• Conversations Continued

    Community Conversation #2
    The district hosted the second Community Conversation on March 5.  The event was open to all parents, staff, and community members. The event began with a presentation by Superintendent Paul Mensching sharing financial information from the district - click here to view the slides from that presentation.  Following the presenation, attendees had the opportunity to ask questions. 

    The Community Conversations are part of the district efforts to gain input from staff, parents, and the community.  The Conversation events are planned for twice per year.

    Anyone with questions about the events or information shared in the presentation is encouraged to contact us at 380-2727, ext. 1224 or jill.filer@harrisonvilleschools.org.

    Community Conversation #1

    *The district hosted it first Community Conversation on Nov. 13.  The event was open to all parents, staff, and community members. The event began with a presentation by Superintendent Paul Mensching providing an overview of the district - click here to view the slides from that presentation.  The presentation was followed by small group discussions focused on the questions below.  The feedback from those discussions is posted below.  As a follow-up to the meeting, anyone - those who attended and those unable to attend - are asked to provide additional feedback via this survey - https://goo.gl/forms/UXuTyYfmSagmoTtC2 which is open through Nov. 28.  All information will be used by the district, along with input from our staff, to shape our Comprehensive School Improvement Plan moving forward.  The district will host Community Conversation #2 in the spring.

    What’s the biggest strength of the school district?

    • Sense of community
    • Security at drop-off and pick-up
    • Friendliness
    • Facilities
    • Teachers
    • Variety of activities (MS sports, robotics)
    • Wildcat Academy
    • CCC
    • Community itself
    • Staff is there because they want to be, committed to the best for students
    • Strong administrative team across the district – care about community
    • Advanced students – no issues
    • Community involvement
    • Educators care
    • Teachers – multiple responses – the way they work together, especially the “local” teachers, another level of dedication, strong sense of community, MS is a strong point, relationship buildings
    • Bright Futures has been very impactful, gives kids a sense of altruism, see the adults do it and want to do it
    • Heard of HHS and CCC teachers who have taken the extra step to make an impact
    • General perspective of good teacher relationships
    • A community that works together – Bright Futures is an example
    • Teachers and staff – some turnover – core group
    • People that run the schools; students are good kids
    • Location makes us stronger
    • Base demographic strong – strong farm community; strong Christian community, but demographic is changing and can be challenging
    • The opportunities that are available for students
    • Bigger school, more activities that are offered, activities other than sports (band and art programs available), offer more opportunities
    • Special needs and have been very supportive in the inclusion of students, offers a very good mix of special education hours and regular classes, look at students as individuals
    • Caring community
    • Staff – dedicated and caring, knowing kids on personal level
    • Encouragement and support from parents
    • Kids love to see their teachers – love to come to school
    • Needs are met
    • Bright Futures


    What is the one area we need to work on?

    • Teacher salaries (honor educators)
    • Push students more (more rigor)
    • Maybe half day option for kindergarten
    • Parental involvement
    • Giving “teaching” information to parents to help them help their students – video tape lessons & post
    • Teach kids “how to work the problem” – critical thinking
    • Cell phones – caused a huge amount of problems - need to be eliminated in the classroom
    • Mental health and the impact it’s having on students, concerned about teachers being able to relate to students with these concerns, don’t know what the district is doing to help, students are causing other to not learn because of disruptions
    • Classroom control – teachers abilities to deal with aggressive/disruptive behaviors
    • Buddy room can be a problem – good in concept but students use it to get their way, how are other district succeeding in dealing with these students?
    • Behavior specialist at all buildings
    • Not privy or around the district to answer, but as a society we need to address issues that are affecting school (i.e. achievement levels are affected by home and situation variables – deep rooted problems)
    • Enrollment chart from presentation – again district can’t fix specifically but a town problem
    • As a community, we can’t keep our own graduates – no jobs, housing, etc.
    • Kids are stopping at level 3 questions in Mastery Connect, not even attempting level 4 questions, students not required to turn in homework at high school level (too lenient)
    • HMS traffic flow for pick-up and drop-off is a concern
    • Maybe not so much a traffic flow issue, but a parent patience issue – maybe officers enforcing drop-offs – at HMS the e-mail that went out about traffic issues helped
    • More communication on a daily basis, i.e. Homecoming t-shirt orders didn’t get home, maybe use remind for each classroom, one teacher uses seesaw
    • My teacher uses class dojo but doesn’t put anything on it
    • First grade boys horsing around in the bathroom, maybe teachers at the door and more eyes on what’s going on in other areas, not just in the classroom
    • I don’t understand the grading policy at the middle school
    • Safety – front door access to hallways, entryways protected from free entry
    • Pick-up/drop-off – training parents to follow rules – need police presence at times – barriers
    • Bus app problems
    • Traffic at buildings
    • Gaps in curriculum – math in 8th grade (gaps in what has been covered in the past)

    What is the one thing we could do (as a district) to positively impact student achievement?

    • Teachers need more interaction (better relationships) with students
    • Communicating with each other
    • Utilizing resources in community to teach skills and gain experiences
    • Vertical partnerships between schools
    • Enrichment programs
    • Opportunities for kids
    • Cell phone restrictions
    • Classroom management
    • Feed our teachers – give them back their freedom to be teachers again (help in addressing mental health issues)
    • Provide subs with more student information (gender, names) – more training for subs, paras, individuals in the building
    • Increase rigor and raise expectations
    • More consequences and accountability to hold students accountable
    • Achievement assemblies could be giving some students bad vibes – “I didn’t get one again this time:
    • Love the extra things at the Middle School – music in halls on Fridays, adults visiting with kids – “We haven’t missed a day yet.  My daughter loves it here”
    • Students love the dojo’s/class rewards for behavior
    • Help with behavior problems
    • Celebrate achievement (i.e. HMS recognizing veterans), teachers sharing college experiences, HMS student sign in the yard
    • What are we doing to encourage achievement for both advanced and special needs kids?

    Anything else you want to share?

    • Explore year around school?
    • Increase pre-school day (offer more)
    • Communication about the district as a whole – “the system”
    • District cannot request testing – mom paying for testing – frustrated by this practice
    • Working with students with higher needs
    • Training for teachers
    • More of a drug problem in community than most are aware
    • Wildcat Academy kids by HMS & ECC smoking
    • Continuing or expanded DARE program
    • Surprised by attendance being such an issue
    • How are improvements going to happen? – Levy/Bond
    • Gifted services for all students (IEP like Kansas)
    • Teachers have more directed training on phonics and math
    • Huge concern with Mastery Connect and its reporting – not easy to follow or navigate as a parent – not user friendly – unable to access much of the information – only reporting pre-test scores
    • Grading system of elementary schools – hate it – proficient, advanced, etc. – prefer alphabetic scale like upper grades
    • Bullying – tough topic and how do we address?
    • More training for subs – i.e. Alice training
    • Teachers need to update red folders
    • Improve sub training
    • Measurements versus long-term trends – 3-5 year window isn’t long enough
    • What is percentage of dollars spent on sports versus students participating in sports
    • One parent wanted to know what the Wildcat Academy was
    • With my student in Kindergarten, already reading and writing, will the rigor continue or will they get bored or left behind?
    • Website needs – can’t find information about various things easily (library sometimes helps community members on website and struggle)
    • Same treatment for all parents whether they are known to administration or not – child’s best interest in placement
    • Encourage healthy options at lunch – less breading
    • Need more services for behaviors and mental health problems

    Conversations Summary from Fall 2019 - Feedback gained from community, parents, staff, & students
    conversations summary