Wednesday, July 29, 2015

And they're off!

Here we go!  Start of the school year is just around the corner.  I feel just like one of those race horses.  So excited to get out of the gate and start the "race" or in our business the school year. As you have already read from my introduction email, I have several years of experience in education as a teacher and administrator.  One of the most rewarding parts of my job in the recent years has to be the involvement of developing a virtual school in my former district.  It was amazing to watch adult learners and high school age students navigate the virtual world and eventually earn an actual high school diploma!  I'm hopeful with my background that I can support you and your staff in helping meet the success of our students.  Part of meeting their needs is to be thinking about what success looks like for them. I've added this link from the U.S. Education website.  You will be able to read and listen to the stories of how much impact organizations like yours have had on a person's life.

Adult Learning Stories

There are a few items that I want to cover.  Most of it is more or less housekeeping than anything else.  For all of us to understand how the process works it is best that all of the site directors review the KSDE webinar put on by Jessica Noble.  Here is the link below.

Webinar on Understanding the 15-16 Alternative and Virtual Funding and Auditing Structure

It's a little over one hour long and the information is very riveting. The picture to the left is how I listened to the webinar.  All kidding aside, it actually is very beneficial information for everyone to know.  Keep in mind that we are wanting all of our students, no matter what age they are, to be a virtual student.  There will also be more opportunities to learn about how the auditing will be structured for virtual students.  There is a "Counting Kids" workshop on September 2, 2015 at ESSDACK.  KSDE representatives will be here from 9:00 a.m. to noon.  To register for the workshop you can go onto the ESSDACK website and enroll online, or contact Pam at, or give her a call at 620-663-9566.  There are also more KSDE webinars throughout the year on auditing and other virtual school services.  Click on the link below and then scroll down for a pdf called 15-16 Fall Webinar Series Flyer.  KSDE Website

You may ask yourself how are the students being counted on count days?  As I stated earlier that all of the students will be counted virtually.  The services won't look much different to the students but on the back end with our paperwork it will look a little different.  Understanding this paperwork will come easier once you listening to the webinars and attend the workshops hosted by KSDE.  As you know for a student to be counted they must go through the school district?  We have three school districts that have agreed to be the "count district" for the learning centers.  The three districts are Hutchinson, Augusta, and Colby.  Our plan is for the Mall Learning Center, Reno County, and McPherson student count to go through the Hutchinson School District.  Haysville, Augusta, and Newton learning center sites will go through Augusta School District.  Oakley, Larned, Stafford, Thomas County, and Barton County will go through the Colby School District.  If we have a student that comes from a non learning center site we will funnel them through the school district which is geographically close.  This may all be a little confusing and overwhelming to understand but it's a process that is very doable when we all work together.  We can discuss this in more detail throughout the year and when we meet on August 6th for our staff meeting.

I'm also very excited to introduce a new way for us to communicate throughout the year.  Starting on August 10th I would like to meet with all of the learning center site directors on ZOOM.  You will need to download the ZOOM application on your computer.  Make sure the computer you are using has video and audio capabilities. Here is my thinking with our ZOOM meeting.  Every Monday morning at 9:00 a.m. we connect with each other through ZOOM. On the 1st and 3rd Monday of the month we connect with ESSDACK's Leadership Team for 15-20 minutes.  The time can be used to brain storm about our challenges and new ideas that we would like to implement.  Here are some examples:  How is the implementation of WorkKeys going for your center?   What can we learn from each other in this process?   How can we implement more of what ESSDACK believes in?  Which is "Learning By Doing", Career and Technical Education (CTE), and Engineering By Design (EBD).  How could we use our communities to implement programs that would send adult learners out to a workplace and they in return receive a credit while learning a skill or trade?  As you can see the questions and collaboration we could have around these topics would be awesome!  I am really excited about using the ZOOM tool and enabling a stronger bond between all of the sites and also between the sites and the leadership team.

As I stated earlier, we will have our all staff meeting at ESSDACK
on August 6th.  We would love to have all of your staff present but I also understand some of them may have other commitments.  We will start at 9:00 a.m. and end at 4:00 p.m.  The morning we will be working with the ESSDACK staff and then the afternoon we will meet as a Learning Center staff.  If you have any questions feel free to send me an email or call me on my cell phone 620-388-2831.

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