RELAY - January 2022

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
  • Board of Education Appreciation Month
  • Let's Celebrate - January Birthdays
  • USD 428 Education Foundation Update

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

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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.
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Visit Support Linc

web access log-in: usd428 (no password neccessary)

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GB Reads Kicks-off THIS Week!

Your school librarians are excited to kick off the 2022 Great Bend Reading Initiative this week, sharing the book “Charlotte’s Web” with students of all ages. Your student will receive a GB Reads kit later this week which includes a copy of the book, a calendar of events, a Community Scavenger Hunt card, and other fun items. Beginning next week through February 17, we invite families to read together, experience the story in new ways, and explore the community!

You can learn more about the program by vising Great Bend USD 428 is proud to present this program with the help of several outstanding community partners. Special thanks to the Great Bend Public Library, the Kansas Wetlands Education Center, KState Research and Extension - Cottonwood District, Great Bend Recreation Commission, and numerous local businesses.

2022 GB Reading Initiative Highlights:

  • Free book for all USD 428 students, Kindergarten through 6th-Grade

  • Free Family Movie Night at the Great Bend Public Library

  • Classroom visits from the Kansas Wetlands Education Center

  • Choice boards and ideas to get the family involved

  • Blue Ribbon Business Scavenger Hunt

  • A chance to win one of several family prize packages!

As you welcome the kind little pig Wilbur and his farm friends into your home, we hope you’ll get excited to explore this timeless story with your family.

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Mr. Mathews makes an exciting parade appearance

Great Bend High School's very own Grant Mathews marched in the 2022 Rose Parade® on January 1. As part of the Saluting America's Band Directors Project, he joined 270 band directors from across the country in a festive tribute. The band accompanied a colorful, animated float along the 5.5-mile parade route where Mr. Matthews played the tenor drums.

“America’s band directors: We teach music. We teach life.”

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Join us in thanking our Board of Education

Join us in thanking our Board of Education Public education is the backbone of American society, and local school boards are deeply rooted in U.S. tradition. In fact, in 1966 the people of Kansas amended our state’s constitution to specifically call for local public schools that are ‘maintained, developed and operated by locally elected boards.’

The seven individuals on our board of education are responsible for setting the vision for our local education program and partners with staff and other members of the community to provide the facilities and infrastructure to achieve that vision.

Their service to our school district is voluntary and they spend hundreds of hours serving our schools. They research, study and then discuss issues so that they can make informed decisions on countless complex challenges. Too often we forget about the personal sacrifices school board members make.

Each board member is a strong advocate for the success of every child in our schools. They spend hours in meetings and on committees, and also advocate for our schools with elected politicians by speaking out against budget cuts or pushing for policy and program reforms.

Our board of education includes:

  • Jacquie Disque, president
  • Aaron Emerson, vice-president
  • Chad Burroughs
  • Deanna Essmiller
  • Lori Reneau
  • Chris Umphres
  • Susan Young

January 2022 marks the annual observance of School Board Recognition Month. The theme this year is “School Board Members Leading Success for Every Student.” This is a time to shine a light on how local boards prepare today’s students to be tomorrow’s leaders.

Please join with others throughout our district and state to thank you the men and women who provide leadership for our public schools.

The USD 428 Board of Education meets regularly on the second Monday of the month at 5 p.m. at the USD 428 District Education Center. Their next meeting is scheduled for Monday, January 10. More information about the USD 428 Board of Education, as well as archived board reports, can be found at

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Reminder: Mini-Grant applications are due January 24

All licensed staff in Great Bend Schools are invited and encouraged to fill out a USD 428 Foundation Mini-Grant Application to fund innovative teaching approaches for your students!

Please find the email from Cathie McManaman with more details and links to apply!


What is a Mini-Grant?

The purpose of the USD 428 Education Foundation Mini-Grant is to fund innovative teaching approaches that align with the district curriculum standards and educational enhancements.

The following guidelines must be met:

  • You must have prior approval to apply for grants from your building administrator before completing the application.
  • The grant is not designed to fund computer hardware/furniture/capital improvements/salaries.
  • No online subscriptions will be considered.
  • The only gift cards considered will be iTune gift cards.
  • Questions on grant projects involving technology items should be directed to Ryan Axman, Director of Technology.
  • The deadline to submit the online application is January 24, 2022, 4:00 p.m.
  • The program is administered by: USD 428 Education Foundation Board of Trustees, with assistance from USD 428, Great Bend.
  • Approved grant purchases will be made after July 1 at the District Office. Please do not attempt to place the order yourself.
  • Paper applications will not be accepted. Building administrators will receive completed application information after applications are submitted.
  • District administration will review all grant applications before they are submitted to the USD 428 Foundation Trustees.
  • Grant Amounts: $500 for classroom grant, up to $1,500 for a grant that serves a larger school population
  • District administration will deny applications if guidelines are not met.

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