KINGSBURG – New staff, new book programs, new champions and good news about the Measure A Bond were among items discussed at the Kingsburg Elementary Charter School District’s Sept. 13 board meeting.

With the start of the school year, Superintendent Wes Sever welcomed 22 new staff members at the district including teachers, paraprofessionals, secretaries, cafeteria help, administrative assistants and accompanist at the district. By school, those are:

  • Washington Elementary: Kindergarten teachers Perla Banales, Deseree Resendez and Caley Spignor, paraprofessional Nicole East and secretary Michelle Woods.
  • Roosevelt Elementary School: Paraprofessional Bricki McNulty.
  • Lincoln Elementary School: Paraprofessionals Karyll Bartel and Evelyn Wiest.
  • Reagan Elementary: Teachers Emily Bradley, Nicole Gray, Alyssa Reitz and Kaylee Soria.
  • Rafer Johnson Junior High: Teachers Ana Hernandez, Alyssa Reitz and accompanist DeAnna Schuh.
  • Central Valley Home School: Teacher Erin Hansen.
  • Special Education/Pupil Services: Paraprofessionals Katie Hawkins, Brittny Munoz, Rachelle Toliver and Erin Woods and administrative assistant Katricia Gagnon.
  • Nutrition Services: Cafeteria helper Elizabeth Jobe.

Four Reagan Elementary students were congratulated for their accomplishments at previous History Day competitions.

Advisors Nicole Gonzales and Rachelle Patterson introduced the students Alyssa Shamp, Presley Patterson, Julia Rodriguez and Briar Estes who went on to the state level of competition at William Jessup University in Rocklin and were runners up. They are now gearing up for competition at the county level for this school year in March 2019.

Estes said they researched the Bread and Roses Strike of 1912 where Massachusetts enacted a state law to reduce women’s and children’s work weeks from 56 to 54 hours. The mill owners at Lawrence Textile still expected the workers to produce the same amount of fabrics as before, however.

The mill workers reasoned if they had to produce the same amount of work, they should be paid the same. Instead there was a 32-cent pay cut. A strike began in July.

Rodriguez said conducting the interviews during the History Day competition was nerve-wracking but she was impressed in seeing all the other students’ projects as well.

“It’s really cool to see all the people there willing to take the time to create something that’s significant in history.”

Gonzales said she was proud of the students as “they put in hours and hours and hours of work into this project. They really worked hard on this.”

The students are gearing up to start research for this year’s competition and the theme is "Triumph and Tragedy."

When KECSD Board member Frank Yanes asked the students what stuck in their mind from taking part in this History Day project.

Rodriguez said she agreed with the mill workers and felt the mill owners weren’t right for cutting the wages.

“That much money cut off their wage was a lot of money back then and they could get a lot of resources from that.”

Patterson was surprised to read that people even died during the strikes.

Three different people were killed during this strike and one of them was completely innocent. She was going to visit someone when she was shot.

Yanes commended the students since such projects require a great deal of research. It’s a skill they’ll need in their future careers, he said.

“Research is a big part of the jobs that are out there. What you’re doing now is a great base for your job in the future since you can be whatever you want to be. What you’re doing now is preparing yourself for that. I know your teachers are proud of you and we’re proud of you.”

In other matters, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Melanie Sembritzki unveiled a new districtwide reading program of Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” that starts in October.

Sembritzki said she’s coordinating with Kingsburg’s Chamber of Commerce to get local businesses involved. Business owners will be encouraged to ask patrons’ children about the book and will also display golden tickets, similar to the concept in the story. Students can take selfies with the golden tickets and the district will post these online.

“That way, kids can enjoy seeing that other kids are reading the book and it’s a way to get kids and families into the downtown businesses,” she said. A scavenger hunt will be set up where students and the parents can look for fliers, read the QR code and find a riddle that leads them to another location.

“They’ll move from clue to clue and business to business until they end up at a final destination where they can sign up for a raffle. This whole program is really just to get kids to love and enjoy reading and encourage literacy and with the whole family,” Sembritzki said.

Students from kindergarten through eighth grade will be eligible to take part and reading starts Oct. 15. The program will kick off with assemblies and guest readers at the schools on Oct. 5.

The district’s Chief Business Official Nick Taylor also gave an unaudited financial report and informed the board that the second series of Measure A bonds had sold earlier that day. This allows the district to move ahead with the next series of construction projects.

“It’s so exciting because we hadn’t anticipated being able to receive the second half so soon,” Taylor said. “It’s all based on the assessed values of the properties in the areas. Those values have increased so much, it allows us to sell that second $5 million probably two years sooner than we anticipated.”

The board’s next regularly scheduled meeting is 4 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Professional Development Building at 1310 Stroud Ave. See their agendas online at https://www.kesd.org/Page/339.

The reporter can be reached at 583-2427 or lbrown@selmaenterprise.com.

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