Changes for U234 in 2022-23

USD 234 Board of Education Building, 424 S. Main

Dalaina Smith, who has served as the Fort Scott High School Director of Academics will become USD 234 Assistant Superintendent, as of July 1.

Dalaina Smith begins duties as assistant superintendent of USD234 on July 1. Submitted photo.

Although she will maintain many of her previous duties, she is “excited to move into an administrative role and get more involved with staff and students in the classroom,” she said.

She highlighted some of the changes in the district as of this date.

New Teaching Model

“This past academic year, the district embraced the Professional Learning Community model and began training teachers and administrators,” Smith said.  “A group of twenty, including staff and a board member, had the opportunity to attend the PLC Summit in Phoenix, Arizona in February and returned excited for the direction the district is moving.”

At this summit there were keynote speakers and breakout sessions designed to help infuse the PLC at Work process into every aspect of the district, according to information from Smith.

The group returned to their school system ready to work in collaborative teams to achieve results for the students, according to the information from Smith.

“In May, the district was able to bring in Regina Owen from Solution Tree, to speak to the certified staff about the PLC framework and the district’s continued commitment to giving all students the best,” she said.

Solution Tree is a Professional Development Company, for more info: https://www.solutiontree.com/about/overview

“The Professional Learning Community model focuses on four questions,” she said. “1. What do we want students to know? (Essential Standards); 2. How do we know that they know it? (Common Assessments); 3. What do we do when they don’t know it? (Remediation) and 4. What do we do when they already know it? (Extension).”

“Through this framework, the district is committing to giving teachers time to ensure that there are clear expectations, data driven decisions, and appropriate interventions for all students,” Smith said.

COVID-19 Effects Student Achievement

“Since  the Covid-19 Pandemic, we have seen an increase in student achievement gaps,” Smith said. “Although Spring 2020 affected all students, we see the greatest impact in our elementary students who missed out on fundamental skills. Continuing into the 2020-21 academic year, numerous students had their learning interrupted when they were out ill or for quarantine. For many they were able to participate remotely while absent, however, for others they were unable to continue their learning during the time they were offsite.”

“Additionally, we must consider the social emotional effects we’ve seen in the students,” Smith said. “I don’t know that we still truly know the impact. From feelings of isolation and loneliness to students who struggled to learn to identify emotions and facial expressions through masking, it’s hard to say that many were untouched. Thankfully students are resilient and our teachers are rock stars! Together they’re working to overcome the gaps that Covid created, however, it is a process.”

“Through the use of PLCs, the district will provide a structured environment for teachers to make the necessary changes to approaching student learning.  USD 234 is excited for the impact to come,” she said.

Early Release on Wednesdays

For parents these PLC days will mean students will be released early nearly every Wednesday through the USD 234 2022-23 school calendar.

“During Early Release, teachers will be meeting in grade levels or departments (depending on their building) to work collaboratively as professionals,” Smith said. “It’s during this time that they will determine their essential standards, build and refine common assessments, review student data, and plan for interventions.”

“Preschool will operate in a different manner, to ensure they are in compliance with their required minutes,” she said. “More details related to preschool will come following the approval of a new preschool principal.”

“This time will allow teachers to participate in their PLCs and ensure the grade levels and departments can give their best to all students,” Smith said.  “The district recognizes that not all families have the ability to pick up their students early on Wednesdays and will have age appropriate opportunities for students to stay in a fun, safe, and educational environment until the regular dismissal time.

“At this time, students K-8 will have supervised activities/areas in place during the early release (Wednesday until 3:15),” she said. “Additionally, the elementary schools will both offer a daily After School Program that will run until 5:15 p.m. More information about each of these opportunities will be shared as the district administrative team solidifies the necessary details.”

 

New Faces at USD 234

“Each school year brings new faces as some retire and others explore new opportunities, and this year is no different,” Smith said.

 

“Mr. Destry Brown will be joining Fort Scott from Clinton, MO and serving as the USD 234 Superintendent,” she said.  “Brown brings numerous years of experience, as he returns home to Fort Scott.  Although he doesn’t officially start until July 1st, he has already begun working with staff in a variety of capacities to ensure a smooth transition and clear direction for USD 234.  Not only will Brown be seen within the district, but also within the community as he works to encourage the relationship between the school and local organizations.”

 

“Mrs. Shelly Charter will be serving as the Winfield Scott Principal.  Charter comes from Independence, where she has taught gifted, third grade, and Title for over 20 years,” Smith said.  “In addition to her years of experience in education, she also has served in a variety of leadership roles and is excited to begin her work with her staff and students.”

 

“Mrs. Krystle Griem will be coming to Winfield Scott from Junction City, KS,” Smith said.  “Griem will be serving as the Assistant Principal, where her licensure as a Registered Behavioral Technician and summer work at children’s camp will serve as valuable experiences.  In addition, Griem has taught English Language Arts at the middle and high school level.  Griem and Charter have already been collaborating on ideas for next school year.”

 

“Dr. Zach Johnson will be joining the Tiger Team at Fort Scott Middle School,” she said.  “Johnson has been the assistant principal and athletic director for Coffeyville’s Field Kindley High School for the past four years.  Previously, Johnson was a physical education teacher.  Johnson brings experience with the PLC process, as well as a student-centered approach to education.  Johnson began his first day of summer joining the current administration to learn more about becoming a Tiger!”

 

“The district is still in the process of hiring a preschool principal and will be sharing information once a candidate is board approved,” she said.

Familiar Admin Faces

“Although there are many new faces, there will also be familiar ones returning next year Mina Query (Eugene Ware Principal), Brandon Boyd (Eugene Ware Assistant Principal), Matt Harris (Fort Scott Middle School Assistant Principal), Scott Kimble (FSHS Principal), Alex Specht (FSHS Assistant Principal), and Jeff DeLaTorre (FSHS Athletic/Activities Director),” Smith said. “USD 234 is excited for another great year.”

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