As summer winds down, we are working hard to update the schools physically and with technology updates. In this day and age it is getting harder and harder to stay up with the changes in the world and with technology, so we are trying to make smart decisions with our finances, and our board of Education and Technology team are pushing to continue our growth in technology across the district.
Education in Kansas has taken a beating in the political and financial sense over the past few years but In USD 440 we have tried to stay true to the quest to provide quality education for all our students. The board of education established three priorities in looking at the education of USD 440 students.
1. Meet every students individual needs
2. Engage Students in Authentic Learning
3. Provide a nurturing and safe environment
In looking at these priorities, the district has entered into the development of individual plans of study to help students plan for their future and their options. The staff has taken new training on developing more authentic and hands on processes in the academic classroom as well as a focus on safety through our the district. There has also been a focus on the social and emotional well-being of our students and staff.
Education continues to change not only in Kansas but across America. We will continue to have to adjust to meet the ever changing needs of our students and family. We will focus more on student’s plans for the future; the rigor of our classrooms to help students succeed in life when things get tough and the ability to problem solve those tough situations.
Early childhood will be another focus for schools in Kansas and in USD 440. How do we make sure kids are ready to enter school so we can keep them on track as they progress up in the educational system?
As you can see, there are several things to do to continue our success as a school district. Our board and teachers are focused on the success of the students and we will continue to make the changes necessary to give kids the opportunity to be successful.
All of this takes time, money, commitment from the staff, and support from the community. The Halstead-Bentley parents and communities have always been supportive of their schools and the board has done a great job with managing the local financial situation. No matter what happens at the State level with finances, this board, staff and community will always strive to put the education of the students first.
Previous Article 2015
The school year is off to a great start and it seems like we are flying through this first quarter. Our enrollment is down just a little but we will have a better idea after next week.
We are in the process of working through our curriculum and classroom instruction to help us meet the College and Career Readiness standards for our State. The testing results from last spring are getting ready to come out this fall and it will look a lot different than past years. The new format will look more on the individual student to see how ready they are for their grade level as it relates to the standards. There will also be a look at the school and district as a whole but most of the emphasis will be on the student success. With this approach we will be able to make a more focused attempt at helping students reach their potential while in our schools.
We are also working hard on individual plans of study for middle and high school students. We what to give them the opportunity to explore jobs and careers in middle school and then that that information and make a plan for success to use in high school. We are structuring this through group and individual sessions with a career counselor who will help them determine the courses best suited for the student to help them achieve their career goals.
We know that there will be changes throughout high school and that kids don’t always know what they want to be or do for the rest of their life. That is why these plans are fluid documents and can change each semester if a student wants to take a different avenue with their education. While we cannot avoid the required subjects, we can help kids make better choices with the elective credits throughout high school.
Education is changing and the expectations are getting higher, yet in the recent study done by the Commissioner of Education, they found out that according to the parents and business and industry, schools need to be stressing more than just the academic side of learning. That is where the new College and Career Standards focus on 4 major strands, the academics preparation, cognitive preparation, technical skills and employability skills to help our students be successful when they walk out our door, no matter what they choose to do.
Our Mission is to “engage in continuous improvement to develop successful learners”. As we change how and what we teach, we want to continually focus on the student and how we can ensure that they have the skills needed to enter a continually changing society and work force. The flexibility to change with that environment and the skills needed to continually adjust and learn what it takes to be successful.
Education has become one of the toughest fields to maintain the high standards and expectations we would like to see in our school systems. We have a product that everyone wants (an education), but there are several of our state leaders that do not want to pay for it. Without the proper funding, our local schools are going to struggle to provide the quality of education we have had in the past.
In one of the latest surveys I have read, Kansas rates 11th in the nation for value in education and the number of students that are successful in taking their high school education to a higher level. Even though Kansas is below average on what we spend on education, our government thinks it is too much and continually attacks our educational financial system.
In spite of the struggles with funding for our local education system, we have found that the local community has great pride in USD 440 and continues to support what we are doing in the district.
We were able to reduce taxes last year but will have to rely on the patrons of USD 440 to help us out again this year due to the States inability to fund education. Through all of this we will maintain the high expectations of this community and the long history of the school system and give our students the quality education they deserve.
We have maintained our focus this year on making our teachers the best they can be by continuing to train and evaluate them on the Classroom Instruction That Works model from McRel. This is a well-researched process that not only helps teachers focus on their teaching but is designed to help keep students engaged in the learning process.
Our main goal is to keep our students engaged in the educational process and strive to continuously improve what we can do for the students to make them successful learners. We have spent a lot of time and effort in developing Career Pathways to help guide our students into the future and come out of high school prepared to make a decision on what they would like to pursue for a career.
Education is changing and we are working hard to lead the way when it comes to providing for our students. Please remember: "Education is not expensive, it is priceless".