RAMS UNIVERSITY FALL CLASS
In the fall of the 2014-2015 school year, USD #449 started a new professional development program called RAMS University. The idea behind RAMS University was to give teachers an opportunity to expand their knowledge base about a particular topic in an after school setting with their peers and a mentor. Our first course was developed to support the technology initiative that also began this year. Teachers were given an opportunity to sign up to attend RAMS University where they would be able to learn about the district’s technology initiative as well as how to implement that technology into their classrooms to enhance students learning in their respective grade levels and content areas. The class was led by Amanda Brimer and Jeanine Murphy and consisted of a total of 8 classes meeting after school over the course of the first semester of school. There were sixteen teachers who signed up to be a part of the first RAMS University class. Each of the three buildings were represented which was exciting because the participants could go back to their buildings and share what they were learning.
In class, teachers were given a chance to talk about what they were already doing with technology in their classrooms with other teachers which proved to be an extremely valuable tool. The teachers found that they were able to learn a lot from each other and gather ideas to try in their own classrooms. Teachers were also introduced to new ideas and ways to integrate technology as well as given time to learn how to use tools, ask and answer questions they might have. The course covered three main topics:
At each class, teachers were provided with a “tech tool” of the week, which was a tool that they could take back and use with their students right away. The topic for the week was the drive for discussion and activities. Teachers were asked to show how they had implemented new technology with their students in their classrooms and the results were amazing! Teachers across the district were able to incorporate technology in new ways and in return were able to impact student learning in a positive way. Students were able to use technology in ways they hadn’t in the past because it was incorporated right into their grade level or content learning.
As the first graduates of RAMS University, these teachers will serve as mentors in their respective buildings for other teachers wanting to integrate more technology. The next session of RAMS University will begin later this month and continue through May with a new group of teachers who are ready to make a difference in a new and exciting way in their classrooms around the district!
January 2015 School Board Recognition
There are seven individuals in this community who are ordinary citizens – our friends and neighbors – but who display extraordinary dedication to our community and our children. They are our locally-elected board of education. Their service to our school district is done on a volunteer basis, and they deserve our appreciation and thanks. They are held accountable for the decisions they make that impact the future of not only our students, but our community.
Public education is the backbone of American society, and local school boards are deeply rooted in U.S. tradition. In fact, in 1966 the people of Kansas amended our state’s constitution to specifically call for local public schools that are ‘maintained, developed and operated by locally elected boards.’ Our local board of education is responsible for setting a vision our local education program and partners with staff and other members of the community to provide the facilities and infrastructure to achieve that vision.
Each board member is a strong advocate for continuous improvement in student learning. They research, study and then discuss issues so that they can make informed decisions on countless complex challenges. Too often we forget about the personal sacrifices school board members make. They spend hours in meetings and on committees, and also advocate for our schools with elected politicians by speaking out against budget cuts or pushing for policy and program reforms.
The job of a school board member is tough, the hours long and the thanks few and far between. It is time we change that, at least that last part. The month of January marks the annual observance of School Board Recognition Month. The theme this year is “School Boards Lead so Students Achieve.” This is a time to shine a light on how local boards prepare today’s students to be tomorrow’s leaders. In January, join with others throughout our district and state to salute the men and women who provide leadership for our public schools.
KANSAS CAREER AND COLLEGE READY
But what does it mean to be “college & career ready”?
In Kansas, College and Career Ready means an individual has the academic preparation, cognitive preparation, technical skills, and employability skills to be successful in postsecondary education, in the attainment of an industry recognized certification or in the workforce, without the need for remediation. This definition provides guidance and direction as schools transition to a new accreditation system that addresses not only academic skills but postsecondary goals as well.
Let’s look a bit closer at that definition. Academic preparation indicates the student will be able to meet the level of performance necessary on college readiness assessments to attend a post-secondary institution. Cognitive preparation establishes that the student is a problem solver, able to research, understand, and communicate with precision and accuracy. Technical skills allow a student to attain an industry recognized certificate that will enable them to advance in a career pathway.
