Career pathways added, data vital for Skyline progress evaluation

Gale Rose
The Skyline Board of Education approved the addition of an engineering program and a health and bio sciences program for the 2020-2021 school year.

The Skyline Board of Education approved two new program pathways that will provide additional career choices for Skyline students as they look beyond the current COVID-19 pandemic.

At their April 14 meeting, the board approved programs for engineering and health and bio sciences. This brings the total career pathway programs at Skyline to 12.

Classes for these new programs will start in the eighth grade and progress through high school, leading to either an industry wide certification or on to post secondary education, said Skyline Superintendent Becca Flowers.

With many of the pathway programs, students will leave school with some sort of certification and set them up for further education and more certifications.

Engineering and health and bio sciences were chosen because they are highly sought after areas in this region.

“We want to prepare students to meet the needs of the labor market in our region,” Flowers said.

The new programs are scheduled to start in the fall. A certain number of students have complete the programs for a certain number of years to maintain the classes. Brian Pixler has been hired for the engineering program. Pixler is a former teacher in the USD 328 system.

Existing staff will handle the health and bio sciences program.

For each program, an individual plan of study will be developed for each student. This will assure each student is taking classes needed to develop the necessary skills required for certification or for post secondary education, Flowers said.

The success of the programs will be measured. The district uses the Kansas Department of Education guidelines to measure the success rate of the program. Data are based on where students go and what they do after they graduate from high school. This data is vital to the success of the program.

“Data is essential. It guides us on what changes need to be made at the local level and how to improve,” Flowers said.

Besides preparing new programs in anticipation of reopening the school in the fall, repairs and upgrades to the building are ongoing. New ceiling tiles have been installed in the main hallway and lobby, roof drains have been repaired, electrical repairs have been made and new lighting has been installed, new HVAC units are being replaced in the big gym.

Workers are installing new bleachers on the east side of the gym. Only the roll out sections of the bleachers are being replaced. This project should take less than two weeks to complete. The roll out bleachers are the originals that were in the building when it opened in the fall of 1967.

Work on the bleaches at the football field is also in the works.

The district continues to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. Flowers monitors the daily Kansas Department of Education meetings while business manager Dave Schmidt meets with county emergency management. Taxing entities in the county meet once a week to discuss their responses to the crisis. It’s a very collaborative effort, Flowers said.

Without school in session, students are not eating at the school but the district is still providing those meals. They are feeding 225 students for breakfast and lunch, five days a week. About one fourth of the meals are picked up at the school while the district delivers the rest.

Meals enough for two days are prepared on Monday and Wednesday. The kitchen prepares about 900 meals on each of those days. On Friday, about 450 meals are prepared and delivered. Volunteers help package and deliver the meals.

“Its amazing how well they (kitchen staff and volunteers) do that,” Flowers said.

Families appreciate the food a lot. Some families probably need help with food because some parents have to work and kids are home by themselves. Having someone prepare and deliver meals to them is a big help. Delivery volunteers report that the food helps cheer the students spirits.

“It’s bringing nutrition and a lot of joy to people,” Flowers said. “Our kitchen staff has rocked it. They are doing an amazing job to make it all work.”