RELAY - October 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:

  • Reminders and Calendar Highlights
  • BOE Meeting Highlights from Park School
  • Let's Celebrate - October Birthdays
  • Community Resources
  • School Highlights
Big picture

Vaccination clinics are coming to a school near you!

Immunizations are an important layer of protection for our school community. We want to make every effort to keep students and staff in school. USD 428 will host a series of School Vaccination Clinics in partnership with the Barton County Health Department.

For staff, the clinics provide a convenient opportunity to receive the annual flu vaccine (Fluzone) and/or COVID-19 vaccine. Flu vaccines are available to all staff at no charge. Please visit our clinic dashboard (click here) to download the consent forms for your school and return them to your school nurse.

2022 Vaccine Clinic Schedule:

  • Eisenhower Elementary School - Oct. 12, 7:30 am - 9:30 am

  • Jefferson Elementary School - Oct. 12, 1 pm - 2:30 pm

  • Lincoln Elementary School - Oct. 12, 9:30 am - 11 am

  • Riley Elementary School - Oct. 7, 10 am - 11:30 am

  • Washington Education Center, Helping Hands Preschool - Oct. 27, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm

Big picture

Board of Education Meeting Highlights

The USD 428 Board of Education held its first monthly luncheon meeting of the 22-23 school year at Park Elementary School on Thursday, September 29.

Building Report:

  • Kelsey Sciacca, building principal, shared updates about Park's focus during the 22-23 back-to-school efforts. The Park team has been focused on building culture and fostering a sense of family in the building for staff, students, and families.
  • Park is focused on boosting attendance, adopting the mantra, "Every Student, Every Day"
  • R.O.A.R.'s of the week
  • Physical Improvements - The entry space at Park School has been enhanced with fresh posters, a tiger mural by local artists Melanie Ryan, and a breakroom refresh for staff to enjoy.
  • Alana Blessing, Park's Family Student Advocate, introduced BOE members to Theo, Park's new therapy pup.
  • Lacey Hofflinger shared details about Park's building-wide reading contest that motivates students to read outside the school day for various perks and prize drawings.

The Board of Education approved the purchase of a new Gator from BTI to be used by GBHS Activities.

The following Grants & Contributions were approved by the BOE:

  • GBHS Random Acts of Kindness Club accepts $100 from Marmie Motors, $100 from Shawn & Desa Behr
  • GBHS ACappella Choir accepts $500 from Austin Nokes
  • Ashley Davis, Jefferson Special Education Teacher, wishes to apply for two grants from the following to help fund accessible playground equipment. Surfgimp Foundation - $1,000, Walmart - $250-$5,000.

Following the meeting at Park, BOE members toured the building and then traveled to the CUNA Mutal Campus to tour that space as well.

Big picture

Making moves for Great Bend students

The USD 428 Board of Education approved the acquisition of the CUNA Mutual Group property, located at 1809 24th Street, at their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, September 12. The approved purchase price is $1.3 million, after CUNA Mutual offered a $2.7 million donation off the valuation price of more than $4 million.

Plans for the property are still tentative at this time, but the Board is unified on the top priority of addressing needs for early childhood education.

“The CUNA campus provides a beautiful, well-maintained facility, but also a wonderful opportunity,” said Khris Thexton, USD 428 superintendent. “We can address our top priority of increasing capacity for early childhood education and also explore consolidating various departments and services under one roof to work more efficiently.”

A survey of incoming students in USD 428 found that more than 30% of students enter kindergarten without attending a high-quality preschool program. For more than five years, USD 428 has been exploring ways to create space and increase capacity for preschool programs that serve 3 and 4-year-olds.

“We appreciate the long-standing investment CUNA Mutual has made in both its employees and our community,” said Thexton. “With this transition, their investment will continue to pay-forward a positive impact for generations to come.”

USD 428 plans to take possession of the property in December of 2022. Plans for the facility are still in the exploration phase and will be announced at a future date.

Statement from CUNA Mutual Group:

Cedric Ellis, Executive Vice President, Chief Enterprise Services Officer of CUNA Mutual Group

“At CUNA Mutual Group we are committed to supporting the communities in which we serve. Saying we’re committed doesn’t mean much without action. By offering this property at a greatly reduced cost to the Great Bend school district, we are leaning into our values and providing the community with a much-needed resource—the opportunity and space for early childhood education.”

For additional information or questions, please contact the USD 428 District Office at 620-793-1500.

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

Welcome, Eila Marie Hall!

Charlotte Hall, secretary at Riley Elementary School, celebrates the birth of her new granddaughter! Sweet Eila was born on September 26 at Salina Regional Medical Center. She was 8lbs, 6 oz. and 20.5 inches long at birth. Parents, Tristan (2014 GBHS grad) and Ashley Hall, and big sister Emery (age 2) are excited about their new addition.

Hello, Miah Rose!

Miranda and Cody Allison welcomed Miah Rose to the world on September 20 at 9:45 am. She was just over 9lbs and 19 inches long. As you can see, big brother is smitten!

Miranda is a Teacher Assistant at Lincoln Elementary School.

Baby Barkow joins the world!

Katy and Marshall Barkow welcomed their first baby to the world on September 10. Katy is a first-grade teacher at Eisenhower Elementary School.

Welcome, baby Collins!

Collins Rae Ralston was born on August 3, 2022, to Nina and Kelby Ralston. She was 7lbs, 9oz. Nina is a sixth-grade teacher at Park Elementary School. Baby Collins loves going on walks, taking baths, and snuggling with mom and dad!

Do you have a celebration to share?

If you have a birth announcement, anniversary, personal accomplishment, or a celebration to share with your 428 family - please email to be included in the monthly RELAY!
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

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!

Explore Great Bend Coupon Calendar!

Check out community events and make plans to visit some place new!

Big picture

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

Big picture
Big picture