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Board adds positions

By Bethany Knipp

The USD 383 Board of Education on Wednesday unanimously approved adding an early childhood preschool director and a high school agricultural science teacher.

The preschool director position would be a part of program requirements for the district’s prekindergarten program grant of $439,144 through the Kansas Department of Education.

The early childhood Kansas Preschool Program director’s responsibilities would include coordination for early childhood education programs at College Hill, Roosevelt, Ogden and Amanda Arnold schools.

The director also would be responsible for Head Start, Parents as Teachers and Infant-Toddler programs.

Debora Howser, the district’s director of special services, said the preschool principals would still maintain on-site supervision of their respective programs, and the new director position would look at the schools’ alignment of overall curriculum, evaluations, developmental practices and professional development.

According to agenda information, the changes appear to be a part of the Kansas Department of Education’s plan to align with the U.S. Department of Education’s Strong Start early childhood reforms and potential funding.

For 2014-15, the administration of College Hill Preschool would be separated from Northview Elementary where it was under the supervision of Principal Shelley Aistrup and Assistant Principal Elisabeth Nelson.

Over at Manhattan High School, the school board approved a measure that would help with science teacher overloads by hiring an additional teacher who is certified in science and agriculture.

The new position would be funded with U.S. Department of Defense Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) revenue.

The school would receive more STEM money by adding biochemistry and biomedical career pathways to its curriculum and revising its agricultural science pathway.

“The district has established a really firm focus on STEM in the younger grades through grants and the opportunities that have been provided for our students in the past,” director of secondary education Jeanne Disney said. “We think that the cluster would help those students link what they’ve been learning in the younger grades in their current STEM-related classes to the knowledge and skills that they can take with them to their post-secondary educational settings or to STEM-related careers if they’re so inclined,” she said. 

The school would receive $83,250 in revenue because of the three pathways, and after the expense of hiring a new agriculture teacher, the remaining balance would be $45,750.









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