Listening & Learning Tours Q&A

Posted Tuesday, November 27, 2018

 Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools would like to thank all of the participants in the Listening & Learning Tour sessions held in September and October. These sessions gave Superintendent Dr. Charles Foust and his cabinet an opportunity to hear from parents, students and staff about opportunities for growth at the school district. 

Below are the questions from the sessions and the answers, as well as comments. If your question was addressed during another session, we did not reprint it again.

There are a few more questions that are still being addressed. We will inform you when they are published on the website. If you have questions, please contact Melissa Fears at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Listening & Learning Tour at J.C. Harmon - September 19, 2018

1. What is the new curriculum addressing and how are we getting there within the timeframe?

Answer: As part of their school improvement plan, every elementary principal turned in a separate plan for the kindergarten target of 90% at grade level in reading by the end of the year. The executive directors (EDs) will monitor formative and summative data, and conduct walkthroughs to monitor implementation of the plan, and student progress.   

2. Can we hire more ESL staff for students that are falling behind so they can get on track?

Answer: This matter would have to be addressed in connection with the budget. 

3. Vision is to be a top 10 school district in the nation, but what exactly is the vision to get us there? What do you want to bring to the school district to make it great? How can we back you on your vision?

Answer: The school district has a vision in place and our team is working on how we can accomplish it. As a part of that work, the district is working on departmental goals that will be published on the website. 

4. Do you have a vision on hiring more translators other than Spanish?

Answer: The use of Propio, although not as personable, has allowed the district to communicate with many more languages than prior to the use of this program. The district has more 78 languages spoken in homes, and continues to examine as many options available to reach families in their native language. The Students Services Department would have more information on the services including number of languages are available.

5. Why does Claude Huyck have new hand dryers instead of paper towels? Students will not be able to hear if there is an emergency situation going on because they are too loud.

Answer: Hand dryers installed in the bathrooms of all the new construction area seem to be an ongoing challenge. The district's shop has taken the opportunity to demo more than four different types and all are extremely loud. The shop and construction team will continue to seek the best and most quiet hand dryer available to resolve the issues of sound and safety. It has not been the plan to return to paper towels at this time.

6. Can equipment not being used anymore be sent to schools with outdated equipment? Is it possible to start with a wish list for these schools?

Answer: There is a furniture replacement on the Capital Improvement Plan, so that schools will have all furniture replaced on a cycle.

 If a school adds a classroom or has a need for student furniture, they simply have to ask for it, and it will be procured.

 Protocol for schools that want to remove furniture is to contact the Risk Management Department, Beth Porter, the inventory control person, and she will assess the furniture and determine if it is to be removed from the inventory and disposed of or redistributed to a school where the principal determines if they want the furniture for their site.

 See deployment rotation below for all grades. PK is not currently on rotation, but we can include PK in deployment, if need be.

GradeEquipmentRatioRotation
K-2 iPad 2:1 4 Years
3 iPad 1:1 4 Years
4-5 Chromebook 1:1 4 Years
Middle Chromebook 1:1 4 Years
High MacBook Air 1:1 5 Years

 Smartboards are not being replaced and repairs are prohibitive as parts are not available. This is an outdated technology and they are being replaced with Apple TV’s and TV monitors.

7. With the instructional coaches moving to the schools, what does that mean for the Welcome Center? Will they still be available to our families at the Welcome Center?

Answer: The Welcome Center is still providing services to our families with new hours as a result of the changes at the district office. There are new hours for this service. Please visit the website for more information.

8. Harmon had problems with their air conditioning during September with a classroom about 72-87 degrees. I know that it is controlled by the shop.

Answer: The district’s shop personnel, principal and custodian have all been aware of the air conditioning issues at Harmon and have been working every day on them to find an immediate solution. There is a need to replace the media fill in the cooling tower, this is not a simple task. The shop shared with the principal that they were hoping to get through the current week, because they will have to shut down the air (up to 3-4 days) to fix it, and hope for cooler temperatures. The team has been working to address this issue every day.

