2018 2019Posted by Tim Conrad on 8/1/2018 7:00:00 AM
Here we are.......another year set to begin! Additional staff hired, building plans being finalized, new curriculum and resources purchased! Areas of focus for 18/19:
---- Final phase of three year STEM initiative. HS STEM currciulum of biotechnology and engineering will begin in fall of 2018. All students in grades K-12 will have the opportunity to gain experience in a comprehensive STEM curriculum.
----Social and Emotional development and screener tool used to assess, identify, provide additional support.
---- Over $300,000 of new K-12 math curriculum improvements, additional resources.
---- 11 additional teaching/counselors.
----Technology purchases including additional computers, upgrades of computers and infrastructure, additional replacement of eno boards with smartboards.
----Year-two of the KESA accreditation process and MTSS process
---K-3 Life skills, Parents As Teachers programs added
----Final design work and eventual ground breaking for the new intermediate school.
----100 year recognition of Piper High School
----Enhanced security and safety measures inlcuding a complete video camera security systems, additional school security staff, additional staff training.
We look forward to providing your child an outstanding educational experience. We are here to help, listen, and build the future together!
2017 / 2018 New Year New Challenges New OpportunitiesPosted by Tim Conrad on 8/25/2017 1:30:00 PM
The new school year is here and the wave of excitement fills the halls. Phase 2 of our STEM initiative is underway at the MS. We now have a comprehensive STEM curriculum in K-8 with work beginning on Phase 3 for HS implementation next fall. we have deployed over 1200 chrome books and ipads over the past few years and we have enhanced math curriculum, diversity and career awareness and leadership opportunities. Our community continues to grow along with our school district. We are again seeing a 5% enrollment growth this year which puts our classrooms at a near capacity level. Our West Elementary is currently 7 students from capacity. The decision to divide third grade last year, and to bring in modular classrooms have allowed us to "buy a few years" of time regarding overall district capacity issues. Without dividing 3rd grade, West would have 770 students this year, nearly 100 over capacity and East would be 40 over capacity.
Regardless of the past efforts, with the continued growth of our district, our K-8 buildings will be over capacity within the next 3 years. Simply put, additional facility space is needed for our district. The continued theory that out of district students is the cause for the enrollment increase is more of a myth than fact. The simple facts are that our district alone has more than 300 NEW residential permits over the past 18 months. Current enrollment information shows that the majority our new students are from out of state.
By virtue of a bond election, we will be able to provide the necessary space, technology, resources, safety for our students in our growing district. If a bond election is unsuccessful, additional modular classrooms must be placed and ready by at least fall of 2020. I encourage you to educate yourself on the facility needs of our district by visiting the district homepage and reading the constant thread of facts and information. Your attendance at various informational meetings is encouraged as well.
The success of our district is a driving force for many new residents and a significant factor for our continued increase in enrollment. The facilities plan that has been created is built on a foundation of affordability, vision, patron input, need, and practicality. The future success of our district and the ability to have the facilities to accommodate the continued growth depends on public support. Your understanding of the impact that a successful, thriving school district has on a community, property values, and most importantly, our children's future is critical for the future of our district. Stay connected. If you have questions, don't hesitate to contact us. We are building the future for our children together.
Accreditation ProcessPosted by T. Conrad on 8/31/2016 6:05:25 AM
Kansas Education Systems Accreditation
The new Kansas accreditation system begins it's initial year in 2016/17. All schools and districts are in zero year of what will be a 6 step/year process. The new accreditation process is based on the following measures:
The main components of accreditation of which progress must be made:
1. The 5R’s – Relevance, Responsive Culture, Relationships, Rigor, Results
2. Kindergarten readiness
3. Graduation rate
4. Post secondary attendance and completion
5. Individual Plans of Study/career preparation
6. Social/emotional factors
7. Cognitive, technical, and employability skills / Rose Standards
* Tiered framework to support students/provide interventions
* Stakeholder engagement from students, families, employees and business
* Diversity/equity in education and cultural competence related to students
* Sufficient oral and written communication skills to enable students to function in society
* Sufficient knowledge of economic, social, and political systems; the governmental processes/civic engagement
* Physical and mental health
* Arts and cultural appreciation
Individual building goals/action plans are developed to work towards enhancing the accreditation requirements. All building goals are centered on district goals/mission/vision.
