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USD 305 Welcomes 90 New Teachers

Todd Pittenger - August 8, 2013 11:13 am

USD 305 Board of Education President Nedra Elbl speaks Thursday morning.

USD 305 Board of Education President Nedra Elbl speaks Thursday morning.

Salina USD 305 teachers, including 90 educators new to the district, returned to the classroom Thursday.

The district kicked of the 2013 – 2014 school year with its annual all-school assembly, the only time during the year when the entire district gathers in one location. Teachers from every school in the district gathered at Salina Central High School.

USD 305 Board of Education President Nedra Elbl, a former teacher herself, spoke. She jokingly said that in moving from the classroom to the school board she has been accused of going to “the dark side”, referring to the side of evil from the Star Wars movies. She then became serious, saying there really is a “dark side”…things that prohibit the education of a child. She said that teachers have the power to overcome the “dark side”.

New NEA Salina President Brandon Cheeks spoke, urging all of the teachers to “make a stand for public education”. He said that public education and common core standards have come under attack saying “we need to stand together for a quality public education”.

2013 Kansas Master Teacher Michele Palmgren from South High School was recognized, as were teachers of the year Tara Vanderbilt from Meadowlark Elementary School and Deanna Cullins from Central High School.

Vanderbilt spoke, urging all of the teachers to strive to “keep that 1st day of school feeling of excitement all year long”.

Cullins spoke about her struggles to recover from a terrible automobile crash. She said that she polled her students last year, asking them what they though makes a good teacher. Among other things, some of the things students said include:

* I need my teachers to be non judgmental. I am trying to change.

* I like it when my teachers come to my games. I want them to be proud of me.

* My favorite teachers make me want to learn, not get good grades.

* I need my teachers to love me. When I feel loved, I try my best.

Cullins ended by saying “we need the students as much as they need us”.

USD 305 Superintendent Dr. Bill Hall continued with board president Elbl’s “dark side” theme to begin the final presentation of the morning. He entered the auditorium wearing a Darth Vader mask, and carrying a light saber.

Hall then began by handing out his second annual “Mr. Bill Awards”. He gave four district employees awards for among other things being kind and inspirational throughout the year. Those receiving the awards include night custodian Randy Maag from Meadowlark Elementary School, administrative secretary Debbie Shirack from Cottownwood Elementary School, administrative secretary Debbie Turner from Central High School, and Marilyn Long from Stewart Elementary School. Each received an action figure of the “Mr. Bill” cartoon character.

Hall, who is beginning his third year as superintendent, then got down to business. He reviewed some highlights from the last school year, and looked ahead to this year.

Hall spoke about a collaborative planning process, and planning for a $118 million bond issue. It will be unveiled to the public this year in preparation for a vote in April of 2014. Five priorities have been identified that need funding:

1. A Need for all day kindergarten. Out of 286 districts in Kansas, USD 305 is one of only eleven that still does not offer it.

2. School safety and security. All schools need secure access, and FEMA safe storm shelters that can also be used as community shelters.

3. Expanded career and technical education opportunities to help students that opt to no go to college.

4. Renovations to Central High School. The school was built in 1952, and is in need of upgrades.

5. Structural issues at South High School. The school, which was built in 1970 has major structure issues that include larges cracks in walls and floors, and floors that are sinking and tearing away from walls.

A series of community meetings on the bind issue will begin later this month. Hall asked for everyone in the district to “help spread the word”, to register, and to vote.

In the end Hall left a final challenge to “make a difference everyday”.

USD 305 students head back to school beginning next week on Wednesday.

Iggy p Daily

August 8, 2013 at 12:30 pm

I need my teachers to love me??? is there not another story concerning the teacher from Solomon who loved 3 teenagers? Or how about the one from Smokey Valley that love another teenager? Herein lies our problem with todays teachers. They want to be more then just educators and in this day and age that will not work. They should be content to teach the subject they are teaching to the best of their ability no more or no less.

Heidi Paquin

August 8, 2013 at 7:55 pm

That isn’t the kind of “love” that was being talked about. “A few apples don’t make the whole bunch bad” Besides, it was a survey comment made by a student, not a teacher. I am sure glad my teachers didn’t adhere to your comment of “being content teaching their subject to the best of their ability, no more no less”. I thank God they did more than just teach a subject.

Iggy p Daily

August 8, 2013 at 10:35 pm

Yes and you probably run a cash register somewhere and cannot figure out how to make change if the register does not tell you how to. Students no longer receive an education of the mind. The school districts as well as the teachers enable them to use computers, cell phones ect in the schools to do all the work for them. Students do not have to use their brains anymore other than learning how to search for answers on the computer. Evidently you are a product of this system.

