USD 353 School Officials met with the public Wednesday evening at WHS, to bring folks up to speed with the new Kansas State Department of Education's, "KANSANS CAN SCHOOL REDESIGN INITIATIVE".
USD 353 is just 1 of 7 districts selected state-wide to spearhead the significant changes coming to public education in Kansas. The model presently used for educating children in the State of Kansas and elsewhere was developed over a 100 years ago. The world has changed, the methodology for educating our youth must change as well. Service and retail type jobs are going away. Brick and mortar type businesses are losing ground. In the past, nearly 80% of high school graduates would fill these types of jobs. These jobs are already disappearing rapidly.
The "School Redesign" will allow students a more individualized educational path, will be more project based and community based, concentrating more on problem solving skills, learning how to collaborate with others to find solutions, and allowing students that show proficiency in certain areas to test out and move on. (at the high school level) Traditional courses will still be taught and teachers will still instruct, but students will be required to take more personal accountability for their progress and more choice in what they study. The goal upon High School graduation will be for as many students as possible to have already received some sort of industry certification in some field or in many cases, working in conjunction with the new Cowley County Community College campus in Wellington, helping significant numbers of students achieve an Associates Degree at basically the same time they are handed their high school diplomas.
There is much more to the program, including implementation of changes at the elementary level. Kennedy Elementary is instituting new ways of educating and preparing children, including work in smaller groups, more individualized attention and more opportunity to expand on their interests and opportunities as they progress through the grade levels.
Sumner Communications CH 55 recorded the town meeting held at WHS Wednesday, you can see it in it's entirety soon! It is worth the watch.
Watch for more information as the "School Redesign" project continues to materialize and develop. Wellington will be a much visited community and school district next school year, as schools from across the State of Kansas will be visiting and observing the new approaches that are planned and implemented. Much of the changes are being patterned after similar type programs in other states, programs that are finding much success in their application and outcomes.
Change is occurring, public education is reacting to those changes so as to better prepare the students who are entering a much different world than many of us entered as high school graduates in the past. Officials acknowledge there will be bumps along the way, when such challenges occur, they will be addressed, solutions will be found and onward we shall go.
Again, try to catch the video of the town meeting on CH 55. Superintendent Mark Whitener, HS Principal John Buckendorff and Kennedy Elementary Principal Stephanie Smith shared their thoughts and visions with the crowd. There are exciting times ahead indeed. Watch for more updates in the future!