Collaborative efforts within each building are underway in an effort to meet the needs of individual students.
16/17 School YearPosted by T. Conrad on 8/31/2016 5:54:46 AM
The new school year is here! Exciting times continue for Piper USD 203. Our continued recognition as an outstanding school district was once again noted in the recent Governors Achievement Recognition for Piper Elementary School. This is the second time in three years that one of our schools received this distinction. The high school received it in 2012-13. Only the top 5% of schools in Kansas receive this award.
You will notice some major facility changes this year. Our new 8th grade learning center will take occupancy for the first time this year. The new classrooms (8) will be able to occupy 240 total students, which allows us to compensate for our steady enrollment growth. A reconfiguration of grade levels has also taken place for this year. Third grade will be located at Piper Elementary AND Piper East elementary. Students have been placed in the building of their choice based primarily on parent preference due to logistics/location of their residence.
An exciting addition to our curriculum will be the full implementation of S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology Engineering and Math) curriculum labs in grades K-5. The program, called Launch, will provide hands on learning opportunities for our students in the growing area of STEM. Phase 2 of STEM will be implemented in 2017/18 in grades 6-8 with the Gateway program. Our new partnership with the STEM Alliance of Greater KC and Project Lead the Way will provide our students additional opportunities as we work to redesign curriculum and opportunities for students.
Many additional things are taking place this school year. The revival of the Piper Prairie Days into a community festival will begin on September 10. This will be an exciting event forthe entire Piper community to be held at the high school/middle school campus. A concerted effort between key organizations within our Piper community (Adult Booster Club, PTA, Optimist, Piper Education Foundation,etc.) will be active organizers of what will be an annual event!
Enrollment continues to soar beyond projections. The new school year will bring us over 110 NEW students to our district which is nearly a 7% growth in enrollment from last year. 3 grade levels are now over 180 students each with the kindergarten class at 190 students. All grade levels but one, exceed 150 students. In comparison, only 4 grade levels were above 150 a mere 5 years ago. The decision to have 3rd grade in two buildings has proved to be an excellent move. Not only has it provided the classroom space for STEM but it has provided the space for additional sections of kindergarten and second grade. Even with the class split, the enrollment at the elementary is 625. Last year with the entire 3rd grade in the building there were 653. As attractive as our district is, our capacity issues will continue to be ongoing.
We are looking forward to another terrific year with additional opportunities for kids!
Budget 2016 - 2017Posted by T. Conrad on 7/13/2016 7:25:13 AM
1.2 Mill Decrease
The 2016-17 budget will reflect a 1.2 mill decrease for USD 203 patrons. The mill levy will be as low as it was in the 2011/12 school year. After a 4 year stable mill levy, without an increase, patrons will see a small decrease.
As our district continues to grow, the budget provides for growth, additional programs, maintenance of exisiting/effective programs, increased staff, improved facilities, professional development for staff, and additional resources/technology. Our achievement and continued success as a district will only grow as we have a budget that continues to support our mission as a district and our goal to continue to be fiscally responsible and accountable.
Facility SolutionsPosted by T. Conrad on 1/19/2016 7:15:32 AM
Facilities, class size, performance, accreditation, funding, enrollment growth are topics that will always be the epicenter of progressive/growing school districts. Over the next few months the landscape in Kansas is expected to change drastically regarding educational funding, accreditation. In Piper, the landscape will literally change later this spring with the addition of an 8 classroom modular unit that will be located on the East side of the Middle School.
The modular classrooms have been constructed to our specifications and include 8 regular size classrooms with sheetrock walls, drop ceilings, fire sprinkler system, carpet, tile, sidewalks and male/female restrooms. The classrooms provide space for up to 240 students and will be occupied primarily by 8th grade students beginning in August 2016.
