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    Digital Learning

    A major goal of USD 428 is to prepare its students for the world in which they live. With the purchase of iPads for kindergarteners and first graders and Chromebooks for every child second through sixth grade, the district is taking a big step in making that happen.

    “It’s been a goal of the board to get to this point,” said Superintendent Khris Thexton. “We are now 1:1. This gives kids more access to technology.”

    “We want our students to be technologically literate rather than just know how to use a specific device,” said John Popp, assistant superintendent. “We want them to be able to teach themselves how to use technology. The technology they have today won’t be the same they have when they enter the workforce.”

    “Making technology available to kids is a natural progression,” said Tricia Reiser, director of teaching and learning. “It’s the world they live in.”

    Last year was the first year that Great Bend High School students were able to have 24-7 access to Chromebooks. Great Bend Middle School students carried theirs to various classes, but left them at school overnight and weekends.

    “It was very successful last year,” Thexton said.

    Popp noted that there were very few problems with lost or damaged devices.

    “Great Bend students proved to be very responsible based on what we saw at other schools,” Popp said.

    “Their respect for the property was greatly appreciated,” Thexton said, noting that graduating seniors were able to keep their devices. This was due to the district policy of replacing Chromebooks every three years.

    The district was able to achieve the 1:1 goal largely through monies from the Dorothy Morrison Foundation, Rural Technology Grant and Federal Title 1 funds.

    “The computers will help support the curriculum we have,” Reiser said.

    “It’s another tool to help students learn,” said Thexton.


    The addition of more computers for student use will not reduce the importance of books, pencils and paper and the basic learning methods that have successfully served generations of people, Popp stressed.

    “They won’t be on them full time at school, especially at the elementary level,” Popp said. “It continues to be important for them to have hands-on paper work.”

    Kindergarten through sixth graders will each have a computer – K-1 will have iPads and grades 2-12 will have Chromebooks – although they will only be accessible through a storage cart. Middle school students will have them to carry from class to class during the school day and high schoolers will be able to take them home.

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    Thexton named 25th superintendent of Great Bend schools

    With a unanimous vote on Thursday by the USD 428 Board of Education, Khris Thexton became the 25th superintendent of Great Bend public schools, effective July 1.

    Thexton was named interim superintendent in December 2016 when Brad Reed tendered his resignation/retirement. Before that Thexton was an assistant superintendent in charge of business and operations for USD 428.

    “This is an awesome opportunity for me to lead a great district surrounded by outstanding students, staff and community,” Thexton said. “I do feel humbled and honored to have this opportunity and I look forward to sharing in the successes and offering a great educational experience for the students of Great Bend.

    “As a father of three children in our district, I want them to have the best education possible and as superintendent I have the opportunity to help lead our district and do my best to offer our students the best educational opportunities possible,” he said.

    “I want to continue with the great programs we have going on in our district and do all that I can to support our students and staff in their endeavors.

    “I will continue to work with the board to create a master plan for the future of Great Bend schools and how we can continue to progress and meet the ever changing educational needs of our students and community,” Thexton said.

    “My number-one priority is to serve the students, staff and community of Great Bend,” he said.

    Thexton noted that he brings 18 years of educational experience, four years as superintendent in Marysville and four years as an assistant superintendent for USD 428.

    “I believe one of the greatest strengths of our district is our community support for our schools and the pride Great Bend has for the school district,” he said. “We have outstanding staff members and excellent students and their commitment to excellence is evident in what we do.

    “I would like everyone to know that I welcome their comments and suggestions and will always be willing to listen,” he said. “I will do my best to communicate to all of our staff and will do everything I can to assist in helping do what is best for you and our students.

    “I have truly enjoyed becoming a member of the Great Bend community and I am here to serve our students and to make our district the best it can be,” Thexton said. “I welcome input from all our stakeholders and will do my best to help create a school system they will continue to be proud of.

    “I want to thank the board for giving me this opportunity to lead our district,” he said. “It is an honor for me to lead our district.

    “I believe we have a great board of education and their passion for doing what is best for our students and staff has been their greatest priority,” he said. “I will do the best I can to help them implement the vision they have for our district. I am very excited for this opportunity and I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for our district.”

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