You’ve heard the saying, “It’s not where you start, it’s how you finish. “
Well, Monday night’s school board meeting was an opportunity to see what is going on in our local school district and it is a lot of positive news.
In 2020 Syracuse Elementary School was deemed a TSI school. (Targeted Support for Improvement) school.
Many years ago, when Kansas had state funding issues, our district chose to be careful with those funds to prepare for the long term. So no new programs or initiatives happened.
According to Elementary Principal Liz Plunkett, “It took new leadership to get us on cycle.”
With 70% of our students on free and reduced lunch and 50% of the students which have English as their second language, we definitely have some challenges other schools may not.
39% of our lower socioeconomic status students do not meet the reading benchmark on the spring AimswebPlus state assessment.
HS/JH principal, Mr Z, pointed out for many years the school didn’t do much toward identifying the issues or finding ways to resolve them. He credits Superintendent Paul Larkin with coming in and addressing the issues as well as Liz Plunkett becoming the elementary principal. And listening to the teachers.
While the school has been a title one school since 2000, we previously had two title one teachers. When funding became an issue we allocated the funds differently. Instead of paying two teachers directly, we spread out the funds to support all teachers. The teachers and the elementary principal now had to absorb the time out of their classroom to try to meet the needs of extra personnel in addition to their own work. Due to need an adequate funding we are naming a Title 1 Program Director/teacher.
Plunkett said, “Due to State assessment scores for our low socioeconomic status, white kids not making adequate progress for three years, we became a TSI school. No one wants to be on the “List” but this provided us an opportunity to have resources to dig into the source of our troubles. “
She added, “Our Building Leadership Team (BLT) decided to focus on ALL low socioeconomic status kids, not just the white ones. We created our next steps to support all kids who qualify as Title 1.”
And at Tuesday night’s board meeting, the board unanimously approved hiring a full time Title 1 program person. The title one position uses federal funds to target the kids that qualify and provide for them.
When the core is strengthened everyone wins.
The teachers can now spend more time instructing the class and certain populations that need heavier instruction can receive more direct and targeted classwork.
The building leadership team presented their plan Tuesday evening. Liz Plunkett, Shelly DeWeese, Mary Larkin and Kathy Wilson stood before the board to discuss and answer questions about the plans.
They work with the Kansas Learning Network for a minimum of two years, show growth in closing achievement gaps and ongoing school wide improvement.
The team, including Kayla Norton (on maternity leave), has been instrumental in working towards a new model, one that will create processes to sustain improvements.
The Building Leadership Team is taking classes on how to focus on the leadership model and train others.
Plunkett said, “Our schedule is tight and we don’t have time for quality time between classes to create a collaboration model. The time we have needs to be structural and meaningful. We need to teach our teachers.”
Plunkett added with excitement, “Our data is showing growth. We are making a difference.”-
Some other highlights include a vocal teacher for the JH/HS has been hired. Her hope is to get a pep band started. She is also a softball coach and it appears 34 students are interested.
Sarah Schwerdfeger resigned her board position as of March 31st. If you are interested in serving on the school board contact one of the board members.
Mary Larkin said, “To be able to serve on the BLT is an honor. The work that we have put in is all about the kids and what they need. Syracuse Elementary is doing great things to ensure that the kids are receiving the best we can give them.”
Shelly DeWeese added, “We have really worked hard as a team to support our students and solve problems. I look forward to watching our students soar academically with our cross grade level collaboration .”
What happens if you need an ambulance? What if care isn’t available locally and you need to be transported by helicopter? Where do you get that insurance? Or are you interested in learning about becoming a first responder? Maybe you want to teach your children what the... [More]
I am standing on Road S, four miles south of Road 31 in Hamilton County, and I feel like I am in the Dirty Thirties. The wind pounds against the ground as it has for what seems like months. For miles and miles, the land is desolate and barren and hard to fathom. Jerrad... [More]
The weekend was packed with Saturday’s annual Crusin’ Into Summer Car Bike and Buggy show and Sunday’s Jeff Wilson Memorial Livestock show. Krista Norton reports on Saturday’s event - Mother Nature is always the determining factor in the success of the... [More]
Resurfacing to begin in Hamilton County Traffic changes are scheduled to start Monday, May 2, along U.S. 50/400 from the Colorado state line east to the east city limits of Syracuse, according to the Kansas Department of Transportation. U.S. 50 traffic will be reduced... [More]
Last week we met the Medellin family. This week I would like to introduce the Harris family. Nikki Harris, Imaging Technologist who is multi-modality trained in X-Ray, cat scan and MRI is pleased to be providing services at the Hamilton County Hospital as of February 21,... [More]
This Secretarial natural disaster designation allows the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) to extend much-needed emergency credit to producers recovering from natural disasters through emergency loans. Emergency loans can be used to meet... [More]
Easter weekend in Syracuse has become a sand rail hub as people traveled from Ohio, California, Wyoming, Nebraska and more. For the second year in a row, side by side sand rails, RZRs, and a concert brought big business in to some local places. Others, not as much. ... [More]
TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is offering all phone coaching enrollees four weeks of free nicotine replacement therapy. Participants who want to quit smoking or chewing tobacco can choose a lozenge, gum, or patch that will be mailed directly... [More]
Our community and surrounding areas are in desperate need of rain. We pray, we hope, we watch the sky. Instead, we have heat, high winds and sun. Yesterday I saw a comment on social media from someone in another part of the world on how they were so happy to have a day without... [More]
