Foreign languages and robotics will be offered this summer in Pratt for area students.
School's out. Almost. But USD 382 board of education members approved plans for summer class work and new programs for next year at their regular monthly meeting on May 13 that will keep education first and foremost on many minds in the coming days and weeks.
In a listing of shining moments of the year from teachers, Superintendent Suzan Patton noted several achievements to build on for the coming educational year.
"The Mobile Frog Shop is something that a new class combining geometry and construction will build this fall, and in the future they hope to move on to bigger construction projects," she said. "But we are very excited to be starting with that."
Also new on the syllabus for fall 2019 will be additional foreign language classes that have grown out of the success of current students learning French with teacher Michelle Popovich.
"We had two students take part in the LeGrand Concours National French Exam this year and they did very well," Patton said. "We want to be able to offer some additional foreign language classes to keep encouraging that aspect of education here in Pratt."
Patton noted that several Pratt seniors were not only graduating with high school diplomas this year, but had also earned associate degrees for certificates from Pratt Community College at the same time, due to curriculum changes and improvements made in the past several years.
"I hope our students and parents appreciate these opportunities we are able to provide," Patton said. "Many 4A schools do not offer the opportunities that we do."
Educational opportunities approved by the board for Pratt students grades 5-12 during the summer include a French and Spanish summer camp to study world languages with Michelle Popovich, assisted by high school language students, and a robotics camp taught by Anthony Brown.
Approved, along with a long list of personnel requests for resignation, replacement or extended summer hours were new Pratt High School driver's education instructors Lowell Dohrman and DeWayne Wolgast, who replace Mike Gripe.
In other business, board members:
* approved payment for an architectural firm to begin plans for a new bus transportation area
* paid $155,730 for a new projector system in the LMS auditorium
* heard that employee health benefits will cost the district 3 percent more next year
* approved the renewal of Skyward, a computer system for the district
* heard that Bob Diepenbrock of Kingman has been hired as director of the South Central Kansas Special Education Cooperative, as reported by Pratt representative to the board Chris Drake.
At the beginning of the regular meeting, board members and staff were entertained by Southwest Elementary Sticks and Singers under the direction of music teacher Lisa Rawlings. A group of about 10 Pratt 4th graders played "The Lost Boys" from Peter Pan on ukuleles and then performed "Sevens" on bucket drums.
Rawlings said all Southwest 4th graders are given the opportunity to learn to play a ukulele provided by the district, but tryouts are held for the Sticks band members to make sure they can keep a beat.