Humboldt tops state AYP targets

By ANNE KAZMIERCZAK
Register Reporter

HUMBOLDT — New high school counselor Staci Wiatrak dazzled the USD 258 Board of Education Monday night with her non-stop energy, reeling off a long list of tasks she has already accomplished in a mere month on the job.
“I went through and designed a curriculum track so (students) know what they need — exactly —to graduate,” Wiatrak said. The guide has regular and honor roll choices, she said. She visited all grade levels explaining the goals, including speaking with “freshmen on keeping their slates clean.”
She also designed “a multi-tiered system of support” for struggling students that identifies the “can’ts” from the “won’ts.” Once identified, “we try to make an intervention to try to improve” student performance, she said.
Wiatrak will also distributed scholarship information — “I have two drawers’ worth” — through the school’s Web site, in local papers and directly to students.
Humboldt once again surpassed annual yearly progress state targets for grades 3-5, middle and high school. The target goal was 79.7 percent of students achieving “meets standard” or better in math, reading and science.
USD 258 third through fifth graders achieved a building-wide score of 91.9 percent in math, 89.3 percent in reading and 97.1 percent in science. Middle schoolers achieved ranks of 95.5, 92.6 and 88.9 percent in the three respective categories while high schoolers scored 81.1 percent in math, 94.7 percent in reading and 100 percent in science.
“Those are phenomenal scores for high schoolers,” said middle and high school Principal K.B. Criss.
Nationally, Heigele said, “you have high schools struggling to make 40 percent.”
“They’re outstanding scores, and that’s why we get recognized” for national awards, Criss noted.
Superintendent Bob Heigele said that by 2014, through No Child Left Behind, all schools are expected to achieve 100 percent at all testing levels. Asked by the board if he thought that was possible, Criss said simply, “no.”
Board members concurred. “You’ve got to remember, you throw all the kids into that mix,” Heigele said.
Heigele also noted that while 80 percent of Kansas schools are meeting annual yearly progress goals, “the number of schools not achieving (that goal) are growing.”
Statewide, 87.6 percent of Kansas schools achieved annual yearly progress targets; 88.5 percent of state school districts also achieved AYP. Those districts that did not include Iola, Parsons, Pittsburg and Chanute.

WENDY SHELLY’S contract as a half time IT-tech was approved.
ANW Cooperative paraprofessionals were granted a 15 cent-per-hour increase in pay, along with a 25 cent step increase. Personnel were given a 1 percent pay raise plus full cost of a single medical policy, said ANW board representative Don Hauser. Administrative salaries were frozen.
Teachers have not yet voted on a tentative contract, Hauser said. All open positions, especially paras, are being looked at for consolidation, Hauser said. “We’re trying to watch every dime we spend,” he noted.
USD 258’s Power School program is up and running for teachers and will be accessible to parents in approximately two weeks. Grades and assignment lists will be accessible through the Web, as well as a means of communicating with teachers, said Criss.
Enrollment numbers will not be available until after the Sept. 20 count date, but more out-of-district students are enrolled in the high school than last year, Criss said.
Additional dual credit classes are being offered at the high school where students receive both high school and college credits through Allen County Community College. Up to 24 dual credits are transferable upon graduation.
Cox Cable is changing its pricing schedule for the school, Heigele said. Currently, all classrooms are equipped with a free cable access line. As of Oct. 1, only libraries and a single classroom in each building will receive free service. Other lines will most likely require a fee for connection, although Cox has not yet determined what that will be, Heigele said.
In addition, Cox will be changing its bandwidth after July 1, 2010, and Internet service the school currently receives for $20 per month will more than likely face an increase.

IN THE LUNCH room, “more and more kids are on free and reduced lunches and they’re cleaning their plates,” Heigele noted. “They seem to be coming to school hungry.”
In response, Heigele implemented a program he began in Missouri, where a peanut butter and honey blend sandwich is offered to students who are still hungry after finishing their lunch.
“That’s been well-received,” Heigele said. “There’s several taking advantage of it at the high school level, and we’re going to start doing it at the elementary level.”
Heigele said, “we’re also going to see about getting involved with the summer nutrition program because there seems to be a growing problem with some kids getting enough to eat.”
USD 258 has taken precautions against “many unconfirmed reports of H1N1 in southeast Kansas,” Heigele said, by posting sanitary hand wash stations in the schools and having nurses instruct youth on the importance of washing their hands.
“We’re being proactive but not panicking about this,” he said.
Leaking roofs will be looked at again. Some recent leaks were probably a result of clogged gutters and excessive precipitation, Heigele said, although persistent leaks in the field house roof will be inspected by a Weigel Construction representative within two weeks. It is still under warranty.
“I used the A-word — attorney — so they’re stepping and fetching right now,” Heigele said.