Centre sees lower property insurance

Staff writer

The Centre USD 397 Board of Education received some good news Monday. They learned that the premium on the district’s property insurance dropped from $59,492 last year to $53,732 this year. The policy was issued by Continental Western Insurance Company through Copeland Insurance Agency in Manhattan. The renewal is in effect from Nov. 8, 2012 to Nov. 8, 2013.

Several members of the leadership team — Angela Basore, Mallory Jacobs, Karen Nickel, and Laura Vinduska — reported on progress being made at Centre schools to implement the new common core standards set by the state board of education. The team attended a summer conference to learn more about what they already began last year.

Basore said the new standards pull instruction together across all subjects. Vinduska said the list of subjects addressed is shorter than under the Kansas assessments, but the teaching is deeper and more intense. Nickel said report cards would be much more detailed than before.

“You’ll see some big changes in teaching style,” Superintendent Jerri Kemble added. “I can’t give this team enough kudos for the job they are doing. We are really moving forward the way we should.”

She noted that high performing students will be challenged to use more critical thinking, and literacy, i.e. understanding what you read, will be a priority.

Jacobs announced that next week is Red Ribbon Week. Centre will promote the theme, “Centre Rises Above” with a special emphasis on bullying prevention. Activities will include seatbelt checks by student council members, hot-air balloon rides, and a special presentation by Kevin Honeycutt on cyber-bullying.

Industrial arts instructor Mark Hager reported he has received notice that several ag science classes taught at Centre High School now will qualify toward the three science credits required for high school graduation. He said he and co-teacher Laura Vinduska now are listed as “highly qualified” as science teachers by the Kansas Department of Education.

The board approved a new phone system from Tri-County Telephone Company for $9,219.24. They also approved an early dismissal on Tuesday to give teachers end-of-the-nine-weeks work time. The teachers will miss their scheduled work time on Wednesday because of training on anti-bullying by Honeycutt.

The board approved out-of-district attendance for Sivert VanHorn, a kindergartner whose mother, Amy Park, has moved to Marion.

Mark Heiser, Jeff Bina, and Terry Deines were re-appointed as the 2012-13 negotiating team with certificated personnel. Heiser is the chief negotiator and official spokesman.

The board spent a total of 87 minutes in executive session to discuss personnel. Kemble, Sharon Simons, Peggy Falen, and Traci Alt were called in separately at various times during the session.

Kemble reported final enrollment numbers as of Sept. 20. The head count of 333 students includes 236 brick-and-mortar students and 97 virtual students, a drop of eight students from the previous year but well above the 276 in 2010-11. The seventh grade is the largest class with 26 students; the sixth grade is the smallest class with 10.

Kemble reported that Carolyn Devane of powerprepinc.com is coming to the district to train teachers in how to prepare their students for the ACT test. She said a course for students from all area school districts would be offered later.

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