The newly renovated library at Riley Elementary School was the setting for the Great Bend USD 428 Board of Education monthly lunch meeting on Wednesday. Music teacher Katie Knoles invited second and fifth graders to sing at the school board.
The second graders performed a “partner song”, combining “Rocky Mountain” and “Walking Home”. The fifth graders learned patriotic songs and performed “You’re a Grand Old Flag”.
The school board hosts a monthly luncheon meeting at a different school, allowing principals and other staff to share information about school programs and school improvement efforts underway in their buildings.
Knoles showed the jury some features of the Quaver music program that has been in use for the past six years. Curricula are updated every seven years and Director of Teaching and Learning Tricia Reiser said teachers have indicated they will want the next version of Quaver when it’s time to adopt. new materials.
“The students have a really good musical experience,” Reiser said.
A star is born
Before the fifth graders left the room, Riley’s principal Beth Rein asked one of them, Sebastian Quezada, to share a recent achievement.
“I auditioned for ‘The Best Christmas Pageant Ever’ and got a part,” he said. He will play a supporting role as Charlie in the December production at the Crest Theater, a joint offering of the Barton Community College Theater Department and the Great Bend Community Theater.
Principal Rein said the school “reached cluster level” this week, which means there have been at least five positive cases of COVID-19 in the past 14 days. The school, however, was not listed in the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s cluster location report released that afternoon.
Other than that, Rein was ready to share some of the positive things that are happening at his school.
“One of our biggest celebrations are last year’s test results,” she said. In particular, 26 Riley’s students passed the Kansas English Language Proficiency Assessment (KELPA), which means that students who learn English as a second language have acquired skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening. This is about double the pass rate from previous years and it means these students will not have to take the KELPA assessment when they proceed to college.
While meeting at the school library, the school board got to see how librarian / tech specialist Leah Yancey gave the library a makeover. Yancey said the Great Bend-based Central Kansas Library System had helped her eliminate 6,457 old books (out of over 1,400) and start adding new ones.
“If a book hasn’t been in circulation for over 10 years, it shouldn’t be in your library,” Yancey said. They eliminated books with frayed covers, some of which dated back to 1976.
“We touched every book in this library,” Yancey said of the two-day “weed”. Unwanted books were recycled, some going to preschools.
The extra space didn’t leave the bookcase with bare shelves. In fact, two bookcases were added, but the books can now be displayed so that the new colorful covers can attract potential readers. Kids judge books by their covers, at least until they find a favorite series, she said.
There are bins that contain some of the popular series, so if a reader likes a “Dog Man” book, it’s easy to find more. When kids have time in the library, they have to consult a non-fiction book and a chapter book, and the new setup lets them know where to look. There are also collections of graphic novels, books in Spanish and the latest nominees for the William Allen White Book Award.
School board president Jacquie Disque praised the makeover and noted that as a young reader she always looked forward to William Allen White’s announcements and the arrival of these books.
Yancey has ordered over 200 new books this year to add to the collection. Although “new classics” are replenishing the collection, she said there are still copies of perennial favorites such as “Charlotte’s Web” and “Little House on the Prairie”.
A full school library inventory as Riley underwent it is recommended every two or three years, Yancey said. CKLS offers its services free of charge to school libraries. Yancey was the first $ 428 librarian to use the service, but she said Lincoln Elementary School plans to be next.