Archive for Tuesday, June 18, 2013

School board gets closer look at elementary school plans

June 18, 2013

Tonganoxie USD 464 board members got an in-depth look at floor plans for the new elementary school at its monthly meeting June 10.

Board members took a 3-D tour of a typical classroom and the outdoor area surrounding the school. Travis Willson of HTK architects gave the presentation.

The classroom shown contained classic amenities, as well as modern-day additions such as interactive whiteboards. Willson said each classroom will allow for plenty of space between desks, and rooms are designed to allow for multiple desk arrangements.

Concerns from board members included the potential for security doors for each classroom — which Willson said is part of the plan — and which materials would increase tornado safety.

There were several concerns regarding the exterior of the building. Classrooms are broken into three pods in an attempt to make the building feel smaller, Willson said. The building is mostly brick, but in the design, each classroom pod was made of a lighter-colored metal material. The board expressed concern with the clash of colors and materials and requested that HTK’s next presentation include renderings of multiple looks.

Willson said current plans are still on schedule. HTK must have its grading and footing package ready by July 29. The steel package must be completed by Sept. 13 and all other packages by Oct. 13. Groundbreaking is set for October.

“There are a lot of people really involved,” Willson said. “We’re just trying to get everything coordinated, but we’re making pretty good progress.”

Following the presentation, high school principal Jamie Carlisle gave an update on the senior agreement program currently in place at the high school. Under the existing program, seniors can elect to take only their remaining courses required for graduation in their final semester. Carlisle said 82 members of the 2013 graduating class utilized the agreement in some capacity, but that number fluctuates from year to year.

A myriad of concerns were discussed among board members, specifically how students are managing their time when they aren’t in school.

“I don’t feel that (the agreement) is working in the capacity that it could,” board member Kathy Baragary said. “I feel we need to step up. I just worry that kids are running the streets.”

THS students must complete 28 credits to receive their diplomas. Many students who utilize the agreement elect to take courses at Kansas City Kansas Community College or other local schools during their final semester. THS currently offers 42 college credits, but students can only take a maximum of 24 for dual credit.

Carlisle, who called the agreement an incentive for underclassmen to stay on top of their graduation requirements early, suggested an amendment to require a minimum of four THS classes, which he agreed upon with a committee of 10 teachers. He said most of the students who utilize the agreement — about 70 or 80 percent — already meet that requirement.

In other business, the board:

• Heard an update from board member Tonya Phillips on the district’s online enrollment system. Between the elementary, middle and high schools, enrollment had already been completed for 64 students as of June 10. An additional 88 had begun online enrollment and four were pending approval of changes.

• Accepted, 7-0, the resignation of seventh-grade language arts teacher and seventh-grade head volleyball coach Jennifer Eastes.

• Approved, 7-0, contracts for Matt Dunning, assistant high school girls basketball coach; Mark Farrar, middle school principal; Juliet Ford, middle school half-time technology teacher; and Phillip Jones, middle school half-time physical education teacher, athletics director and assistant middle school football coach.

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