9. Concerns expressed on how Infinite Campus was rolled out to staff and parents. Some teachers have lost their grade book three times and school has not been in for a month.

Answer: On October 17, the school district sent a voice message to parents with an apology and update as well as posted an updated parent guide for accessing the portal. Dedicated support lines were created as well (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) at 913.627.4150. Videos were created with directions for accessing and navigating the parent portal, the week of October 29 to November 2. (https://youtu.be/dO1wSYwgJw8)

The activation of enhanced add-on Campus Learning will provide more details about assignments for parents and students in the portal as well as the ability for students to get attachments and submit assignments through the portal. Campus Learning will provide a discussion feature to allow for better communication between student and teacher. The email address for teachers are available through the schedule in portal parents; please notify the parent support account of any reports of emails not being received by teachers.  

We have requested Infinite Campus add a discussion feature similar to what students will have access to with Campus Learning so parents don’t have to email teachers outside the portal. The current goal for activation of Campus Learning enhancements is December 1. 

Staff concerns: A dedicated support account for Infinite Campus is actively resolving any reported issues – mostly around gradebook issues and ensuring assignments are attached to the correct grading task. Curriculum and instruction also supported teachers with submitting grades to ensure grade cards were available in time for family advocacy. Additional trainings have been provided to administrators and office staff where accessing various reports and video recordings for trainings have been created for ad-hoc reporting.  Campus Community is an embedded on-line resource of support materials for all parts of Infinite Campus and can be accessed by staff from Infinite Campus. Please submit any outstanding issues staff members are having with Infinite Campus to (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).    

10. Need equipment and training for teachers to teach Pathway classes, teachers need professional development; there are gaps in professional development.

 Answer: In the follow up with the school, the materials in question was printer ink that was not being used specifically for CTE courses, and therefore wasn’t an allowable expense.  We are seeking clarification on the specific teacher training they are requesting. 

11. Any way we can have additional security in our buildings? Is that something we will address eventually?

Answer: The district has not reduced security officers. In 2014, the district moved to a fully certified police department and then offered all existing security officers the opportunity to become certified police officers. The number of FTE’s or full-time positions was not reduced by the district. At about the same time as the conversion to LEO’s (law enforcement officers) the KCK Police Department withdrew the SRO’s (school resource officers) and eliminated that program. The district had 5 SRO’s assigned to the district, this was a reduction, but not by the district.

 

Listening & Learning Tour at Washington - October 3, 2018 

1. When will libraries be updated?

Answer: This would be a budgetary matter.

2. ACT prep and FAFSA prep needs to be before senior year.

Thank you for the comment. We will do more to inform students and parents about resources in these areas. 

3. What is being done about the discipline at Washington?

Answer: The Administration continues to work to ensure discipline is followed in accordance with the district’s Code of Conduct.

4. At Washington all kids do not have laptops. How do they function without having a laptop?

Answer: The Mac technician at Washington High School has indicated that she had eight students left to deploy laptops, all other students who had paid have been issued a laptop. A list of 21 students were sent out recently to pick up laptops and to-date only 7 have come to get their laptops. There was a communication breakdown between the school treasurer and the Mac technician which resulted in some delays as the treasurer was not clear that she needed to give the names of students who had completed community service to the technician so she could get laptops assigned to the students. The school district will work with TIS to ensure a plan of deploying laptops earlier in the school year.

5. Students have been turned away at lunch due to school not having enough lunches. What is going on? Do we not have a budget or do parents need to get involved? - Parent of a Washington Student

Answer: The director of operations and kitchen managers have clearly stated that Washington has not run out of food and have not turned students away without food. With many new menu choices, Washington kitchen staff mentioned that they may have run out of one specific entrée item, but there are seven entrée choices a day; so, there are others to choose from and no one has been turned away. The goal is to make sure that the first student and last student has the exact same choices available, but every once in a while, students will unexpectedly eat more of a certain item than they have that day. We then adjust for the next time that menu comes around.

