Kyrene superintendent lists progress toward achieving district’s enrollment stability

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Dr. Jan Vesely, superintendent of Kyrene schools
Dr. Jan Vesely, superintendent of Kyrene schools

As 2017 is now upon us, I wanted to share with the community the progress we have made on the “Superintendent’s Priorities” during the first half of the 2016-17 school year.

These priorities were developed, in consultation with the Kyrene Governing Board, and after a careful analysis of enrollment and achievement data. 

Like many other school districts in Arizona, one of our challenges is maintaining enrollment and the priorities reflect the District’s response to the goal of achieving stability of enrollment in Kyrene. 

For the past several weeks, I have been working collaboratively with the Board on several recommendations. 

On December 6, the Board gave approval to move forward with the expansion of the Kyrene Traditional Academy-Sureño Campus to serve students PreK-8, and to initiate the process of creating an International Baccalaureate program at Kyrene Middle School.  

The vote was the culmination of an extensive process which included two public forums, several site-based meetings with parents, and an online survey that was open to the entire Kyrene community in which over 1700 individuals responded.  This feedback was used to shape the recommendations to the Board and will guide our efforts as we move forward toward implementation.

The expansion of KTA to accommodate students beyond 5th grade comes after many years of parents requesting extension of traditional instruction for students in Kyrene through 8th grade. 

This proposal has the potential for retaining and increasing enrollment among families seeking a traditional approach to learning for their children. 

We will also move forward with an application for International Baccalaureate (IB) Candidacy for the 2017-18 school year. 

IB programs aim to develop students who connect their learning through interdisciplinary methodology. The Middle Years Programs (grades 6-8) is a challenging framework that encourages students to make practical connections between their studies and the real world culminating in a capstone project. 

One of the reasons we identified IB as a possibility for Kyrene is it has a strong world language component which would provide students in our dual-language program at Norte Elementary with an option to continue their focus into middle school and serve as a complement to the existing dual language strand for students matriculating to KMS from Norte.

The District will now begin to develop an implementation plan and address some of the questions raised through community engagement processes. 

Moving ahead with these recommendations signals a bold and strategic approach to stabilizing and increasing enrollment in Kyrene.

I want to thank the community for its participation and input as we developed these recommendations.  I also want to thank the Governing Board for their ongoing support for these priorities.

These are challenging and exiting times in Kyrene, and we have a lot of work ahead of us. 

In January, I am looking forward to the results of a District-wide audit that I hope will help us build on the many strengths of the District and address areas in which we can improve, working toward the shared goal of providing all learners with the best education experience we can offer.

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