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Gemini Redesign

Fowler School District - Where Education is Experienced

February 06, 2018

 

Fowler School District

A Gemini School

Where Education is Experienced

 

Fowler School District 225 has been successfully implementing policies, plans and procedures that are in line with the Kansas State Department of Education's Vision Statement, “Kansas Leads the World in the Success of Each Student.” The school board, administration and teachers have eagerly accepted the opportunity to “redesign” our school district as a part of the Kansas Department of Education's, “Journey to the Moon” project. This is an opportunity to rethink how education can and will be in the 21st century and beyond. As a part of the project, Fowler has been named a Gemini school with an anticipated launch date of August 1st, 2018. The following team has created the plan for redesign.

 

Redesign Team:

Jeff Bollinger Superintendent

Corri McDowell PreK-12 Principal

Megan Adams 7-12 Language Arts Teacher

Tammy Bollinger 4th Grade Teacher

Kim McLachlan 2nd Grade Teacher

Tiffany Ziebart 7-12 Vocational Business Teacher

Jamie Boese 225 School Board Member

Barb Whitney 225 School Board Member

 

Vision:

Fowler School District will provide a personalized and rigorous education that creates opportunities to build foundational knowledge and demonstrate application in real life scenarios. We believe that all students need to prepare for a future beyond high school, whether that is to attend a postsecondary four year program, a two year program, a vocational/industry trades program or entering into the workforce.

Fowler School District 225 will create experiences through our educational models that meet the standards of the Five “R”s as described in the KESA model: Relationships, Relevance, Responsive Culture, Rigor and Results. This will be accomplished through a variety of teaching strategies, including classroom instruction, simulation and real life experiences beyond the schoolhouse doors. The following components are essential and will be enacted for the redesign launch.

 

District Wide

  • Daily PE/Fine Arts/language instruction

  • Field trip experiences

  • Technology

  • Project-based learning

  • Limited homework

  • Social Emotional Character Development (SECD)

 

Explanation/Rationale

Daily PE/Fine Arts/Language Instruction

USD 225 is dedicated to providing opportunities in fine arts, physical education and language acquisition for K-12. Students in K-8th grade will receive daily instruction in fine arts, PE and Spanish. Should a student be able to demonstrate proficiency in Spanish then they will be able to select another language. High school students will be encouraged through the IPS (Individual Plan of Study) process to take a foreign language, but they will have the choice to participate. It is recommended that high school students spend at least two years in any given language.

 

Field Trip Experiences

USD 225 believes that to “lead the world”, our students need to learn the world. We are committed to providing opportunities for K-12 students to learn and experience things beyond our community so that they may have a personal connection to the things that they may see or study in the classroom. Funding for field trips will be a joint effort between the district and families.

 

Technology

USD 225 will have a continued focus on providing quality technology to both students and teachers. We will strive to have our students experience some of the new advancements of the current day as well as explore possible acquisition of technology tools that may be a part of the future world of school or employment. Students will utilize one to one technology that incorporates their daily instruction through digital resources.

 

Project-based Learning (PBL)

USD 225 will implement project-based learning opportunities in the K-12 setting.

The elementary school will be afforded periodic opportunities to enter into multi age cooperative learning groups to work on an extended problem that encompasses cross curricular knowledge and skills. These groups will operate with multiple design principles, with some utilizing assigned student roles, while others may follow a student lead design. All will have teacher facilitation. Students will also be able to participate in various project opportunities through their daily instruction with in-class projects designed around their curriculum. Students will share opportunities within their homeroom classroom as well as some projects including mixed grade levels.Students will still receive traditional instruction but will be aided with additional exposure from projects that will help them experience multiple modalities of learning.

The middle school (6th-8th grades) and high school (9th-12th grades) students will be engaged in a model that includes daily PBL as well as traditional options. The day will be split, with half of the day for core instruction through PBL and half of the day for elective subject matter and instruction. Core subject matter related to the state standards will be incorporated into PBL, but they will also have opportunities for traditional instruction through various math, science, language arts and elective options. PBL will infuse the ideals of a “learning by doing” format. Students will participate in a variety of long-range and short-range projects that will utilize state standards as well as personal interest. A formalized process will guide students through the appropriate format, but the student will be central in developing the learning targets and goals of the projects.

Both middle school and high school students will have traditional options in addition to PBL. The schedule will be set up in block style with some courses operating on a split block or half block. The blocks will allow for some core subject matter to have extended time, such as math and science.

 

Limited Homework

USD 225 believes that students should be afforded the opportunity to engage with non school demands beyond the school day, including extra-curriculars, athletics, and family time without the constriction of homework. We will operate with some flexibility but the basic tenants will be that no homework will be issued for K-12th grade. Students will be asked to complete after school reading and instrument practice. At times, limited at home assignments may be necessary for students but must be pre-approved by the principal. For students taking distance learning, outreach or dual/concurrent courses, homework will be at the instructor's discretion.

 

Social Emotional Character Development (SECD)

USD 225 has made a commitment to building positive SECD practices at our district. Many skills in this area will be embedded in daily instruction but at times greater needs may be present. Because some concerns may not be identified or known, all Fowler students will be assessed through a non invasive screener to gather information on social emotional needs. Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions will be created for those in need. USD 225 will seek guidance from the local special education cooperative on potential resources. Should a student require additional assistance or for needs beyond the scope of the school system a referral can be made to a mental health facility.

