Superintendent Updates
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December 11, 2015

Update to Staff

Greetings Andover Team,

It's amazing that Christmas is just around the corner and the 1st semester is drawing to a close. It has been an outstanding year and you don't have to look very hard to see why Andover is the school district of choice for so many families!

Speaking of excellence, congrats to Ray Linville, band on the Trojan side, and Michaila Pfaff, 1st grade at Meadowlark, for being named Andover's nominees for Emporia State's Master Teacher program. Ray and Michaila are outstanding educators who have given many years of service to the students in Andover. Congrats!!

I'll be the first to say we are not going to live and die by our state assessment results, but when you are as good as we are, I can't help but mention it! :-) Earlier this week, KSDE released district and school results from the new and very difficult state tests given last spring. You can view our results at this link.  I haven't had much time to review results but overall we had the following percentage of students who were "College and Career Ready": Math 53.96%, Reading 58.71% and Science 60.87%. Those numbers seem low, but they reflect the difficulty of the assessments. The only district I found with higher scores than ours was USD 229 Blue Valley in Kansas City.

By now you have probably heard that the State Board of Education developed a new vision for Kansas schools, "Kansans CAN". You can view a quick video and find additional information at this link. I've also linked KSDE talking points. It is important to note that Andover is already on the right path to addressing the priorities of "Kansans CAN" and instead of changing what we are doing, we will continue to focus on getting better at what we have started. Can we get better? Sure we can. But we are already focused on the right things and we should be extremely proud of our results! 

The BOE is meeting on Monday. Several items of interest:

  • They will recognize two district coaches who were named state coach of the year. Tom Audley, ACHS football and Kevin Wiebe, ACHS cross country. Congrats Tom and Kevin!!
  • As part of our District Action Plan, Stacy Hudson will share progress on several technology related projects, including pilots with 1:1 Chromebooks at the secondary level and learning management systems like Google Classroom.
  • Jill Lachenmayr will discuss middle and high school enrollment guides, which reflect modifications to Career and Technical Education programs at both levels.
  • Jill will also share math resource purchase recommendations from the secondary math teachers at both levels.
  • The Board will also spend some time in executive session to discuss my job performance. One of the most important roles of the Board is to evaluate the superintendent and I appreciate their comments and suggestions.
  • Tonight are the Trojans vs Jaguars basketball games at AHS. There's nothing like a friendly, but heated rivalry to end our week! Best wishes to both teams!! 



November 20, 2015

Update to Staff

Good morning everyone! Hope you are off to a good Friday.

This weekend will be a big one for Andover Central as their football team plays Topeka-Hayden in the state semi-finals tonight at 7:00 and their drama team puts on the production “Taming the Wild, Wild West in a Dress”  Saturday at 7:30 and Sunday at 2:30. Best wishes to all involved!

I hope you had the opportunity to attend the AHS musical "AIDA" last weekend. It received rave reviews. We are so fortunate to have such talent in our school district.

I've experienced a lot of cool things since coming to Andover but I have to say last week's Veteran's Day celebrations have to be at the top of the list. The way our district honors our veterans, active service men and women and their families is a huge point of pride for our community! Thanks to all who helped make the day special.

As you prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday, in addition to enjoying your family, I hope you take a moment to reflect on all that we have accomplished so far this year! Andover continues to be the district of choice for so many families and that is because of you, the people who work here. Happy Thanksgiving. Thank you for your dedication, positive energy and unwavering commitment to excellence! We are Andover! 




November 9, 2015

Update to Staff

Good Morning. I hope you had a great weekend. Sure can't beat this weather for the first of November. 

Tonight the BOE is holding their regular monthly meeting. Several items of interest:

  • As part of our District Action Plan, a team of district staff is working on a project to integrate AESOP (leave request and substitute system), VeriTime (timekeeping/payment), Records (Human Resources) and Alio (main financial system). Right now, moving data between these systems requires a great deal of hand entry. Linking them together will be more accurate and efficient. 
  • We will share the executive summary of our 1st quarter Data Dashboard. This is how we are monitoring progress toward district goals. Things we are watching include: STAR (Student Achievement), Walk Throughs for Rigor/Student Engagement (Educator Effectiveness) and Professional Learning surveys (Educator Effectiveness). The data looks good!  (I've attached a copy of the Executive Summary)
  • Another Action Plan item was to look at the possibility of having a "Late Start" or "Early Release" in order to allow staff to work in their PLC teams. Many of you participated in a survey. The committee looked at several options and reviewed the survey data. Their recommendation is to NOT change what we are currently doing for PLC and professional learning. We will not have "late start" or "early release" next year. Now the district calendar committee will begin their work to build next year's calendar.
  • Finally, our Action Plan asked us to review our current transportation system and make a recommendation to either contract services with a transportation company or keep our current set-up. As you may recall, we started this process last year but it was tabled to allow for more time. We are looking at the future of transportation from the perspective of service, safety and cost. Tonight I will update the BOE on the process. We will make a recommendation in January 2016 with a final decision being made in February. 
     

