South Barber School Board hires teacher/coach, talks why graduation was not held Saturday


Yvonne Miller

Top Left: These girls about to graduate from South Barber have been part of the Sideline crew during high school: (l-r) Desiree Doherty; Hannah McCullough; Maddi Dotts; and Mercedes Rogge. Top Right: These soon to be South Barber graduates are just relaxing and taking in all the excitement about their impending graduation during the honk fest down Main Street in Kiowa. They are Zane Lyons and Kutter Jewell. Bottom Left: Member of the South Barber Class of 2020, Gage Cantrell rides in the honk celebration down Main Street in Kiowa on the day they were supposed to graduate last Saturday. But now graduation will be next Monday at 7 p.m., because of the Kansas Governor's last minute order. Bottom Right: South Barber Class of 2020 "almost graduate" Cody Thayer rides in the honk celebration cruise down Main Street in Kiowa, Kansas with his parents Jason and Sameta. That was Saturday when the class was supposed to have a graduation ceremony downtown until it was stopped at the last minute due to COVID-19 shutdowns. Now graduation is next Monday, May 18.

South Barber's Board of Education met for the monthly May meeting Monday night in the high school library for the second consecutive month so they could easily social distance (sit six feet apart) at the tall round tables spread throughout the spacious room due to COVID-19. All but one member was present as President Mark Pollock called the meeting to order including: Emily Lohmann, Bryan Quick, Jenna Mostert, Deb Helfrich and Mike Miller. Ryan Molz was absent.

Superintendent Dr. Mylo Miller stood most of the meeting as he spoke. Board Clerk/District Secretary and Business Manager Julie Johnson also attended. Grade 7-12 Principal Brent Shaffer and Elementary Assistant and 4th grade teacher Kaynette Scheck joined the gathering by Zoom on-line meeting.

Dr. Miller spoke of numerous accomplishments within the district, many of which were featured on the South Barber page recently in the Newsgram and some of the other editions of the Newsgram. His voice was full of emotion as he praised and thanked his school cooks and lunch staff. He said those employees "are the most vulnerable and are exposed to so many people." The superintendent also thanked some of his other staff members for serving meals to help out the kitchen staff. "I'm very appreciative of all of them," he said.

Tuesday the superintendent posted the following message about the school lunch program for the summer: "Please let families know students 18 years of age and younger can eat free of charge until June 30 for lunch. After May 13 when school ends, we will only be serving a lunch pick-up, drive through at the high school building in Kiowa from May 14-June 30 - 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm. Again, please show your appreciation for the tremendous work our lunch staff did this school year!"

The board approved hiring elementary secretary Mary Lynn Meyers for summer help as she assists the school's food service.

Superintendent Miller Explains Last Saturday's Graduation Cancellation

Dr. Miller apprised the board of the chain of events that caused the last minute cancellation of South Barber's graduation last Saturday afternoon. He said, "We had approval from the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) Wednesday," to have graduation as planned on Main Street with appropriate social distancing.

Then on Thursday the Governor's commissioners had an emergency meeting specifically about graduations, the superintendent said and added, "That's when things kind of snowballed. There was a misunderstanding between KSDE and the governor's proclamation. Commissioner of Education Randy Watson (who was appointed by the governor) did apologize to me on a Zoom meeting and about four other superintendents and to their communities they sent the green light to (to hold graduation ceremonies.)" So the Governor's revised clarification came out late Friday afternoon and caused postponement of South Barber's graduation.

Now South Barber's graduation is next Monday, May 18 at 7 p.m., on Main Street with the same plans as before. Shaffer explained two members from the SB Class of 2020 have joined the military and are to report for their service May 19 so having graduation for them is so important to all involved.

When Mike Miller asked how distance learning was going Dr. Miller said, "Overall it's gone very well."

The superintendent who is also elementary principal said they've made a "missing in action list" at the elementary as some students are not showing up for their on-line learning time with the teacher.

Dr. Miller thanked SCTelcom CEO/General Manager Carla Shearer for providing free internet to about 20 student's homes who did not have it as the school went to distance learning with students at home as school buildings are closed due to COVID-19. "I want to recognize her – it's an amazing thing she's done." The free service ends May 31, he said.

Other South Barber Board Business

The board approved hiring Jacob Claycomb as social studies teacher at the high school. He's a graduate of K-State. "He's a young man from Kingman who said he was impressed that we're more interested in academics than athletics." However Claycomb accepted the school's offer to be an assistant coach for junior high football, high school boys basketball and track.

Jill Daughhetee resigned her role as Scholar's Bowl Coach.

Payment of monthly expenditures totaling $468,313.10 received board approval.

The superintendent said the question he is most asked is about the weight room. It will open May 18.


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