OPINION

Lansing schools embark on strategic initiatives

Dan Wessel
Dan Wessel

It was truly a pleasure to welcome students back into the Lansing USD 469 buildings on Aug. 19. With all the uncertainties last year brought us, it has been refreshing to start this school year with some normalcy.

Kindergarten readiness is one of the Kansas State Board of Education goals, and I am particularly excited about the steps we are taking to prepare our youngest Lions as they begin their educational careers. We are successfully preparing our students through our new day care, our special education 4-year-old no fee program, our pre-kindergarten program and our Parents as Teacher Program, which earned the prestigious Blue Ribbon endorsement last school year. We will also continue to offer Child Find screenings each month. Families concerned about their child's development from birth to five years can have their children screened at no cost during these monthly screenings. 

Our district has grown more robust this year due to our influx of incredible new staff members. We are thrilled to welcome them to our Lion Pride, and I look forward to working with them throughout the year.  I am particularly excited to welcome Mr. Miles Azzeh as our director of teaching and learning. Mr. Azzeh will be working with teachers and administrators to strengthen our instructional strategies and bring more meaningful professional development to our teaching staff. 

As mentioned in the Back-to-School newsletter to parents, student success will remain at the forefront of Lansing USD 469’s priorities for this school year. We will maintain the Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) districtwide for students who are struggling academically.

All students are being screened in reading and math this first few weeks of school using Fast Bridge. These scores will be used to identify students who are likely to struggle academically, and we will use MTSS to aid students predicted not to meet their grade-level benchmark. For students who excel and exceed grade-level expectations, we are offering enrichment that will provide more challenges than our core curriculum offers.

Last year’s challenges brought into focus the importance of effective communication to our staff, parents/ guardians and community. We will keep communication a top priority this school year and have added several new modes of conveying information to our stakeholders.

We will be shooting a “Lion Lowdown” each month to share on our district website, social media and Lansing Government Channel, LGTV – Channel 2. These monthly videos will highlight things going on in our district and staff members going above and beyond what is expected of them. We will also be sending out a quarterly district newsletter and continuing to share information via our district app, website and social media.

As with any organization, our school district benefits when we can implement long-range planning to improve our processes and be more strategic in our decision-making processes. I am looking forward to working with our Board of Education to start long-range planning that will focus on academics, facilities and programming.

It will undoubtedly be another great school year in Lansing USD 469, and as always, it is a great day to be a Lion.

Dan Wessel is the superintendent of USD 469.