The El Dorado USD 490 Board of Education will be taking part in a program through which they will administer interest surveys

The El Dorado USD 490 Board of Education will be taking part in a program through which they will administer interest surveys for best practices.

The district agreed to be the host district so there is no financial contribution to be a part of the group. They will have to pay $900 per survey given.

The surveys can be made for patrons, staff, parents or any special interest group, then those results are all put into a database.

“What this allows us to do is have a database that lets us see how that data compares to other districts of a similar size, with similar demographics,” said Superintendent Sue Givens during their board meeting Monday evening.

“It also lets your surveys be written by professional survey developers. In past most of our surveys have been developed from looking at other surveys and pulling bits and pieces from other models.”

The surveys can look at communication, career post secondary, academics, facilities, school climate and safety, or extracurricular.

“It’s a really good way to get some perspective on our strategic plan goals,” Givens said. “I don’t think we should do every focus area in a year. We could do a couple a year with the strategic plan.”

The board decided the first two areas they wanted to look at was facilities and school climate and safety.

“I think the biggest thing with surveys is it has to be convenient,” said BOE Member Scott Starkey.

The district will move forward with the surveys.

In other business, the board:

• reviewed policy.

• discussed the final Kansas Association of School Boards legislative agenda.

• approved a new course for the high school in the math pathways. They may need to add one more next year to finalize the upper level common core classes.

• heard about state and federal programs. In Title I, funding is dropping from $431,961 to $384,791 this year. All of the mentoring programs, class size reduction, and district-wide staff development initiatives come from that money. Givens said they will continue to try to live within their budget.

• heard an update from the middle school. This year’s sixth grade class is considerably smaller, which they were expecting. Because of that when one teacher resigned last year, they did not fill that position. Their total enrollment is 410 students. In addition free and reduced lunches has dropped to 53 percent, with it being 67 percent last year.

Goals include working on a new evaluation system and working on the MTSS model. El Dorado is one of only a few middle schools in the state that have an intervention time for math and reading. They are now working to fine tune that. They also have seen a lot of success with their iPad initiative in the school.

Julie Clements can be reached at