16/17 School Year

Posted 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!