Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Job Openings

YPS has several job openings for 2013-14. Interested candidates are encouraged to submit a resume, cover letter, and credentials to: York Public Schools, ATTN: Job Search, 2918 N. Delaware Avenue, York, NE 68467. Positions are open until filled but candidates are encouraged to get materials in quickly. Assistant Principal interviews will begin in late February with teacher interviews to follow in early March. EOE.
• Assistant Principal for PreK-5th Grade Elementary School
• Elementary teacher positions (K-5th grade levels to be determined)
• 6th-8th grade Social Studies teacher (K-8 and 5-12 endorsements are welcomed with experience across the curriculum preferred)
• Sponsorships and coaching assignments are also available

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Remembering Tony Howe

January 25, 2012 was a VERY sad day for many folks in/around York. The best father I've ever seen was killed in a car accident that evening leaving behind his wife and three sons under the age of 10. Tony Howe was a tremendous volunteer, father, husband, and community member. He had a huge heart and would do anything for anyone.

He was a dedicated youth coach, a TeamMate mentor, and all-around dependable person that was willing/able to do whatever needed to be done to help someone out. It's hard to believe that it has already been a year.

Just being around Tony made me want to be a better dad. He always had a way of making you smile and feel good. I still think of him quite often. I only knew him for about 21 months but he made a tremendous impact on me in that short time.

My heart still aches for Steph and the boys. They're doing a great job of staying involved with school, church, and youth activities but they continue to need our support.

Hug the ones you love and never take things for granted. One day Tony was hugging his kids, goofing around like a big ol' kid himself, and the next day he was gone. Life is too short.

I miss you Tony.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

YPS Foundation

Hats off to the YPS Foundation for their continued dedication and effort to raise money for student programs throughout YPS. At last night's quarterly meeting, the Foundation approved three technology grants of $1,200 each.

Foundation members continue to brainstorm fundraising ideas and activities that they can do to help support the numerous outstanding programs we are able to offer.

Thanks to the following seven people for serving on the Foundation Board:
* Dr. Pat Hotovy
* Jean Vincent
* Lori Suddarth
* Kent Rauert
* Don Keelan-White
* Todd Bartek
* Dale Kahla

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Random "Items of Interest" from YPS

Professional Development
Monday, January 21st is a staff in-service day for all YPS faculty. Highlights of this professional development day that will be held at York High School include two nationally known keynote speakers and five outstanding breakout sessions that will each provide 11-14 different topics for our educators to choose from.

Our first keynote speaker is Eric Sheninger, who is a high school principal from New Jersey. He will address all attendees from 8:00-9:00 AM as he discusses the important role that technology plays in today’s world. We will end the day with a final keynote address from 2:40-3:40 by V.J. Smith. He is the author of the “Richest Man in Town” and is a two time finalist in the Toastmaster’s World Championship of Public Speaking. His speech is said to be very motivational and we welcome any patrons that would like to join us in the high school auditorium at 2:40 to listen to it.

Breakout sessions will run in between the keynote speaker slots and will focus on dozens of topics to include technology integration, high ability learners, differentiated instruction, Twitter, bullying, fine arts, homework, writing strategies, math interventions, iPads, reading comprehension, and much more. This in-service day is widely considered as one of the best in our state and we will have educators from at least five other districts attend; as well as our colleagues from Epworth Village, St. Joseph’s Catholic School, Emmanuel Lutheran, and York College. Thanks to Cornerstone Bank for providing a sandwich bar for lunch for all attendees and to our own Beth Ericson for organizing the day.

School Safety
Each year we review our school safety plans and look at ways to make improvements and adjustments. One improvement we’re making this year is to better communicate and coordinate with local law enforcement and emergency responders. On the evenings of January 16th and 23rd they will be touring our school facilities, hearing about our lock down and evacuation plans, and familiarizing themselves with our buildings so if they ever have to come up in an emergency, they know where we’ll be, what we’ll be doing, etc. Thanks to Police Chief Don Klug for working with us on this important initiative.

