“Navigating Change” is the title of the document that the Kansas State Board of Education will consider on Wednesday, July 15, 2020. This is the document that the Kansas State Department of Education has been working on since May. Over 1,000 Kansans have had input and contributed to this process. The purpose of this information is to provide recommended guidelines to schools for the 2020-21 school year.
One of the significant differences between Kansas education at the end of the 2019-20 school year and the expectations for the 2020-21 school year is that schools are expected to meet the minimum of 1,116 instructional hours. These minimal hours are mandated by law. In most years, USD 113 exceeds the minimum. At the end of last year, USD 113, along with the majority of districts in the state, requested to waive the hour requirement. This allowed us to comply with the order to shut down schools. Meeting these hours will require us to be more rigid in our expectations of students if we are faced with learning outside of school buildings.
Some information about the “Navigating Change” document has become available. Schools are expected to prepare for On-Site Learning, Remote Learning or a hybrid of the two. We are challenged with exploring options for flexible learning in schools while increasing the ability to deliver instruction to students that are not present.
The majority of the 1,078-page document provides information regarding student learning. At this time, the majority of schools and the public are concerned about operations. How will we clean, social distance, etc. What will be procedures for entering a school facility and how will we implement best safety practices while in the building?
Similar to most districts, USD 113 has been gathering information to make the best informed decisions possible. We have surveyed parents, teachers and classified staff. We will be consulting with medical health professionals. We will be discussing implementation challenges with staff serving in leadership roles. We also will be relying on the “Navigating Change” document as information that will help organize and support our process.
As we organize our resources and information, community support and understanding will be more important than ever. Our district’s communities have long histories of supporting each other when times have been tough. Our identity has long been reflected by the supportive actions of our community members for each other and the education of our children.
Schools will function differently during the 2020-21 school year than at the end of the 2019-20 school year. The support of all will be essential this year as we navigate the best way to prepare kids and shape their future.