Jan 27 - From the Superintendent
January 27, 2023
January 27, 2023
Hello, USD 231 Patrons and Employees.
Even though the sun hasn't shined much over the past week, our students and staff have been a ray of sunshine! Upon their return from winter break, they all jumped right back into the routine and rhythm of school. I have been able to spend quality time at each school site and was inspired by the level of engagement I observed. I was impressed as teachers implemented thoughtful plans, and students actively participated in meaningful work at every grade level. From greeting students and families in less-than-ideal weather during drop-off and dismissal to visiting classrooms to meeting with school principals, advisory councils, and my Cabinet team, I am starting to feel more and more at "home".
Late Start/Early Release Survey Results
Thank you for providing your feedback related to the possibility of implementing either a late start or an early release schedule. We are still very early on in our research phase. Currently, employees are submitting feedback via a similar survey. One important benefit that we failed to share is that, IF implemented, the schedule would allow for a significant reduction in the number of full-day professional development days that occur throughout the school year and, potentially, increase the amount of instructional time received by students.
Please be on the lookout for more information related to this topic. The Board of Education will receive an update during the February 6, 2023, regularly scheduled meeting.
As I shared in December, we are embarking on the important journey of developing a strategic plan. That work began in earnest this week, with focus groups being called upon to share their thoughts about what we want to be as a district, current strengths, and areas needing improvement. This work will continue into next week, and the results will be evaluated as goals are formulated. The hope is to have the strategic plan ready for review by all patrons later this spring.
Special Education Organizational Scan
This past week, the University of Kansas shared the results and recommendations of their scan (audit) of the Special Education Department with district leadership. Their insight and suggestions were sound, and we look forward to them publicly sharing this information with our Board of Education on February 6, 2023. I'll have more details about these results in my next newsletter.
Safety and Security
As a follow-up to my note in the last newsletter, some have asked about new procedures or policies. In response, I have shared that, at their discretion, teachers may take steps such as locking their doors or closing blinds. I also remind people that we have, and have had, an emergency response plan - specific to each building. As we move forward, we will continue to solicit feedback from parents and staff on how we can enhance our already safe environments, especially before making any district-wide changes to our protocols.
Thank you for partnering with us to raise and educate compassionate children and students who will someday be the next leaders of our community, state, country, and world.
Rain, snow, or shine, I look forward to seeing you soon!
P.S. - Please follow me on Facebook (@usd231superintendent) and Twitter (@usd231supe) for more frequent updates!
Inclement Weather Procedures
In the event USD 231 closes school due to inclement weather or other emergencies, the information is communicated as soon as the decision is made in the following ways:
Posted on our website
Posted on social media (Facebook and Twitter)
Local television stations (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC)
As a district, we know the implications of opening schools during less-than-perfect conditions and closing schools when poor weather conditions exist or are predicted. The safety of our students, staff, and parents remains our primary consideration.
Because the district encompasses 100 square miles of Johnson County, the weather can vary significantly, as can road conditions, in different parts of the county. Major roadways may be in good driving condition, but neighborhood and rural roads may remain treacherous.
District students typically travel to school in five ways. Some ride on school buses, some walk to schools or bus stops, some are driven by their parents, some drive themselves, and some are driven by other students. When the school system considers the impact of weather conditions on the ability to open schools, it considers all these transportation methods.
Some staff members and bus drivers leave home as early as 5:00 a.m. Many working parents need time to make last-minute arrangements for child care. Accordingly, the school system makes every effort to make decisions regarding inclement weather closings or delays prior to 6:00 a.m. Once a decision is made by the Superintendent, it takes approximately 15 - 20 minutes to complete notifying local media, updating the website, and sending text messages.
Oftentimes, snow, sleet, or freezing rain does not start until between 5:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. This sometimes results in schools opening when the conditions are worse than anticipated and closing on days when the weather is not as bad as forecasted. On some days, our residents experience better conditions in some areas of the county and very dangerous conditions in other parts of the county.
The district understands no perfect decision exists. Our goal is to err on the side of caution for the safety of all.
Always remember that each parent should be prepared to make the best decision for his or her child regarding attending school on questionable weather days.
Share Good News!!!
One of the priorities of the USD 231 Community Relations Department is sharing our stories!
If you have student or staff awards, accomplishments, interesting story ideas to share, or fantastic programs to highlight, please submit them via this FORM.
Additionally, we hope you will keep Community Relations and district leadership informed about upcoming events. To do so, please be sure to fill out this FORM in order to:
- Let Community Relations know about potential story ideas and consider the event for coverage on the district website, social media channels, and potentially through local media.
- Invite the Superintendent, Superintendent’s Leadership Team, or Board of Education to an event.
USD 231 is now hiring classroom paraeducators, evening custodians, and part-time food service workers!
Great benefits include no evenings, no weekends, winter break, spring break, and free admission to all district events (musicals, athletic events, etc.)!
Click HERE to apply.
Please contact Mark Meyer, Director of Auxiliary Services, with any questions at (913) 856-2019.
As a district parent, guardian, alumni or community member, you will receive A Message from Gardner Edgerton USD 231, our email newsletter with updates, celebrations, and upcoming events, in your inbox.
Please be sure to follow USD 231 Schools on social media to keep up with all the great accomplishments happening across our district!