USD 438 board of education members hear proposal for school-owned apiary.

Thunderbirds may soon be joined by bees if a new program to start an apiary (bee hive) is fully developed at Skyline.
A pair of Skyline teachers, Carrie Harrold, second grade and Anita DeWeese, middle and high school agriculture, presented their proposal to the Skyline Board of Education at their regular monthly meeting Sept. 9.
Harrold said having an apiary would provide an opportunity for students to develop critical thinking skills, inquiry learning and real life application. Bees can teach students about communication, sharing work loads, adapting to surroundings and working together.
Other learning opportunities for her second graders would get from having access to an apiary would include: being able to explain that bees are social and how to distinguish between social and solitary insects, describing how all the members of a social insect colony come from one queen, describe the roles of workers, drones and queens, describe how honeybees community through dances, be able to identify how insects can be helpful and harmful to people.
An apiary would meet the requirements for Agriculture Experience Programs that calls for students to design and build a program in an agriculture career area.
Cost for developing an apiary would come from grants. There are lots of grant opportunities and local beekeepers have been very supportive, Harrold said.
Skyline seventh and eighth graders applied for a Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism pollinator garden grant in 2018-2019. Part of that grant money will go to costs for the apiary: bees $500, bee suit and hive $850, smoker $35, hive tools $10 for a total of $1,395.
Students will also apply for a Kansas Honey Producers Youth Grant that can be used for woodenware for two beehives, bees, safety equipment, instruction materials and classes, membership in the Kansas Honey Producers.
An apiary would meet requirements for a Science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics STE(A)M project, Harrold said.
In other board business:
The board approved a memo of understanding with Horizon’s Mental Health Center for implementation of the Mental Health Intervention Team grant and approved a contract for Sara Lewton as Mental Health Intervention Team grant liaison. Skyline has received a grant for this position. Lewton will help more students get the help they need from Horizons Mental Health. This is a definite benefit for the students as well as for the whole community to be able to get needed health care, said Skyline Superintendent Becca Flowers.
The board approved a contract for Michelle Bair as middle school class sponsor.
The board approved a contract for Michael Nelson as middle school quiz bowl sponsor.
The board approved a contract for Sara Lewton as student and family support coordinator.