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LHS uses redesign to provide ‘Angry Red Advantage’ PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 13 December 2017 10:19


• Leader & Times

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the final part of the story recapping a recent breakfast event at the Liberal High School East Cmapus that focused on what will be going on with the Kansans CAN redesign program at Meadowlark Elementary School and LHS, and will focus on the high school’s plans for the project. 

After hearing from Kansas Department of Education representatives as well as staff from Meadowlark Elementary School, it was time for LHS representatives to lay out their plans for being part of the Kansans CAN redesign project. 

“Like Mr. Svaty said earlier, I’ve had a lot of your children as students in my classes at the high school, including one young lady who’s year and obviously a successful adult now,” LHS project co-pilot Eric Olmstead began. “I asked her ‘Were you prepared when you left Liberal High School to go to the next level?’” She was very prepared, but there’s a not of our students who are not. We’ve visited some schools and got some ideas.”

Olmstead talked a bit about the application timeline followed, saying it was a rather tight timeline. 

“It’s a very interesting time because we were offered the opportunity to blow up what we do, take the things we’re doing well, expand upon that, get buy-in from the community, get buy-in from the teachers,” Olmstead said. “I’m really excited, I have a son in 2nd grade, a daughter in kindergarten, and they’re going to reap the benefits of this. The word redesign doesn’t entirely fit because it’s not really redesigning what we’re doing, it’s we’re starting over and working to expand upon the things we do well. We started going to other schools and checking and researching in Green Bay, Wisconsin. We have ideas, we have a new schedule in mind, we have some core values in mind, we have a vision in mind, we have a plan. We have teachers in 25 different groups spread out working on this. It’s teacher-led, they’re our best assets.”

Olmstead and LHS Principal Ashley Kappelmann then went over the three parts to LHS’s plan for the project, which included Plan for Today, Vision for the Future and Purpose for the Future. 

“All of this leads to what we’re calling the Angry Red Advantage, which means we want our students to leave the high school and the Liberal public schools thinking they have an edge over colleagues at the workplace or fellow students at college,” Kappelmann said. “We want them to feel we gave them a leg up. So the plan is they have not only some sort of guide for where they want to go and how they’re going to get there, but also have problem-solving skills. We all know a plan is fantastic but there are challenges along the way, which is not something we can prevent. So we want to equip them with a way to get where they want to be, but also ways to work around challenges and persevere and show grit in getting there when there’s barriers in the way.”

“With the second part, what we’re talking about is tomorrow not just for the young students and the future down the road, but also when students here at the high school leave us,” Olmstead added. “There’s the question of will they be successful, will they be able to do what they need to?”

Kappelmann then talked about some of the research done. 

“We looked at some research throughout the process talking about how hope better determines how students can be successful in the future even beyond their achievements here,” Kappelmann said. “So we want our students to leave with hope, hope that they can learn, hope that they can do things they didn’t think they could do, and that they have a growth mindset, that what they’re doing right now isn’t what they have to do in the future. They all have some sort of brilliance in them and strengths that will prove valuable in the workforce.”

“When our students leave, hopefully they have a good idea of what they want out of life,” Olmstead said. “We feel like one of the best things for us is to be civic and community leaders and that leads to our last portion, Purpose for Life.”

Both Olmstead and Kappelmann then talked about that last portion of the plan. 

“We worked on this part quite a bit, especially the wording on this,” Kappelmann said. “Currently, our students do community service hours and we say the Pledge of Allegiance and things like that but we want our students to be more rooted in civic engagement. We want them to not only go and do time doing the community service hours but overall serving the community and wanting to give back when they’re older. We want them to not only go out and do their hours but we also want them to see what it’s like at an organizational level and understand the role school board members play or city commissioners play, what have you. That’s something we want to do with this final part, equip them to serve way past what we require of them in high school.”

Fellow LHS project co-pilot Scott Hinkle also spoke before the gathered crowd about some of the things being considered.  

“We’re almost neck-deep in all of this at this point,” Hinkle said. “We’ve got a team of about 16 to 20 teachers who tend to gather and eventually got us to where we are now. We divided into 25 teams and when we broke it down, all those teams have teachers on them, administrators, all types and I was fortunate enough to get on. When we got back from the Green Bay trip, we all came back jazzed. It’s really a tribute to you all as a community to be able to spread that word. I’m part of the lunch committee and a large part of them go out for lunch even though they’re not supposed to – some get caught and some don’t. So that brought up what could we do as far as keeping the students at school at lunchtime? One quick example is I literally stopped a student the other day who I knew had skipped and he told me he went to eat at Pizza Hut and told me it was really good. So what can we do to make the LHS cafeteria so good the students actually want to eat there? It sounds easy, but how can we blow up and redesign the lunches? With that, we have some ideas, but that affects the schedule somewhat, so a lot of those teams have to mesh together. We’ve got teams talking to teams and teams talking to administrators, it’s amazing seeing all that happen. I want to thank every one of you for coming out this morning.”




About The High Plains Daily Leader

The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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