Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First


New Faces Arrive At Kimball, Potter-Dix, Banner Schools

Kimball Public Schools began its 2019-20 school year on Wednesday, Aug. 21, and according to Kimball Superintendent Elizabeth Owens, several new programs will be implemented.

More classroom time will be spent on reading and math, which will be the focus in the elementary grades. A brand new K-6 Reading series called Ready Gen was purchased for about $90,000. Teachers have already had two days of training on the program and Ready Gen has a computerized instructional support system.

The elementary school will also have a new after school program – ELITE. That program will start after the Labor Day holiday.

Owens stressed that the Marzano Model of Teaching, which is research based instruction, will be implemented this year in the Kimball schools. This program is intended to improve academic achievement for all students.

In addition to the Marzano Model, Kimball schools will also be actively supporting students with academic concepts. This academic intervention, which is a K-12 program, will design instruction for students struggling with academic concepts in math, science and reading.

New teachers in the elementary are Jamie Thompson (kindergarten), Ashley Bundy (third grade), Miah Fonder (third grade), Kaitlin Knaub (fifth grade), Stephanie Scales (sixth grade) and Justin Mohr (special education). Melissa Reich has taken the position of school nurse.

Many new individuals will be driving the school buses. They include Amanda Brinkman, Jonnie Shepard and Samantha Terlizzi. Tamara Johnson and Michelle Modlin are high school and middle school special education paras, respectively, and James Klemt is the new high school custodian.

Banner School

Banner County School already has a few days under its belt for the 2019-10 school year. The new teacher orientation was Aug. 12 and the remaining teachers returned Aug. 13. The students started Aug. 14.

According to Banner County Superintendent Evelyn Browne, BC schools have switched to a new student information system called JMC, "which promises to improve our school to home communication and streamline administrative tasks, reporting, etc. We have also been approved for the USDA Community Eligibility Program, which means all of our students receive free breakfast and lunch."

Optional Enrichment Friday will begin this week – something new for the school district as it shifts to a four-day school week this year. As the name states, the participation on Friday is optional.

"We really do not know what to expect; we are hoping that most of our students will opt-in," Browne said.

A $10,000 grant was received to operate a drone program, which is part of the Optional Enrichment Friday program.

Preschool started Aug. 21. "We still have seats, and tuition is based on income-eligibility," Browne said.

New teachers at Banner County include natives Katie Stauffer (kindergarten) and Kinsey Groves (third grade). Others include Kasandra Rossi (first grade) and Brandon Avila (P.E.).

Potter-Dix Schools

Potter-Dix Schools started their new school year on Tuesday, Aug. 20. The previous Friday and Monday were inservice days for teachers. New Superintendent Adam Patrick is at the helm, along with the new Principal Larry Baker at the Potter site.

Other new individuals include first year high school English teacher Mariah Jensen and first year P.E. instructor Garrett Stricklin, and creating the new ag program at Potter-Dix will be Alyssa Lewark.

Experienced third grade teacher Rachelle Lee comes to Potter-Dix from the Leyton area and Ruth Vakoc from Dix will teach K-12 music.

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