• USD 207 board updated on Hearts Apart program

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  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    Unified School District 207 School Board conducted its monthly meeting Nov. 28 in the MacArthur Elementary School auditorium
    Once all agenda items were approved, MacArthur principal Tyler Fowler and MacArthur Assistant Principal Michael Burrow presented the board with the MacArthur Elementary School report, which included updates on the Professional Learning Centers, state and interim assessments, the intervention team for students in the gifted program and who need extra help, the Leader in Me program and the new MAC Matters web show.
    After the report on the school, counselors Sue Walker, MacArthur; Sophia Leno, Bradley Elementary; and Natalie Arbaugh, Patton Junior High, gave a presentation on the Hearts Apart program, which works to bring together students who have deployed parents.
    Once a month, the schools sponsor free outings for the families of Hearts Apart students. Outings have included skating, bowling and trips to Play, Bounce and Jump. In May, Hearts Apart puts together a carnival-themed event in the Patton gym with inflatable play areas and games. Along with the monthly group activities, each counselor also has individual events within her own schools, including special lunches and craft activities that students can then send to their deployed parents.
    “It’s been a great learning experience for us,” Walker said. “I didn’t realize how important it was until the end of my first year when a parent (brought) me a gift. She said, ‘No, you don’t understand, those monthly activities gave us something to look forward to.’”
    Hearts Apart provides students with T-shirts, deployment journals to record their thoughts and feelings, and small pillows they can give to their parent overseas or keep for themselves as a way of helping them feel connected to their parent.
    Currently there are 10 students at Patton, 27 students at Bradley, 22 students at Eisenhower and 27 students at MacArthur who are in the Hearts Apart program.
    In other business, the new workout facilities for Bradley and Eisenhower are now finished. Chief Financial Officer Rich Holden led an owner/client walkthrough Nov. 28 and the facilities are to officially open Dec. 8 to all school staff with their access cards. The facilities include ellipticals, treadmills, stationary bikes and weight areas.
    For a full overview of the meeting, visit http://www .boarddocs.com/ks/usd207/Board.nsf/Public. The next USD 207 Board meeting is at 4 p.m. Dec. 12 at the USD 207 Annex, 1 MacArthur Circle.
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