RELAY - November 2020

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. As we near the end of the first nine weeks, there are so many successes, positive stories, and (virtual) smiles to share!

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

In this issue:

  • United Way Workplace Giving
  • SchoolMessenger Update
  • USD 428 Education Foundation Update
  • 20-21 Staff Directory, digital
  • In the News: Sora expands digital library in 428
  • Alumni Spotlight
  • Let's Celebrate: Cram the Van 2020 Results, November Birthdays
  • 2020 Voter Information
  • Self Care Tips
  • District Highlights

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

20-21 Staff Directory

The digital copy of the 20-21 Staff Directory is now available!

User tips:

  • Save this link - create a shortcut on your desktop or in your web browser for quick access (link)
  • Use Ctrl+F shortcut key to "look-up" a person by name
  • This document is only accessible to USD 428 employees, you will be required to sign-in with your USD 428 email account to access

Hard copies will be delivered to building principals and secretaries soon.

*The document was finalized on Oct. 23 and every effort was made to ensure accuracy at the time of printing. We are sorry for any errors or omissions.

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Sora reading app digitally links USD 428 and CKLS

In this mobile age, technology has become increasingly valuable in supporting new generations of lifelong learners and readers. USD 428 and the Central Kansas Library System (CKLS) have formed an innovative partnership to increase access to ebooks and e-audiobooks, allowing students to learn anytime, anywhere, and from any device.

Sora, the student reading app from OverDrive Education, gives USD 428 students the ability to borrow age-appropriate e-books and audiobooks from a digital collection available through CKLS. To support the unique needs of all readers, Sora offers inclusive tools, including Read-Alongs, dyslexic font, adjustable text, a multilingual interface, and Google Translate.

One platform, thousands of e-books and audiobooks

“I have always wanted to get eBooks for my students,” said Holly Tittel, GBMS librarian, “but eBooks are so expensive and many purchases are only good for one year. In speaking with CKLS, I learned about Sora and how the program ties right in with the eBooks that CKLS has already purchased for Great Bend Public Library.”

Through Sora, USD 428 students now have access to a digital library of over 5,000 juvenile titles, over 3,000 young adult titles, and 742 audiobooks. This digital collection is available to students learning on-site as well as those enrolled in GB Remote Learning.

Expanding access to reading materials

While USD 428 buildings maintain libraries of their own, inventory does not always match the demand for specific titles or genres. Add the unique scenario of remote learning in 2020, and the need for digital access to reading materials becomes more evident.

“This year provided a unique challenge and opportunity as we worked to safely get books in the hands of students - both inside and outside the classroom,” said Tricia Reiser, USD 428 director of teaching and learning. “We appreciate the work of Holly Tittel, CKLS, and Great Bend Public Library for helping us create this digital link for our students and teachers.”

As the district introduces Sora for classroom and extra-curricular use, students can track their reading achievements in the form of badges, which are earned by finishing books and using different app features. Students also benefit from private insight into their personal reading stats.

“I feel that anything that helps encourage readers is a win-win,” said Tittel.

Sora is launching across USD 428 this month and is accessible for students through their Chromebook, phone, or tablet, using their USD 428 Google login. To learn more about Sora, visit

For more information on the USD 428 Sora roll-out or literacy programs, please contact the USD 428 District Education Center at 620-793-1500.

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2020 graduate makes headlines in gaming world

2020 Grad, Alex Smith is making headlines in the programmer/gamer universe as Rivero. Smith began working on this project in elementary school and continued developing his skills in Dan Heath's classes at GBHS.

"It's always fun to see our Career and Technical Education students do well," said Heath.

Excerpt from

"Minecraft is proving to be a nifty tool for remaking old games on PC of late. Players are busy recreating the original Destiny in Mojang’s building game, and Doom is getting similar treatment. It doesn’t stop there, though, as one busy builder is close to completing a full remake of The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time."

Read the full story, here.

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Congratulations, Great Bend Schools ROCK!

Thank you to everyone who donated to the 2020 Cram the Van. While we applaud two of our schools for being named TOP WINNERS, each building will receive $100 just for participating.

  • 2nd Place Winner - Jefferson Elementary School
  • 3rd Place Winner - Riley Elementary School

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Voter Information - 2020 General Election

Make sure you're ready to participate in the 2020 General Election. Below, please find helpful dates and deadlines for participation.

  • Monday, November 2: In-person advance voting ends at 12pm
  • Tuesday, November 3: General Election Day - Vote at your local polling place

Are you looking for information about who/what will be on your 2020 ballot?

Go to Get nonpartisan candidate information, find out what is on your ballot and find your polling location on this website.

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