MHS west campus

Manhattan High School west campus

Following a concerted effort from Manhattan High School teachers, class attendance is up while tardies and unexcused absences are down, principal Michael Dorst said.

This school year, the school has focused on six essential skills: showing up every day, on time, ready to work, working hard, having a good attitude and being drug free. He said the district worked with local organizations and businesses to identify those traits as being essential for career readiness.

Dorst said teachers have emphasized the first two skills by talking with their students about the importance of being in class while also taking more meticulous attendance records.

As a result, Dorst reported the school has seen 804 periods of missed classes through mid-October. That’s a drop of 390, or 32.6%, from the same time period last school year.

Tardies dropped by 428, or 44.9%, to 526 this year from 954 last year, which Dorst said was surprising.

“I was prepared to see a higher rate in tardies, because we’ve actually had a push on our teachers recording them and being more diligent,” Dorst said. “I was kind of flinching when I ran that report thinking it would be over 954, but it was actually lower.”

Dorst said he expects those figures to continue to beat last year’s numbers, and teachers will continue to focus on speaking with students first before escalating to calls to home and referrals to grade level principals.

“You can see it in the halls, we’re still not perfect,” Dorst said. “We definitely have room for growth, but it is improvement.”

K-State hires new registrar

K-State announced Friday that it has hired Kelley Brundage as the university’s new registrar.

Brundage, who starts the job Jan. 12 and will replace the retired Monty Nielsen, is currently the university registrar at the University of West Florida. She’s held that position since June 2016.

“Kelley Brundage is highly experienced as a registrar at the university level and will be a critical partner in advancing K-State’s comprehensive strategic enrollment priorities,” provost Charles Taber said in a statement. “She will be the steward of student records and a key partner in the delivery of educational programs, from enrollment to course grades to graduation.”

As the university’s chief records officer, Brundage will oversee the university’s academic records, course enrollment and registration, course and classroom scheduling, degree audits, graduation, transfer articulation, grade processing, transcripts and certifications for enrollment.

Brundage was an associate registrar at Colorado State University from 2009 to 2016 and assistant registrar at Arizona State University from 2007 to 2009.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in global business from Arizona State University and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University. Brundage is also working on an educational doctorate in leadership and learning in organizations from Vanderbilt University.

USD 383 wins first green award

The Manhattan-Ogden school district was recognized as the first entirely green district in Kansas by the Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education.

Rachel Wahl, educational program specialist for the association, presented the district with the award at the Oct. 16 school board meeting. To receive the award, each of the district’s schools had to complete an investigation that audited items such as energy usage and waste and recycling.

“We found out the school district could actually save a lot of money, so we want to start producing some data as we go forward and make environmental choices that better our school district,” said Courtney Smith, art teacher at Marlatt Elementary and president of the district’s Go Green Champions committee.

Smith also recommended that the board pursue adding recycling as a line item in the district’s budget, as well as support current efforts to switch from Styrofoam trays to washable trays in all of the district’s school cafeterias.

Rachel Wahle, educational program specialist for KACEE, presented the district with the association’s Green School Silver Globe Achievement Award.

“What makes this so special is that in the state of Kansas, there are about 500 individual green schools,” Wahle said. “There are about 20 districts. But your (district) is the first time that all the schools have collaboratively come together as a district, from pre-K through 12th grade. That’s unheard of.”

Donations, grants

The Manhattan-Ogden school board accepted $3,900 in donations and grants at its Oct. 16 meeting.

The Manhattan-Ogden Public Schools Foundation donated $2,500 to the district for the FIT Closet.

Keystone Learning Services granted $1,400 to the district.

Rafael Garcia is The Mercury's education reporter, covering USD 383, surrounding districts and Kansas State University. Follow him on Twitter @byRafaelGarcia.