• Board OKs more Patton JHS move details

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  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    At the Unified School District 207 board meeting Nov. 29, 2018, the board approved the relocation of Patton Junior High School to the old MacArthur Elementary School site, a project that is hoped to be completed within the next three to four years.
    At the board meeting Jan. 14, 2019, the board was briefed by Hollis+Miller Architects about the school facility assessments conducted in early 2018, prompting a discussion about potentially moving sixth-grade students to Patton. The reasons for the consideration included capacity issues and surveys of current grade configurations in schools throughout the state of Kansas and Missouri.
    After discussing the issue at a special board meeting Feb. 21, the board officially approved the move of sixth grade to Patton at the monthly board meeting Feb. 25 at Eisenhower Elementary School. The grade shift will occur with the opening of the new Patton.
    When the issue was first discussed in January, several options were suggested regarding sixth- through ninth-grade integration. At the February meeting the board opted to establish a separate education center for sixth grade, noting there are still several benefits to having all the grades in the same building.
    Keeping the ninth-grade students with the younger students will keep the older role models available for mentoring and provides a demonstration of leadership, provides more resources for all students because of the additional financial impact, potentially allows a reduction in the number of transitions, and provides opportunity for a more personalized and customized curriculum.
    Moving the sixth-grade students will allow a design to be created that optimizes a self-contained sixth-grade learning environment, more opportunities to share resources and staff through economies of scale, an opportunity to begin and ease the transition to middle school and high school, and consistency with the model of middle school grade configuration among Kansas, Missouri and the Military Impacted Schools Association.
    The move also provides district-wide benefits, including decreasing current bus requirements; freeing up capacity on the three elementary schools for other program changes, requirements and additions; providing consistency with national trends at a majority of MISA statistics; allowing potential growth for district pre-kindergarten programs; accommodating long-term growth in programs and capacities at all the schools; providing flexibility for both the district and the Army; and making all improvements without safety concerns or educational distractions.
    Snow day updates
    Winter weather has been a major factor throughout the schoolyear with seven snow days used, several within the last few weeks. Six snow days were weather-related and one was declared when post closed for the funeral of President George H.W. Bush.
    “We are tied for the most number of days missed in my career here over the last 20 years,” said Keith Mispagel, superintendent of schools.
    Mispagel said there is room for one more snow day. If a ninth snow day is used, the professional development day scheduled for May 3 will be changed to a regular school day.
    Page 2 of 2 - School calendar
    The board officially approved the school calendar for the 2019-2020 schoolyear. Notable dates are as follows:
    • The first day of school is Aug. 13.
    • Early-release Fridays will be the first and third Fridays of the month.
    • Winter break is Dec. 20 through Jan. 3, 2020.
    • Spring break is March 16-20, 2020.
    • The last day of school is May 22, 2020.
    The full schedule will be available at usd207.org in March.
    Hearts Apart
    School counselors Sophia Leno from Bradley Elementary School, Ally Swisher from Eisenhower, Sue Walker from MacArthur and Erica Carr from Patton updated the board on the Hearts Apart program.
    The Hearts Apart Program is in place to connect students who have deployed parents with other students and to connect parents with other families of deployed service members.
    Each month throughout the school year, the Hearts Apart families come together for various activities, including movie nights and bowling. Each counselor also provides activities at their respective schools including lunches and crafts.
    “Thank you for your work and dedication,” said Myron Griswold, board president.
    Principal’s report
    Cindy Wepking, Eisenhower principal, updated the board on the happenings at Eisenhower. Her update included a briefing of the efforts of the Site Council from Julie Strokos, council president, and updates on the seven habits, which included presentations from four Eisenhower students.
    International Day
    The fourth-annual USD 207 International Day celebration is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. April 26 at Patton. Because the date falls on an early-release Friday, some changes will be made to the schedule including combining fifth and sixth grade into one session, and Patton students will participate throughout the day. Kindergarten students will not participate.
    Currently, Georgia, Germany, Macedonia and Niger have confirmed to participate.
    Accreditation visit
    The district will be visited by the Kansas Board of Education’s Outside Visitation Team March 5.
    In June 2016, the KSBE approved a new accreditation model, the Kansas Education Systems Accreditation. The district is currently in the second year of a five-year accreditation cycle.
    KESA is a five-step growth process, which focuses on a needs assessment, goal development, action plan development, implementation and reassessment to determine growth.
    The next USD 207 board meeting is at 4:30 p.m. March 25 at Bradley. Board meetings are open to the community.
    For a complete overview of the meeting and the minutes, visit https://www.boarddocs.com /ks/usd27/Board.nsk/Public.
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