The fact that this paper is out is nothing short of a miracle. Yes we say that all the time but I truly mean it. Between a plane crash, fires, weekend activites and being a 4-H mom, I have been ten places at once. On Sunday I got blindsided by someone’s hurtful and inappropriate... [More]
I have been thinking about how I want my daughter to live this life. I want her to pursue her passions and be herself regardless of others opinions. But I also want her able to ride the waves of the world easier than I have. My husband has that even temper I want for her.... [More]
I jumped on Instagram because I love looking at the photos that people captured. From portraits to candids it is like a museum and I feel so much there. It warms my heart and increases my passion for photography. Thought admittedly I haven’t had a chance to just go shoot... [More]
Are you ever walking along feeling like something just isn’t right but not sure what that is? There isn’t a lot of time to figure it out and there is plenty of work to be done so you don’t dwell on it? That has been me lately. I feel like something just... [More]
I have a bad habit of not writing my column until the rest of the paper is complete. I just don’t feel like it is right to think about what is personal to me until my job is done. Sometimes that means it comes down to the wire. And it is more than just a bad habit.... [More]
Last week a relative contacted me looking to see if I was interested in buying something from him. I asked a question about the item. He got offended. I appreciated him reaching out to me to tell me so. Honestly I was shocked. I had zero intention of offending him. What... [More]
Five minutes. I have shared before how once upon a time I started reading five pages of a book each night. It turned into chapters which turned into books which turned into me having more confidence in accomplishing my goals. Five. It’s just a random number... [More]
The Lady Bulldogs were undefeated during the Border Wars, defeating Eads on Friday, 42-7 and Walsh on Saturday 62-5, bringing their record to 3-1. But the winner wasn’t announced until Tuesday evening. Syracuse Athletic Director Josh Johnson explained, “It came down... [More]
Monday night at home at the Herndon Gym, the Junior High boys swept Lakin! Head coach Vance Keller said, “We’re a young team with only six eighth graders and 12 seventh graders. We’ve had six total that started the season with injuries so we haven’t had... [More]
Three Syracuse High School volleyball seniors were honored on Tuesday, October 5, during the volleyball tournament at Syracuse. Kaetlin Thomeczek, daughter of Joe and Dami Thomeczek has played volleyball since the third grade, playing with Syracuse Youth Activities Association... [More]
Head coach Steve Navarro said, “The coaching staff has really enjoyed working with this group of kids this year. They have been putting in hard work despite some less than stellar conditions for practice and meets. We are excited to see what they can do now that we are... [More]
Baseball: The Bulldogs faced the Goodland Cowboys at home on Thursday, April 8, losing game one, 2-22 and game two, 1-17. Head Coach Dustin Doze said the Bulldogs really struggled throwing strikes again and they had too many errors. We need to clean things up if we want to... [More]
One year ago, athletes and coaches were beginning practice for their spring sport, some practicing during spring break, others enjoying the break from school. Soon they found out their break was extended a week, some with great joy, others with apprehension. Then came the unfortunate... [More]
Substate began and ended quickly but these Varsity teams left it all out on the court. In heartbreaking last second baskets, our basketball season was over. The boys lost by two points in the last five seconds and the girls lost by three. A wrap up of the season will come in... [More]
The SHS Bulldogs faced the 4-A Holcomb Longhorns for the final home game of the season, with the varsity teams unable to win. The boys will be the number three seed in first sub state match up at home, Monday, March 1, against the number 6 seed, Stanton County. This will be the... [More]
Delores LaJean Lindsey (DeeDee) passed away on Thursday May 5th, 2022, at the age of 89 at Mackenzie Place in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She was born on June 30, 1932, in Jetmore, Kansas the daughter of Marshall Leon Portlock and Myrtle Gertrude (Swisher) Portlock. DeeDee... [More]
Mass of Christian Burial for Manuel Juarez will be held at 10:00 a.m. and Rosary at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 14, 2022, at St. Frances of Rome Catholic Church in Holly, CO. Interment will follow in the Holly Cemetery. Visitation for Manuel will be held on Friday,... [More]
Leann Cook passed away on April 25, 2022 in Pratt, Kansas. She had been residing in a nursing/rehab home for the last several years. She was born on January 30, 1947, in Syracuse, Kansas, the daughter of Ralph L. and Edna Belle (Davis) Cook. She graduated high school from Manter... [More]
A Mass of Christian Burial for Fred Dorenkamp will be held at 10:00 a.m. and Rosary/Scripture Service at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, April 22, 2022, at St. Frances of Rome Catholic Church in Holly, Colorado with Father Joseph Lawrence as Celebrant. Interment will follow... [More]
Longmont, Colorado-Martha Elizabeth Kratz passed awaypeacefully in her sleep, April 15,2022 at her home in Longmont. She was born September 6, 1942 in Limon, Colorado to Walter B. Ottem and Ruth K. (Thistlewood) Ottem. She attended elementary schools at Limon,... [More]
Capt. Leroy A. Farr, USN, Ret On Friday, April 8, 2022, Leroy Allen Farr, loving husband and devoted father, went to be with his Lord and Savior. Leroy was born on September 23, 1945, in Syracuse, KS to William Sheldon and Thelma Benedict Farr. He received his undergraduate... [More]
Ty Frank Fullmer, 36, passed into eternal life in a tragic car accident on March 24th, 2022. Syracuse was his home for the past 9 years as he served as the Chief Operations Manager at Fullmer Cattle Company. Ty was the 7th child of 10 born to Que and Debora Fullmer. Ty’s... [More]
Rick Allen Hayes, age 66, of Syracuse, Kansas, died March 27, 2022, at Stanton County Hospital in Johnson. He was born on November 26, 1955, in Wichita, Kansas, the son of William Allen and Betty Lou (Jobe) Hayes. Rick grew up in Manter and Johnson. After... [More]
©2022 The Syracuse Journal. Powered by Pluto Sites.