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:
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.
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!
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!
Greetings Andover Staff,
Hope you had a nice Labor Day weekend and are settling into the school year.
Tonight is the big AHS vs ACHS football game, 7:00 at the District Stadium. Whether you are a Trojan or a Jaguar, it is a special evening for the district and the Andover community. Tonight's game will be broadcast on cable channel 22 for the entire area so it will be a great way to display all of our talented students! The Andover Chamber of Commerce will also be honoring a Hometown Hero at halftime of the game.
Speaking of talented students, congrats to Hanna Watson of AHS and Grant Karber and Renton Williams of ACHS for being named National Merit Semifinalists. Only 16,000 students nationwide receive this honor and to have three in our district is outstanding! Thanks to all teachers and staff who help prepare our students for success! -- This is just another example of Andover Excellence!!
The committee that works on our health insurance package met this week and it appears we will see a substantial DECREASE in our premium beginning on Dec. 1. The claims for our group have been low for the last two years and us being "healthier" is paying off with a reduction in premiums! More specific information will be coming out shortly.
Part of the way you can help the health plan is to prevent problems before they arise. Take care of yourself by participating in the Biometric Screenings which start next week. Our participation is at an all time high but there are still slots available! If you haven't already done so, I encourage you to sign up!
The Board of Education meets on Monday night. As always, you can see the details on BoardDocs beginning Sunday night. Just a few items of interest:
As you know, our bus drivers play a critical role in the safety of our students. It is a tough, but rewarding job. We are currently experiencing a driver shortage so if you know of anyone who would like a part time job, please have them contact our Transportation Department or apply online.
Thanks for all you have done to get the year off to such a great start! I've seen so many examples of staff giving that Extra Degree I mentioned at the Opening Assembly. We are fortunate to work in one of the best school districts in Kansas and we are excellent because of the people who work here! We Are Andover!!
Have a nice weekend. Greg
It is hard to believe we are finishing our second full week of school. Thanks to all of you for the awesome start! Anytime you invite over 5000 students back to school, with their families, you will have some logistical challenges but all in all, it has been one of the smoothest starts that I can remember.
Earlier this week we received news that our district ACT scores were up significantly last year! As a matter of fact, last year's graduating class had our 2nd highest composite score (23.7) since we started keeping track and the average ACT reading score (24.1) was the highest ever!! Our students continue to perform better than any other public school in the area and are getting close to matching some similar districts in the Kansas City area. Congrats to ALL of you for the work you are doing with our students. How our graduating seniors do on the ACT is one of the many things we have to be proud of in Andover. Jill Lachenmayr and our high school administration will provide the BOE with an ACT summary at the September 14 meeting so you will see more details at that time.
Congratulations to the Trojan Children's Choir, which is a select group made up of elementary students from Cottonwood, Martin and Wheatland, for being selected to perform at the state KMEA convention in February. That is quite an honor and a real credit to the hard work of our teachers and students. A special thank you to Maureen Berry and Julie Linville for your leadership.
The regional State Teacher of the Year banquet is being held on Saturday, September 12 in Wichita. Congrats to Susan Mueller, Wheatland and Amber Fetters, AMS for being selected! You will represent us well!
The excitement is beginning to build for the annual AHS vs ACHS football game on September 11. This year the game will be broadcast live on Cox Channel 22. Whether you are a Jaguar or a Trojan, this will be a big night for the school district and the community of Andover.
I've had the opportunity to visit most of the schools at least twice this year and I've got to tell you, the grounds look great, the schools are shining, procedures and routines are established and the classrooms have been busy. Thanks for taking the beginning of school so seriously. You have set the tone for a successful year! Appreciate it!
As always, please don't hesitate to let me know if you have questions or comments. We are truly getting better each day.