EHS Principal Kevin House shared the numbers and grades of all students involved in activities

USD 490 Board of Education members heard updates on student activities, as well as programs to help students be successful during their January meeting Monday evening.

They began by hearing about involvement in activities at El Dorado High School.

EHS Principal Kevin House shared with the board the numbers and grades of all students involved in activities.

One new activity this year was the art club. This club has a total of 17 students involved.

"Every year we send some pieces in for display," House said of the art students. "This year Mr. (Dennis) Cantu came to me and said it is a little more than it has been in the past. He said they are sending in 50 pieces to compete."

Other organizations included Circle of Friends with 55 students, DECA with 14 students, Drama Club (which does not include everyone in productions) with 34 students, EHS Safety Council with six students, band/drumline/color guard with 88 students, choir/Encore with 73 students, debate (just those who participate in more meets than required by class) with 36 students, Earth Care with 14 students, forensics with 47 students, KAY with 41 students, orchestra with 36 students, robotics with 26 students, Scholars' Bowl with 27 students, World Cultures Club with 14 students, National Honor Society with 36 students, SADD with 15 students and Student Council with 30 students.

House did point out there are a lot of the same students involved in multiple organizations or activities.

One thing the drama department is looking to do is add one more production for the students. They are looking to add a drama class to the Summer Academy with a performance at the end of summer.

"She's (Katie Banks-Todd) very excited about her kids she has as juniors and she wants to give them another opportunity to perform," House said.

Continuing to look at high school students, Julie Jensen, director of curriculum, talked about the career and technical education pathways, as well as some new funding the district will be applying for along with neighboring groups.

Jensen said they still have 10 career pathways, which is a list of courses that allows a student to prepare oneself for a career.

The district also received $18,374 in Carl Perkins grant money this year, which was used for a video camera, Adobe Creative Suite, a radial arm saw and a belt sander.

She also mentioned a Senate bill, which provides funding for students to take college hours. So far, the district has had 16 students take more than 100 credit hours with free tuition through this program.

Looking at new initiatives, Jensen mentioned the Andover IT academy which will start next year, and said El Dorado is in line for the next academy, which would be for public service.

One final subject she touched on was a new Federal Youth Career Grant, which offers $50 million and anyone in the United States can apply.

In this area, the Wichita Area Technical School; Wichita, Maize, Goddard, Derby and El Dorado school districts; United Way; and WorkForce Alliance have joined together to turn in a grant application for $7 million to create a consortium among them.

The goal is to help any students who have barriers to completing education above and beyond high school.

"The goal is to remove all the barriers, get them lined up where they need to be and moving quicker into the workforce," Jensen said.

The grant application will be turned in by Jan. 24 and they will know by the end of April if they have received it.

Moving to the elementary level, the board heard from Chad Schuetz, Skelly Elementary assistant principal, about a Kansas reading initiative where the state gives funding for elementary students to use a Lexia program to work with students on their reading. They applied for and received the grants for all of the elementary schools, with each school receiving approximately $20,000. If they meet the criteria set for the program, the grant is renewable for a second year.

Julie Clements can be reached at