No students are turned away; all are fed each day.

6. Teacher interaction with students: Why aren't teachers nicer to students?

Answer: Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools prides itself on encouraging a respectful environment for everyone. We expect for all staff to treat others with respect, act with integrity, and commit to teamwork and open communication.

7. Why do we have a lesser number of officers in the high schools and not supporting the safety of the kids anymore.

Answer: Chief Henry Horn, of the school district’s Campus Police Department, met with the concerned parent following the meeting and advised the following: The school district has two officers assigned to every high school, and one officer assigned to every middle school for primary assignments. Each police officer has responsibilities within their cluster elementary schools and early childhood centers. The staffing standards according to the National Association of School Resource Officers is one officer for every one thousand students. All KCKPS high schools have less than 1,500 students. The district’s police officers continuously communicate and work closely with the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department detectives, community police and patrol officers. 

8. How do we get the community to these Listening Tours?

Answer: The school district advertised the Listening and Learning Tours on the website, social media, newspaper ads, Infinite Campus, the television channel, media and word-of-mouth. It was placed in the Central Office in places with high volumes of traffic, as well as advertised with partners and organizations. Word-of-mouth is always helpful. So, please help us to communicate these meetings with others when we have them again. It is also important to remember that if individuals do not have questions and/or concerns, they will not attend these meetings.  

9. What's the plan to help people connect better?

Answer: We want to encourage two-way communications between families and school, teachers and students, and administrators and parents. Of course, along with these two-way communications we need to listen to each other and understand the message that is being conveyed.  

10. Social and Emotional Development: Some of our teachers need the same lesson that the kids are taught?

Answer: Behavioral Health Teams (BHT) have been created at each school that includes the counselors and behavorial health social workers. Creating BHT will strengthen communication and referral processes for both staff and families. In addition, the Trauma Sensitive and Resilient Schools Initiative has implementation components that include training for staff, students, families and the community.

11. Will there be any type of response after the Listening & Learning Tour? - Community Member

Answer: The questions from the Listening & Learning Tours are located in this document on the website.

12. Science Teacher at Washington wants to do field experiments and she is running out of funding for buses and substitutes.

Answer: Each Academy, at each school is given an allocation of funds to use for transportation and substitute teachers.  Funding is based on the number of students in the school and is divided by the number of academies at each school. In addition, each school has an Academy College Career Coordinator (CCC) for each Academy. Academy CCCs are teachers from the Academy, who are paid a stipend, to help plan and coordinate Diploma+ experiences for students. 

13. Why are teachers & administration allowed to have their cell phones and students are not allowed to have their cell phones?

Answer: Communications devices should not be used if they interfere with and/or disrupt student learning or the workplace environment. 

14. What is the status of the ROTC contract? Are we going to lose it due to non-participation?

Answer: I am unaware of any concerns with the contract with ROTC or that the agreement or program is in jeopardy. The agreement is a five-year agreement signed by the superintendent in 2017. 

 

Listening & Learning Tour at Wyandotte - October 8, 2018

 

1. Back in 2005, the Kansas Department of Education adopted National PTA Family Community Standards. I advise the cabinet and decision makers to read those standards, and get students involved in the STEM program at the elementary level. The District needs to provide more support to the collaborative partners of GEAR Up and FACES. Parents need to be more valued. Discipline in the district: Why are all kids punished for what other kids in their classes do? - Parent & PTA President

Answer: STEM Work--elementary science has an engineering unit at every grade level; 4th graders have the opportunity for real life Math experience at Holland 1916;  life/earth/physical science are integrated in grades 6, 7, 8 aligned to the Next Generation Science standards; each middle school has a LEGO Robotics team; students at Argentine attend class at a business; there are FIRST Robotics teams at the high school level; each high school has at least one academy aligned to STEM; students can participate in district Math Relays and middle school students can participate in the PrepKC Math Relays. 