Andover continues to have success in so many ways as our AHS soccer team placed 3rd in the state Saturday, ACHS girls cross country placed 2nd in state two weeks ago and the ACHS football team continues to win! Also, I hope you will try and catch the AHS musical "AIDA" this weekend (Saturday 7:30 and Sunday 2:00) and the ACHS play "Taming the Wild West in a Dress" on November 20-21 at 7:30.




October 22, 2015

Staff Update- October 16, 2015

Greetings Andover Team,

This week has been busy with conferences and many other activities. Things get interesting anytime you have disruptions in schedules, but we seemed to have managed very well. Thanks for your efforts and flexibility!

Last week I mentioned that the Board of Education was interested in starting a community engagement process to set the course for the future of facilities. Andover has a history of being a leader in facilities and it is important that we are planning for the future now. Successful organizations are constantly looking forward to ensure a well thought out plan is implemented and taxpayer dollars are used effectively. At the board meeting on Monday, they gave us the go ahead to begin the visioning process. The first step is to determine what kind of company we would like to lead us through the process and make that selection. Most districts use architectural firms to analyze current needs, facilitate focus groups, conduct enrollment studies, create options and finalize vision development. I imagine we will have a firm selected within the next several months and the process could begin soon after Christmas. I will keep you updated as we move forward with the visioneering.

Today is the first district-wide PLC day and I’d like to thank all the teachers who are serving as team leaders. It isn’t always easy to facilitate large groups of adults, but I know you have prepared well and your colleagues are the kind of professionals that will help you out! Enjoy the morning.

I’d also like to thank those staff who were involved with the benefits selection and signup process. I am pleased with how our process continues to improve and become more efficient.  It was especially awesome to see that our health insurance premiums went DOWN 10 percent. Not very many organizations can say that! I’ve recently heard of increases of up to 50 percent in some school districts. Apparently our claim history has been good and we are getting better at utilizing the proactive wellness components!

With the completion of the 1st quarter comes the first district-wide review of the Andover Data Dashboard. Next week I hope to give you a preview of how we did in the areas of reading, math, student rigor, student engagement and professional learning. Preliminary data looks very good.

I hope you all have a nice weekend. Thanks for continually promoting Andover Excellence. Our community is fortunate to have such a great team working with its students!

Regards, Greg




October 9, 2015

Update to Staff

Greetings,

It’s hard to believe that next week is the end of the 1st quarter! We’ve had a great start to the year and the credit for that goes to all of you. Things don’t go this well by accident. It takes a great deal of hard work. Thanks!

On Oct. 15 we will have all-day parent teacher conferences for the first time in several years and I’ll be interested to see how it goes. I know the calendar committee will want your feedback on the conference schedule as they begin preparing the 2016-17 school calendar. Conferences are an important opportunity for us to share priorities with parents so I encourage our teachers to use the opportunity to not only share what students are doing but also the many good things going on in the district.

One of this year’s Action Plan items is to research ways we could find time for more teacher collaboration. Tuesday’s “A-List” included a survey to ask your opinion. Please take a moment to provide the committee with your feedback as they develop a recommendation for the BOE and Calendar Committee.

The BOE is meeting on Monday night. It is a rather short agenda because we wanted to leave plenty of time to talk about the future of facilities in Andover. As you know we have outstanding facilities, but it is a constant battle to keep them maintained and a real balancing act to effectively plan for future growth. On Monday, the Board will hear about the current state of our facilities and needed upgrades. The price tag to simply maintain our facilities is rather large and with the uncertainty of state funding, we can’t count on using operating money. Just like at home, you can defer maintenance for a while, but if you go too long, things start deteriorating and cost even more to bring back. On top of that, all of our current bonds will be paid off in 2019 so now is the time to begin planning for the future. All successful organizations plan ahead and I would like to see the district undertake a comprehensive, community engagement process to develop a long range vision for the future of our facilities. I’ve asked the architectural firm of Howard & Helmer to give the BOE an example of what a community engagement process might look like. More information will be available on BoardDocs and I’ll keep you posted as things progress.

I’ve seen many examples of your hard work, creativity and perseverance. Thank you for caring enough to give the 212º it takes to make our already great district even better! Your one extra degree makes all the difference. Have a great weekend!


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