Graduation plans are starting to come together and it will be up to parents and senior students to decide when and how it takes place.
USD 413 Superintendent Dr. Kellen Adams told school board members that the district will send out questionnaires via Google forms, asking if they want to hold a drive through ceremony on Saturday, May 23, or a normal ceremony at the Chanute Sports Complex on Saturday, June 20.
“I can see the students going either way on this one,” Adams said. “Some students just want to get it over with and move on, while I think their parents would probably like to have a traditional ceremony. Regardless of what is chosen, we will practice all safety measures provided to us by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, as well as the Center for Disease Control.”
Administrators and board members took the first steps in approving a new student handbook and one of the biggest changes is the proposed ban of cell phone use in the classroom at the high school.
“You can put it all on me,” Adams said, “but we have teachers that allow them, and teachers who do not allow them in class, which causes a lot of confusion. I want to take it off the teachers and just remove them totally from the classroom.”
While board members did discuss the topic, no action was taken and nothing will be decided until the next meeting.
Board members approved a new state-based program called Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG). Assistant Superintendent Tracy Maring explained the program will initially take in 40 students.
According to the JAG website, a specialist provides individual and group instruction to students carefully selected by an in-school advisory committee composed of faculty, administrators and counselors. These classes are scheduled during the school day for credit.
“I have talked to several people who have had a lot of success with this program and they all say the most important thing is the instructor,” she said. “They all say take your time during the hiring process, the teacher makes all the difference.”
Administrators urge parents of students who live out of district who want their student to attend USD 413 to get their applications in before the May 25 deadline. The district will let the parents know before June 1 whether the student has been accepted or not so they can plan for the upcoming school year.
Sports and improvement plan
In other news, CHS officially has a girl’s wrestling program.
CHS assistant wrestling coach Bradley Campbell will take over the girls program. Heather O’Connor, who served as an assistant for the boys team, will now move to the same position on the girls team. Royster Middle School wrestling coach Charles Bishop will move into the role of assistant coach at CHS.
As part of the five-year Capital Improvement plan, board members approved more than $100,000 of improvements to the RMS kitchen, with a 7-0 vote. Other improvements include adding audio to the CHS commons area for $15,466.95, as well as an upgrade at the Chanute Sports Complex for $22,400. The RMS commons area will also receive an audio system for $12,445. The RMS gymnasium will also receive a new sound system for $12,872.95. Kansas City Audio-Visual will be installing all of the audio equipment.
“I don’t know if anyone was at the Royster Middle School orientation prior to this school year, but the sound system provides a whole lot of Hulk but no Hogan. Nobody knew what we were saying over there,” Adams said.
Board member Dr. David Siebel asked Adams if workers would be practicing social distancing when installing the various projects.
“I don’t see any potential problems. I cannot see Kansas City Audio-Visual bringing many workers here for these projects. It should be a very limited crew,” he said.
At the next meeting, board members will decide whether or not to add girls and boys tennis as well as a cross country team at RMS.
Last year, the volleyball team had roughly 80 students participating. Adding additional sports would give the program a little relief. The school already offers a running club and a tennis club and has had a good number of participants.
Resignations: Devon Crabtree, CHS assistant football coach; Tonya Frederick, CHS assistant track coach; Grace Klaassen, CES paraprofessional; and Brett Rinehart, CHS head track coach.
Employments: Devon Crabtree, RMS assistant golf coach; R. Shane Duncan, 8th grade assistant boys basketball coach; Luke Hall, Secondary Summer School Director; Kip Keeley, CHS business teacher as well as assistant football coach; Matthew Kmiec, CHS math teacher and CHS head track coach; Kim Luebbering, Elementary Summer School Director; Cassandra Bourne Richardson, RMS chess coach; Brett Rinehart, CHS assistant track coach; and Joel Varndell, RMS head golf coach.
Transfers: Alison Morris from CES teacher to CES music teacher, and Julie Thompson from CES Title I teacher to CES teacher.