Superintendent Updates
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February 4, 2016

Update to Staff - Jan. 11

Greetings All,

A few of updates for you:

-January is Board of Education appreciation month. I couldn't ask for a better group of people to help lead our district. They are thoughtful, work hard, listen and always have the best interests of the district in mind. I'm sure they would appreciate hearing from you. 

-Congrats to Kelly McMains, 1st grade teacher at Prairie Creek, for being named a KSDE New Horizon award winner. Kelly joins an elite group of educators at both the state and local level who demonstrate the utmost in professionalism and excellence. Andover is fortunate to have her on our team!

- Custodial efficiencies have been gained by revising our processes for ordering and delivering supplies, identifying new cleaning techniques and staff training. These changes will not only help us be more effective, but will also save us $69,000 this school year.

- At our last board meeting I recommended that we contract with a private company to provide our transportation service. We talked about this last spring, tabled it and then started the review again this fall. After a thorough review, interviews with three companies and many reference checks, we believe it is in our best interest to contract. We have not selected a company but have narrowed it down to Durham and First Student. I've attached background information via a Powerpoint if you are interested. Bottom line, we can hire a company at the same cost we are paying now and they will: increase driver wages, provide new buses, provide upgraded technology on the buses, increase staff and continue to run the same number of routes and trips we are currently doing. 

As the Legislative session begins in Topeka and school budgets will no doubt be discussed, a couple of talking points for you:

- Andover provides a tremendous return on investment.

- Andover is one of the highest achieving districts in state

- Andover was the 5th most efficient district based on per/pupil spending in the most recent KSDE data (2013-14)

- We will stay focused on those things we can control, student and adult learning, high expectations for all and being the very best we can be for our community.

I'm really excited to hear about our new Wellness Initiative! I'm sure you've read about it in the A-List. A BIG THANK YOU to the committee for all they have done to make this a reality. Health care today is very complicated and preventative care/wellness are very important! Get involved and live a healthier you! :-) 

Thanks again for being a great team. Our community is fortunate to have professionals like you. Have a great week!

January 5, 2016

Update to Staff

Greetings All and Welcome Back! 

I hope you had a joyous holiday season and are ready to kick off the new semester. I'm sure many of the students will be happy to be back (even though they won't admit it!) As I mentioned before Christmas, we have accomplished so much and continue to be a model for others. That doesn't happen without quality people, who have high expectations for themselves and each other! Education is a challenging profession and through all those challenges, we support each other very well. That is what it's all about! Excellence is a way of life in Andover. Thank you! 

Many of you have probably heard but yesterday Bob Baier, principal at AHS, announced his retirement at the end of this school year. Bob has been in Andover for 16 years and will leave a positive mark on many students, AHS and the district as a whole. In my three years in Andover, I've grown to appreciate and respect Bob's professionalism and dedication to his students. Congrats Bob!

Again, welcome back! It is nice to get things rolling again! 

December 18, 2015

Update to Staff

Greetings Andover Team --

It has been an amazing first semester! Much has been accomplished and we all have so much to celebrate. I'm thankful and honored to be able to work in the best school district in Kansas with the best staff, students and parents! 

We kicked off the school year with the 212º video. At 211º water is just hot but at 212º water boils, which creates energy to enable powerful movement. That one extra degree makes all the difference. I challenged all of us to individually put forth just one degree of extra effort in all we do.

Interesting what a difference it can make when already talented people push themselves just a bit more. The results can be amazing and that is indeed what is going on in Andover! Earlier this week someone sent me this quote and I thought it emphasized this point. 

“Desire is the starting point for all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.” -- Napoleon Hill

‚ÄčOn behalf of the Board of Education and district administration, I want to thank you for everything you do for the students, parents and community of Andover. Our school district is a shining star, leading the way in Kansas education. "We Are Andover!" 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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! 

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