RELAY - March 2023

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:

  • Calendar Highlights & Quick Reads
  • BOE Meeting Highlights
  • Public Schools Week, Feb. 27 - March 3
  • GBMS & GBHS Presentation - Teen Dating Safety - March 9
  • Let's Celebrate - March Birthdays
  • School Highlights
  • Community Resources
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GBHS Theatre Presents: "It's All Greek to Me!"

GBHS Theatre Presents - "It's All Greek To Me!"

March 3 & 4 at 7pm | March 5 at 2pm @ the GBHS Auditorium


Here's how describes the show...

Gods and mortals alike are shocked when the scheming Hades kidnaps Persephone from Mt. Olympus and holds her hostage in the Underworld. A pack of vain reporters clamors outside the gates of Zeus's palace to get the scoop, while the Goddess of the Harvest crankily destroys all of the crops in an attempt to win Persephone back. In the midst of it all, two unlikely heroes arise in the form of a young lute player named Orpheus and his bride-to-be, Eurydice, who brave Hades' bizarre kingdom in this clever send-up of Greek mythology.

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Board of Education Meeting Highlights

The USD 428 Board of Education held its monthly luncheon meeting at Great Bend Middle School on Tuesday, February 28 at 12 noon.

BOE Members and guests were greeted at the front doors by GBMS STUCO Members, escorted through the lunch line, and then to the Library where the meeting was held.

The GBMS Building Report highlighted features of GBMS' new schedule (beginning Fall 2022) and various electives and student groups including:

  • Mr. Reiser, the principal, shared the first daily component of the GBMS schedule is the Advisory Period. In addition to a structured daily "check-in" with students, this time provides "Panther Talk" - a student-produced "news" segment with highlights and announcements for the day as well as Second Step social/emotional curriculum, monitoring grades, etc.
  • As highlights of the new schedule at GBMS were shared by both students and teachers, there were three core benefits discussed - elective choices, movement, and increased opportunities for students to connect and socialize with peers and staff.
  • 8th-grade STUCO Members shared their thoughts on the new schedule, having a first-hand comparison from their 7th to 8th-grade year. Their overwhelmingly positive comments included highlights of their favorite elective classes.
  • Mr. Reiser shared "challenges and opportunities" with the BOE, discussing absenteeism, physical space limitations in the building, and social media distractions to student learning.
  • A second group of 8th-grade STUCO Members shared Civic Engagement projects from the semester which include Panther Pals, Earthquake Relief, Food Drives, Giving Tree, and Reading Buddies.
  • BOE Members were invited to tour GBMS at the completion of the meeting.


Grants & Contributions: The following were approved by the BOE.

Great Bend High School wishes to accept the following contributions:

  • GBHS Class of 2024 $393.79 - Applebees Giving Tuesday Fundraiser
  • GBHS Drama Club $393.79 - Applebees Giving Tuesday Fundraiser
  • GBHS Theater Drama Dept $900.00 - Cornerstone Automotive
  • GBHS FFA $250.00 - High Plains Farm Credit

Lincoln Elementary School wishes to accept the following contributions:
  • Lincoln PTO $758.62 - 2023-2024 Student t-shirts, including incoming Kdg
  • Credit Union TGIF Grant $260.00 - Poultry Incubator Equipment (requests approval to apply for and to receive)

Eisenhower Elementary School wishes to accept the following contributions:
  • Eisenhower PTO $ 84.00 - Contribution for Bingo Night concessions
  • Great Bend Industries $100.00 - Family Formal Night (contribution for DJ fee)
  • KNEA Reading Circle $505.47 value - Contribution of books awarded to Barb Thoren

USD 428 wishes to accept $363.47 from the Local School Contribution Program. (received through ACH)


Personnel Report: Approved by the BOE

Licensed Retirements:

  • Mrs. Terri Rous, Teacher of Special Education for BCSS

Licensed Resignations:

  • Mrs. Nancy Baldwin-White, Teacher of English at GBHS
  • Mrs. Andrea Stalcup, Teacher of Science at GBHS
  • Ms. Kelci Hall, Teacher of Grade 1 at Lincoln Elementary
  • Mrs. Patricia Holaday, Teacher of Special Education at Eisenhower Elementary School
  • Mrs. Layne Smith, Teacher of Kindergarten at Eisenhower Elementary School
  • Mrs. Stephanie Jecha, Teacher of Kindergarten at Lincoln Elementary School
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USD 428 celebrates Public Schools Week

Great Bend USD 428 joins schools across the state and nation to celebrate Public Schools Week, Feb. 27 – March 3, a week designated to highlight the vital role local public schools play in both our students and the nation’s future.

