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USD 382 board tour highlights middle, high school needs

Kahrie Stegman
Pratt High School students in the geometry in construction class work on building a mobile Frog Shop for the sale of Greenback booster items. Several class members and teachers Tim and Melissa Rector presented a progress report to USD 382 board of education members at their February meeting.

On Monday, Feb. 10, 2020 at 7 p.m., the Pratt USD 382 Board of Education had their monthly meeting after touring facilities at Liberty Middle School and Pratt High School.

Superintendent Tony Helfrich reported that in the LMS gym, board members viewed a couple of issues to be addressed later in the meeting. The bleachers in the gym, which are original to the building, had some safety issues, as well as difficulty of setting up and storing. Later during the meeting, the board decided to begin a replacement project, taking out the south bleachers since they are not needed and replacing the main bleachers with new. In not replacing the southern half of the bleachers, the board could save nearly 25 percent of the cost, and they decided to do the project with Heartland Seating to begin replacement in July.

“We also discussed reclaiming some of the wood from the bleachers for use on projects in our woodshop class,” Helfrich said.

In the PHS locker rooms, the board looked at the lockers used by the football boys, and saw that nearly 20 of them needed to be replaced due to wear and tear. Comments from several board members indicated that they did not believe the current models were heavy-duty enough, as nearly 20 doors need replaced.

“We discussed multiple solutions and are getting a price on installing a lockable box in each locker and removing all of the doors,” Helfrich said. “We believe this will give students security for valuables but provide a clean look in the locker at a less expensive price.”

Tim and Melissa Rector and three students in the geometry in construction class, Crystal James, Bryce Winsor, and Sam Bergner presented a progress report from this new class at the high school. Students are building a mobile Frog Shop to sell Pratt merchandise outside of the school. They learn and use geometry and real-world math application in the two-period-per-day class taught by the Rectors.

“Board members were excited to hear about the progress and skill development with students,” said Helfrich. "I was happy to hear each of the students reporting a deeper understanding of the math concepts by actually using the math to build our Frog Shop."

In other business:

* Kirsten Blankenship reviewed the progress on the math textbook adoption for the 2020-21 school year. The district had narrowed down to four vendors, using the scoring guide from Education Reports to make certain the teachers were selecting from highly rated materials. Each vendor presented sample materials and explained the offerings at the January in-service. Teachers made a recommendation and the district is negotiating bids with the vendors. Superintendent Helfrich will deliver a recommendation at the March board meeting for board approval.

* Helfrich reviewed the Capital Outlay budget with the board, highlighting expected needs and goals for the remainder of the fiscal year. The superintendent recommended and the board approved a purchase of percussion instruments for the PHS and LMS bands. Many of the drum sets no longer hold their tuning since they have reached a natural wear point. The Band Booster Club contributed some money, as well, to the purchase.

* Personnel changes included the retirement of Larry Kahmeyer, a PHS English teacher.