• USD honors Brown, provides updates

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  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    Kirby Brown, former deputy to the commanding general of the Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, was presented the first Unified School District 207 General George C. Marshall Award during the monthly board meeting Dec. 19, 2018, at the district office.
    “This isn’t something that is given on an annual basis,” said Myron Griswold, board president. “It is given to people who have the character and the professionalism and support that you’ve had for the district over the last several years.”
    Keith Mispagel, USD 207 superintendent, said the partnership between Brown and the district has been great.
    “Mr. Brown has participated in a lot of our district events and has been someone that has been phenomenal for everything that we do,” Mispagel said. “The relationship between the post command team, the post installation in general and what Fort Leavenworth does for our families in coordination with what the school board does for our families and kids has been a partnership like no other.”
    The award citation, read by Rich Holden, chief financial officer, said the award is presented to Brown, “for promoting the value of public education because, in Marshall’s words, ‘Wisdom in action in our Western democracies rests squarely upon public understanding, and I have long believed that our schools have a key role to play.’
    “Mr. Brown is recognized for his distinguished service in support of the district’s vision, mission and educational goals while having a career of notable service defined by exemplary character and outstanding leadership. Mr. Brown has demonstrated significant support to the district thereby enhancing the quality of education provided to the Fort Leavenworth military community and the district’s reputation.”
    Brown said he was honored to receive the award.
    “This was such an easy relationship to build. I had done this deputy job a couple of other places where our on-post schools were owned by the local school district and it was tough business,” Brown said. “So, when I came here and I watched how you all nurture our soldiers’ children, how you go about doing business, that is the model. We ought to go back to this way across the board because what you all do here, the reputation you have, I’m sure the state of Kansas would like to emulate you, but they just can’t figure out how to do it. You’re an amazing group.”
    Brown served as deputy to the CAC and Fort Leavenworth commanding general from 2012 to 2018 before retiring after 40 years of military and federal service. Recently, he was appointed as dean of Park University’s College of Management in Parkville, Mo. He began his new position Jan. 1.
    Page 2 of 3 - Student teacher recruiting
    During the meeting, Bill Hatfield, USD 207 talent acquisition specialist, briefed board members on the current status of recruiting student teachers for the 2019-20 schoolyear.
    During the 2018-19 schoolyear, USD 207 placed 24 university students within the district — 16 in the fall and seven in the spring. Student teachers represented Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan.; Western Governors University in Salt Lake City; the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, Kan.; Emporia State University in Emporia, Kan.; the University of Western Florida in Pensacola, Fla.; and Nova Southeastern University in Broward County, Fla.
    To prepare for recruiting student teachers for next schoolyear, district representatives attended eight different events including education and career fairs at various universities and have plans to attend 12 more in the spring.
    To further attract the highest quality candidates, the district sponsored an invitation-only open house for perspective candidates to give them more information about the district. The most recent open house was Dec. 6 at the district office. Hatfield said this was met with several notes and e-mails of gratitude from the candidates.
    “The mission of our teachers serving military families is huge for them,” Hatfield said. “When we visit with them, that is what they’re about. It is a huge advantage for us that way.”
    Hatfield said the district hopes to make offers to potential candidates in early 2019 in hopes of securing the most highly-qualified personnel.
    Track and field renovation
    Holden updated board members on the progress of the renovation to the district track and field. As of Dec. 19, the main excavation of the field was completed and the storm drain around the field was being refilled.
    On Dec. 20, a load test of the field was done with a full dump truck, Holden said.
    “It was to make sure the ground is actually firm and solid all the way around to see if they need to do any more sublayer enhancements to make it what it needs to be after the excavations,” he said.
    Currently, the main field is being prepped for the artificial turf, and the track surface will be placed once the field is done.
    Completion of the track is weather dependent, Holden said.
    New bus tracking
    Mispagel and Holden presented for board approval a recommended course of action for a new tracking system with the buses in the district.
    The current system was installed in 2011. Along with many shortcomings, the system has not worked since January 2018, and attempts to have the system fixed have failed, Holden said.
    Therefore, the recommendation was to contract with Transportant.
    The recommendation came with several pros. The new system will include a complete integrated package and system holistically designed and built from the ground up for student and bus tracking with parent and administration visibility in mind; a new high definition quality live and archived audio-visual integration to replace the outdated district bus audiovisual system; a parent portal and app; an automatic push of notifications to parents via the parent portal and app; and free wi-fi on buses for students. It also has the lowest initial install price for hardware, software and training.
    Page 3 of 3 - Transportant is a Kansas City-based company and is rightly-sized for smaller school districts, Holden said.
    Though Transportant does not currently have a special education van package, the company has offered to use the district’s current special education vans as a beta test, Holden said.
    Lt. Col. Bryce Frederickson, board vice president, said he was most excited about the parent portal app because parents will be able to know when their children are on the bus and where the bus is in regards to travel activities and sporting events.
    The board approved the recommendation, and the new system is expected to be installed by March.
    Kansas Day
    The annual district Kansas Day event has been set for 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Jan. 29 in the Patton Junior High School gym. This is the third year the event will be at Patton.
    “It has worked very nicely,” said SuAnn Grant, USD 207 deputy superintendent. “We feel like we’re getting those elementary students over to Patton and it never fails that somebody says, ‘I wonder if I’ll see my sister or brother.’ It is exciting as an elementary student to get to go where maybe their brother or sister is.”
    The event is reserved for third- through fifth-grade students. Currently, 16 vendors are scheduled including two new attractions — an Indian homes display and crocheting.
    All board meetings are open to the community. The next USD 207 board meeting is at 4:30 p.m. Jan. 14 at the USD 207 district office.
    For a complete overview of the meeting and the minutes, visit https://www.boarddocs.com /ks/usd27/Board.nsk/Public.
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