The additional 8 classrooms provides the district with the flexibility to adjust and reconfigure other buildings to meet the immediate enrollment needs. With that said, it appears that the time frame of 2020/21 will need to have a larger scale facility space increase as at least 2 buildings will be at or over capacity. The solutions begin developed now are indeed temporary solutions that provide a plan for the short-term of 1-3 years.
Logistics are currently being developed regarding schedule, staffing, reducing transitions from building to building, utilization of facilities, and the reconfiguration of grade levels within buildings. Beginning in August, 5th grade students will occupy the newest addition on the south side of the Middle School building. Currently, discussions are taking place regarding the configuration of East, which is likely to include half of the 3rd grade and all of 4th grade. If this is the course of action that will be implemented, all buildings in the district will be under capacity for the next few years.
Continual evaluation of enrollment trends, new construction, appraisals, configuration of buildings, patron input will be ongoing over the next 10 – 12 months. Through the facilities evaluation process during that time span, we will be able to ascertain and develop a comprehensive plan that falls in line with patron support, survey data, and feasibility.
“We are confident the temporary solution that has been put in place as a result of the unsuccessful bond attempt in June, is the most viable option for our district at this time. The solution, albeit temporary, has the flexibility to evolve as a permanent piece of a more elaborate solution as we evaluate the situation over the next several months,” commented Superintendent Tim Conrad. “Student outcomes, services, efficiency will not be jeopardized. Our district has a very solid reputation across the state. We are determined to work together as a community to address the continual growth of 60 -100 students per year by finding a means to accommodate the learning space required to continue to build on the strong foundation that we have.”
Enrollment GrowthPosted by T. Conrad on 9/29/2015 1:35:56 PM
2015 / 2016 Enrollment
Enrollment continues to increase in our district. The following facts regarding current enrollment and past-enrollment help define the picture of our growing district.
In 2013, our district commisioned a demographic study to project enrollment through the 2023/24 school year. The projection for the 15/16 school year for K-12 was set at: 1,989 students. We currently have 2,021 in K-12.
The 15/16 school year enrollment growth is a 3.1% increase from last year. The average student increase over the last 7 years has been 56 students per year not counting this year.
Since 2007/08 school year, the largest student increase was from the 13/14 school year to the 14/15 school year with an 87 student increase.
The breakdown by building as of Sept. 21 is as follows:
Piper Elementary = 648 students Last year = 643 students
East Elementary = 339 students Last year = 308 students
Piper Middle = 450 students Last year = 436 students
Piper High School = 584 students Last year = 576 students
Piper East Elementary is now currently 9 students above capacity.
Piper Elementary is now currently 32 students from capacity.
The current student enrollment total by grade:
K = 147
1 = 169
2 = 160
3 = 172
4 = 170
5 = 169
6 = 160
7 = 147
8 = 143
9 = 148
10 = 145
11 = 159
12 = 132
A total of 453 new students have enrolled in our district since 2007/08 school year.
The total district headcount in 2007/08 K-12 was 1566. The district has grown 29% since 2007/08.
Moving ForwardPosted by T. Conrad on 9/17/2015 6:28:39 AM
Enrollment growth presents challenges
Faced with many challenges of enrollment growth, funding, facilities, and future planning, the USD 203 BOE has committed to the acquisition of additional classroom space by way of a modular classroom structure that will occupy 8 classrooms as a temporary solution with the flexibility of permanent solution options. The structure provides for restrooms, carpeted classrooms and all the amenities of a regular classroom structure and would be located on the Middle School/East Elementary campus. Collaborative efforts with staff to address all logistics, schedules, concerns will take place over the next several months to ensure a smooth transition for the 16/17 school year with the added facility.
In addition to creating more space to provide for continued annual enrollment growth of 4% + and a 30% increase in enrollment since 2007, the district has also committed to a research survey of patrons regarding the recent unsuccessful bond issue in order to obtain data and analysis as we prepare to move forward with another attempt. Patron's Insight has been commissioned to develop a survey over the next few months. The information that we will learn will be instrumental in the development of a permanent plan to meet the increased enrollment challenges in our district. The process will include:
* Telephone survey
* Online survey
* Analysis of data
* Comprehensive report
This is a very challenging time for our district. Addressing immediate issues and future issues presents unique opportunities. Working together to develop solutions and continuing to remain efficient, proficient, and maintaining high standards will continue to remain key objectives as we move forward.
