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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Lansing School Board hears update on elementary school program

  • The Lansing School Board's meeting Monday night was opened with an educator's thanks.
    Debra Hutton spoke during the public portion of the meeting to express how pleased the Lansing Education Association has been with the district's transition out of the Leavenworth County Special Education Cooperative agreement.
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  • The Lansing School Board's meeting Monday night was opened with an educator's thanks.
    Debra Hutton spoke during the public portion of the meeting to express how pleased the Lansing Education Association has been with the district’s transition out of the Leavenworth County Special Education Cooperative agreement.
    Hutton said she has been talking to a lot of “happy special education teachers.”
    “The district has done a wonderful job working with (the association) on this,” Hutton said.  
    John Hattok also spoke during the public portion, reiterating concerns expressed during last month's meeting about the delay in hiring a new football coach at Lansing High School. The board has named John McCall as the new coach (see related story, on page B1 in sports).
    “We’ve wasted another month,” Hattok said.  “We’ve put them another month behind.”  
    Larry Jordan, of Hollis and Miller Architects, said the new Lansing High School project is “on schedule and had not touched the contingency (funds).”
    The School Board has approved a new enhanced agreement with the city of Lansing for road modifications.
    The board heard from Paul Plotas, of Wilson Architects, who laid out a new recommendation to add a dedicated right turn lane for southbound traffic on DeSoto Road at the intersection with Ridge Drive.
    Concerns about potential southbound traffic buildup on DeSoto in the morning when students would be arriving at the school motivated the change, but Plotas also said that a dedicated turn lane would minimize traffic diverted to surrounding neighborhood streets.
    “We’re thinking that this proposal will be safer, and will allow for less traffic jams,” Superintendent Randal Bagby said.  “And, if there is a safety event, (Emergency Medical Services) can get in and get out quicker and safer.”
    The new agreement increases the cost of the Ridge Drive intersection construction from about $1.7 million to more than $2.2 million, and will increase the maximum annual payment to $15,500 per year.  All of the costs will be split between the district and city.
    Bagby supported the enhanced agreement.
    “After safety and traffic flow, and all of those things, this is really about the future," he said. "What we have (planned for the road) now will suffice for today, but we really need to think about the future.”
    In addition to the discussion of the new road construction expenditures, the School Board heard from Principal Vicky Kelly about the After-School Academy program at Lansing Elementary School, a program first approved by the board in January.  
    Kelly said the program targeting third-graders who had “on the bubble” scores in reading and math “proved to be effective.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Students whose test scores were not low enough to quality for special services but were not improving at the rate teachers hoped participated in an hour of extra math and reading help after class.
    Math teacher Jeremy Farr said the program had “no problem with student enthusiasm,” and there were more students who wanted to participate than qualified.
    Students in the program worked in small groups, usually seven or eight students per teacher, allowing for more individual instruction.
    Across the board, the pre- and post-test scores for students in the academy showed improvement.
    Kelly said she hopes to expand the program next year by running the academy in the spring and fall, starting earlier in the semester, and by potentially adding a writing and music component.
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