RELAY - October 2021

Great Bend USD 428 - News and Highlights

It is the goal of the monthly RELAY to connect our staff with news and highlights from across our schools and community. There are so many successes, positive stories, and virtual smiles to share!

We hope you enjoy this brief update. Take a moment to learn something new, celebrate with a colleague or friend, and pause to see the good happening all around you.

In this issue:

  • District Updates
  • In the News
  • Let's Celebrate - October Birthdays
  • Community Resources
  • District Highlights

Keep up the great work and keep it safe, 428!

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Test-to-Stay Now Available in USD 428

In an effort to keep students in school learning and staff in school teaching, the USD 428 Board of Education has approved a Modified Quarantine - Test to Stay procedure and protocol for those exposed to a positive Covid-19 case. USD 428 continues to monitor the health of our school community, inform parents and families, and now, provide an alternative to a 10-day quarantine at home.

The testing strategy is intended to support safe, in-person learning and activities while providing another layer of protection for students, teachers, and staff. USD 428 Great Bend schools are not required to conduct COVID-19 testing but are offering it as a free service for our school community.

In the event that a staff member or student is identified as a close contact of a positive case of COVID-19 (exposure within 3’ for a cumulative 10 minutes within 24 hours), the Modified Quarantine - Test to Stay option will soon be available as a modified quarantine. This is an alternative to the 10-day, at-home, quarantine.

Who can “Test to Stay” and when?

  • Classroom/School Activity Contacts - If a student is determined to be a close contact (within 3’ of a positive case for a cumulative 10 minutes within 24 hours) they can return to school under the Test to Stay Modified Quarantine as an alternative to a 10-day at home quarantine.

  • Household Contacts - When there is a positive case within a household, students will remain at home for the 10 days of isolation for the positive case. On day 11, if no symptoms are present, the student can return to school under the Test to Stay protocol.

Click Here to learn more USD 428 Covid-19 Dashboard.

SupportLinc now available to all USD 428 Employees

Life can be a juggling act. It takes time and energy to balance your work, family and personal challenges. To help you manage life’s daily challenges, USD 428 Great Bend is pleased to announce the SupportLinc employee assistance program (EAP). SupportLinc offers confidential and professional support, at no cost to you or your family.

Click Here to learn more!

428 GIVES - Last day to make your United Way Pledge!

We're hosting a virtual campaign again this year, asking USD 428 Employees to participate at any level. Together, our support of the United Way and the 22 agencies they serve, adds up to a BIG impact in our local community.

Click here to complete your 2021 Campaign Pledge Form

USD 428 Workplace Giving Campaign

Every Gift Counts!

  • Monthly Payroll Deduction, January 2022 - December 2022
  • One-Time Payroll Deduction - January 2022
  • One-Time Gift by Check or Cash

Where does the money go?
All donations to United Way benefit people in Central Kansas and support access to quality education, a stable income that can support a family, and good health.

Some initiatives – like Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, Literacy Kits, Boxes of Love, Born Learning Trails, Reality U, and Hands-On CPR.

Does my donation make a difference?
Absolutely! You might be amazed by how much good each dollar does.
For example:

  • $5 a month provides a Box of Love to a dozen homebound seniors
  • $10 per month provides Literacy Kits to a classroom of Pre-K students
  • $25 a month provides a month of food for a family through the Food Bank
  • $40 a month provides services to an at-risk youth, helping to get them back on track for a successful future
  • $80 a month provides a month of "Meals on Wheels" lunches for a senior citizen

Sweet Rewards for Giving!

Not only does your gift support the many local agencies served by United Way of Central Kansas, but your generosity could also earn your building a sweet reward!

The building with the highest percentage of participation will win a building-wide Sonic RUN! Delivered by USD 428 Admins.

Every gift made using the 2022 Pledge form counts towards your primary building, no matter the amount! Click here to complete your 2021 Campaign Pledge Form

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27th Annual Kids Ag Day

It was a beautiful September day for fourth-grade students to attend the 27th Annual Kid's Ag Day. The return to the farm, after a canceled 2020 event, was highly anticipated by volunteers, teachers, and students alike.

The event was held on Wednesday, September 8 with over 300 USD 428 students in attendance. Diamond K Farm, operated by the Koelsch family, hosted the 2021 event. While Kid's Ag Day has been held at various locations in the past 27 years, five generations of the Koelsch family have opened their property to help students gain a better understanding of the agricultural industry, its importance on the local economy, and its impacts on daily living.

Volunteers are an instrumental part of Kid's Ag Day. The Great Bend Chamber of Commerce's Agriculture Committee is comprised of volunteers representing farms, agriculture suppliers, local businesses, and more. The Great Bend High School Future Farmers of America also assist with providing the petting zoo where students can greet farm animals up close.

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Building Bridges, Creating Education to Career Connections

GBHS is again partnering with Kansas WorkforceONE, The Great Bend Chamber of Commerce, Great Bend Economic Development, and JAG to host "Building Bridges", an event designed to strengthen the connections between educators, students, and the workforce in and around Barton county. Building Bridges will take place Wednesday, November 3, 2021, at GBHS. The agenda for the event is as follows:

Networking, Appetizers, and Table-top Exhibits

5:30 - 6:00 pm (early access for GBHS students and parents)

6:00 - 6:30 pm (all attendees)

- Tables will be offered to any attendee that would like to display/provide information about their business/organization (indicate interest when completing the RSVP form below).

