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Tuesday Talk with Dr. Dain - December 15, 2020

Dear Pirate Nation,

It’s hard to believe this is the last week of school for the year 2020.  Although unprecedented, it is truly a year in which I will always think fondly due to the sole fact of this is the year that I became part of the Pirate Nation.  Thank you for welcoming me into the family; you’ve made this feel like home!  I want to extend a special thank-you to our amazing Board of Education for taking a chance on the New Kid.  I am so completely grateful to be a part of the Piper School District; as I count my blessings during the holiday season, Piper is at the top of my list. 

First thing on my agenda is spreading a little bit of Christmas Cheer.  The Piper Education Foundation has afforded me the opportunity to play Mrs. Clause (Did you know some people say Mrs. Clause’s first name was Jessica?  Seriously…. Google it!) and I get to announce some very lucky winners! Please find below the recipients of the PEF 2020 Grant Giving:

  • Jennifer Ahlers on behalf of the PMS ELA department-$725 for Close Reading Annotation Tool App and Young Adult Books
  • Ashley Kowalewski-$300 for Positive Behavior Support Interventions incentives
  • Stasi Willmon on behalf of Early Childhood teachers-$902.65 on multi-cultural/ethnic dramatic play resources  
  • Allision Carey and Stasi Haworth--$1000 to subsidize the purchase of a Laser Cutter for Art and STEM for Piper Creek
  • Amber Buck, Justin Richmond, and Kyle Moore--$970 10 Licenses for the College Coaching Network

A HUGE THANK YOU to the PIPER EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION and CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR TEACHER WINNERS!

Board Meeting Summary

I would like to take a quick opportunity to give you an update on our Board Meeting last night…may things in which to be thankful….and excited! Last night, the following items were approved from our Board of Education:

  1. Document Cameras for all staff who shared with their principals they needed one for instruction
  2. A new electronic monument sign for Piper High School and Piper Middle School which will be located right off Hutton Road
  3. Morgan Hunter Education Substitute Staffing Solutions to help us secure substitute teachers
  4. Facility Audit: In 2018, the gracious community of Piper approved the passing of a bond for approximately $35 Million to build Piper Creek Elementary. If you haven’t had a chance to physically tour Piper Creek Elementary, please find below a BEAUTIFUL video tour of the school!  YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGaAQGL3wqw

It is exciting to share that as we close on the building project, the district has about $1.5 Million to spend on capital improvements and deferred maintenance as stated in the bond language. As such, the Board has hired an architectural firm, incite Design Studio (iDS) to complete a facility audit for the district.  However, our community input is just as important as the findings to us.  Please consider filling out this quick survey to share your input with the Board of Education on the state of our current facilities: https://forms.gle/cFKHjzwvHXbF1izcA

  1. Adoption of Portrait of a Graduate - My personal favorite! The Portrait of a Graduate process involved a sustained conversation leading to shared agreement focused on a unique community-owned picture of what graduates need for success.  Building a Community Advisory team was an integral part of the process.  Representatives included communities of faith, business, higher education, community members at large, social service agencies, district leaders, school leaders, families, teachers, and students. Through this inclusive process, the Piper Portrait of a Graduate encompasses the community’s collective vision for our students.  This process was branded #FUTUREREADY with a focus on the class of as 2033 when this year’s current kindergarten students will graduate from high school.

The Community Advisory Committee’s feedback was garnered through two meetings.  The first meeting took place on October 28, 2020. At that meeting, competencies were shared in the cognitive, personal and interpersonal realms.  Assembling the participants in groups of three, each group was asked to select their top two competencies in the cognitive, personal, and interpersonal categories.  At our second meeting on November 18, 2020, the Community Advisory Committee members were provided the prioritized list of competencies based on their work from the October meeting.  Participants were once again asked to select their top two competencies from the three categories.  In addition to the Community Advisory Committee, the voting on the narrowed categories (after the October 2020 meeting) was opened to the District Staff and all parents in the Piper School District. 

The next step in this process is to approve the six competencies which the District Administration recommends to the Board of Education. At the completion of that task, the competencies identified in our Piper Portrait of a Graduate will then drive the creation of an updated District Strategic Plan which will encapsulate the competencies and drive our future work as a district and as a community.

It is with great pride we unveil the final Piper Portrait of a Graduate competencies based on the hard work and feedback of the Community Advisory Committee, Piper District Staff, and Piper Parent Community:

Portrait of a Graduate Competencies

COVID Updates

USD 203 continues to interact daily with the Wyandotte County Health Department to monitor data regarding school and community spread.  Please find below our district data including a semester view of our quarantining data.

 

Piper School District Positive COVID-19 Data:

 

Students (Sept 9-Dec 15)

Student New Cases

(12-7 through 12-15)

Staff (Aug 12-Dec 15)

Staff New Cases

(12-7 through 12-15)

Piper Early Childhood

1

0

4

0

Piper Prairie Elementary

14

1

6

0

Piper Creek Elementary

24

5

3

1

Piper Middle School

11

2

2

1

Piper High School

23

4

4

1

TOTALS

73

12

19

3

Piper School District Semester Quarantine Data:

 

Students

Staff

Piper Early Childhood

64

13

Piper Prairie Elementary

258

26

Piper Creek Elementary

274

32

Piper Middle School

143

24

Piper High School

190

28

TOTALS

929

123

Additional COVID Tests Available

If you were unable to pick up one of the free saliva tests available, you still have a few more opportunities. Students and their family members are welcome to pickup a test at the High School on Wednesday, December 16 from 7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. or at the Middle School on Thursday, December 17 from 7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Completed tests must be dropped at the District Office (3130 N. 122nd Street) by Friday, December 18 at 2:00 p.m. to ensure they are picked up by the lab for processing prior to the break. We are grateful to be able to offer this opportunity to our community.

Secondary Returning to Learning

At the December 14th Board of Education Meeting, we explicitly discussed the secondary model that we hope to have available which aligns with the County cohorting mandate for middle and high school students that wish to have the option of attending classes onsite.  That plan has been submitted to the WYCO Health Department for their approval.  As soon as we receive the green light, we will be back in touch with our secondary parents!

Please note:  If you are interested in sharing your ideas and feedback at a Board of Education meeting, please contact Mrs. Kelly Connor, Board Clerk at kconnor@piperschools.us.  Speakers must register a week in advance of the meeting.  Our January meeting is January 11th, which means speakers must register to speak on January 4th, 2021 meeting.

It is critically important that families continue with the COVID-19 mitigation efforts during this holiday season.  Otherwise, community transmission levels could impact our ability to keep schools open. Our students and staff have been doing an excellent job of keeping schools safe from COVID-19, but they can’t do that by themselves; we need the entire community’s help in order to keep the doors open to our schools. 

Proud to be a Pirate!

Dr. Jessica Dain

Superintendent of Schools