Local public school leaders were seemingly in step along a course to the future as they agreed to consider two proposed activities and approved the calendar for the 2020-21 school year on Monday.

Atchison Public Schools USD 409 Board of Education members convened to take care of the business at hand. They toured Atchison Middle School to hear about and see first-hand the maintenance concerns and upgrades, and also address some personnel matters.

Action is on hold concerning proposals for an AMS co-ed soccer program and a Tri-M Music Honor Society. Both have earned recommendations from the district’s activities committees.

Doug Tschauder an AMS parent, offered comment in support of the co-ed soccer program at AMS. Tschauder conveyed his belief after speaking with other parents that there is enough interest to support a soccer program for the middle-schoolers.

AMS Principal Chad Bilderback said the sporting activities are offered at the seventh- and eighth-grade levels. Football, cross country, volleyball, basketball and cheerleading are offered during the fall and track in the spring. If co-ed soccer is approved, it would be a springtime sport.

Assistant Principal Tyler Lueckenhoff, the AMS activities director, told board members he has discussed the scheduling possibilities with districts that offer the sports. As it works out, the AMS co-ed soccer team would have the ability to compete with organized teams during their respective by-weeks. Like the other sports, co-ed soccer would be about a six-week season, Lueckenhoff said.

Superintendent Renee Scott described the Tri-M Music Honor Society as a nationally recognized service-organization that has the support of the music department personnel and the interest of about 45 high school students. This organization focuses on all musical interests like bands, choirs, instrumental and vocals, Scott said.

Board Member Sean Crittendon said it would be a perfect-fit because the students within the district’s schools are so rich in talent.

Board members discussed whether or not to take action, but agreed by consensus to wait until their March meeting to allow more time to hear from the public.

As board members toured AMS, they heard some comments from District Maintenance Director Jay Robinson, and viewed some updated arrangements in the library and classrooms. Robinson said some of the roofs are in need of some tuck pointing at the Roosevelt Building. There are three auditorium doors along with their doors closures that will need replacement. There is a need to replace the hot water heater located at the north end of the building, Robinson said.

Scott said the intercoms are only heard in the hall ways, and should be replaced with upgraded models so that all will be able to hear alerts and messages in the classrooms as well as the hallways. Board members also viewed the boys’ locker rooms and showers, as they are in need some repair work and upgrades.

In other matters, the board extended the following contracts for the 2020-2021 school year:

For Bilderback and Lueckenhoff, in their current positions at AMS;

For Jacqueline Coleman, as USD 409 curriculum and instruction director;

For Patty Gaul, as food service director;

For Lori Lanter, as business manger;

For Donna Noll, as technology education director;

For Robinson, in his aforementioned position;

For Principal Matt Renk of Atchison High School;

For Assistant Principal Lindsey Hansen of AHS;

For Assistant Prinicpal Jason Schroeder of AHS, and also for his activities director responsibilities;

For Principal Heather Renk of Atchison Elementary School, who overees preschoolers through to second grade;

And for Assistant Principal Lisa Pierce of AES.

Board members also:

Approved the transfer of Nichole Honeywell from AES intermediate principal to the position of USD 409 special education coordinator, effective for the 2020-2021 school year.

Approved the transfer of Becky Walker from the BOE personnel office to the 10-month secretary and substitute coordinator at AHS, effective Wednesday, April 1.

Board members also approved the following retirements, effective at the end of the school year:

Rhonda Lorenz, longtime second-grade teacher at AES

James Coop, history and social studies teacher at Central School

The following staffers are also moving on, for other reasons:

Misty Collins, AMS art teacher, and Taylor Walker, AES fifth-grade special education teacher, both effective end of the schoolyear;

Jennifer Smith, fall and spring, sixth-grade lunch supervisor, effective Jan. 24, and Peggy Woodard as AMS paraeducator, effective Feb. 5;

Ashton Herrig, CNA, and Food Service Manager Kim Matthias, both at AES, effective Feb. 7 and Feb. 6, respectively.

Board members also:

Approved supplemental contracts for Kurt Schlanker as head track coach and Liz Harris, as Sixth-grade lunch supervision, both serving AMS.

Accepted the following recommendations for employment for the remainder of the school year: Jamie Collins, AMS paraeducator; Sadie Everett, CNA at AES; and Lesley Harness, as a Central School elementary teacher.

Accepted a $5,000 grant from Northeast Kansas Library System for AHS.

Superintendent Scott presented board members President Carrie Sowers and Vice-president Diane Liebsch with Kansas Association of School Boards plaques for participation in KASB-sponsored continuing education training programs. Sowers earned a Level II for achieving 75 point minimum, and Liebsch achieved the Honor Roll-Level I for no less than 25 points to her credit.

Board members also unanimously approved to seek requests for proposals to complete the second half of the effort to upgrade the security cameras. Funding for the upgrade entails district’s required match of about $31,750 awarded to the district by way of the Kansas lawmakers-approved Safe and Secure Schools grant funding. The purchase will complete replacements of all analog cameras with digital cameras, increase storage capabilities, cabling, installation and configuration to work with the current system.

Board members also unanimously approved the calendar for the 2021-2022 school calendar.

Mary Meyers can be reached via mary.meyers@atchisonglobenow.com. Follow her on Twitter: @MARYMEYERSglobe

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