The Chalkboard

January 2016

Building Successful Futures: Every Student, Every Day!

Welcome to the first curriculum, instruction, and assessment monthly newsletter. Each month "The Chalkboard" will share information about happenings in the district, news from around the state, instructional strategies and resources, as well as, upcoming events.

Commissioner Watson Unveils a New Vision

Commissioner Randy Watson unveiled the State Board of Education's vision for the future of Kansas education at the 2015 KSDE Fall Conference in Wichita in late October. The new vision, "Kansas leads the world in the success of each student," was developed after two listening tours across the state where Commissioner Watson talked with over 2,000 parents, students, community and business members, in addition to educators. Using the data compiled with the help of Kansas State University the state department heard the following message: Not only does Kansans want high academic achievement, they feel employability and citizenship skills are essentials. The one-size-fits-all system with reliance on an exclusive state test is no longer acceptable. A student-focus system will require all community partners to work together. To see the official Kansans Can video go to the following link: https://youtu.be/1IKTm3NdZbo

Everything AdvancED

Accreditation Visit Quickly Approaching!

The District's AdvancED External Review Team will arrive in less than three weeks. On January 25-27, the school district will host an AdvanceED External Review Team to certify district accreditation for five years. This is the first time the district will go through a systems accreditation through AdvancED. In the past individual buildings in the district were accredited through this process with the high school being accredited for over 100 yrs.


Who is on Our External Review Team?


Atchison is fortunate to have such a distinguished team to conduct our external review. Our lead evaluator is Cheryl Allread from South Carolina. She is a retired principal and spends her time conducting review visits all across the United States. Our second member is also from out-of-state. Dennis McGuire is traveling to us from Nebraska where he is the assistant director of AdvanED for our neighbors to the north. Our final three team members are from in state and bring a wealth of experience with the AdvancED process. They include Shelly Kiblinger, superintendent of the Hutchinson School District; DeAnne Heersche, educational consultant for South Central Kansas Educational Service Center; and Susan New, principal of Liberty Elementary School in Galena, KS.

In addition to the external review team, we will have Scott Myers, Teacher Licensure and Accreditation Team Director from KSDE. He will be joining us to familiarize himself and observe the accreditation process. This will allow him to better advise the state as they continue to determine alternative avenues for state accreditation.


What will the Visit Look Like?


The AdvanceED External Review Team will make a three-day visit to the district. The Quality Assurance Review Team will gather data and evidence during the visit by interviewing a wide range of system and school level stakeholders, as well as, visiting all school buildings.


The schedule for when the review team will be in the buildings is as follows:


Monday Jan. 25 Middle School

1:15-2:42 Classroom Observations

2:45-3:20 Teacher Interviews

3:25-4:00 Principal Interview


Tuesday, Jan. 26 Elementary School

8:00-8:40 Principal Interviews

8:40-10:00 Classroom Observations

10:00-10:45 Teachers and Support Interviews

10:45-11:15 Student Interviews


High School and Alternative School

12:00-12:40 Principal Interviews

12:40-1:10 Students and Parents Interviews

1:10-2:45 Classroom Observations

3:00-3:45 Teachers and Community Interviews


What has been Required and Completed for this Accreditation Visit?


In Preparation for this visit, both the school district and each of the schools have completed the following tasks:


  • Conducted and analyzed stakeholder surveys from parents, students, and certified staff.
  • Analyzed and summarized student achievement data from state and local assessments.
  • Conducted a self-assessment of the current level of performance in regards to the five AdvancED accreditation standards (See below).
  • Developed an executive summary from the information in the self-assessment.


The findings were compiled into reports and are all a component of the continuous improvement process that each building and the district must do. They contain the work your building leadership teams have done as well as your PLC groups. If you are participating in a focus group, it is very likely they will ask you about the topics contained in the reports. Every building has the reports available to them. If you would like to review any or all of them, please contact the following building representatives: AAS-Gerre Martin, AHS-Lindsey Hansen, AMS-Robyn Allen, AES-Karen Glennon, and District- Jacque Coleman.


What Happens after the Visit?


After the accreditation visit is complete, the External Review team will submit their findings to the AdvancED state office and furnish the district with a report. The report will include powerful practices the district is currently using as well as opportunities for improvement, and improvement priorities. The district will then begin revising our strategic plan and will submit a progress report in the spring of 2018 to state office explaining our progress in the implementation of the recommendation by the External Review Team.


What are the Five AdvancED Standards for Quality?


Standard1: Purpose and Direction

Standard2: Governance and Leadership

Standard 3: Teaching and Assessing for Learning

Standard 4: Resources and Support Systems

Standard 5: Using Results for Continuous Improvement


What will a Classroom Observation Look Like?


Members from the review team will individually visit randomly selected classrooms with each classroom observation lasting approximately 20 minutes. They will be using the Equitable Learning Environment Observation Tool (eleot) to collect data during the classroom visits. The eleot focuses on seven learning environments that promotes effective learning and student success. These seven areas are 1. equitable learning, 2. high expectations, 3. supportive learning, 4. active learning, 5. progress monitoring and feedback, 6. well-managed learning, and 7. digital learning. After they have completed all district observations they will submit the data which will then generate a score that can be compared to a national normed score. If you would like to see a paper form of the eleot, ask your principal for a copy.

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January 4 Board Meeting

January 6 Early Release

January 7-8 Principal Coaching with Brett Church

January 12 Elementary Math Training

January 20 Early Release

January 21 Co-Teaching: Effective Instruction (Primary)

January 22 Co-Teaching: Effective Instruction (Intermediate)

January 25 AdvancED External Review (Building Visits)

January 26 AdvancED External Review (Building Visits)

January 27 AdvancED Report to Board of Education (2:30)


February 1 Acuity Spring Test Window Opens

February 3 Early Release

February 4 Co-Teaching Observation #2

February 9 METC Conference

February 9 Parent/Teacher Conferences

February 10 METC Conference

February 11 Parent/Teacher Conferences

February 15 State Assessment MDPT and Math Performance Task Window Opens

February 17 Early Release

February 19 Acuity Spring Test Window Closes