support Center Board Room, 1205 Fleming Street.

The Board of Education agenda can be viewed here.

The Board of Education meeting can be watched here.