Unified School District 207 Superintendent Keith Mispagel, Deputy Superintendent SuAnn Grant and Diana Greer, director of Special Services, accept the 2021 Whelan Kansas Leadership for Learning Award, presented remotely by award nominator Deborah Griswold, assistant professor in the School of Education and Human Sciences - Special Education at the University of Kansas, during the USD 207 Board of Education meeting March 29 at the district office. The award, named for Professor Richard J. Whelan who served as chairperson in the Department of Special Education and as dean of the School of Education at KU, annually recognizes individuals or groups "for their extraordinary leadership and vigorous pursuit of opportunities to learn for each and every student." Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

Katie Peterson | Staff Writer

Unified School District 207 was presented the University of Kansas Department of Special Education’s annual Whelan Leadership for Learning Award during the monthly board meeting March 30 at the district office.


The award, named after Richard J. Whelan, who served as the chairperson in the Department of Special Education and dean of the School of Education at KU, recognizes individuals or groups for extraordinary leadership and vigorous pursuits of opportunities to learning for every student.

Col. Scott Green, Unified School District 207 Board of Education member; retired Lt. Col. Christopher Evans, board vice president; Myron Griswold, board president; and Rich Holden, chief financial officer/clerk of the board, listen to Deborah Griswold, assistant professor in the School of Education and Human Sciences – Special Education at the University of Kansas, tell meeting attendees about Richard J. Whelan, former chairperson in the Department of Special Education, former dean of the School of Education at KU and namesake of the Whelan Kansas Leadership for Learning Award, during the USD 207 Board of Education meeting March 29 in the district office. USD 207 was named the 2021 recipient of the Whelan Kansas Leadership for Learning Award. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp


Dr. Deborah Griswold, KU Department of Special Education assistant professor, who nominated the district, attended the meeting via Zoom to “present” the award.
“USD 207 consistently strives for excellence in academic, technical, citizenship and social and emotional development for all students. It is a district that addressed the needs of students who move frequently, experience deployments of parents and in some cases supporting students in grief when a parent is killed (or) injured in the line of duty,” Griswold wrote in the nomination letter in February. “The district is committed to providing excellent professional development. This includes PD recommended by the district leadership and PD opportunities requested by individual teachers … and a tuition reimbursement program for teachers pursuing advanced degrees to enhance their skills, knowledge and abilities.


“During COVID-19, the district exceeded the requirements to inform and protect the faculty and students from the spread of the disease. Not only did the district implement all policies and procedures detailed by the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), it also went to great lengths to keep all stakeholders well informed,” the letter continued. “Thus, schools opened in August 2020 with parent choice to enroll their students for virtual or in-person instruction. These options also included training for parents regarding accessing (and) supporting virtual instruction.”


Keith Mispagel, superintendent of schools, was notified of the district’s win March 25.
“As we continue to focus our education on mobile military families and students as well as all students, including those with disabilities, we’re committed and dedicated every year to the success of all our students,” Mispagel said. “We are humbled to be nominated and receive this award, which validates our continued work and push toward providing a quality education for all students.”


Patton Graduation
The Patton Junior High School ninth-grade graduation ceremony is at 4 p.m. May 20 at the USD 207 district track and field. All attendees must wear face coverings and maintain proper social distancing. In the case of inclement weather, the ceremony will move to the large gym at Patton.


New Patton Project Update
Rich Holden, USD 207 chief financial officer, updated the board on the progress of the new Patton Junior High construction at the old MacArthur Elementary School site.
The walls of the gym have been raised and the roofing is almost complete, Holden said. Once the roofing is complete, the remainder of the work is inside.


The project is on track for a June 2022 completion and an August 2022 opening.


Principal’s Report
During the meeting, Mike Burrow, Bradley Elementary School principal, updated the board on the school. His update included COVID-19 protocols like the arrival and dismissal process, recess zones, and lunchtime practices.


Board members and other essential personnel practiced social distancing and wore face coverings during the meeting.


Board meetings are open to the public. For an overview of the meeting and the minutes, visit https://go.boarddocs.com/ks/usd207/Board.nsf/Public. A Zoom link will be available to the public the day of the meeting for virtual participation.


The next USD 207 board meeting is at 4:30 p.m. April 26 at the board office.

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