A part of the recent holiday celebrations at USD 507 included the announcement that the district had been fully accredited, the end result of a years’-long process.
For those unfamiliar with the process, the website of the Kansas Department of Education (KSDE) provides some explanation: “Kansas Statute charges the Kansas State Board of Education with the accreditation of schools, a process that provides official recognition of the school as having met a defined set of standards. Current accreditation regulations in Kansas are based on a school district accreditation model called Kansas Education Systems Accreditation (KESA), which was approved in 2016.”
The KESA mode, reports the KSDE,”focuses on employability and citizenship skills, and the need to move away from a ‘one-size-fits-all’ system that relies exclusively on state assessments. This new vision for education calls for a more student-focused system that provides support and resources for individual success.”
The State School Board puts it this way: A “SUCCESSFUL KANSAS HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATE has the academic preparation, cognitive preparation, technical skills, employability skills, and civic engagement to be successful in postsecondary education, in the attainment of an industry recognized certification, or in the workforce without the need for remediation.”
USD 507 KESA chairperson and Satanta Grade School Principal Karen Burrows, who will serve as Satanta’s superintendent next year, said, “This was a long process that required our district to adapt to many changes. Our work over the past seven years has truly been a team effort. Our team placed the success of our students first, and that philosophy will guide us as we begin a new cycle next year.”
Burrows noted that “The Accreditation Review Council (ARC) noted in its recommendation for accreditation that USD 507 has a ‘process in place for continuous improvement, that our test scores are improving, and that our graduation rate is high’.”
This, of course, does not mean that we are done. Burrows said, “We have, in fact, already begun the process of reexamining our goals and conducting needs assessments in an effort to create more opportunities for student success. This is our ultimate goal and a responsibility we take very seriously.”