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  • Last modified 82 days ago (April 25, 2018)

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School district embarks on overhaul

Staff writer

Peabody-Burns school district learned last week it was one of 19 schools chosen to take part in a transformational school redesign project facilitated by Kansas State Department of Education.

Superintendent Ron Traxson, curriculum director Kathy Preheim, and middle through high school principal Scott Kimble were in Topeka for the announcement.

“It’s basically a modern approach to educating kids,” Traxson said. “I’m excited the state is allowing for these changes and to move forward with traditional education.”

Kimble, who is in his first year as principal, is enthusiastic about setting forth on a path that better prepares students upon graduating high school.

“This is from the bottom up, not the top down,” he said. “It’s teacher led and teacher driven. It’s the first time we’ve had an opportunity like this as a district and as a community. It’s what’s best for Peabody-Burns.”

The project, called “Gemini II; The Space Walk Begins,” centers on five main objectives; social-emotional growth, kindergarten readiness, individual plans of study, high school graduation, and postsecondary success.

The new project won’t be fully implemented until the 2019-2020 school year.

“It’s going to look like whatever is best for our students, whatever that is,” said Kimble. “It’s to help them discover what their passions are and what they like to do and allow that to drive where they’re going with their education.”

In order to keep the dream of a curriculum overhaul for the district alive, an 80 percent teacher buy-in was required. Kimble said almost 100 percent of teachers are on board.

Fourth grade teacher and cheerleading coach Denae Pickens was one of them.

“It’s obviously something I was for and I’m excited about it,” she said. “It’s time for a change.”

Preheim said she is excited for the possibilities that come with the change and what that means for the community as a whole.

“I will be a team member with the rest of teachers, all learning together,” she said. “I see myself as being support for them when they’re stuck or frustrated. I will always do whatever I can do to help them out.

“This is going to be tailor made for our kids and for our community. We are very open to learning what we need to learn to help meet the needs of our kids and community alike.”

While these three drivers behind what could be a historical move for the district all agree there are positive things on the horizon, they all also agree that with growth comes the possibility of growing pains.

Both Kimble and Preheim mention part of a quote from the movie “Armageddon” relating to the general theme of the overhaul the district is about to embark on.

“We’re like 98 percent excited, two percent scared,” said Kimble. “Or maybe it’s more. It could be, 98 percent scared, two percent excited.”

Last modified April 25, 2018

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