The High Life

Redesigning Kansas Schools

Virgil Lyon

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There has been talks of the school redesigning as of late. United School District 418 has been selected along with six other Kansas school districts to test a redesign program. Schools were selected back on August 8th, but we still do not know much about the redesign process. According to the Kansas Dept. of Education: “The vision for education in the state is “Kansas leads the world in the success of each student.” Generally, redesign are meant to enhance learning capabilities through new class styles, newer information/technology, and/or new scheduling systems.  

The School Redesign process for Kansas began in October 2015, as the Kansas state government announced the earlier mentioned vision statement.They then established a measuring system, and got to work. Over this period of time, twenty-nine school districts applied, but only seven were selected; USD 418 was one of them. The selected seven districts have been working on ways to integrate the redesign in their school districts, and will test these plans through a selected elementary and secondary school. If these tests succeed, then it will hopefully be implemented all over Kansas.

“We’re going to deconstruct the traditional school system and build what Kansans believe best meets the needs of today’s students — choice. And, we’re doing all of this with existing resources, no new buildings and the same educators.””

— Randy Watson

“We’re getting ready to do something we don’t know of any other state having done,” said Randy Watson, the Kansas Commissioner of Education. It would seem that several other districts have taken after Kansas’s plans. Recently, the School Redesign Initiative (SRI) has been gaining steam in Philadelphia, where they plan to redesign their school district during the 2018-2019 school year. Hardin County Schools, in central Kentucky have been planning to redesign their elementary and middle schools, even going as far to merge them into a K-8 environment.

In order to keep up with the 21st century, many school districts have begun the redesign process in some way; however, Kansas seems to want to to do something major. “We’re going to deconstruct the traditional school system and build what Kansans believe best meets the needs of today’s students — choice. And, we’re doing all of this with existing resources, no new buildings and the same educators.” said Watson. As the plans have already begun to redesign parts of USD 418, the plan may or may not be reaching McPherson County’s selected schools as soon as next school year.

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