When looking at employability skills, we’re considering basic skills like reading, writing, listening, speaking and math. But we also know students need the ability to be creative thinkers who can solve problems and explain why. They need strong interpersonal qualities that include responsible decision making, social awareness and self-management. And finally, students need to have lots of opportunities to engage in exploration and planning relevant to their interests or career preferences.
In an effort to support students as they navigate through all of these areas, KSDE recommends that districts implement individual plans of study for students in grades 8 through 12. Look for future information on that topic.
By 2020, 71% of the jobs in Kansas will require some kind of postsecondary education. Postsecondary Education includes 4-year colleges & universities, 2-year community colleges, technical colleges, apprenticeships, certificate programs and the military.
It has been said that high school is a floor, not a ceiling. As students at USD #449 graduate and move into the postsecondary world, we will be working together (families, community & school) to make sure they are equipped to make choices that fit their talents & interests because they have the academic preparation, cognitive preparation, technical skills, and employability skills to be successful in postsecondary education, in the attainment of an industry recognized certification or in the workforce, without the need for remediation.
Easton Board Approves 2014-2015 Budget
The Easton Board of Education approved the 2014-2015 budget on August 11, 2014. With approval of the budget, the board sanctioned a mill levy of 54.324 mills. This year’s mill levy reduces the mill levy nearly 2 mills compared to last year’s mill levy of 56.262 mills. The reduction in the mill levy will result in a tax savings of $22.26 for a person owning a $100,000 home.
The mill rate is comprised of levies for the general, supplemental general, capital outlay and bond and interest funds. The general fund mill levy is set by the State of Kansas at 20 mills for all school districts. Taxes collected for the general fund are collected by the County Treasurer and deposited with the Treasurer for the State of Kansas. The other funds mill levies are determined by the amount of money necessary to fund the budgets based on the assessed valuation of the school district.
The mill levies for the 2014-2015 school year are,
|Supplemental General Fund||18.806|
|Capital Outlay Fund||5.000|
|Bond and Interest Fund||10.518|
Property values are established annually and school districts receive from the County Clerk assessed valuations in June. There is one assessed valuation for the general fund and a different valuation for the other funds. The general fund assessed valuation for the Easton School District declined slightly this year from the previous year and the assessed valuation for the other funds increased a small amount. Generally speaking, as the district’s assessed valuation increases the mill levy decreases.
Based on the State of Kansas School Finance Law some school districts receive state aid based on the wealth of the school district. Since Easton is below the state average for wealth the State of Kansas provides the district 39 percent of our budget requirement for the capital outlay and bond and interest funds and local taxpayers finance the remainder through property taxes. The State of Kansas pays 55 percent of the district’s revenue needs for the supplemental general fund and local taxpayers the remaining 45 percent.
The bond and interest fund finances the principal and interest payments on the bonds for the construction of the Pleasant Ridge Elementary School and the recent addition of thirteen classrooms to the school. Capital outlay money can be used for the purpose of acquiring property, construction, repair, remodeling, maintaining and equipping school district property and equipment, computer software, school buses and other school district vehicles.
If you have questions about the budget, please contact Mr. Charles Coblentz, Superintendent ofSchools at 913-651-9740.
Other related articles as follows:
Availability of Services for Students with Special Needs
Your local school district and all public schools in Kansas provide free special education services for eligible exceptional children ages 3 through 21 or high school graduation. Parents are encouraged to seek assistance from teachers, principals or other professionals if they have questions regarding their child’s progress in school. Children with autism, emotional disturbance, giftedness, hearing impairments, specific learning disabilities, mental retardation, orthopedic impairments, other health impairments, speech or language impairments, traumatic brain injuries, or visual impairments may be found to be eligible and in need of special education or related services. In addition, children ages 3 through 9 who are experiencing developmental delays may also need these services.... read more