November 8, 2021

Board Digest

November 8, 2021


Following each board of education meeting, the Director of Communications recaps the board meeting in the Board Digest. To view the full agenda, click here. 

Learning Without Limits

Teachers of the Year

The board honored our building Teachers of the Year and our District Teachers of the Year with certificates and a recognition video. Click here to view the video. Every year, each building nominates a teacher of the year with a selection committee then narrowing it down to one Elementary Teacher of the Year and one Secondary Teacher of the Year for the district. The District Teachers of the Year will then have the opportunity to be selected as a finalist for Kansas Teacher of the Year and finally, Kansas Teacher of the Year. Congrats to all of our Teacher of the Year winners!

Building Teachers of the Year
MELC—Josie Dease
Elmont—Tim Nussbaum
Logan—Beth Smith
North Fairview—Kendra Cochran
Northern Hills—Kim Sipp
West Indianola—Chelsea Pelfrey
Seaman Middle School—Rob Jackson
Seaman High School—Rick Rineberg

District Teachers of the Year
Elementary Teacher of the Year--Kendra Cochran
Secondary Teacher of the Year--Rob Jackson

Alice in Wonderland

The Seaman High School Theatre Department invited the board and community to come and see their production of Alice in Wonderland. Tickets are $5.00 and available at the door. The show runs November 11, 12, and 13 with a 7:00 pm start time. 

Superintendent Remarks

I’m going to discuss three topics tonight in my superintendent remarks and they are all challenging topics.

The first topic I will discuss is masks. In August, our board voted to require masks for preschool and elementary school students and optional for 7-12th grade students in middle and high school. This decision was made because our middle and high school students had the option to get vaccinated when our preschool and elementary aged students did not have that option.

As of last week, our elementary students became eligible for the vaccine. With this new development, I recommend the board consider dropping the mask requirement after our elementary students have had the opportunity to become fully vaccinated. December 13 is the next regular board meeting and that timing could work out to give families enough time to have their kids fully vaccinated. This will be a discussion item later in the agenda.

Next topic is critical race theory. I believe diversity, equity, and inclusion is being mistaken for critical race theory because we are scrutinized every time we try to do this work. I hope that our community can understand that we must continue our work in diversity, equity, and inclusion. We have heard from members of our community who’ve said we do not have a racism problem, we have a bullying problem. Our students of color and their allies are telling us loud and clear that we do have a racism problem and it's directly connected to the bullying problem. We aren’t going to ignore that. We are teaching our students to stand up for themselves and others. That is our job as educators and we must continue this work.

And finally, the namesake question...I don’t see a solution where our board is going to be able to give everyone what they want at the end of this. We all need to ask ourselves, what am I willing to give up? We can all work together to get through this but we’re all going to have to give something up to move forward.

Dr. Noble
Dr. Steve Noble

President Remarks

Couple of items I would be remiss if I did not mention, and without spelling out specifics, I want to congratulate all of our fall program sporting teams, and to commend all on a spectacular year. The dedication, determination and drive these young athletes have continues to amaze me. To our winter and spring teams, I wish you the best of luck in your upcoming endeavors, and to build on the successes our district continues to achieve.

I would like to talk briefly about the KASB conference that occurred this past weekend in Kansas City. This conference provides board members and superintendents the opportunity to interact, learn, and identify opportunities for school districts throughout Kansas. All seven board members attended this year’s conference, so I would like to provide an opportunity for the board to speak about their experiences last weekend.

Keith Griffin
Keith Griffin
BOE President

Discussion Items 

  • Teaching and Learning Report
  • Special Services Report
  • Safe Return to School Plan Update
  • District Namesake Discussion (see below)

  • District Namesake Discussion

    Board Meeting
    The USD 345 Seaman School District Board of Education adopted a resolution to disavow any association with Fred A. Seaman, given Fred A. Seaman’s history as “an educator, a politician, and an exalted cyclops in the Ku Klux Klan.” Going forward, the school district is “to be associated with the Seaman community and its long and proud history that has developed over the past 100 plus years, not the individual who initially founded the high school,” per the resolution adopted unanimously on Monday, November 8, 2021.

    The resolution condemns racism, the beliefs of the KKK and affirms the district’s position as “an increasingly diverse school district that values and supports the personal identities of all of our school students and staff, while acknowledging that more work must be done to address the issues of racism and bullying that negatively affect the educational experiences of some students and staff.”

    The approval of this resolution affirms the district’s commitment to combating racism in the district's schools whose mission is to “prepare each student for lifelong success through strong and healthy relationships, rigorous and relevant learning, and a responsive and caring culture that maximizes student talents, aspirations, and community contributions.”

    “The action taken by this board tonight is an incremental step towards removing racism in our district,” said USD 345 Board President Keith Griffin. “By separating from Fred A. Seaman, this board is supporting that our community is larger than one person, and does not support or uphold actions of Fred A. Seaman. The approval of this resolution effectively removes all ties to Fred A. Seaman in name and association. We stand united with our community in striking down racism in any form, and recognize the name Seaman is synonymous with our community.”

    “I believe this resolution represents the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion of our school district in accordance with our mission,” said Superintendent Dr. Steve Noble. “This has been an intense topic with preserving history on one side and providing a healthy learning environment for all on the other. I have found both sides to be compelling, but I find our students, who have experienced bullying and racism, to be most compelling. We are against racism and all types of bullying and strive for an inclusive environment for everyone. Those issues deserve our full attention right now and I am hopeful that our community can support and actively embrace that work. As I have stated before, our history is important and so is our future.”

    Click here to view the resolution.

    Board of Education Consent Agenda

    The consent agenda contains items packaged into one agenda item. They are often routine and garner very little discussion. A full list of consent items can be found by visiting the BoardDocs website

    Action Items

    Approved the 2022-23 School Year Calendar.

    Approved the review of the PreK-6th grade masking requirement at the Dec 13 board meeting.

    Approved the One Voice Legislative Agenda for Shawnee County School Districts.

    Approve a Memorandum of Understanding for the 2021-22 school year regarding using ESSER funds to increase tutoring pay to $25 per hour and add 2 positions for Wellness Committee Chairmen with a stipend of 1.5% of the base for each position.

    Next 345 Board of Education Meeting

    The next regularly scheduled board meeting will take place on December 13. It is scheduled to start at 6:00 pm.

    Regular board meetings are scheduled on the second Monday of each month at 6:00 pm, with the exception of March, which will be held on the third Monday. Regular meetings may be adjourned to another time and place when necessary. Special meetings may also be scheduled on an as-needed basis. 

    Regular meetings typically take place at the Seaman Education Center. When meeting locations change, notice is sent out to the public and made available online. Board agendas go live on the Friday afternoon prior to the regular board meeting. 

    All regular meetings are streamed live and available on the district's YouTube Channel. A recap of the meeting is also made available through the Board Digest

    Both in-person and digital public comment are accepted at regular board meetings. The public comment agenda item may be found in the meeting agenda

    Remaining regular meetings for the 2021-22 school year:

    December 13, 2021
    January 10, 2022
    February 14, 2022
    March 21, 2022
    April 11, 2022
    May 9, 2022
    June 13, 2022

    Board of Education Agenda

    To review previous board of education agendas, click here.

    How Can I Watch a Previous Board of Education Meeting?

    The video from the meeting will be available by the Tuesday at noon following the meeting. The video can be viewed by clicking here.


    Seaman School District USD #345
    901 NW Lyman Rd | Topeka, KS 66608