Great Bend public schools will offer a four-week summer school program starting Monday, June 1, for Great Bend High School and June 8 for elementary schools and Great Bend Middle School.
Each building will have limited enrollment, open only to invited students, to ensure the program adheres to public health and safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and the Barton County Health Department, according to information from the USD 428 District Education Center.
“At the elementary and secondary level, summer school will serve as a bridge from the last quarter to the start of the school year next fall,” said Tricia Reiser, director of teaching and learning for USD 428.
All elementary buildings will offer a half-day summer school program from June 8 through July 2, with building occupancy limited to 90 students and staff. Great Bend Middle School will host a summer school program for incoming 7th- and 8th-grade students, and Great Bend High School will have offerings as well. Different from the other buildings, Great Bend High School’s summer school program will run from June 1-26 with morning and afternoon sessions daily.
Teacher clarity in unclear times
“Clarity is key, especially in these uncertain times,” Reiser. “Planning for both the short-term and long-term, our teaching staff has been working for two years to study our state standards and prioritize the critical skills our students need to know. The process is three-fold, knowing what to teach, determining the appropriate level of rigor, and initiating learning in the correct order.”
Teachers in USD 428 are in year two of a five-year journey on the topics of “Teacher Clarity and Visible Learning.” Led by Kristin Anderson, a master trainer, author and researcher on the topic, teachers are working to unpack state standards and examine their lesson content and delivery even in this time of distance learning. Over the course of two days in early May, USD 428 and Anderson hosted 13 Zoom meetings within various content areas and grade-level groups to discuss the present reality and the importance of Priority Standards when school resumes after roughly 5-6 months where students have been out of the classroom.
“I am so incredibly proud of the work that has taken place in Great Bend Public School District over the past few years,” said Anderson. “This system is fierce, and they are strongly committed to providing a world-class education for every child in their care. In education, it is rare to work with a group who involves every stakeholder on a multi-year journey of focusing on a few essential practices deeply. Great Bend has identified a five-year plan that will ensure not only an upward trajectory in student achievement, but the long-term empowerment of this strong and resilient community.”
In response to the current reality of distance learning, Anderson commented, “whether students are learning in the classroom or at home, mastering an essential set of skills is critical to ensuring no time is wasted and that our learners build tool kits they can carry with them in any situation they face as a continued student or employee.”
As USD 428 looks to summer programs as well as next year’s instruction, Reiser shared that “developing the academic and competency based content will truly be a craft. Teachers will determine what students know, and move on to what they don’t know to ensure growth in essential skills.”
About Kristin Anderson
Kristin Anderson is an educator and researcher, as well as founder and CEO of The Brilliance Project. For over 20 years, Anderson has helped thousands of educators, leaders and aspiring world-changers transform their potential through the lens of education. In recent years, Anderson has collaborated with global leaders to design, implement, and evaluate professional learning frameworks, leading large scale development initiatives for sustainable impact through education. Anderson resides in Thousand Oaks, California with her family. More information about the program can be found at www.thebrillianceproject.com.
For more information about USD 428’s Teaching and Learning initiatives, contact the District Education Center by calling 620-793-1500. Information about Summer School is available at the building level; contact the attendance centers directly Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
An earlier version of this story did not clarify the June 1 starting date for GBHS.