2. Lack of support for the Career Teacher: I have looked at the salary schedules and the neighboring school district salary schedule. Our teachers are at a disadvantage; it hurts our students. It is not showing respect for those career minded teachers that have made a long-term decision to stay in the district. Look at the way we are spending our money and support the career teacher. - Retired Teacher from the District

Answer: The district has implemented the Frontline Professional Growth system.  This system allows for more on-line learning through a variety of different modules.  The PWD will share information with certified staff on what is available on-line. Additionally, PWD has established partnerships with a variety of universities and colleges to promote continuing education.  Also, PWD is working to develop more PD opportunities and will survey teaching staff on what PD opportunities are of interest.

PWD has started to partner with other districts for our beginning teacher/mentor program.  WE have introduced topics such as Stress Management/Resilience and Trauma Informed care to our new teachers.  As a part of our Strategic goals, we will be re-structuringthe beginning and 2nd year teacher program to allow for more support in smaller groups through a cluster-based model.

3. What is my value to you as a teacher?

All of our teachers are important at the school district. We realize that they are on the front lines teaching and preparing the next generation of workers and entrepreneurs.

4. I'm a new teacher and I'm worried that when I get to my five or six years I will not be valued.

Answer: Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools values all of its teachers. We know the importance of us providing a quality education for the students of the district. This mean working together each of doing our part to help students become and remain successful.

5. Parent of a Dyslexic Student: This is my second time coming to the Listening Tour and addressing this issue. I would like the Special Education Department to be looked at. Parents are receiving incorrect information regarding their children's IEP. My son is reading at a 1st grade level and is in the 5th grade. i need answers and this fixed.

Answer: Dyslexia is a learning disability in the area of reading. There has been a Dyslexia Task Force that has been working at the state level to bring changes to schools regarding identifying and teaching students with Dyslexia. Their goals are listed below.

Dyslexia Task Force Goals:

  • A universal definition and understanding of “dyslexia” in the state education code
  • Mandatory teacher training on dyslexia, its warning signs and appropriate intervention strategies
  • Mandatory early screening tests for dyslexia
  • Mandatory dyslexia remediation programs, which can be accessed by both general and special education populations
  • Access to appropriate “assistive technologies” in the public-school setting for students with dyslexia

Special Education Curriculum:

  • Language ! - Fourth Edition Professional Learning - 8:30 to 3:30 on August 21 & 22 for at least one special education teacher in each elementary school.  Language! is a research-based multi-sensory approach resource to be used as part of their direct instruction for students requiring intensive instruction in phonemic awareness as well as reading comprehension and/or written language.
  • Language ! Live Professional Learning - 9:00 to 3:30 on August 16 & 17 for Middle School Special Ed Teachers who teach reading skills in a special education classroom to students with significant deficits in reading.  Language! Live is an evidence-based resource to teach reading skills to students with dyslexia
  • Special Education Teacher Leaders received training on the use of both resources (Language! And Language Live!) from 8:30 to 3:30 on August 23.  
  • The district is currently researching Orton-Gillingham training which would enable teachers to embed a multi-sensory approach to teaching reading with what they are currently using in reading instruction.

 

Listening & Learning Tour at F.L. Schlagle - October 22, 2018

 

1. Curriculum Language Arts: We may be missing some vocabulary lists, tree words, sight phonics and weekly tests. It is showing up in test scores. What happened to the old curriculum? Maybe reintroducing the old curriculum?

Answer: KCKPS has moved to Fountas & Pinnell’s Phonics, Spelling and Word Study materials. It contains a systematic set of 100 lessons that teach phonics, phonemic awareness, spelling, word study and vocabulary learning. Letters, sounds, and sight words are taught in context such as poems, whole class charts, and text. These explicit lessons are taught to a whole group and then practiced individually and in small groups. This supports students as they transfer what they have learned in a whole group to their personal reading and writing.  Students will be taught letters and sounds as they practice the alphabet linking charts daily. Linking charts serve as guides to students as they read and write independently. Phonics, Spelling, and Word Study instruction are also seamlessly woven throughout the literacy day. 

