Pratt FFA members make special presentation at USD 382 BOE meeting

Ruby Howell
Pratt Tribune
Pratt High School FFA vice president Madeline Drake shares information with Pratt USD 382 board of education member Mark Fincham at the BOE’s meeting on Monday, January 11 at the Ace Building in Pratt.

A full audience attended the Pratt USD 382 Board of Education  Monday Jan. 11 the board reorganized for 2021. Bill Bergner was extended as President, and Donna Queal was extended as Vice-President. 

While the reorganiztion was important, most of the attenders were part of a 15-member Pratt High School student council group as well as the usual staff and faculty were there to hear PHS FFA members make a special presentation.

For the presentation, PHS FFA officers facilitated a fun and interactive presentation. The group consisted of FFA sponssor Rachel Easdon, FFA president Sterling Rector, (sr) vice-president Madeline Drake, (jr), and reporter Addie Hoeme, (jr). They shared a video about what FFA is and the education and career opportunities it provides students within the agriculture field. 

The new Pratt chapter reported that in its inaugural year there are six ag classes offered to middle and high school students, and there are currently 63 students enrolled in FFA throughout the middle and high school. They ended their presentation by making the board members compete in a crop and meat identification contest. Members were given pictures of several different crops and meats and were asked to guess what they were. For the crop test, it was a tie between Superintendent Tony Helfrich and Board VP Donna Queal. 

In other BOE business:

* Superintendent Helfrich stated his concerns about efforts to support public schools and education at the state level with the incoming legislature. Queal said that having a strong relationship and staying in contact with state representatives is very important. 

* Helfrich suggested that February 15, President’s Day,  be converted back into a Professional Learning Day for teachers (meaning that students have no school). He said it would not impact the amount of hours/days required to be in school. Board member Mark Fincham moved and Queal seconded this decision and the motion passed. 

* Helfrich updated those present about a recent surge in phishing attempts throughout the district. Phishing is a common scam that tries to “phish” data from individuals by sending users shady links that end up exposing the device to malware. Molly Swank, tech advisor, told Helfrich that phishing attempts were  up 6,000% in 2020. School devices are a very common target because of their clean credit history. Helfrich brought up an initiative to educate students and staff about phishing. 

“It’s about making sure our students and staff are more prepared,” Helfrich said. “Our students are going out into the world and we need to make sure they are more savvy and safe when it comes to technology.”

* PHS Activities Director David Swank reported that a usual run of the mill assembly for homecoming this year would not be possible. He said he was going to meet with the senior class royalty to discuss several alternative options and when they made a final decision, they would announce it. He also mentioned that the PHS StuCo has been tasked to come up with an alternative activity in place of the usual dance. 

* In new business, board member Jeremy Demuth moved and board member Chris Drake seconded the resolution to extend the FCCRA leave until the end of the school year. This gives district employees 80 hours of family leave to be used if they are quarantined or sick. It is helpful so they don’t have to use their regular sick leave.