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Kansas Department of Education Redefines Student Success!

Preparing our students for post-secondary success has always been a focus for USD 343 schools, but what exactly does post-secondary success mean? The new Kansans CAN initiative, recently adopted by the Kansas Department of Education, is a vision which calls for Kansas to lead the world in the success of each student.  An ambition goal, it is the result of multiple state wide meetings with parents, educators, community and business leaders.

During roundtable discussions at location throughout the State of Kansas, education stakeholders were asked to define characteristics and job skills that a successful 24-year old must demonstrate.  As you can imagine, test results were seldom included as a priority skill for being a successful employee. Problem solving, consistent attendance, appropropriate communication skills, collaboration, perseverance, initiative, social etiquette, creativity, critical thinking and civic engagement were just a few skills mentioned as most important by perspective employers.  As a result of these public forums, a definition of what a successful high school graduate looks like was created. Kansas defines a successful high school graduate as "someone who has the academic preparation, cognitive preparation, technical skills, employability skills, and civic engagement to be successful in post secondary education, in the attainment of an industry recognized certification or in the workforce, without the need for remediation". In an effort to support Kansas school districts, the following five outcomes were created:

  • Kindergarten Readiness- Kansas district will evaluate and seek more efficient ways to determine kindergarten readiness as well as determine how to best help parents prepare their child for that important first year of education.
  • Social/Emotional Growth - In an effort to prepare our students to be successful adults, each Kansas school district will determine how to monitor and help our students develop social/emotional skills such as emotional regulation and impulse control, appropriate social etiquette and most importantly, self-confidence. 
  • Individual Plans of Study (IPS)  - This is an individualize plan of study that every student will create in middle school. The intent is to expose students to careers which match their interests. The IPS will show students possible high school and post-secondary education requirements, projected expense, which colleges, technical schools, or military branch offers degrees or certification in student's field of interest, as well as other relevant information.   
  • High School Graduation Rates - Kansas hopes to lead the world in high school graduation rates.  Currently, the Kansas average is 85%. Portugal currently graduates the highest percentage of high school students with an average in the low to mid 90's. In recent years, the PLHS graduation rate has averaged around 94%, so USD 343 students are in line with the best in the world. We plan to do better!
  • Post Secondary Completion and Attendance - To meet this outcome, students must complete one year of college, or complete one year of technical school, or possibly join the military and successfully complete basic military training and military technical school. The need for some sort of post secondary college diploma or technical school certification is the result of our current job market. During the recent economic recovery, 99% of the jobs added to the labor market required some college or technical training. 

As Kansas school districts strive to lead the world in the success of each student, each district will participate in a five year accreditation cycle which begins with a self evaluation needs assessment based on four areas (Rigor, Relevance, Relationships, and Responsive Culture). All local stakeholders, including building and district site councils will be involved in this needs assessment.  Once completed, districts will establish a goal to address two of the four areas. This goal will receive approval by the local Board of Education. Once approved, district will begin collecting data to determine if progress is being made. If our action plan is successful, our district will have kindergarten students who are better prepared to start school, students who understand different options and expectations associated with their career goals or interests and as a successful high school graduate, our students will enjoy post secondary success.  

To learn more about the future of education in Kansas, please click on the following link.... Kansans Can!

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