2. A "D" should not be a passing grade.

Answer: Which grades are considered passing has been historically part of Kansas City, Kansas School Board policy.  We will be convening a committee that aligns our grading scale Early Childhood - 12. This issue will be brought up for consideration as part of the work for the committee. 

3. Some students are not using Eugene Ware restrooms because they are scared to go into the bathrooms. Is there any way it can be remodeled. - Parent of Eugene Ware Student

Answer: Unsure of the issue here, significant plumbing work has been done on the restrooms at Eugene Ware, but they are not new. The school district added another new single bathroom for staff. 

4. New Math Curriculum: Students are not getting what they need because we are teaching so much in a little time. If we could go back to our traditional math, students will do much better and test scores will raise. The math curriculum does not do our kids any service. The new Instructional Coach is very helpful.

Answer: A committee is being convened to realign the initial high school mathematics classes from an integrated approach to the traditional separation of content into Geometry, Algebra I and Algebra II. The committee will consist of teachers, instructional coaches and administrators. A plan for phasing in this approach over the next few years will be part of this work. The first phases will be implemented next year. 

5. Concerned about the safety of our teachers. There is a situation everyday with fighting - cell phones in the classrooms...kids are using them for bullying; that's what's causing all the fights. Students are telling teachers they will kick their rears. There are not enough officers in the buildings. Need students out of the hallways, the restrooms and into the classrooms. We need more supoort. Teachers want education to improve.

Answer: The Code of Conduct addresses the appropriate responses to Class III behaviors that jeopardize school order and security.  Class IV offenses that are considered criminal acts are addressed by our campus police.

6. Website have a lot of information but not the information that I need. The website does not have the upcoming school year. As a new parent to the district i was not aware the SRD program was launched.

Comment: The school district is in the process of updating the website to make it user- and mobile-friendly. This is an enormous undertaking that began with a survey that was completed by internal and external audiences in September 2018. We are currently updating pages on the site as well as identifying what is missing based on survey data. There will be usability tests before the new site is released next year.

7. The Communication system that teachers get are broken. Teachers are the last ones to be informed about information. Mixed messages from instructional coaches, then the principals come from a meeting and tell us something different. Then we go to Professional Development, then we are told something different. Teachers trying to talk to parents and we do not have all the information we need to explain to them. Seen more of it this year. The teachers were not informed about the new direction with the instructional coaches. The district needs to be stronger through the communication on threads coming down from the top to the bottom back up to the top.

Answer: Communication is an area where we continue to grow at the school district. There are various modes of communication to staff from the district to include the weekly Staff Notebook and the daily Administrator’s Notice. Administrators are tasked to ensure messages are carried from the district to teachers and vice versa. We recognize that there continues to be concerns regarding communication to teachers and as the district continues to strengthen in this area we encourage teachers to continue to talk with their principals and principals with their Executive Directors.

8. The 4 x 4 schedule is rough because if a student misses more than one day due to being sick it is the equivalent of missing 4 days. - Science Teacher at Schlagle

Answer: A common schedule among the high schools was deemed necessary so that adjunct professors from Kansas City Kansas Community College could schedule classes at multiple schools. Each high school participated in a committee to develop a common schedule. The 4X4 schedule was the product of that committee. We will collect feedback from the school to determine possible updates to the schedule. 

9. The credit cards were taken away, now we have to buy from Science Supplier instead of being able to go to Walmart and getting the items cheaper - Science Teacher at Schlagle

Answer: Credit Cards are not distributed to individuals, but they are available for acquisition of approved supplies and materials through the purchasing department. Departments and schools have access to purchasing cards (credit cards) as needed. 

The Kansas City Kansas Public Schools has a de-centralized purchasing process.  Each School and Department is responsible for the purchase of goods and services except for land, buildings, new construction, and purchases of goods that exceed $20,000.  Vendors may sell directly to schools and departments.

