There is no short cut to success in education and Goessel students’ recent achievement of Building Standard of Excellence awards on Kansas state assessments in reading, math and science, were the result of a lot of hard work, according to USD 411 Superintendant John Fast.
Goessel achieved all six possible building awards of excellence with high school and elementary students scoring well above state mandated AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) benchmarks.
“We give all the credit to the hard work of our staff who prepared the students to take these tests,” said Fast. “We work at it all year, from day one, preparing in earnest to give our students the tools they need to succeed at standardized testing and at learning.”
Fast said the curriculum teachers use to prepared students for the state testing matches up well with the core curriculum used throughout the year by the district at all grade levels. He also said the state of Kansas requires all school districts to provide a MTSS (Multi Tiered System of Support) for students.
“They have a suggested format for how that should work,” Fast said. “But the schools can choose how to implement their own plans. We focus primarily on tutoring.”
Standard of Excellence tests were taken online by students earlier this year. Fast said Goessel teachers utilized technology in their classrooms as well as personal tutors to make sure that everyone in the classroom learned the material presented. Throughout the school year, if a student is identified as needing some extra help, that help is provided right in the classroom.
“We have excellent quality teachers and excellent support services available to our students,” Fast said. “We don’t do a lot of restructuring or pull individuals out of class for extra help. We deliver tutoring services right in the classroom, maybe in small groups, but we have a lot of individuals available to provide the tutoring services where they are needed.”
Fast said that if there are teachers who have a part-time contract, often they will fill out the rest of their hours in the day serving as a classroom tutor. Special education teachers and classroom aides also serve as tutors where needed. There are even grandparent volunteers and residents from nearby Bethesda Home who come in to help Goessel students achieve their educational goals.
Fast said that Jr. High/Sr. High Principal Scott Boden was responsible for organizing tutor schedules and making sure that students who needed extra learning help had access to it.
“We are very proud of our students and what they have achieved,” Fast said. “This year we had far more special needs students than last year. But because of the dedication of our teaching staff and volunteers, we were able to turn hard work into some fantastic results.”
Fast said the USD 411 Board of Education recently voted to recognize teachers and students at Goessel for their hard work and Standard of Excellence awards by adding an extra half- day off from school in November. The Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving, Nov. 23, is already scheduled for a half-day dismissal, but Fast said the board voted to give students and teachers the whole day, in addition to the following two school days, for an extended holiday vacation.