Area schools working to redesign how students are educated

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – To set students up for success, some Kansas schools are taking on the task of rethinking how students are educated.

“Historically, education is one of the slowest changing industries that exists,” said Jay School, a School Redesign Specialist at the Kansas State Department of Education.

The failure to keep up with the changing world could be holding some students back, according to Scott.

“We’ve got groups of kids that go through school, they graduate, they go off to college (and) everything is fine,” said Scott. “But we’ve got a large percentage of kids where the current system doesn’t work for them, so we’ve got to take action.”

To modernize the school system, the Kansas State Department of Education launched the School Redesign Project in 2017. Since then, they’ve added more schools to the project each year.

This project gives schools support to reimagine the school day with a focus on personalized learning and social and emotional growth.

“We need to put our kids in positions where they can make decisions, and then learn from those so that they’ll be better prepared for life after high school,” Scott said.

The redesign is centered around four principles. Those include student success skills, community partnerships, personalized learning, and real-world application.

The redesign looks different in each local school. Some schools have started mentorship programs, while others have implemented more work-based learning.

Some local school districts that have at least one school that is a part of the redesign project include Clay County, Geary County, Holton, North Lyon County, and Southern Lyon County, Santa Fe Trail, Kaw Valley, Wabaunsee, Lawrence and Washington County Schools.

“In a lot of our buildings they’ve gotten rid of the bells, so kids have more flexibility in where they are and what they’re learning,” Scott said.

The schools that participate still adhere to all state standards and don’t receive additional state resources. Scott said schools that take part in the program do it because they want students to be successful after high school.

“These schools all across the state, that are jumping into school redesign are taking action,” Scott said. “They’re choosing courage over comfort.”

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