Another piece of “school safety” that YPS is choosing to explore comes from the angle of mental health. We are working with state senators and other leaders to try and help create better awareness and resources for children and adults that suffer from mental health issues. We feel more readily available resources and plans need to be in place for families and school districts so we’ve joined a statewide task force to roll up our sleeves to try and make this happen.

“The Budget”
When I first came to YPS in June 2009, “the budget” was a hot topic among our staff and patrons. We’ve certainly had our challenges over the past few years and there are numerous difficulties ahead; but we’re making progress. I’m proud of our board of education and staff for making several changes and for their hard work that has put us in a better financial situation.

YPS spent $12,797,934 in 2011-12. This is a REDUCTION of $1,015,729 from the $13,813,663 the district spent in 2008-09. That represents a decrease in spending of 7.4%.

School districts often measure “efficiency” by their “cost-per-pupil spending.” The State Department of Education compiles state and district spending averages each year for all districts to review. YPS is happy to report that we’ve been below the state average of “cost-per-pupil spending” for two years in a row with our 2011-12 per pupil spending at $10,405 compared to the state average of $10,709.

Our board of education has put together a conservative 7-year spending plan that will make ensure our receipts come in higher than what we spend. The budget is reviewed monthly and spending and receipt totals are shared with our entire staff and school board so we all know how we’re doing.

School district revenue is much more volatile and can fluctuate greatly each year. State aid is a prime example. In 2008-09, YPS received over $3.7 million from the state. In 2011-12, we received just over 50% of that with a total of $1,906,185.

“The budget” is something we spend an awful lot of time on as we work with long-range plans and projections. We appreciate the support we receive from our taxpayers. We will continue to work hard to get you the best return we can on your “investment” while continuing to offer tremendous opportunities for the most important people in our community…..our students.

Student Achievement Highlights
This blog wouldn't be complete without bragging about some of the wonderful things our students, teachers, and staff are accomplishing academically. Below are just a few highlights of the wonderful job the York Dukes are doing on local, state, and national assessments.

Over 86% of the Class of 2019 performed at/above proficiency on the State Reading Test in 2012. This is a 24% increase from the 62% that were proficient in 2010. Right at 86% of the Class of 2016 performed at/above proficiency on the State Reading Test in 2012; which is a 23% increase from the 63% proficient in 2010.

YHS students continue to do very well on the ACT college readiness test. The ACT is widely recognized by colleges and universities as an indication of the extent to which a student is prepared for college-level work. The ACT consists of curriculum-based tests of educational development in English, math, reading, and science designed to measure the skills needed for success in first year college coursework.

In 2012, YHS students had an average composite score of 22.6 while the state average was 22.0. YHS students that took advanced courses had an average composite score of 23.1.

YHS Construction Project
Our renovation and expansion project at YHS continues to roll along. The Fine Arts addition on the west end of the existing auditorium has really taken shape over the past month. The new central storage and district administration building on the east side of the campus is nearing completion within the next two months. The old band and vocal music rooms are being transformed into the new office area and should be done within a few months.

Kingery Construction intends to have all “new” construction, to include the new gym, done by the end of June. This will allow them to focus their time and energy on the expansive remodel of the existing building. Our estimated completion date remains late November 2013.

Please visit our website at and click on the “YHS Project” tab for other updates and pictures. You can also “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to see other updates and pictures as they become available.

Friday, January 4, 2013

YELLOW OUT Sarcoma Cancer

On January 18th there will be a “Yellow Out” (the color of sarcoma cancer) at the York vs. Fairbury basketball games at York High School. Fans are encouraged to purchase a yellow t-shirt to wear to the game with the proceeds going to the MD Anderson Sarcoma Research Center to help find a cure for Sarcoma cancer. This event is in honor of Kendell Holthus, who is currently fighting Sarcoma, Natalie Schlegelmilch, a York resident who won her fight against sarcoma, and in memory of Knox Lewis who was a resident of Gretna, Nebraska.

In addition to the “Yellow Out,” a free will donation soup supper will also be held and raffle tickets will be sold to shoot a half court shot for a chance to win an iPad.