State Board of Education redesign specialist Jay Scott recently visited with USD 438 leadership about redesign plans for the district.
Preparing students for a future where the number of jobs that require a technical degree are growing exponentially is one reason for the redesign that is going through Kansas education, said Jay Scott, Kansas State Department of Education secondary school redesign specialist in a recent visit to Skyline. Administrators Superintendent Becca Flowers, High School and Middle School Principal Herb McPherson and Grade School Principal and Middle School and High School Assistant Principal Diane House plus SHS Board of Education Member Jeff Slade were on hand to ask questions and get information on redesign.
To meet the needs of changing technology, redesign is challenging schools to break out of a teaching structure that is decades old and make each students education more individualized.
“The essence of redesign is an individualized course of study,” Scott said.
Skyline has been implementing redesign and have seen some positive changes among the students that have embraced the new system.
“We have kids taking ownership of the process and setting goals,” House said.
One student has set a goal of improving his ACT scores. The school is working on an ACT prep with him and working with his parents, House said.
The relevance of ACT scores and GPA are still important for getting into higher education. While the redesign focus is on more individualized instruction, it still deals with ACT and GPA.
Besides class work, KSDE is hearing that businesses want workers with strong social and emotional skills and that needs to be addressed in the school system, Scott said.
All this means the role of a teacher has to be repurposed beyond being a content deliverer. The challenge is convincing teachers that redesign is now part of their job, Scott said.
It’s essential that students are prepared to meet the job market of the future. Scott said their goal with redesign is to have 70 to 75 percent of graduates have a post secondary success rate. That means that two years after graduation from high school, those students will have an associates degree or a certificate or be enrolled in a post secondary institution.
Right now, that number is at 46 percent. But with 70 to 75 percent of jobs requiring an additional piece of paper beyond a diploma, more work has to be done to meet that secondary success rate, Scott said.
The business world needs workers that have perseverance, good work ethics, are committed and have healthy social and emotional skills.
Right now, high schools in Kansas have an 87.5 percent graduation rate. The redesign goal is to get that number to 95 percent, Scott said.
It takes time to implement redesign. But the impact is showing at Skyline. Some students that graduated in 2018 have seen what is happening and had said they needed it, House said.
Flowers said she has seen a change in students and some are happier in school than they have ever been.
“What’s going on in our district is pretty good,” Flowers said.
The entire Skyline district from pre-k to 12 is involved in the redesign process. To take part in redesign, at least 80 percent of the faculty have to approve. At Skyline from 95 to 96 percent wanted to do it, Flowers said.
At first, they weren’t certain what they were in for but now the process is good, Flowers said.