Charlotte Richter/Staff Writer
New Unified School District 207 Board of Education Board Member Jackie Williams was officially sworn in at her first meeting April 27 in the district office.
During the meeting, the board also heard updates on the district’s Kansas Education Systems Accreditation status and new Patton Junior High School construction, among a series of standard approvals.
Williams took her oath and then introduced her husband and two sons, both students in the district. She thanked those in attendance and her family for their support.
USD 207 Deputy Superintendent Dr. SuAnn Grant said the district earned the “accredited” Kansas Education Systems Accreditation title. Grant said she was pleased and excited; she thanked the district KESA building representatives, principals, teachers and staff for their efforts during and after school.
USD 207 Superintendent Dr. Keith Mispagel said earning accreditation is a five-year process. He said the Accreditation Review Council reviews systems, or districts, with a high level of scrutiny all five years. Mispagel explained that many districts recognize ambiguity in the ARC’s expectations, including USD 207. He credited Grant and the district for their work toward accreditation.
“You guys are setting the bar and setting it high. It was a testament to the unknown that we do what we do and do the best we can for our families, and now we know what the ARC is looking for,” Mispagel said.
Grant said more than 90 systems are participating in the accreditation process. She said systems can earn one of three possible titles: accredited, conditionally accredited and not accredited. According to the Kansas State Department of Education, “accredited” means “the system is in good standing (compliance) with the state board and that they have provided conclusive evidence of growth in student performance. In addition, the system has provided conclusive evidence of an intentional, quality growth process.”
Grant said once the district accepts the award, USD 207 restarts the accreditation process at year one and moves back into outlining ideas for the future.
“This speaks volumes to the fact that our district is able to continue to function at a high caliber knowing that our student population turns over every year, and that doesn’t stop us from continuing to serve the students,” Williams said. “Even with teachers and staff that turnover so frequently (also), we’re able to continue to function at a high level.… No matter how (students) come to us, knowing that when they leave us… we give them the best that we can in that year, and so that’s super encouraging.”
According to the KSDE website, KESA is the K-12 accrediting model for Kansas, dedicated to creating systemic change in school districts by reaching goals in six areas: social-emotional factors measured locally, kindergarten readiness, individual plans of study, high school graduation and postsecondary success. The process encourages redesigning school systems for continuous improvement.
Rich Holden, USD 207 Board of Education chief financial officer, informed the board on the progress of the new Patton Junior High School project. He said furniture installation begins this week through the first week of June. Holden said contractors will also be reviewing the HVAC system in the upcoming months.
“It’s coming along amazingly well from the last time I’ve seen it even,” Mispagel said.
The board also confirmed a list of extracurricular activities for the upcoming schoolyear and approved the purchase/renewal of equipment such as district Chromebooks.
The next USD 207 Board of Education meeting is at 4:30 p.m. May 23 at the district office. The meeting is open to the public.
For more information and meeting access, visit https://go.boarddocs.com/ks/usd207/Board.nsf/Public.