`Mercury 7′ schools nearing the launchpad

Seven school districts. 

Fourteen schools. 

Kansas is launching a new concept in public education that could eventually affect every student in the state. 

After a year of planning, those schools on Tuesday and Wednesday will present their plans to the State Board of Education. KASB will provide up-to-the-minute details and information on the presentations on social media and in News Briefs.  

Last year, Kansas school districts were invited to apply to be one of the seven districts for the Kansas School Redesign Project.  

To be considered, the districts had to designate one elementary school and one secondary school to be redesigned around the five outcomes established by the State Board. Those outcomes are kindergarten readiness, individual plans of study focused on careers, increased high school graduation rates and post-secondary completion rates and social-emotional growth. 

“The ultimate goal of this project is to build an education system that provides choice for students within the existing Kansas public education system while using existing resources,” the Kansas State Department of Education said.  

Seven districts were chosen and took the names of the United States’ first group of astronauts, the Mercury 7. 

After countless meetings, strategy sessions, community town halls, site visits and collaborations, school officials will submit their plans to the State Board with an eye toward launching their overhauled approaches to education at the start of the upcoming school year in August. The new operations will be used as demonstration sites for the rest of the state’s districts. In addition to the Mercury 7 districts, 40 more districts have committed to redesigning more than 100 schools in the coming years. 

The Mercury 7 districts and schools are: 

Liberal USD 480 

Meadowlark Elementary School 

Liberal High School 

Twin Valley USD 240 

Tescott Grade School 

Bennington Junior-Senior High School 

Coffeyville USD 445 

Community Elementary School 

Field Kindley High School 

Wellington USD 353 

Kennedy Elementary School 

Wellington High School 

McPherson USD 418 

Eisenhower Elementary School 

McPherson Middle School 

Olathe USD 233  

Westview Elementary School 

Santa Fe Trail Middle School 

Stockton USD 271 

Stockton Grade School 

Stockton High School 

The presentations are set to start at 3:15 p.m. on Tuesday with Wellington and Coffeyville, 9 a.m. on Wednesday with Liberal, Stockton and McPherson and then 12:30 p.m. with Twin Valley and Olathe. 

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