Seven school districts across Kansas will launch with redesigned curriculums and schedules this fall.
The redesigns are part of the Kansans Can School Redesign Project, an initiative by the Kansas State Department of Education to improve performance.
The districts are given some guiding principles for the redesigns, including project-based learning and an “intense focus on high school graduation,” though districts are given freedom regarding the how.
“The themes that you’re going to see probably in all of the school districts are going to be pretty similar," said Twin Valley Public Schools Superintendent Fred Van Ranken. "It’s how they get there will be different."
At Twin Valley in Ottawa County, that’s meant more teacher training and removing an infamous sound — the end-of-class school bell.
"It’s a little nuanced change,” Van Ranken said. “But it just lowered the anxiety level of our people. The kids and the teachers."
Other participating school districts include Liberal, Olathe, Stockton, McPherson, and Wellington. More districts will redesign their curriculums with the Kansans Can School Redesign Project in following years.
Stephan Bisaha, based at KMUW in Wichita, is an education reporter for the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KMUW, Kansas Public Radio, KCUR and High Plains Public Radio covering health, education and politics. Follow him on Twitter @SteveBisaha. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to the original post. To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.