USD 254 "Accredited" by KSBOE

August 18, 2022

On July 13, 2022, the Kansas State Board of Education voted to grant USD 254 Barber County North the status of Accredited. This status is effective July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2027, or until/unless changed by action of the State Board of Education. Receiving the “Accredited” status indicates that USD 254 Barber County North is effectively serving the needs of its students by demonstrating a focus on the success of each student.

On March 9th, 2022, USD 254 presented their KESA (Kansas Education System of Accreditation) year five presentation to their Outside Validation Team comprised of a teacher, principal, and superintendent from other school districts. This team then submits its report to the state for review before a final decision is made by the Kansas State Board of Education. The focus in USD 254 over the past five years has been on "Relationships" and "Relevance." These categories were selected after a needs assessment in year one by going through rubrics and identifying areas of strength and opportunities for improvement. This process prompted the joining of the state Apollo Redesign initiative in 2019-20 in an effort to enhance their progress toward the mission of success for all students. Inclusion in this state initiative provided professional learning opportunities from the local service center in Hutchinson (ESSDACK) as well as through the Kansas State Department of Education.

In the relationships section of the KESA plan, both schools emphasized the need for better and more consistent communication resulting in the addition of the ParentSquare communication system as the primary system for parents to receive alerts in a manner of their choice, either by email or text. Both schools are continuing to work on this area by updating the website and getting the same information out in other areas such as the newspaper, newsletters, website, etc. Another point of emphasis in the relationships section included character education lessons. Both schools are using Core Essentials, a program that focuses on one character trait per month to open up conversations with students about what good character looks like and how they can apply those skills in everyday life.

Relevance was the second area of focus. This area focused primarily on curriculum and instruction. Over the course of the last five years all subject areas have been remapped to ensure that classes cover the state standards effectively and are vertically aligned across grade levels. Another point of emphasis is empowering students to take ownership of their learning through the creation of an IPS (Individual Plan of Study) in grades 7-12 and individual student "Data Notebooks" in grades PreK-6. Both of these focus on students looking at their performance and ultimately making a plan to get them into the classes they need to be successful in their life post-high school. This will continue to be a work in progress and a point of emphasis in the next cycle.

Now, as USD 254 begins a new cycle, the process will start over with an emphasis on "Rigor" and a "Responsive Culture" along with continued growth in the areas of "Relationships" and "Relevance." If you would like more information about this process, please visit the schools and check out the scoreboards created to document their progress.

Expect excellence!

Every student, every day, preparing for the future.