Board of Education - Updated 4/03/2020

Communication and information from the Board of Education will be updated here. 

April 3, 2020

 Hello friends! Today is Friday, April 3rd. Did you catch that? It is FRIDAY! It might not have been pretty, but we have all made it to the weekend. For many of our families, the days have begun to blend together and it is hard to keep our bearings. It can be especially challenging in times of high stress to hold on to some of the structures that shape our days. So I would like to share some words of encouragement with you on behalf of myself and my fellow Manhattan-Ogden USD 383 board members.

To our students and families- You have made it through three days of continuous learning! No matter what you accomplished in the past three days, please consider it a success. Some of our students have blazed through their learning packets, while others have kept to the daily plan, and still others are just getting started. That is okay. Every family is facing their own challenges right now and needs to feel comfortable doing what is right for them. There are even differences between students within the same family where one child is just rolling right along while another needs some extra support. But you have all made it to the weekend. Please don’t feel pressure to continue “school” through the weekend. Let it be a weekend. Read together, spend some time outside, watch a show together- just do what brings your family peace.

To our teachers and staff- Wow! You have made it through a whirlwind of planning, learning, organizing, teaching, and more (so much is captured with the words “and more”). It has been a long stream of days where your brain has rarely been in the “off” position. You have collaborated and executed plans to meet our students’ physical, educational, and emotional needs. And you have done this during a time when your own homes and families are facing the same upheaval and uncertainty as the rest of the world. You have been the face of positivity and stability for people young and not so young who look to you for support. Please remember that this is your weekend as well. Rest. Spend time with your people doing the things that fill you up.

To everyone- We have completed the first leg of our journey together on this new road. We loaded up our cars and have set out for our destination. For some of us, the first days of this new road felt like the freeway at rush hour as new things like Zoom, Canvas, Office 365, and Continuous Learning have sped by. It might have been overwhelming.  As we approach the weekend, let us all look at this as our first rest stop along the road. Pull over, get out of the car, take some deep breaths and stretch your legs. Give yourself and your family some time to unwind before we set out again on Monday. Our road is long, with some twists and turns along the way, but we will make it to our destination. We are all in this together.

With grace-

Karla Hagemeister
Board President
Manhattan-Ogden USD 383

March 30, 2020

It is hard to comprehend how much life has changed for each and every one of us since our teachers and students said goodbye at spring break. On March 5th, our schools finished the day with excitement, never thinking that they would be unable to reunite and finish the year together. The reality of the dangers of the Coronavirus pandemic have caused schools across the entire state to change course. Through a steady stream of change, our USD 383 team has stepped up to the challenge. They have utilized guidance from the Kansas Department of Education, Governor Laura Kelly, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and local authorities to develop plans that will allow our schools to carry on our mission of building foundations for dynamic futures.

Over the past two weeks, district and building administrators, teachers, staff, and community partners have worked together closely to plan the next steps. District leaders have met continuously to map the road ahead and collect the necessary tools to move forward. They have gathered information about the technology and internet needs of our students. Our teachers have now made personal contact with all their student families to check in on their well-being and gather information about any particular concerns they might have. The Teaching and Learning, Special Education and Technology teams have worked tirelessly to prepare curriculum and materials for all of our learners. Maintenance staff is working diligently to keep the buildings clean and safe for the people who need to be physically present in our buildings. And of course, our Child Nutrition team is a bright light on the road, providing food and connection to students and families. It is impossible to recognize every way that the people of USD 383 have come together to prepare the way forward.

The first part of this week includes carefully scheduled arrangements for the pick up of student property, return of school property, and distribution of learning packets to our students. These activities will clear the way for another first- our “first” day of school on April 1st. As we turn this corner, we ask that you continue to extend your patience and grace, remembering that we are all in this together. Parents, students, teachers, and leaders- we are all on a new road, teaching and learning in ways that seemed unimaginable just a few weeks ago. Please remember that above all, your child and family’s emotional well-being are critical in a time of extreme stress. This reminder extends to our teachers and staff as well; they are worried about your children and at the same time, they are managing all of the same stresses in their own families.

 As we embark on the next leg of our journey, I would like to leave you with the words of education leader Dr. Brad Johnson. He asks all of us to put “Relationships before Rigor…Grace before Grades…Patience before Programs…and Love before Lessons.” We are now on the road and we will be here for you and for each other as we travel it together.

Karla Hagemeister
Board President
Manhattan-Ogden USD 383

March 18, 2020 

On behalf of the USD 383 Manhattan-Ogden Board of Education, I would like to convey to each of you our commitment to walking this path together. News of the closure of all Kansas schools for the 2019- 2020 year in response to the novel coronavirus has real and serious impacts for our students, families, employees, and the community. This is not what any of us anticipated when we said goodbye for spring break. We stand with you in the sadness of missed celebrations and milestones. And we understand that you have many questions and fears about what happens next. In a time when change is happening from hour to hour, it is hard to have any concrete answers.

The road ahead of us is unknown right now. None of us have walked it before. In many ways, we will be building our own road. But we are not alone. You are not alone. We have many dedicated and talented leaders right here who will bring light to the road. We will lean on their skills and intellect to develop and implement a plan to continue learning for our students.

Our Child Nutrition Department and many teachers and administrators have already shown us what we can do when tasked with a challenge. On Monday (3/16), our team served 521 children lunch and breakfast. One day later (3/17), they added a feeding site and served 962 children. They are working with Kansas State Department of Education to add more locations. This was all accomplished since 1:00pm last Friday.

Information and guidance from the Kansas Department of Education is expected later today. A 25-member task force comprised of many of the state's top educators has been working diligently to develop plans for continuous learning. Locally, Superintendent Dr. Marvin Wade and many members of our staff have been working on our own plans. They will now use that guidance from Topeka to guide our next steps.

In the midst of this uncertainty, please remember that we are all in this together. Educators need your support and patience as they prepare for the unknown. Please be kind to each other and please remember to take care of yourself. Leave room for mistakes and course corrections ...and hand out grace like it's candy.

Karla Hagemeister Board President

Manhattan-Ogden USD 383