Purchase orders are required for all procurement transactions.  Purchases in excess of $20,000 shall be solicited for formal sealed bids or proposals and shall be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder.  Additionally, bids and proposals in excess of $20,000 require board of education approval prior to processing the purchase order(s). Purchases in excess of $3,000 but less than $10,000 require written proposals or quotes from a minimum of two suppliers whenever possible. Purchases in excess of $10,000 but less than $20,000 require written proposals or quotes from a minimum of three suppliers whenever possible.  Purchases less than $3,000 are left to the discretion of the school/department buyer. Purchases may not be split in order to circumvent the bidding statute or board policies.

All formal bids are opened and read publicly at the designated location, day, and time indicated on the bid document, which should be carefully read and completed by participating vendors.

Payment for completed purchases are made within 30 days after receipt of invoice reflecting the correct amount owed by the district.  KCKPS, in most cases, is exempt from federal, state, and local taxes.

School Athletic purchasing practices align with the district’s purchasing procedures.  In addition, when purchasing goods, research is done (by the ADs and coaches) to gain the exact specifications required for the needs of the athletic programs.  Quality, cost, safety and KSHSAA (Kansas State High School Activities Association) regulations all play a role in which products are selected. We also help educate our coaches on the proper care of equipment/uniforms to ensure their longevity.

10. Equal opportunities on transportation and field (trip) programs in the high schools. Not all high schools are provided the same field (trip) programs since that is the case. Can you provide transportation to the high schools that do not? - Student at Wyandotte

Answer: We work to align experiences to the theme of the Academy that our students are participating in. These trips are about obtaining more experience in the student’s area of career interest. focus area. If students are interested in other experiences outside their Academy of choice, they should speak with their family advocate.

 

Listening & Learning Tour at Sumner - October 29, 2018 

1. I took in my son’s friend last year to give him the opportunity that he deserves because his mom does not understand the points of education. During Parent Teacher conference, it was bought to my attention, which is his junior year in high school, the he has only 7.5 credits and is failing all his classes. When I addressed the school about my concerns I was advised that all failing students were all sent home with a letter regarding grades. He missed the online classes’ enrollment because of a lack of communication. Even with credit recovery and summer school he will not be on track for graduation. We are advocates for these kids if there is a language barrier or communication disconnect we want to ensure more kids like this do not fall and slip through the cracks.

 2. Is it ok to take away personnel that was deemed necessary for the students to be successful at the end of a quarter? So now those students are lacking in support that need to make progress. Don’t those students matter? How effective can a teacher be if she was teaching 5th grade then up into last week she is teaching 4th grade and now kindergarten. She was given only a couple of days to observe before she was expected to be in that classroom teaching. Is that really in the best interest of the students? Why? I understand urgency, but going quickly without an effective plan only yields continued poor results. - Community Member/Teacher in District/Graduate for Sumner High School

Answer: Instructional coaches provide support to teachers to ensure they are prepared for the subject/grades they are assigned to, through coaching, planning sessions, professional development and Professional Learning Communities. Curriculum coaches are also available to schools for specific support around content and/or curriculum. 

3. What is the process for doing business with USD 500? I like to have more information on how minority woman business owners can do business through USD 500. - Dr. Shelley Cooper, Owner & Operator fo Diversity Telehealth 

Answer: Vendors interested in doing business with KCKPS should register online at:http://form.jotform.co/form/51764711968870  Once a vendor has registered, a vendor should contact the purchasing department for assistance in identifying the appropriate contact information for those who will purchase the vendor’s goods or services.