“We’ll take any opportunity to celebrate the staff, students, and families of USD 428,” said Khris Thexton, superintendent of USD 428. “Take a look inside any building, any classroom, and you’ll find dedicated professionals who are working every day to nurture students and positively impact their growth and development.”

One highlight that captures the success of USD 428 is the steady improvement in graduation rates over the past decade. From 2010 to 2022, Great Bend High School’s graduation rate improved from 80.7% to 92.8%.

“Improved graduation rates are a district-wide accomplishment,” said Thexton. “A strong foundation for learning begins in preschool and continues throughout a student’s educational career. Seeing more students successfully reach this milestone takes intentional and focused academic support at every level and especially by the dedicated staff at GBHS.”

Across the nation, public schools are providing educational opportunities for more than 50 million students inside their school buildings. According to the Learning First Alliance, nine out of every ten students in the US attend public schools. Public Schools Week 2023 (#PSW23) is part of a larger campaign - #HerefortheKids - one that brings together families, educators, and community members to shine a light on local public schools and share the stories of the positive things happening in classrooms and school buildings nationwide.

As USD 428 shares positive highlights on social media this week, they invite the community to reach out to teachers and school staff and thank them for their efforts to make Great Bend Public Schools a great place to learn and grow.

For more information about Public Schools Week, Feb. 27-Mar. 3, visit Learning First Alliance’s website, For questions about Great Bend USD 428, please contact the District Education Center at 620-793-1500 or visit

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GBMS & GBHS to host presentation on Teen Dating Safety

Family Engagement Coordinators from GBHS & GBMS are inviting families to attend an informative presentation about teen dating & relationship safety on Thursday, March 9 at 6:30 pm in the GBHS Auditorium. The event will include partners from GBPD & The Family Crisis Center to share information that can help families support their children in making healthy, respectful, and responsible choices as they begin navigating through relationships on their own.

"Social media and apps have a significant impact on students' daily communication and create an entirely different aspect of dating than what we experienced as teens ourselves," shared Saylem Ryff, FEC at GBMS. "This is a great time to get information on ways to keep your teen safe and tips to guide them through decision-making."

Speakers will cover topics such as helping teens develop healthy and respectful relationships, recognizing unhealthy behaviors, having conversations that might be uncomfortable, and information about laws regarding social media and sexting.

The Family Crisis Center will be sharing information based on the "Safe Date" curriculum, which is a curriculum approved by USD 428. Together, we can all support our students to become responsible, respectful citizens.

If you have questions, please contact Sylem Ryff (GBMS) or Chuy Loera (GBHS) for more information.

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New face at the District Office - Welcome, Ashley Reed

Please help us welcome Ashley Reed to the USD 428 Copy Center. She is learning the ropes and training here at the DEC. Denise Scott will retire in mid-March. We greatly appreciate her hard work over the years!

As a reminder, please send projects to or call 620-793-1500 to talk with the Copy Center.

Do you have a celebration to share?!

We want to celebrate with you! Please send announcements such as engagements, marriage, birth, etc. to for inclusion in the monthly RELAY Newsletter. This is an opportunity to share both personal and career announcements.

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GBHS Winter Homecoming

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Explore Great Bend Calendar of Events

Community events and coupons for local businesses too!

Be sure to follow Explore Great Bend on Facebook for news and events!

Ladies Night Returns on March 16 at Participating Retailers

It's back for it's Third year - the Ladies Night Out Event.

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day early on Thursday, March 11th from 4:30-7:30 pm with shopping, snacks and more at the participating stores!

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Share Your Stories and Activities!

It only takes a few minutes to share the GREAT things happening in your classroom! Email high-resolution photos and a quick caption and we'll share it with the community on social media!

Quick Photo Caption:

"Students are learning _______________, by doing ______________."

Submit News to

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