The Geary County Schools USD 475 Board of Education met at the Devin Center for Educational Support on Monday, March, 5, 2018, for their regular monthly meeting. The meeting started at 5:30 PM with a presentation from the USD 475 Instructional Techs part of the Teaching and Learning Department within the district.
The Instructional Techs were introduced by Director of Innovation and Technology, Greg Lumb. The techs are funded by the district as well as a grant and can be found throughout the district at various schools (the techs are assigned to schools from elementary to secondary schools). The mission of the techs is to encourage teachers to expand the use of technology in the classroom. They achieve this through mentoring, planning meetings, team teaching, and more. The team of techs also provide a significant amount of research which is presented to staff to help encourage the use of technology.
The Board was given the opportunity to use several examples of technology that is deployed throughout the district. These items included VR headsets and a small remote control drone.
Conversations with Principals – Melissa Sharp, JCHS
Melissa Sharp spoke to the Board of Education about the Junction City High School and explained the accredidation process that the high school (district) is involved in. She listed many items that she and her staff have been working on over the past years to help ensure the success of students at her school. She expressed the importance of relationships and relevance, stating that these goals tie into the overall district goals.
JCHS is part of the Kansas Gemini School Redesign Project.
Audio Visual Equipment and Potential Live-streaming
The Board was presented options for live-streaming of meetings, the topic was first presented in January. Executive Director of Marketing and Media Relations, Mat Droge spoke to those options in order to seek input from the Board. Droge mentioned that if the Board elected to invest in live-streaming equipment he would suggest getting a system similar to that at the JCHS which would allow for more flexibility and student experience. He also outlined pros and cons for a devoted and a mobile system to live-stream meetings. Droge went on to say that the district has already sought industry interest and could only find one organization that could supply the district with the equipment requested in the TriCaster system. An option for installing an audio system in the Board of Education room was also discussed. This audio system would only provide amplified sound in the room that meetings are held.
The Board elected to invest in the TriCaster System and staff will work toward live-streaming of Board of Education meetings.
A collections and enrollment charge summary report was presented to the board, which included funds from textbooks and software at enrollment. Several options were presented to the Board by Chief Financial Officer, Marilee Fredricks.
The Board voted to eliminate enrollment charges.
The Board of Education was presented several technology items at the Monday meeting. One of the items, an analysis on potentially leasing instead of purchasing computers, was requested by the Board at the previous meeting. Chief Information Officer, Karl DeArmond, presented a detailed overview of the leasing option, which was voted down in 2016.
At the meeting on Monday, the Board decided to pursue the leasing of district devices presented.
CMAR – The new JCHS
Recently, USD 475 issued a Phase I CMAR Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to industry for construction of the new Junction City High School as well as management of the District Sustainment, Renovation and Modernization Master Plan programs for a period of five years following contract award.
The District received six RFQ responses. The BOE appointed Source Selection Committee convened on February 14, 2018, to conduct a review of offers and establish a competitive range determination in compliance with the State of Kansas Building Construction Procurement Act. This range of offerers, if approved by the BOE, will advance to Phase II which is the District issuance of its Request for Construction Management Proposals.
All six offerors are deemed capable of performing the requested work. Of the six offers, one Caddell Construction, cited experience in four states excluding Kansas. Five offered relevant experience in the District, Region or State of Kansas: Coonrod & Associaties of Wichita; Hutton Construction, Wichita; McCownGordon, Manhattan; McPherson Contractors, Topeka; and, NABHOLZ Construction, Olathe.
The Board of Education elected to approve the range of offerers as presented.
The new JCHS Update
David Wild, Chief Operations Officer, presented an update on the new JCHS to the Board toward the end of the meeting. This update included information on recent site visits which took staff to Olathe, Wichita, and the Dallas, Texas area. These visits helped staff see what could be possible and avoid potential pitfalls to newly designed educational institutions. Comments from these site visits is being collected and will be used to help design the new JCHS.
Student Threat Assessment
Geary County Schools USD 475 is currently in the process of expanding a Threat Assessment Program. Currently, all potential threats of harm or violence are investigated at the building level for credibility and are then referred to the Junction City Police Department, or local law enforcement, if appropriate. USD 475 will continue to strengthen the partnership with local law enforcement and create a more in-depth assessment program in order to maintain the safety and security of schools. Part of this expansion includes a new section of www.usd475.org as a way to help keep families better informed about the process and the results of threat assessments. This section will soon contain more information on the steps taken throughout the expanded threat assessment process. The expanded threat assessment was presented to the Board of Education by Chief Operations Officer, David Wild.
Wild began his presentation by giving a brief overview of the many things already being done in USD 475 to provide a safe learning environment. Some of these things include school safety weeks, an emergency operations plan, a district crisis support team, the ALICE program, and much more.
The Monday meeting ended in executive session related to acquisition of land and non-elected personnel.