District planning for future growth
Tonganoxie school board members are looking at long-range goals to help improve the school district.
The board held a special meeting Monday night to discuss goals in two categories curriculum and student achievement, as well as educational programs and services.
After undergoing a curriculum audit last year, the board plans to follow the auditor's recommendation to update the school's curriculum and textbooks during a five- to seven-year period.
Regarding student achievement, Erickson said students must be made aware of the importance of getting the most out of their education.
"We just really want to see our kids start to move beyond Tonganoxie," Erickson said.
Erickson said his idea was to schedule 20-minute interviews with all sophomores and their parents during which he and the principal would talk to them about their careers.
"We could get with them and their parents and say these next three years are important academically to your future and what you do could either open some doors or shut some doors," Erickson said.
For instance, Erickson said, he'd like to tell parents that if their student achieves an ACT composite score of 24 and has a B average, the student could qualify for a full academic scholarship at Kansas City Kansas Community College.
However, board members suggested, and Erickson agreed, that ninth grade might be a better time to hold the interviews.
"We're trying to get them to think about careers and college opportunities, and advancement," Erickson said. "My goal is to try to develop some support interest and trying to raise the bar."
As far as educational programs, Erickson said he would like for the district, which contracts for special education services through a cooperative in Leavenworth, to implement a program of its own.
But one hurdle is space.
"We don't have space right now to handle a special education program," Erickson said.
Erickson said he would also like to initiate a mentoring program, in which alumni of college can mentor college-bound students. The mentors could provide practical advice on, for instance, how many hours to take, or what professors would be the best.
"I think that's a great idea," said board member Richard Dean.
Erickson also said he would like to expand activities for students, to try to get more students involved.
"Research shows that kids who are involved are more successful academically," Erickson said.
For instance, Erickson said, tennis or girls' soccer could be added. Also, the students could participate in more national academic competitions.
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