Vendor’s Guide to Doing Business with KCKPS is available at:http://www.kckps.org/images/departments/purchasing/How_To_Do_Business_2017_-_WAYNE_8-18-2017.pdf

4. I see a gross underempowerment of our professionals. I've been told by the custodial staff that we are understaffed. I have been here 7 years with 3 different principals and each principal has told me that they do not have the empowerment to control the certified staff that is under our room. As a wrestling coach overseeing a locker room in 7 years, we have been without a soap dispenser in a locker room. My students cannot wash their hands with soap. We have put in 11 work orders in 7 years to get a soap dispenser mounted and we cannot do it. What I would like to see this district do is to start to empower people at the building level to making positive changes for the kids that walk in these buildings. Not every single bathroom in the district needs a soap dispenser, but mine does. Who's going to make sure that happened? Not every school has a pool, we do not use ours, but we pay for the maintenance to upkeep it every year for classes we do not hold and swim meets we cannot have here. I asked the district let our buildings handle these challenges the best way we can. 

Answer: A complete search was done on the work order system, over 1,838 work orders were found at Sumner Academy and none of those were for a soap dispenser for the locker room. There were four work orders to hang, relocate or re-hang soap dispensers in the kitchen area. The district had the work order placed  in the system so that this task could be taken care of. 

5. As a product of Kansas City, Kansas, I went to college so unprepared. KCKCC is forced to lower their standards because the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools are forced to lower their standards to keep kids in school. So, we keep our graduation rates high. Because standards were lowered I went to college without the knowledge to learn.

Answer: Teaching to the standards has become the focus over the past couple of years.  Teachers have received professional learning on how to understanding the standards in a way that they can ensure students have the foundational skills in place to be able to reach the cognitive demands of the standards.  As teachers become more skillful in teaching to the standards, more student will be proficient in academic performance.    

6. How is the information regarding test scores available to parents where do we find that? I think I saw we are not where we want to be. What can we do as parents maybe to assist in that?

Answer: Parents should be able to get information about their student's performance from their school; there are several student level reports available that teachers can provide to parents.

Schools hold literacy nights for parents where they share activities they can do with students at home, to continue the learning beyond school, such as reading with their children, creating a quiet space for students to do their work, having books around the house, creating a steady schedule for bedtime, etc.

7. About 2 ½ years ago, Sumner was approached to comply with Diploma+. As an International Baccalaureate program, Sumner was not meeting expectations set forth by the former leadership. As the career coordinator sat out for the International Baccalaureate program to become compliant with the Diploma+ program, we onboarded three career academies three years ago. Those academies are up and running today and we are scheduled to onboard eight more academies in the next two years without much support from the District. I’m a part-time facilitator and each of the other high schools have full-time facilitators. Sumner has not received any money from the bond for maker space for architecture and computer science programs. They lack the materials they need to compete. I invite you to come see the rooms these students work in, you would be shocked.

Answer: Engineering PLTW training was provided this summer, all PLTW materials and supplies were furnished; a long-range plan is in place to support the continued growth of IBCP programs.

8. Sumner students aren’t provided the same opportunities as other high school students at Washington. I took free classes at KCKCC and also had transportation. Sumner students had to pay for them. GEAR Up and Talent Search was also not offered at Sumner. 

Answer: Kansas Board of Regents Policy

A new KU GEAR Up grant awarded in 2017 covers all eight graders which, will include Sumner Academy of Arts & Science students.  The GEAR Up program will remain with that group of students through graduation. 

9. I wonder how I’m going to build my life from this point forward and I wonder what opportunities and resources that USD 500 can offer not just for current educators with a desire to stay in the district and build a career here but also to recruit former talented students to come back and help build a community here as well. - First year teacher at Sumner

Answer: The district has implemented the Frontline Professional Growth system.  This system allows for more on-line learning through a variety of different modules.  The Professional Workforce Development (PWD) will share information with certified staff on what is available on-line. Additionally, PWD has established partnerships with a variety of universities and colleges to promote continuing education.  Also, PWD is working to develop more professional development (PD) opportunities and will survey teaching staff on what PD opportunities are of interest.

