Four years ago, I started this journey as your superintendent and it is amazing how quickly time passes. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to work with you and want to thank all of you for your support, dedication and professionalism. Being the superintendent of the best school district in Kansas has been a great honor.
The 2016-17 school year has been another good one and that doesn't happen without professional, caring adults doing an outstanding job, every day. There is no doubt you believe in our school district and our students and with the overwhelming passage of the bond issue, our community sent a huge message of how much they believe in you.
I write this today, on the last, "last day of school" of my career, grateful for the opportunity to spend time with you. Together, we have accomplished so much and I have all the confidence in the world that Brett White will not only help you stay on top, but bring many more enhancements for our students, employees and community. Andover has a bright future!!
Thank you for being the positive energy I needed to keep fighting the good fight for PUBLIC education in Andover and the state of Kansas. You are a special group of people and I will miss seeing you. My last official day is June 29, so for those who will be around this summer, I'll see you again. For those leaving this week, I wish you well. Keep believing in yourselves and keep believing in your ability to make a difference in the lives of young people in Andover! All the best and thank you.
Greetings Andover School District Family!
As April comes to a close, the end of the year is within sight. Between now and then, there are so many great things happening. Please take a moment away from all the "busyness" and make some special, end of the year memories with students, parents and colleagues!
People often judge the success of an organization by looking at the finished product and this week we got some good news about our "finished product", our high school students. U.S. News and World Report rated ACHS and AHS as two of the best high schools in Kansas! Follow this link. Congrats to everyone and specifically, staff/students at ACHS and AHS! Another example of "Andover Excellence"!!
On Monday, May 1 the Board of Education will hold their annual Awards and Retirement event. ACHS Auditorium - 7:00 p.m. Stop by and help the BOE honor these outstanding individuals and community partners.
Occasionally I'm asked about the status of school finance in Topeka. At this point, nothing is settled and I don't expect it to be until the end of May. However, the district is preparing to go into the 2017-18 school year as we would any other year. Current proposals before the Legislature would increase funding for schools, though not as much as we would like and when it all shakes out, the district will be fine. We have many education supporters in Topeka and I expect them to prevail in the end.
The May 9 Bond Issue is fast approaching and creating a great deal of excitement in the community. I hope you're hearing the same positive, supportive comments that I'm hearing about the bond. The district has a great reputation and that reputation is paying huge dividends. No doubt our community is supportive of our schools and I'm confident they will vote accordingly on May 9. Please do everything you can do to encourage our parents and community members to get educated and VOTE! There are plenty of supporters out there and we need them to vote. The items in this bond will add tremendous value to the district and position us for many successful years to come! Thanks for your support!
Have a great weekend!
Hard to imagine we are already in the 4th quarter of school and spring break is here. Time flies! Please take a moment during the break to reflect on the many things we have accomplished this year! Don't ever take for granted the many talented, dedicated people you work with each and every day! This is a special place!
This morning we surprised Meghan Chapman and Heather Hawkins by naming them the USD 385 Kansas Teacher of the Year nominees. Congrats to Meghan, 3rd grade teacher at RMES (and an AHS graduate) and Heather, ACMS Media Specialist! You will represent us well!
Yesterday's AAF grant celebration was fun! Amazing to see an outside group give the district $80,000 yesterday and over $1 million since AAF was formed. As you are well aware, our community has high expectations but they also offer tremendous support. Nice to have both!
There continues to be a lot of behind the scene work on the May 9 Bond Issue as we plan for an informational campaign in April/May. This week the State Board of Education approved our application and authorized the state to pay 24% of the bond if it passes. Informational material and building specific display boards are being developed and the Bond Website continues to add new information and frequently asked questions. I encourage you to review the website and use it to educate the community. Please note -- the deadline to register to vote is April 18 and you can request an advanced mail in ballot anytime before May 1. Voter registration information is at this link. I hope those of you who live in the district will vote and encourage others to do the same! The last election had approximately 3000 voters so if our 600 employees and eligible family members vote, it would make a tremendous difference! You will begin hearing more about the bond in April as the May 9 dates draws closer!
Have a nice break and thanks for all you do to make Andover special.
Greetings Andover Staff:
In our ongoing quest to improve services to our families and students, we are constantly evaluating programs. For the last several years, we have taken a hard look at transportation and the first change was to contract our services with Durham. Now as Durham settles in and helps us to analyze our operation, we have identified a way to improve on-time bus delivery and reduce costs. For years, we've had a challenge with late arriving buses at our elementary schools (especially on the south side of the district) and the root cause is not enough time between secondary and elementary bell times.
Thus the purpose of my note, beginning next school year (2017-18) we are going to move the start and end times for the elementary schools forward by 10 minutes, 8:45 a.m. - 3:45 p.m. (They are currently 8:35-3:35) Moving the times later will provide an extra ten minutes between secondary and elementary schools which will get elementary bus students to school on time, reduce the number of bus routes and ultimately, save the district transportation costs.
We wanted you to be aware of this so you could help your administrators think about potential challenges. We'll also send something home to parents so they can plan accordingly.
One question I've been asked is about the contract day for elementary staff. We will change that by 10 minutes (8:10-4:10) to coincide with the bell time adjustment.
There are no changes proposed for our secondary schools. In summary....
School Start Times for 2017-18:
As always, let me know if you have questions.
Happy Friday Andover! I'm still wondering if we will ever get a snow day! :-)
As I'm sure you are aware, on Monday night the school board passed a resolution to hold a bond election on May 9. The bond issue is designed to address both current and future needs of the district and if passed, would have a tremendous impact on the district and the community. Throughout the over 11 month process of the facility study, the committee and the board heard loud and clear that our community trusts, values and supports our schools. They want us to remain the best and the proposed bond issue will indeed keep our facilities at the top!
High levels of community trust just don't happen by accident, trust is built through the actions of our employees and all of you do a tremendous job. Hearing about how the community felt about the district made me so proud to work here. In the current political climate we often feel unappreciated by others but I can assure you, our parents and community believes in you and has complete trust that you are doing well with their children. Thank you.
I've linked two documents that address some of the questions we get about the bond issue. The first is an overview of the proposed projects and general costs. The second is the Do's and Don'ts for employees related to a bond. As private citizens you can do as you please, but we need to be careful to NOT advocate for "Yes" votes during school time, with school resources. Our role during school time is to provide factual information and answer questions. I ask that you all use common sense and if you get into a situation you are not sure about, ask one of your administrators or let me know. There is also a great deal of information at this link on our district website. If you would like me to visit your school, department or community group to visit about the bond issue, please let me know. This is an important time to educate our patrons so they can make the best decision possible on May 9.
In the last two weeks I've had the privilege to attend student directed one act plays at both high schools. They were a lot of fun. We talk a lot about academic achievement and sports accomplishments but sometimes I wonder if we give our visual and performing arts programs the recognition they deserve. Andover is loaded with talent in so many ways! Nice job staff and students!
I plan to spend some time in Topeka next week to visit with our legislators. As I mentioned before, there are a lot of budget options floating around Topeka. None are very good because of the deep hole they are in financially, but at this point we don't have clarity about how they plan deal with school budgets. Things are beginning to happen so maybe I'll find out more next week. If so, I'll share what I can.
Thanks for completing the District Climate Survey. We had over 475 employees complete the survey and it provides us with excellent feedback on what is working, what isn't and some good suggestions for improvement. Overall, we have much to be proud of and you are very pleased with the work we are doing.
Have a great weekend. I would put in a plug for KSU basketball against KU on Monday night but with KSU's recent challenges, silence is probably a better way to go.