Special to The Gardner News
USD School Board 231 is no longer including director reports in their monthly board meetings.
The removal starts with Monday night’s meeting.
Shawn Carlisle, board president, and Pam Stranahan, superintendent, said they had compared their agendas with other Johnson County school board meeting agendas, and had Kansas Association of School Boards look at their agendas.
Kristen Schultz, board member, voiced concerns about the agenda changes.
“Can I still ask a question during a board meeting,” she said. “How do we communicate that to our patrons. How would I ask those questions that I think are pertinent to the community.”
Tresa Boden, board member, said you can add things to the agenda.
Carlisle said once they made the agenda for a board meeting legally they couldn’t add to it.
“The purpose of the agenda is to stay in track,” he said. “It’s still have to be voted on for agenda.”
Schultz said Shawnee Mission, Desoto, Blue Valley and Olathe School Boards allow time on their agendas for discussions.
Carlisle said board comments are different than discussions.
Stranahan and Carlisle said the reports included on agendas are separate from what is voted on.
“This encourages the board to go out, ask questions and look at them, “ Stranahan said. “People don’t understand what is being discussed, and it confuses a lot of people.”
Schultz said she wanted to know how to relay the information from directors to the public.
Robin Stentz, board member, said the board was trying to be more transparent.
If there is something on a bi-weekly report you want to add to the agenda, Stranahan said.
“I don’t like that in limited to only discuss what’s on the agenda, if I have an epiphany in the middle of a meeting,” Schultz said.
Carlisle said they were trying to be efficient with the new agenda format.
Rob Shippy, board member, said an agenda can include board comments.
“I think of meat and potatoes as action items not discussion and comments,” he said.
Board member Boden asked to end the discussion to a later date and discuss in executive session. Carlisle and Schultz responded that this was open session content , and Boden agreed. Schultz motioned to continue the discussion next month, but it was voted down 5-2.
School board members are looking to fill the vacancy left by Greg Chapman within the next month. Chapman won the election although he had publicly announced he had moved from his district.
Rob Shippy, board member, nominated Brandon Parks for the position. Motion passed.
The board member has to live in the district they serve, he said.
Carlisle said they will have to publish the vacancy with the application in the Gardner News and research the area they live in. The candidate will have to talk and give a brief description of bio before the board.
He, also, said they will have to ask the same questions to every candidate.
Schultz said she preferred publication of applicants and to hold a special meeting.
A motion by Shippy was passed to nominate Brandon Parks and approve him for the vacancy if no other candidates came forward in the 15 days after publication of the vacancy.
Parks could take the vacancy seat as early as February if no other candidates come forward.
Third and fourth graders from GrandStar Elementary presented on their Timberwolf Leadership Council Leadership Team.
There are 65 members they said, and they learn leadership and responsibilities. Their favorite project is running the student store.
Meg Hunting, district gifted teacher, presented eight of the 19 Battle of the Brains team members.
The students were part of 840 teams competing to design an interactive Science Cityexhibit for visiting children.
“This was my first time to do the competition,” she said. “ thank you all for supporting us as a community; our gifted program and endeavors. “
The team received $50,000 towards their school for making it to the Top 20 teams.
They shared their submission video ‘Light Up Your World’ with board members illustrating their project involving lights and colors.
Linda Miesner, middle school educational services director, gave a presentation highlighting the teaching strategies district teachers were working on during inservice days.
The plan is called Learning Targets and Common Formative Assessment.
“It is for the best practices and art of teaching,” she said. “It is a strategic plan to guide our decisions. “
Miesner said the focus is for collaboration and data while encompassing every student with student engagement.
“What should the student learn and be able to do,” she said. “ What are they leaving the room with today. “
If you give teachers a target they can hit it, Miesner said.
“Which research and evidence based practices have the biggest effect on moving out kids forward,” she said.
Miesner said students are more focused and enthusiastic and their behavior improves. Teachers expectations rise and their connections strengthen while focusing on quality.
“There is a Science of teaching and art of teaching,” she said. “It is not a cookie cutter system.”
Miesner said the goal is to focus more on the kids and teaching the kids.
“These kiddos are all our kiddos,” she said. “ and we want to give them all the opportunities for success. “