The 2021-2022 school year is off to a strong start.
The Shawnee Mission School District (SMSD) team is thrilled to welcome all students to in-person learning for the 2021-2022 school year. As of Friday, August 13, 2021, students in first through twelfth grades are back in the classroom. On Monday, August 16, Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten students will begin their school year.
It’s an exciting time, as these first days are filled with numerous introductions and orientation activities. Students and staff are establishing new routines, building relationships, enjoying old and new traditions, and looking toward countless opportunities for learning.
The work happening now and throughout the year supports our district’s strategic plan objective:
Each student will have a personalized learning plan that will prepare them for college and careers, with the interpersonal skills they need for life success.
The August 9, 2021 Board of Education meeting brought renewed focus to the personalized learning component of this objective. District team leaders shared the district’s definition of personalized learning with Board members and the community:
Personalized learning places the whole child at the center of instruction. It is informed by strong educator/student/family/community relationships to provide equity and choice in time, place, path, pace, and demonstration of learning.
This means teachers, students, and families are to be engaged in an effective, intentional feedback loop that provides everyone involved essential information regarding student learning, academic success, strengths, and areas for growth. Personalized learning is supported by targeted instruction, which uses various assessments to provide feedback and to inform further instruction. Personalized learning in the SMSD is also supported by student ownership and reflection – giving them opportunities, no matter the age, to set, track, and evaluate their own learning goals and make connections between their current work and their future goals.
Many in our community ask how the ongoing global pandemic has impacted student learning. SMSD is addressing student needs in numerous ways, including the hiring of approximately 50 new SMSD team members with the help of Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief Funding (ESSER) funding. The district’s strategic implementation of personalized learning also puts us in a strong position to address student needs. Our role is to meet every student where they are and help them achieve their personal best.
The SMSD is ready to support our students this year. Thank you to everyone who is sticking together to help our students achieve unlimited possibilities.