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  • Writer's pictureJournal Staff Report

Jayhawk board approves needs assessment for the district

Updated: Oct 18, 2023

Reported by Kayla McGrew, Board Clerk

MOUND CITY – At its meeting on Monday, June 12, the Jayhawk USD 346 Board of Education approved the District Budget Needs Assessment. The assessment is part of the budgeting process and is required by statute.

Building leadership teams and principals have worked with their buildings to discuss what needs to occur to help students transition into college and career readiness.

District Superintendent Shawn Thomas told the board that he added industry aligned technology hardware/software for academic use as Board Member Tracy Springer suggested at last month’s meeting. Several budget considerations that impact student achievement were identified including maintaining low teacher-to-pupil ratios, increased funding for staff development, and the allocation of funds to focus on social and emotional learning and mental health.

Student Improvement Services director Genea Bruner gave a positive report on state assessments. As a district, Jayhawk is 17 points above state median in English/Language Arts, 40 points above state median in Math and 8 points above the state median in Science. Several students were 1 or 2 points away from being bumped to the next level.

Bruner said she was very pleased with the staff and student’s efforts. Bruner and Thomas complimented the curriculum work that took place in both buildings at the conclusion of this school year.

“One of our most important pieces of data was the number of students who moved from a category 1 score to the category 2 scores, which is considered to be working “at grade level,” said Thomas in a release earlier this month. “Overall, the growth in our district was very positive, and that data will now serve as the basis for our curriculum work to ensure that we continue to grow academically.”

In the release, Thomas said that part of the process of maintaining academic standards, the district has to occasionally examine its curriculum and what is taught.

“We are beginning that process again this year as we start with our Math and English/Language Arts curriculum,” he said. “Our goal will be to use the state standards and our own test data (state assessments, ACT, and ACT WorkKeys) to make sure that we identify any areas that need strengthening.

“In addition, both buildings will work on the important transition from grade school to junior high and from junior high to high school. This curriculum work is extremely important as it allows our academic programs to stay relevant and rigorous so as to prepare our students for college and/or their career.”

Also at the meeting, the superintendent introduced several policy updates to be voted on in July. Almost all of them are in response to legislation passed this spring.

Several policy updates deal with the open enrollment situation coming in January 2024. Under that legislation, students and parents may choose to attend schools in districts outside of where they live more easily than is currently possible.

Schools will be given the opportunity to establish policy and determine what the maximum capacity is both in term of the school building size and how many students will be allowed to be in a certain grade. Children of staff are exempt to the open enrollment procedures.

There are still a lot of unknowns with open enrollment at this time. Most of the updates are just an update in policy language. There are a few updates for the NARCAN policy, which outline how that life-saving drug may be given, as well as a new form.

Thomas reported that he had a company through Greenbush review the district’s HVAC systems. Several are in need of being updated. This will be further discussed in the future as far as needs, concerns, and future project goals.

The board also:

• Learned that a new school resource officer (SRO) has been hired and is scheduled to have the training completed prior to school starting next year. Once that person is in place, there will be an SRO in each building.

• The Board approved Truly Insurance (EMC) as the district property/casualty insurance provider. The annual insurance premium increased 15% from last year, which seems to be fairly in line with what other districts are seeing.

• The Board approved moving forward with a Request for Proposal (RFP) to purchase a couple of Special Education vehicles as the fleet has several vehicles with significant mileage.

• Following executive session to discuss licensed and classified employment, the board accepted with regrets the retirement intentions of Donna Long, Jayhawk-Linn High School (JLHS) secretary, effective June 30.

• They also accepted the resignations of Shelby Harris as Jayhawk Elementary School (JES) teacher, Ken Glaser as JLHS interventionist, and Austin Weber as JLHS custodian. They also approved the hires of Shelby Krull as JLHS interventionist, Mark Allen as JLHS agricultural instructor and FFA sponsor, Kim Umphenour as JLHS secretary, and Carlee Campbell as JES interventionist.

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