SMSD News: Committed to teachers, committed to students

The Shawnee Mission School District (SMSD) has a fifty-year history of excellence as a unified school district. That excellence that has helped the 14 communities that make up the district be great places to live, work, and raise children. The more than 2000 teachers in Shawnee Mission, along with the nearly 2000 other full and part-time staff members who support their work, are the heart of the district, both in its past success and its future growth and development.

The Shawnee Mission Board of Education is deeply committed to its teachers. It has historically shown this commitment by ensuring that SMSD teachers have the highest average compensation in the state. The contract that the Board passed on January 30 continues that commitment. It provides 79% of the new money SMSD will receive from the state over three years to teachers. It gives teachers an 11% total increase in compensation. It guarantees teachers a raise for three years, and is based on and directly aligns with the information in the Fact Finder report.

The contract is fiscally responsible, and gives the Board the ability to address another extremely important issue, teacher work load. The contract contains a commitment to complete the necessary studies of future enrollment patterns, building capacities and best practices around teacher workload, planning and collaboration time. The Board will review this work and deliver a concrete plan by June 2020. This plan will be financially sustainable, will address teacher workload issues, and will support the district in moving forward on the Strategic Plan.

In the end, everything the district does is to support students in their learning, growth and development. The strategic plan (which was developed by the entire community including teachers, administrators, parents, students and community members) is the roadmap. The destination is clear: Each student will have a personalized learning plan that supports them in being college/career ready, with the interpersonal skills important to life success. This is difficult work, which we will only be able to achieve by working together with common purpose.

To achieve this, it will be critical to continue to bring all voices to the table. As planning moves forward, the district will continue to engage with teachers, staff, parents, students and community members. We are a wonderful district, and together, a great future awaits us.