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Improving USD 204 schools

USD 204 recently reviewed the School Improvement Plans for each of its schools.

Each school analyzed individual student data over the last school year primarily in the areas of reading and math to develop plans for improvement in the next school year.

All three elementary schools found they needed to improve students’ vocabulary skills, and all three are working on problem solving in math. The school leadership teams are working to strengthen the writing programs and devote more time to vocabulary activities. For math problems, the schools plan to devote more time and provide more intensive instruction to struggling students in smaller groups. Additionally, they will spend more instructional time working on various problem-solving processes and activities.

For Clark Middle School and Bonner Springs High School, the data focus has been on the ACT. Eighth graders took the ACT Explore this past year and 10th graders took the ACT Plan (both tests will be called the Aspire next year). Juniors and Seniors take the official ACT exam.

At Clark, they plan to focus efforts on improving punctuation and grammar skills, rhetorical skills and reading comprehension. In math, they are working on unit rate and ratios along with technical reading (being able to read a problem and identify the key information and knowing mathematically how to solve the problem).

Teachers have aligned curriculum and made adjustments on the pacing calendars to better meet the needs of all students. Additional support is also being provided for students struggling in reading and math. A new course, pre-algebra for seventh graders, has been created and will be offered next year. Finally, during this past school year, the district’s middle school and high school teachers have focused a significant amount of time aligning the algebra curriculum for the eighth grade course and the algebra curriculum that is offered at BSHS.

The high school wants to improve reading and math scores on the ACT and the percentage of students being considered as “college and career ready.” To do so, they plan to have teachers align the curriculum and incorporate the ACT Reading, English, and Math standards within the pacing calendars. The English Language Arts teachers will also continue to review the texts used in class to incorporate more technical and informational texts.

The high school will also offer a “standardized test prep-ACT” class students can choose as an elective to better prepare for taking the ACT.

And now for a bit of city news:

• The Bonner Springs Fire Department was awarded a grant to work with McGill University, which has been working on the research and development of collaborative, network-enabled technologies for supporting the needs of the emergency response community. This has included using Google Glass and other sensor systems to improve first responders’ awareness of their surroundings. The fire department is set to begin training with McGill on Aug. 2 — watch for a story, likely in the Aug. 7 edition of The Chieftain.

• Bonner had a lot of road repairs planned, but the rain in June and July proved to be a major setback. The city reports that 95 percent of roadway and sidewalk concrete work has been completed, but as for patching, repaving or overlaying streets, the work that was to start the week of June 9 is finally set to start this week. Chipsealing is set to begin the week of July 21, again weather permitting.

• In economic development news: The former ReMax building on the west side of K-7, just south of Riverview, was purchased by Theresa Buehler, president of Little Joe’s Asphalt, Inc. She is reportedly working on a plan for the building. Just south of that, the former Wendy’s building was sold to Bill and Scott Mosburg, who are the same people who purchased the neighboring former Mazzio’s Pizza building and leased it to El Potro Mexican Café & Cantina. Finally, developers say they should soon begin construction on a new building just south of McDonalds. Mr. Goodcents plans to relocate to the building once complete, with Papa Keno’s Pizza filling the Goodcents space. A Great Clips also is scheduled for the new building, and another 2,000 feet also could be leased. They’ll have to hurry; the city required that they complete the building by Oct. 24.

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