Lincoln lessons focus on character

Discipline referrals to Larry Hart, principal of Lincoln Elementary School, have doubled compared to a year ago, he told USD 257 Board of Education members Monday night.
To deal with the problems — mainly incomplete homework and social missteps — Hart and Lincoln fifth-grade teachers are focusing extra effort on character education. Hart plans to have Saturday school as part of the effort.
“The Saturday sessions won’t be punishment, but rather focus on prevention,” he said.
The classes will give students a better understanding of how to interact with others. “Some of these kids just need a direction,” Hart said.
Looking long-term, Hart hopes to produce fewer dropouts in high school. He noted that all schools in the district achieved Adequate Yearly Progress on reading and math tests, but the district was put on improvement because of a too-high dropout rate in high school.

WITH THE influx of students from the former LaHarpe Elementary School, the number of students qualifying for free and reduced-price lunches increased at Lincoln, affecting Title I funding.
Students will benefit with more attention to mathematics instruction, said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Craig Neuenswander, who noted previous emphasis had been on reading and the additional money would permit more attention to math. The board hired Katie Ellis to teach math half-time in the Title I program at Lincoln.
Board members hired Gary Elliott, a Topeka architect, to design a new roof for the McKinley Elementary School gymnasium. The leaky roof has defied patching. Elliott’s fee is $6,800.
Neuenswander said funds for design and replacement of the roof would come from capital outlay.

BOARD members scheduled a strategic planning session for 6 p.m. Nov. 4 in the high school library. Neuenswander proposed board members “give us a jump start on the (2009-10) budget.” He told board members he would share insights gleaned from daily work in the district.
“Most problems are budget-driven,” Buck Quincy agreed. “It would be good to know about them earlier.”
Mary Apt, board president, said she also would like to discuss enrollment, “how we can attack it.” More than 80 students living in USD 257 attend school elsewhere, mostly in Marmaton Valley schools in Moran.