Aaron A. Aurora

August 9, 2013 at 8:32 am

The one I like is the teachers need to come to my games. Where’s the parents of these kids that would say that. It is not the role of the teacher to become the parent of any child in the school system. This causes problems and is unprofessional. Teachers are there to teach and that is what they are being paid for. Not to be a friend parent or lover. Just maybe if they were doing their jobs kids would be able to add and subtract. Also to learn history and comprehend reading. SALINA SCHOOL SYSTEM HAS HAD MONEY EVERY YEAR TO KEEP THE SCHOOLS IN GOOD CONDITION. They have hired a small army to do that but evidently nothing is being done and the monies are being spent somewhere else. I rember when they built South High School and many in the community questioned the design. WHAT DID THE SCHOOL SYSTEM DO THEN? THUMBED THEIR COLLECTIVE NOSES AT THOSE WHO OBJECTED TO THE DESIGN. NOW THEY ARE BACK WANTING A NEW SCHOOL. SORRY THAT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN USE WHAT YOU HAVE. NO WAY WILL I STAND BY AND LET THE CITY , COUNTY RAISE TAXES AND THEN THE SCHOOL SYSTEM WHILE MY SALARY GETS NO RAISES. THERE IS ONLY SO MUCH MONEY TO GO AROUND RAISING A FAMILY.

Aaron A. Aurora

August 9, 2013 at 8:33 am

BY THE WAY WHY DID THIS STORY GET BURIED SO QUICKLY K sal?

SalinaLady 19

August 9, 2013 at 5:24 pm

I invite both Iggy and Aaron to take the time to visit our local schools. I don’t feel either of you has your finger on the pulse of education today. It must be really hard to only focus on the negative in life. I wish you both peace and comfort.

Thank you Salina Teachers for everything you do for OUR students and OUR future. Have a great school year.

Iggy p Daily

August 9, 2013 at 9:38 pm

I have visited your schools and I have worked with those products of the Salina school system. I was far from impressed.

Iggy p Daily

August 11, 2013 at 9:34 am

Where oh where is oldlady19. Knows things posted here are right and true so evidently no responce.

KS Lady

August 11, 2013 at 9:41 am

First off… Teachers do not want to have to parent the students they teach. That is up to the parents! But the bad thing that I have seen in Salina for the last 11years that I have been in this area, is that there are a great deal of parents that don’t want to be parents. They would much rather the teachers not only teach but do their job as well. Many teachers already have their own children that they parent. They do not want to be parent to another 200 to 300 children, but at the same time they refuse to turn away a child that their own parents won’t give the time of day to.
Now as far as it is the entire teacher’s fault for student’s not learning…Many don’t allow calculators in their room, students are expected to get their work in on time, and put forth 100% effort into that work. What gets in the way of teachers are parents that yell at them saying that what they require is too hard. That they should give students at least 50% for at least trying! Parents need to step up and BE PARENTS and let the teachers, teach! It is very difficult trying to set high expectations for a class when the teacher has to stop class to be not only the parent to students that do not behave in the classroom but also having parents up their backside demanding that they dumb down the material because it’s too hard! So before tossing out blanket accusations about how poorly Salina teachers do their job, you might want to get to know them. They are some of the hardest working folks around.
Oh and I have to touch on the building situation. After 40years do you not have to do repairs to a home? Now think of a home that has well over 1000 members to it, using it daily! Things break down and from time to time require professionals to come in and fix them. If you are having foundation problems due to ground water or other unforeseen issues would you call in a professional to fix it or just you and your buddies try and fix it though you are not trained in this area? I want the professional, I may not like how much it is going to cost me to get the job done but I have the peace of mind to know it was done right and will last much longer than if an untrained, uncertified person were to attempt to fix it. Repairs need to be done and need to be done by professionals. The buildings within the district are not only used for our students but for many community organizations as well.
Before spouting off tons of negative non sense, attempt to get the facts. And before pointing the all accusing finger at the teachers of students that have fallen short, just remember there is something called personal accountability. You can lead a mule to water, splash it in the face, tug on the rope to try and get it to drink. But sometimes the mule refuses to no matter what lengths you go to.
Salina teachers… you all do a great job. Salina Students… Push yourselves and always give 100%. It will pay off in the end. Salina parents… Be Parents and support your students learning, do not undermine your teachers by making them the bad guy. They present the information and subject matter it is up to the student to do what is required of them!

SalinaLady 19

August 11, 2013 at 6:04 pm

Sorry, Iggy. I didn’t realize you said anything worth me responding to. I did read your response. I am sorry that has been your experience with Salina Usd 305. I obviously have had a totally different kind of experience. I hadn’t realized it was my responsibility to try and convince you of anything different. Given how negative you appear to be regarding a number of different issues. I am not going to waste my time trying to convince you of anything different than what you already believe. I just wish you well. Take care.

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