Lynne Hermansen
Special to The Gardner News
A health and wellness update of the Gardner Edgerton schools was presented at the School Board meeting March 9.
Amy Droegemeier, nutrition services director, said they want to be advocates and not policy makers.
She said every building in the district has a representative, and all districts are expected to follow the Kansas Department of Education Wellness Policy model.
Droegemeier shared slides highlighting the four areas of of focus: Nutrition, Nutrition Education, Physical Activity and Integrated School-Based Wellness.
She said the district is partners with Bowlin Farms in rural Olathe to only serve Kansas food products.
Once per quarter, Droegemeier said, they assist families in meal planning.
Recently students collected plate waste from their lunches to bring awareness of good waste and tips to reduce overall spoilage, she said.
“We showed the kids their eyes are bigger than their stomachs,” Droegemeier said. “We want to make sure it goes into the kiddos stomachs and not the trash.”
She said they encourage physical activity outside of school, and have had team professional development with staff to instruct teachers on self-care, food and fitness and a health expo.
“It is the individual’s leading the efforts,” Droegemeier said. “We want to be a resource though.”

In other business:
John Callan, Gardner resident and a Sunflower Elementary parent, addressed the board on his concerns about how medications with students are being handled in schools.
He said he had concerns of the medical staff in regards to children with specialized medical needs that are required on a daily basis.
“Investing in sufficient medical staff is a necessity,” Callan said.
He said USD 231 is undeniably understaffed for medical situations that can lead to deadly situations. He would prefer more regular school staffs to be trained than to use outside agency staffing.
“We shouldn’t be reacting but taking action,” Callan said. “Ask, assess the current situation. And take action now and for the future.”
Gardner Edgerton High School students also presented on Link Crew.
Link Crew is a freshman program run by juniors and seniors to make the transition easier and keep freshman students on track by building connections and support opportunities.
The Link Crew students said they want to make it easier for freshman because their own freshman experiences were lacking. They want to encourage a better high school experience.
Currently there are 60 Link Crew Members, they said.
Brittany Jonker, Sunflower Elementary Reading Specialist and Katy McNew, Nike Elementary Paraeducator, were presented with Third Quarter Shining Awards.
New Board member Brandon Parks was also briefly introduced at Monday’s board meeting.