PWD has started to partner with other districts for our beginning teacher/mentor program.  We have introduced topics such as Stress Management/Resilience and Trauma Informed care to our new teachers.  As a part of our strategic goals, we will be re-structuring the beginning and second year teacher program to allow for more support in smaller groups through a cluster-based model. The PWD team will conduct a survey to determine the interest of teachers in topics for PD.

10. We were recently told that we are going to take three interim KAP tests between now and spring, which will take up a lot of class time. Our students took one KAP test already and we received the results and they aren’t exactly user-friendly. We need someone that is knowledgeable go over the results with us so that we can apply what is needed in the classroom. I would like some clarification as to why three practice tests are needed in preparation for the test in the spring.

Answer: The KAP interims and associated reports are created and provided by the state. We can certainly request adjustments to the reports available if schools let us know what they would like to see. The district made the decision to administer all available interims provided by the state and these provide a consistent data point that can be used to help track progress towards mastery of standards. The goals for the state assessment are to increase the percentage of students in levels 2 and 3 by 10 percentage points (i.e. from 20% to 30%). 

11. What happens during this Listening Tours?  Do we ask the questions and you guys respond to us later? - Dr. Cooper (Melissa Fears answered the question and explained the Listening Tour)

Answer: The Listening & Learning Tours were set up to be sessions to hear from parents, students and community. It was also an opportunity for attendees to meet Dr. Foust and his cabinet. The questions and comments were written down to give the cabinet members an opportunity to gather additional input to order to answer questions.  The questions from those sessions are part of this document. 

12. Our teacher’s attitudes and the way they communicate are not the best. I have been in a situation that a teacher has not communicated with my mom but when it’s time for conferences she has the audacity to go on and on about me. She lets her personal situations at home affect her teaching and the way that she does things. It affects my learning at school.  

Answer: Two of the priorities the district has selected are Establishing and Maintaining Effective Relationships with Students and Communicating High Expectations for All Students.  

During professional learning, in conversations with EDs, debriefs after walkthroughs, principals are constantly calibrating and learning around these priorities to ensure effective implementation, which will result in a more positive climate in the schools, and in students feeling valued and respected. 

13. How is the District working with schools and violence? I constantly see videos of schools having fights. Is the District working with the Police Department to resolve these issues?

Answer: Code of Conduct violations are handled through the appropriate district processes that start with the building educator’s referral to administrators and vetted through the Student Services Department of the school district, as needed. Criminal matters are handled by the KCKPS Police Department in corporation with Kansas City, Kansas Police Department, Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Office and the Wyandotte County Juvenile Courts.

14. I would like to see our officers in the classrooms start building the relationships with the students on the elementary level. When we lost the DARE Program we lost the connection between the students and officers. If we can get that back.

Answer: The school district has two officers assigned to every high school and one officer assigned to every middle school for primary assignments and each officer has responsibilities within their cluster elementary schools and early childhood centers. All Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools officers received 40 hours of training from the National School Resource Officers (NASRO) in July, 2018. We are developing strategies in an attempt to redeploy resources to start more effective programs at our elementary and middle schools. We currently offer our department resources as classroom guest speakers participating in many career fairs, reading, mentoring, SAFE programs and youth enrichment activities. We work cooperatively with the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department Community Policing youth coordinator and the OK coordinating officer. Our goal is to have more effective law enforcement interactive programs with our federal, state, county, and city law enforcement partners that will assist the district police with youth and community relationships.  

15. We experienced difficulties getting qualified translators and interpreters for our clients. Lack of appropriate language services decrease chances that our students will succeed. Using the children as interpreters puts a strain on parent and children relationships. Using community members as translators deals with confidential and it makes clients uncomfortable. How can we maintain and also grow the language access through the schools?

Answer: Our Districe utilizes all local agencies. Our district need is greater than the community resources. We have a contract with Propio that provides interpreting via technology. We have existing contracts with Propio, Domenech Expressions and Translation Perfect.

16. A student Advisory Board would be nice.

Answer: Dr. Foust is convening a Superintendent’s Student Advisory Board, which will meet for the first time in late November.