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KSDE announces names of 19 districts taking part in Apollo Redesign Project

Posted: Apr 16, 2019
Author: Ann Bush

Kansans Can School Redesign Project helping meet needs of all students

Forty-one schools representing 19 districts across Kansas will take part in Apollo, the fourth phase of the Kansans Can School Redesign Project, the Kansas State Department of Education announced Tuesday, April 16.

The names of the schools and districts were shared during the Kansas State Board of Education meeting. Tuesday’s announcement brings the total number of schools taking part in the redesign process to about 150, representing 66 school districts.

The Kansans Can School Redesign Project was announced in 2017 in support of Kansas’ vision for education - Kansas leads the world in the success of each student. The vision was created in 2015 based on feedback from 20 community meetings and seven business conversations that took place across the state.

During those conversations, Kansans said that schools need to place an equal amount of focus on helping students develop nonacademic skills, such as social-emotional growth, as they do on developing academic skills. This vision calls for a more student- focused system that provides support and resources for individual success.

In order for the state to achieve this vision, Kansans have to think differently about how students are educated. The current educational system has worked well for some students, but not for all students. By personalizing education, students engage in learning that is personalized to their individual preferences and at a pace that ensures they are achieving to their fullest potential.

More engagement means fewer student absences, fewer behavior referrals and an increase in student achievement. When a student’s learning is designed around what he or she is passionate about, the likelihood of that student graduating and moving toward a successful future increases.

School redesign is a process driven by four principles:

  • Student success skills: An integrated approach to developing social-emotional growth.
  • Community partnerships: Partnerships are based on mutually beneficial relationships and collaboration.
  • Personalized learning: Teachers support students to have choice when it comes to time, place, pace and path.
  • Real-world applications: Project-based learning, internships and civic engagement make learning relevant.

The first phase of the school redesign project was Mercury 7. All Kansas school districts were invited take part in the inaugural phase – only seven spots were available. To be considered for the project, districts had to designate one elementary school and one secondary school to be redesigned around five outcomes established by the Kansas State Board of Education, the five elements identified as defining a successful Kansas high school graduate, and what Kansans said they want their schools to look like in the future.

Each district also had to have support of their faculty, school board and the local Kansas National Education Association (KNEA) or other professional organization.

KSDE received 29 applications for the first phase. The seven districts were announced in August 2017. Each district represented one of the Mercury 7 astronauts.

KSDE gave the remaining Mercury 7 applicants an opportunity to take part in Gemini I. Twenty-one districts accepted the challenge.

Mercury 7 districts and a few Gemini I districts launched their redesign plans in the fall of the 2018-2019 school year. The remaining Gemini I participants will launch no later than the spring of 2020.

In February 2018, KSDE announced the third phase – Gemini II: The Space Walk Begins. Nineteen school districts were announced as participants for Gemini II.

For the Apollo phase, KSDE invited districts to designate one or more elementary and/or secondary school to be designed around the five outcomes established by the Kansas State Board of Education, the five elements identified as defining a successful Kansas high school graduate, and what Kansans said they want their schools to look like in the future. Like the phases before, each district applying to become an Apollo district also had to have support of their faculty, school board and the local Kansas National Education Association (KNEA) or other professional organization.

The Apollo districts must be able to launch a new school design in the 2020-2021 school year.

All schools selected for the redesign process will serve as demonstration sites for other Kansas districts.

Districts and the schools taking part in the Apollo phase of school redesign process are:

  • Augusta Unified School District 402: Ewalt Elementary School, Lincoln Elementary School, Robinson Elementary School and Garfield Elementary School.
  • Barber County North USD 254: Medicine Lodge Grade School and Medicine Lodge Junior/Senior High School.
  • Columbus USD 493: Columbus Unified High School.
  • Deerfield USD 216: Deerfield Elementary School, Deerfield Middle School and Deerfield High School.
  • Easton USD 449: Pleasant Ridge Elementary School.
  • Ell-Saline USD 307: Ell-Saline Elementary School and Ell-Saline Middle/High School.
  • Frontenac USD 249: Frank Layden Elementary School and Frontenac Junior High School.
  • Goodland USD 352: West Elementary School, North Elementary School and Goodland Junior/Senior High School.
  • Herington USD 487: Herington Elementary School and Herington Middle/High School.
  • Holton USD 336: Holton Middle School and Holton High School.
  • Hutchinson USD 308: Wiley Elementary School and Hutchinson STEM Magnet School at Allen.
  • Kaw Valley USD 321: St. Mary’s Grade School, Rossville Grade School, St. Mary’s Junior/Senior High School and Rossville Junior/Senior High School.
  • Lawrence USD 497: Broken Arrow Elementary School, Deerfield Elementary School, Hillcrest Elementary School and Free State High School.
  • Northeast USD 246: Northeast High School.
  • Oberlin USD 294: Oberlin Elementary School and Decatur Community High School.
  • Perry-Lecompton USD 343: Perry-Lecompton Middle School and Perry-Lecompton High School.
  • Uniontown USD 235: Uniontown Junior/Senior High School.
  • Wabaunsee USD 329: Maple Hill Elementary School.
  • Washington County Schools USD 108: Washington Elementary School and Washington County Junior/Senior High School.

It is the goal of the State Board of Education and KSDE, to have all 286 Kansas school districts started in the redesign process by 2026.

For more information about the Apollo project or the Kansans Can School Redesign Project, visit https://www.ksde.org/Agency/Fiscal-and-Administrative-Services/Communications-and-Recognition-Programs/Vision-Kansans-Can/School-Redesign/Application.

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