2015/16 BudgetPosted by T. Conrad on 7/28/2015 8:47:09 AM
No School Mill Levy Increase For Third Straight Year
The 2015/16 USD #203 budget will not have an increase on the mill levy for patrons in our school district! For the third straight year, Piper has been able to hold the line on the mill levy and continue to provide quality educational opportunities for the children in our district. Even though state funding per pupil has decreased nearly $375 per pupil over the past 5 years and enrollment has increased over 400 students, we continue to be a highly efficient school district and have lowered the school levy by nearly 2 mills as compared to the mill levy in 2011.
Our district is still working to address enrollment growth concerns and the increasing need for facilities to provide the space needed for our 5-6% annual enrollment growth pattern. Simply put, our district is very attractive to residents in the metro area! Temporary solutions as well as permanent solutions are being discussed. The recent defeat of the bond election will not derail the efforts to continue to pursue additional facility space with another attempt at a bond issue as our district continues to grow and attract new residents/students. Additional details regarding future timelines, solutions, will be disucssed in upcoming months.
In an era where education is being underfunded and the cost to educate continue to increase, we look to the 15/16 school year as a continuation of the momentum we have developed in recent years. Student excellence in the classroom and outside of the classroom will continue to be the goal. Providing the space and resources will continue to be the challenge. As a school district, community involvement is necessary for our success. By becoming educated on the needs of our district and the outstanding efforts of our staff on a daily basis in order to provide opportunities for our students; as a patron you will be able to grasp the true meaning of high quality education and a highly efficient educational system. Get involved! Attend Board of Education meetings, read the newsletters, volunteer at a school, attend a game or performance, become familiar with the website, download the Piper app to your phone, visit the buildings and tour the facilties. There are so many opportunities for you to become educated and/or involved with our school system. Your support and involvement is an investment, not only to the school district but the entire Piper community!
As always if you have questions, we are here to help provide answers. Please don't hesitate to contact us! 2015/16 will be a fantastic school year!
Progress ReportPosted by T. Conrad on 7/2/2015 1:45:15 PM
The close of the 14/15 school year is the start of the 15/16 school year. During the 14/15 school year we were able to make some upgrades in technology district-wide. Through strategic and efficient planning, over 300 ChromeBooks and ipads were purchased and deployed throughout the district. Most recently, an additional 120 ChromeBooks have been purchased and will be added to the inventory at the high school in addition to the bring your own device initiative that begins in the 15/16 school year for students in grades 6-12.
Continued additional enhancements in bandwidth, connectivity and infrastructure have taken place as well. Through efficient fiscal management, over $125,000 of additional instructional resources, textbooks, curriculum, equipment have been purchased for the new school year with all funds coming out of the 14/15 budget.
As a district, we begin the 15/16 school year with the resources requested by classroom teachers, the staff in place, the continuation of programs that have been successful, and the addition of a few new programs as well. All buildings will now have full-time Registered Nurses, the elementary, middle school and high school will continue to have counselors and media specialists, additional math and reading intervention courses have been added to the Middle School curriculum, additional special education support has been added at the high school and elementary. On the communication side of things, a new webpage has been developed that will enahance communication and interaction between parents, patrons and the school district. In addition to the webpage, a mobile application is now available with current schedules, information, news feeds, direct links to teachers, classroom, assignments.
The 15/16 year will again be a year filled with enhanced opportunities and achievement that continues to be recognized throughout the state. We have allocated funds to continue to enhance technology in the classroom with the purchase of additional ChromeBooks, ipads and Smartboards.
With the resources in place, and an outstanding staff of educators, we will continue to use the 5 R's as our guide: Rigor, Relevance, Relationships, Responsive Culture and Results. The quest for success continues! 2015-16 will be an outstanding year!