Atchison High School Prinicipal Lacy Warren, left, and Atchison Middle School Principal Chad Bilderback present the timeline along the quest for a new mascot to USD 409 Board of Education members during the Monday, May 10 board meeting.

USD 409 Board of Education members are taking steps to move onward toward a new chapter and to reach closure of another one in Atchison’s public school history.

Atchison High School Principal Lacy Warren and Atchison Middle School Principal Chad Bilderback presented the proposed timeline and planning as part of the procedure along the course as it relates to renaming the schools’ mascots change.

Core groups representing community, staff and students were initially surveyed at the end of April following the board members’ decision earlier in the month to make a change from AHS Redmen and AMS Braves mascots. The initial question was should the committee consider a unified mascot.

Of the 525 student responses, the majority showed a preference to keep all mascots individualized to the respective schools. Of the 146 staff members who responded to the survey favored a unified K-12 mascot by 58.9 percent. There were 393 community responses showed favor to a unified K-12 mascot by 45.8 percent.

Warren and Bilderback agreed the volunteer committee comprised of about 30 administrators, teachers students school parents business owners and site council members. Plans are the first committee meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 18 in the AHS library.

Board members Sally Berger, Stefanie Gardner and Brandi Ross were appointed to represent board members on the committee.

During the inaugural meeting the group expects to set norms, review the initial survey results and brainstorm potential mascot possibilities, colors and additional surveys.

Plans are that during the second committee meeting the group will review a second round of survey results, narrow down the results, and vote on the top ideas. Then create a final survey. At the third committee meeting there will be a review of survey results and possibly be a final recommendation for the school board to consider and make decision in time for the start of the new school year.

Preparations are currently underway to dispose of the Central School facility. Superintendent Renee Scott explained the process concerning the sale of Central School documents in reference to invitations to bid from members of the public interested in the purchasing the facility. The offers are due by Tuesday, June 1. Board members will discuss the offers at the June meeting in effort to make a determination.

Board members took the following personnel action:

Accepted resignations from: Special Education Teacher Mary Melton; Janet Coco, Scholars Bowl co-sponsor and junior class sponsor; and Assistant Football Coach Charlie Harris all are effective at the end of the 2020-21 school year at Atchison High School. Atchison Middle School resignations are from Special Education Teacher from Kathy Randolph; Rusty Willis – English Language Arts teacher, spelling bee sponsor and eighth-grade lunch supervisor. Both resignations are effective at the end of the 2020-21 school year. Board members also accepted a resignation from Laurene Cushinberry, an AMS paraeducator that became effective April 26.

Approved the following recommendations for employment for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year: Certified Nursing Assistant Shala Gering effective April 29; and Paraeducator Lindsey Kuhn effective May 5 at AES; and the hire of Paraeducator Rachael Wohlgemuth becomes effective Monday, May 17 at AMS.

The recommended hires for the upcoming 2021-2022 school year are:

AES – Samantha Roth, fifth-grade teacher; Makenzie Wardlow, a second-grade teacher; and Heather Shepherd, a paraeducator. AMS – Jennifer Felvus, sixth-grade math teacher. AHS – Assistant Principal Mark Felvus, Athletic Director; Taylor Funk, a position to be determined, Business Teacher Amanda Riley, Chemistry/Physics Teacher Paul Ogle; USD 409 Board of Education Office – Amanda Drury as data analyst, a two-year position.

David Lassen was hired to serve as district maintenance and electrician, effective beginning Monday, May 24.

Board members also approved the transfers for 2021-2022: Paraeducator Lara Mortensen from AES paraeducator to K-5 computer fundamentals; Payton Nigus, from first-grade teacher to serve as a kindergarten special education teacher; Victoria Bartee from an AHS English teacher to an eight-grade English language arts teacher at AMS; Marcia Jarombek school, AHS counselor to individual plan of study facilitator, a two-year position.

The following was also approved: Supplemental contracts for Ogle, robotics sponsor and Funk as assistant football coach.

Summer employment: Technology – Mike Nigus and Alex Zanatta; Food Service Staff – Rhonda Schneider, Karen Judd, Jan Coyle, Cheryl Jones and Carla Wolfe; Summer Maintenance Staff, from June 7 to Aug. 6 – Payton Nigus, Steve Watkins, Joni Dunn and Mary Stewart.

The Extended School Year staff members from June 7 to July 1 are: AES – Brittany Hess, Ramona Wilson and Christine Bertrand; AMS – Jerlyn Gormley; and AHS – Mary Melton. The ESY paraeducators are: Ronda Goodpasture, Tracey Cline, Michelle Hess, Kayla Ross, Adrianne Studdard, Renee Conner, Rebecca Lopez, Jennifer Fidel, Ann Webb, Amy Noll, Tracey Boldridge, Ruth Kunkle, Alyssa Felts, Jessica Lamme, Sarai Lawrence, Elizabeth Jones, Libby Denton, Brenda Perry, Joni Dunn and Halee Lee (24 hours).

The summer learning opportunity sessions are Monday, June 14 to Friday, July 2 and Monday, July 12 to Friday, July 30. Teachers for both the first and second sessions are; Jaime Johnson, Ashley Sanborn, Leah Martin, Cody McCarty, Angie Gray, Gloria Cline, Amanda Clark, Orland Rivera and Gerre Martin. Facilitators are Stephanie Affield and Macy Pickman.

Jaime Tate will only be teaching for the first session. The following teachers will be present for only the second session: Ramona Wilson, Kylee Kottman, Jennifer Smith and Monica Beien.

Concerning other matters, board members:

Heard a report on the upcoming summer school from Curriculum Director Jacque Coleman . This will be the second year for the Summer Opportunity Program, but it will be the first in-person session. Masks will be optional. The program will address academic, social and emotional relationships for kiddos with an emphasis on the hands-on science, technology, engineering and math hands-on learning geared for the different grade levels. Transportation, breakfast and lunch meals are provided.

Approved the bid submitted from Approved Paving to resurface the AHS student and teacher parking lots.

Approved a $28,980 bid from American Access and Integration for security camera upgrades.

Approved agreement with Amberwell for Athletic Training Services for the 2021-2022 school year.

Approved on second reading revisions to Board policies from Policy EBBD to Policy JHCAA that relates to evacuations and emergencies; communicable diseases; truancy; health and wellness; communicable diseases and gang intimidation.

Announced the next regular meeting will be 6 p.m. Monday, June 1; there is a special board meeting and a board self-evaluation scheduled for noon Tuesday, June 29.

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