The district will also be implementing core behavioral principles to develop leadership skills and qualities. The principles will integrate Steven Covey’s, “7 Habits” series of books. K-12 will have these themes implemented into their daily course of study so that it becomes infused into their daily lives.


 

Elementary

  • Pre-K

  • Standards-based report cards

  • Language Arts by Readiness

  • Daily intervention

  • Teacher looping


 

Pre-K

USD 225 believes that early intervention and opportunities for learning are essential to developing students. We will create a variety of options for three- four- and five-year-old students. Students will be guided through the curriculum to ensure they are on a successful kindergarten readiness pathway. The morning session will include a traditional preschool philosophy with play-based learning. The afternoon session will be a KinderPrep program with a more academic based curriculum and focus. The KinderPrep program will be available based on parent and teacher recommendation and discussion. Administration will have final review of placements.

 

Standards-based Report Cards

USD 225 believes that it is essential for teachers and parents to know the specific skills being mastered and which skills require more instruction to achieve mastery. We also believe that the traditional letter grade system assesses effort instead of measuring skill acquisition. That is why the K-5 school will be utilizing a teacher created, standards based report card that identifies skills as either not evident, progressing or mastered in lieu of traditional letter grades.

 

Language Arts by Readiness  

USD 225 believes that greater learning will take place if information is presented at an attainable instructional level. Utilizing various assessments and teacher input, students will be placed at their optimal instructional readiness level for language arts so that their instruction can be more meaningful, and progress can be made more effectively. Students will also be challenged to exceed their instructional level as part of the growth process. Most students will be placed within one grade level of their homeroom teacher. Students that would benefit from additional grade level intervention may be placed at a modified instructional level.

 

Daily Intervention

USD 225 believes that all students should receive targeted instruction that will help to remediate or advance each individual. Based on skills assessments, programs will be established that help students advance or address deficient skills for Tier 2 and Tier 3 students. This will be accomplished through a variety of technology-based interventions as well as teacher-directed and initiated interventions.

 

Teacher Looping

USD 225 believes that it is a great benefit for students to maintain continued relationships with their teachers. At times, teachers may continue on with their students to the next grade level. This will help to further cultivate established relationships. This can also help students continue with already developed routines, helping to lower the anxiety of grade transition for students. Teachers will loop upon the recommendation of school administration on a year by year basis.

 

Middle School/High School

  • High school credit options for middle school students

  • Individual Plan of Study

  • Competency-based waivers

  • Alternative content delivery

  • Internship

  • The First 15

  • Graduation credit requirements

 

High school credit options for middle school students

USD 225 believes that students that can demonstrate competence and aptitude for high school level curriculum and rigor should have the opportunity to receive HS-based credit. This will allow for more options as they progress through high school. Credits must be approved by principal and parent through the Individual Plan of Study.

 

Individual Plan of Study (IPS)

USD 225 believes that the best possible education for students is one that helps to build and create options for their future. Students in grades 8-12 will enter into guided meetings with parents, teachers and administrators to pinpoint pathways and coursework to help students achieve their postsecondary goals. Students will explore various career opportunities through project-based learning and internships. In addition, experiences including on campus visits to vocational technical schools, junior colleges, and universities as well as career exploration days will be facilitated by the school each year. As interests and abilities change over time, students will be encouraged to explore multiple opportunities and pathways and will not be tied to a particular pathway from year to year.

 

Competency-based Waivers

USD 225 believes that students should have the opportunity to demonstrate competency in particular subjects to free them to pursue other areas of interest. Using the Accuplacer test or ACT test, students will be able to demonstrate competency in language arts and mathematics by meeting college entrance criteria. In that event, high school requirements can be waived by the principal in pursuit of more individualized subject matter. Opportunities for additional competency based credit can be explored with the principal, student and parent through the IPS.

 

Alternative Content Delivery

USD 225 will allow its high school students to access or pursue alternative methods of instructional delivery via distance learning, off-site courses or web-based content. Programs and classes must meet rigor and appropriate level of instructional outcomes as determined by the principal to qualify, and must be in line with their IPS. Financial considerations for alternative courses will be at the discretion of the superintendent.

 

Internship

USD 225 will require each graduate of Fowler High School to have completed one semester of an internship in line with their IPS. The internship must include a career-type field of study and will have required tasks of completion. The school district will work with the student and parent to find the most appropriate placement involving aspects of the desired career field. Internships that require travel will be the responsibility of student and parent. Summer internships may be allowed with Principal approval.

 

The First 15

USD 225 believes that students who get a jumpstart with their post-secondary education are more prepared and will have a better chance at success after graduation. The district will make partial to full payment for students that receive a “C” or better on up to 15 credits for courses listed as general education courses from an accredited post secondary institution. This will also include vocational credit or any credit approved by the administration.

 

Graduation credit requirements

A student is required to earn twenty-eight (28) units of credit, including a number of required courses, to be eligible to graduate from Fowler High School. A half unit roughly equates to a 50-plus minute class per semester or one unit for a block class per semester. PBL will constitute credit for some or all of the areas of language arts, social studies, science, business and math. Students will continue to enroll in, and receive grades for specific classes even when the delivery model is PBL.

 

Those required courses include:

 

(a) 4 units of English or competency

(b) 3 units of Social Studies

(c) 3 units of Mathematics or competency

(d) 3 units of Science

(e) 1 unit of Health & Physical Education  

(A total of 1 credit may be granted for participation in HS level sports for fall, winter and spring in the same school year)

(f) 1 unit of vocationally based coursework

(g) 1 unit of Fine Arts

 
 

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