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In the Jayhawk district we are blessed to have the cooperation of local businesses, churches, and community members help us with the growth and development of our young people. Many patrons understand today’s public schools are being held responsible for what used to be traditionally taught/ taken care of at home. Preschool programs, anti-tobacco education, character education, suicide prevention, bullying prevention, personal finance literacy, obesity monitoring and wellness education, annual checks of vision, hearing, and dental screenings are just a few programs public schools are mandated to provide, without the additional money from the state.

Our district currently hasn’t over 90 students on an individual education plan or an IEP. An IEP is a written plan to provide extra help to our students in special education with a disability. The programs for these students are typically expensive and current law declares that it is the State’s responsibility to fund SPED programs at 92% of excess costs. In my 14 years of being a superintendent, the legislature has never funded this law. Currently, they are funding the law at about 75%, to make up the difference we have to use money from the LOB fund which directly affects our patron’s property taxes.

Academically: College and career readiness, data-driven instruction and interventions, and project-based learning are the themes of the 2019-2020 school year in USD346. At the elementary level, students and staff have embarked on a financial literacy project with the opening of the Jayhawk Store. Our K-6 students have the opportunity to earn “Jayhawk cash” throughout the semester to spend at the Jayhawk Store run by students and staff. As they focus on data-driven instruction, Jayhawk Elementary has implemented a literacy team to improve reading scores Math and reading interventions are also provided to students schoolwide.

Under new Principal Shawn Thomas, a former Jayhawk graduate, teacher, coach, and assistant principal, JLHS students are focused on college and career readiness with our new Xello program, a web-based program that not only educates students on various career opportunities and postsecondary and scholarship opportunities but is also accessible to students for five years after graduation. High school students hear from numerous career speakers throughout the year during Hawktime as well as attend a Construction Trades program at Prairie View to build/design a house, become certified nurse’s aides through an FSCC Zoom class and then continue pre-nursing classes on-line. JLHS has seniors successfully completing college courses in high school classrooms, on-line through FSCC, and even on campus at FSCC. Under the instruction of math teacher Kevin Spencer and construction teacher John Traul, geometry students are experiencing a new math application course called Geometry in Construction where they learn and then apply their geometry skills to construct various projects. First semester students designed and built doghouses and are well on their way to constructing a gazebo this semester. All juniors will be vying for national certifications to assist in their entry to the workforce by taking a FREE ACT WorkKeys test in February. Juniors also have a choice to take a FREE ACT in February to assist with their college admissions and scholarship process next year. All USD 346 students are experiencing the benefits of a Seven Mindsets, a web-based program providing lessons to teach students the skills needed to master social and emotional learning competencies. The Seven Mindsets are Everything is Possible Passion First, We are Connected, 100% Accountable, Attitude of Gratitude, Live to Give, and The Time is Now.

Dr. Royce Powelson