Opening Introductions, Awards, and Presentations

6:30 - 7:15 pm:

- WorkKeys Recognition: GBHS students earning National Career Readiness Certification

- Career Shadow Partnership Recognition and Success Spotlight

- Great Bend Chamber: Manufacturing Awards

- Great Bend Economic Development: Grow GB Workforce Initiative

- GBHS Work-Based Learning Model Overview

Break-Out Sessions with CTE/JAG Instructors

7:15 - 8:00 pm:

- Discussion Topics will focus on:

- Offering Work-Based Learning experiences (internships, apprenticeships, etc.) to our students.

- Providing essential skills training and continued practice to our students.

We encourage all staff, students, and community members to attend. Please RSVP by October 20th via the following link: Building Bridges RSVP

For more information please contact Lacy Wolters, ACT/Career Coordinator at Great Bend High School.

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GBHS Debaters Bring Home 2nd Place Trophy

Great Bend High School second year debate students, Ryan Armendariz and Angel Palacio, won the junior varsity division at this past weekend’s Sterling Debate Invitational. Their 3 win, 1 loss record not only earned them first place 1st place medals, but also led the team to a 2nd place finish in Sweepstakes.

Armendariz, a sophomore, and Palacio, a junior, enjoyed the in-person debate experience significantly more than the virtual debating they did as novices. “Ryan and Angel have worked hard to prepare and have really built their analysis skills,” said Coach Kim Heath. “I am very proud of both of them.”

In the novice division, freshmen Lea Nokes and Analeah Ochs placed 5th with two wins and two losses. Also contributing to the team trophy were novices Ethan Middleton and Sachary Benefield.

On Tuesday evening, novices Avithal Chanka, Nathan Campbell, Aliyah Fryberger and Alexa Sanchez debated their first interscholastic rounds over Zoom in the Maize High School Practice Tournament.

The debaters are hosting seven area teams at their home tournament this weekend. Great Bend High School’s next competition will be the Lyons High School’s Invitational on Saturday, October 9.

Picture attached. From left to right: Lea Nokes, Analeah Ochs, Sachary Benefield, Ethan Middleton, Ryan Armendariz and Angel Palacio

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GBMS Captures Board of Education's Hearts

The USD 428 Boar of Education resumed monthly luncheon meetings on Thursday, September 30 with a visit to Great Bend Middle School. Principal David Reiser provided an informative building report focused on the recent Capturing Kid's Hearts training and building-wide strategies to develop relationships within the school community.

  • Good Things: Tera Arnberger, physical education teacher, led the Board of Education Members through "Good Things" - an exercise that lets students share positive things in their lives. This gives teachers and students a chance to get to know each other, draws out students who are introverts or extroverts, and reframes the day in a positive manner.
  • Social Contracts: Brandy Proffitt, science teacher, shared examples of Social Contracts how these documents help establish collaborative expectations for how students and teachers will treat each other in the class. Written and agreed upon by the whole class, these documents are a reference point for both the teacher and students throughout the semester.
  • Happy Notes: For several years, the GBMS Stuco has been facilitating peer affirmations through a program called "Happy Notes." These are notes written by students and delivered to students containing positive messages. In the course of a year, Stuco will deliver between 5,000 - 6,000 notes. They also track happy notes to ensure every student receives at least one per quarter.
  • Support Chair: With the goal of building student confidence, the Support Chair is a way for students to provide support through their physical presence. This looks a little different in each classroom but pictured below, an art student from Pamela Williams' class is shown with two "support chairs" who accompany him to the front of the room while he gives a presentation.
  • Launch Activity: "Remember there's no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end." - Scott Adams. Cathy Lewis, English teacher, shared this quote as well as a prompt to create intentional acts of kindness with BOE Members. Launch activities are often used as a way to close a class period, get students thinking outside themselves, and further develop the sense of community within the classroom and school.

Read more about the meeting and Capturing Kid's Heart strategies at GBMS in the Great Bend Tribune's recent article - Click Here.

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I Make A Difference - Nominations Accepted

Eagle Radio and the "Mornings with Shannon" radio Show invite you to nominate students who make a difference in our schools and community! K-5 grade students are eligible for the "I Make A Difference" campaign.

Parents, grandparents, and teachers can nominate a student. The contest page is available to the public at, or Click Here to Nominate a Student.

Every Monday Morning Eagle Radio will announce two new T-shirt winners around 7:20 am on 100.7 Eagle Country on “Mornings with Shannon.”

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There is lots to look forward to in Great Bend this fall! If you don't already, follow Explore Great Bend on Facebook to say in the loop on events happening in our area.

Barton County Young Professionals - FALL FEST

Barton County Young Professionals (BCYP) members and their families are invited to attend 2021 Fall Fest, sponsored by Wheatland Electric. Not a member - no problem! You can join at the event!

• Date: Sunday, October 3, 2021
• Time: 5:00 - 6:30pm
• Location: Long Pumpkin Patch, 163 NE 30 Road outside of Great Bend.

• Pumpkin Painting
• Family Photos with Chelsea Mitchell Photography
• Kids Games
• Corn Maze
• Fall Treats
... and more!

The Barton County Young Professionals group is operated under the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development, and strives to accomplish three goals: 1) facilitate networking, 2) give back to the community, and 3) develop young leaders.

Kendal's Koffee

Discuss issues, share ideas, ask questions and connect in a friendly, casual, environment.

October 15, 7:30 am - 9:30 am

Great Bend Police Station

1217 Williams

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