Notes from the Board of Education Work Session on December 16th, 2019

Work Session Notes

The Board of Education held a work session this week to discuss and vote on several important decisions facing USD 475.

Universal Screener Adoption

Geary County is making significant efforts to identify the academic needs of its students.  One way to approach this is by adopting a universal screening tool.  This screening tool allows teachers to test a student’s knowledge and comprehension in multiple subjects several times a year.  It also allows for students to be screened multiple times a year, and to track the academic progress of students over multiple years, and across schools and subjects. 

The screener will allow teachers to identify students that need intervention much more quickly and implement additional tools and plans to assist the student in reaching his or her academic goals.  The screening can be done quickly and covers the basic subjects that students need to learn as a basis for future educational opportunities. 

Additionally, the screening tool will provide the district and teachers with data to help determine which programs are the most effective and which grade levels have gaps in the curriculum. 

The Board members voted unanimously to adopt the universal screening tool, and the district will create a plan for implementation next school year.

New JCHS Multipurpose Room

The new Junction City High School building is making great progress and the time has come for decisions to be made about some of the alternative projects for the facility.  The first of these projects to come to a vote is the Multipurpose Room.  This room was part of the alternate design that was submitted to the district.  It is a 2nd story, added onto the main gym that is already in the construction phase. 

The room will occlude an approximate total of an additional 7300 square feet for the school, including a fitness room and a multipurpose area.  It will have 16ft high ceilings, which will allow for a wide range of uses for the room.  David Wild, Chief Operations Officer of the district, asked the board to reallocate funds for this room because it is not something that can be added on in later phases of constriction.  The pilings that are to be poured in the next few weeks for the gym will need to be adjusted to support the additional weight of the second story, and this can only be done at this phase of construction. 

The funds were originally allocated for new roofs on the Devin Center and the Dixon Center.  David Wild reminded the board that neither facility houses students, and the repairs can be deferred to a future date, as no immediate pressing issues with either roof exists. 

The Board debated the auxiliary projects and discussed needing to set a priority for the upcoming votes for the six remaining options. 

The Board voted 6 to 1 to approve the Multipurpose Room construction.

Granting of Easement to Junction City

Junction City has requested that Geary County Schools grant an easement in the front of Junction City Middle School, so that the city may lay waterlines and utilities for the new Junction City High School facility.  The easement will allow for lines to be laid without tearing up the road beside it.  The construction will take about 40 days and will block one exit of JCMS during that time. 

The Board voted unanimously to approve the easement. 

Allocation of Old Textbooks

The district requested permission from the Board to donate approximately 18 boxes of old, unusable textbooks to the local library.  The books do not meet the minimum Federal requirements for textbooks and are not of any use to the district. 

The Board unanimously approved the request. 

KAP Data

Assistant Superintendent Lacee Sell went over the KAP Data for our district with the board.  The data covers where the students of the district fall, in terms of expected comprehension, and is compared with other districts within the state. 

Lacee briefly covered the District Improvement Plan, which addresses goals in attendance, discipline, engagement, and graduation rates. 

The KAP data broke students into 4 tiers, with each tier being a different level of comprehension.  The district students are ahead of other districts in the state in some areas, but there are other areas identified where improvement is needed. 

This data will be made available to the public in mid-January.

This was the final Board of Education meeting for the year.  The first meeting of 2020 will be held on January 13th.  The Board will be welcoming two new members at that time.