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How to help schools help students

Posted Date: 07/28/2021

How to help schools help students

At the end of each meeting on the Kansans Can Success Tour, Education Commissioner Dr. Randy Watson asks attendees, to recommend what would help schools focus solely on each student.

Through the use an interactive software, the answers from parents, community leaders, educators, business owners come pouring in.

Some themes have emerged during the 50-city which started this week. Those themes include recommendations for improving communications with parents and the community, consistent funding, individual study plans for students, more alignment with local businesses, mental health support and many more. Here is a link to the tour dates and locations.

Watson said the responses will be tabulated at the end of the tour and shared with Gov. Laura Kelly and the Legislature and will help guide education policymakers.

Realeen Reinhardt, who has been serving on the Russell USD 385 school board for nine years, participated in the meeting and discussions in Hays on Tuesday.

Reinhardt said it seems the Kansans Can School Redesign program is going well. “It’s nice to see it funneling to where we want it be.” Approximately 200 schools in 71 districts have embarked on redesigning their operations to align with the State Board of Education’s call for improvements in kindergarten readiness, high school graduation rates, individualized learning, social and emotional health and post-secondary success.

Reinhardt said one thing her district needs is “more teachers to fill open positions.”

Kris Lemman, president of the Colby USD 315 school board, said hiring teachers has been a struggle there too but they have managed to get it done as the new school year quickly approaches. Lemman said she enjoyed the meeting and discussion to hear other people’s perspectives.

On Tuesday — the second day of the tour — Watson and Deputy Commissioner Dr. Brad Neuenswander held meetings in Hays, Phillipsburg and Colby. The tour started Monday in Salina, Concordia and Beloit. On Wednesday, they will visit Goodland, Syracuse and Scott City.

More than 300 people have attended the meetings thus far.