Garden City USD 457 Board of Education members voted to approve four classes to be taught at Garden City High School and labeled as dual credit with Garden City Community College during their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday.
One board member, Jennifer Standley, was absent, but the vote passed unanimously, without discussion. The classes, which will be offered at GCHS for college credit, are Media in a Free Society, Marketing and Accounting I and II.
The board also heard from the technology steering committee, which gave a report on the computers in the high school; students, instructors and administrators at Jennie Wilson Elementary School; Real Men Real Leaders members; and district truancy officers. Students from Jennie Wilson Elementary School led the Pledge of Allegiance, then shook each board member’s hand.
Melinda Stuart, the school’s principal, spoke about a new initiative to help parents know what is going on at the school. Fourth-grade students present a video called Cougar Chats, which they write and produce. The school is also offering citizenship incentives and received a $1,000 award from Dillons Food Stores.
Counselors from Garden City’s middle schools and high school spoke about career readiness. The middle school counselors explained how they meet with students, give career assessments and bring in guest speakers. The high school has a specific career counselor, Kae Lee Armstrong, who has instituted senior success nights, a new career assessment and FAFSA and scholarship events. She is in the process of developing a career shadowing and job development class. Armstrong said shadowing is up-and-coming, but there are restrictions.
“Do you think we have student buy-in?” board president Dana Nanninga asked.
“Not yet,” Armstrong said.
Three truancy officers explained truancy means unexcused/unverified absences. A new intervention, which the officers say is helping, is a 30-minute mandatory Friday afternoon detention for K-8 students. Letters are also sent out to families with truant children. These letters are in English and Spanish. Nanninga asked whether these letters were printed in other languages. The truancy officers said they would consider having the letters translated. However, if a parent with a truant child comes to the school for a visit, an interpreter is used.
Last year, 22 K-8 students were taken to court for truancy. So far this year, only three such cases are being brought to court. The truancy rates at GCHS have also decreased.
“Kids learn more when they’re there,” said superintendent Steven Karlin. “We can improve it even more.”
The next board meeting will be held at 5 p.m. Dec. 19 in the board meeting room at the Garden City Educational Support Center.