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The USD 344 board of Education held their monthly meeting one week early due to spring break next week. The meeting opened with Elementary Principal Nathan Meik explaining how they are keeping staff motivated. He said they bring food in twice monthly throughout the school year and last month provided massages for staff from a fund that had extra money in it.

Meik said they are working on a reading program with the main focus being the 4th and 5th grade classes. He also said they are working on a math focus so students are ready to move on to the Junior High.

High School Principal Sarah Conley reported students are entered into a Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge Tuesday. (see separate story this edition.)

Conley also reported that the STARS program is adding two new courses consisting of graphic design and farm and ranch management. She said she is working with the sophomore class to get students involved in the Vo-Tech training.

Superintendent Travis Laver reported that the Scout grounds near the state line are in the works. He said Kansas Department of Health and Environment is overseeing the reclamation of the mining ground making it safe and repairing the edge of the road that is being eaten away by erosion.

He said eventually the land will offer a smooth-edged lake with gradual entry and be a great place for summer school. The mined ground will become usable space for many activities.

Laver said all of the reclamation is at no cost to the district.

He spoke on summer school and said the “great outdoors” is the theme this summer with week one catered to flying. AMR will bring in an air ambulance for kids to see and area pilots are scheduled to speak.

Week two is bike week with Bike Across Kansas ending at the school

Week three is hiking where Laver envisions students can hike on area trails and week four will be swimming with Emergency Management Coordinator Randy Hegwald and wife, Becky, introducing students to scuba diving. Both are certified in the sport.

Laver said the district is continuing to work on a high absentee rate and Board Member Kaye Hardy said it goes back to parents leaving for work before students leave and getting back after students get home. She said students need someone to make them accountable for going to school.

The elementary school received a Challenge Award. (see separate story in this edition.)

The board approved a new Narcan policy.

Following executive session, the board accepted the resignation of John Heidrick from Junior High History, hired Karen Snow as a substitute rider, hired Mercedes Pankau as Junior High History teacher for the 23-24 school year, accepted the resignation/retirement of Danita Snyder effective at the end of her current contract, and accepted the resignation from Ethan Sabine as High School Boys Basketball coach.


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