USD 235 Starts First Week of Off-Campus Learning

USD 235 Superintendent Bret Howard. File photo.

USD 235 has started teaching its students off-campus, following the closure of the county’s schools due to the pandemic.


The District Continuous Learning Plan officially started on Monday, April 6 and will run through Tuesday, May 19.


“It is not online learning,” Bret Howard, superintendent, said. ” This is a Continuous Learning Plan created as a response to unprecedented times.  I think this is a very important distinction to make.  Uniontown USD 235 is providing continuous learning opportunities for all students regardless of whether they have the internet or not.”


“We are all in unknown territory and Uniontown USD 235 wants everyone to know that we need to work together and communicate to have a successful conclusion to this school year,” Howard said.


“I am thankful for our teachers who are working extremely hard to meet the needs of our students,” he said.


“This is an amazing opportunity for the Eagle family to grow, support one another, and have compassion for all people.”


“We know this pandemic has caused stress to students, families, and our communities.  Uniontown USD 235 will do everything in our power to make this a positive time for children and families.”


“We thank everyone for working to be true partners in education,” Howard said.


Howard answered the following questions via email:



What preparation did the teachers make?  How did they decide the curriculum?


“Professional development for the district’s Continuous Learning Plan began the week of March 30 with an introduction, evaluation, and revision of the proposed plan to be presented to the Board of Education.  Teachers engaged in a series of activities for the communication platforms they will use.  The district’s behavioral health therapist through Southeast Kansas Mental Health Center introduced and provided Social Emotional Learning resources for teachers, students, and families.  As grade level and content area teams, teachers identified untaught essential outcomes and planned meaningful and engaging ways to deliver the material to students.”



Do they teach from home or their schoolroom?


“The large majority of our teachers are teaching from home.  Our teachers are not required or expected to physically be present at West Bourbon Elementary or Uniontown JH/HS.  Some of our teachers have chosen to come to the school and do their Zoom Webinar meetings for their students.  Some do so out of convenience and some out of necessity due to internet service and reliability at their homes.  Right now we only have roughly 4-5 teachers in our buildings on any given day.  We also have some paraprofessionals that work for the Special Education Interlocal coming to our buildings as well.  They do so for the same reasons.”


In addition to teaching staff, others are working at the school.

“Several members of our food service staff are working multiple days a week to be able to provide meals for approximately 150 people ages 1 through 18.”


“Our custodial staff is working to clean rooms and areas used by our essential staff and employees who are coming into the buildings.”


“Our technology staff works from the buildings several days per week as well as our administration and administrative assistants.”


“We are very thankful for all of the hard work put in by so many of our employees.”



What about those who didn’t have computers, smartphones,etc?


“Uniontown USD 235 is a 1:1 district for laptops, Chromebooks, and IPads.  All HS (Grades 9-12) students already had a laptop computer that they could take home daily.  All students in grades 4-8 had Chromebooks they used at school and students in grades PK-3 had IPads.  If their parents requested a device through our parent survey, students in grades PK-3 were issued an IPad and students in grades 4-8 were issued a Chromebook.  We asked a parent/guardian to sign a technology usage agreement before picking up the device. ”




How will the students be graded? How will this last bit of teaching affect their final grade?


“We have asked our teachers to have patience, flexibility, and grace during these unprecedented times.  However, we do expect all of our students to participate in our Continuous Learning Plan either through the use of technology or through enrichment activities delivered to them via packets through US Mail or if they are participating in our food program they can be delivered to them through that avenue as well.  If students do not participate in the Continuous Learning Plan, it will have a detrimental impact on their final grade.”

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