KPS is Making Changes to School Dates and Times

To the Kearney Community,

It is our goal as a school system to offer the best education possible at the most reasonable cost possible. Recently, these two goals have collided causing us to troubleshoot how to do more with less. We believe we have done just that.
Our financial challenges, with the dramatic reduction in state aid (LB409) of almost $1.2 million, have forced our district to use cash reserves, increase the levy by 1 cent, and defer maintenance projects in some of our schools. The financial forecast for 2018/2019 projects an additional $1.5 million loss. It is our challenge to keep our programs, services, and people in these difficult financial times.

At the same time, we are dedicated to keeping our promise to the community, parents, staff and students to provide the best education possible with a guaranteed and viable curriculum. KPS is committed to our students and have developed a dynamic Strategic Plan that addresses our finances, the importance of teaching Career Education and Social/Emotional Curriculum, and the staff need for additional collaboration time to improve student learning.
How will we accomplish all of this? KPS has developed a plan to address all of our needs through increasing the length of the school day, making a calendar change for staff improvement, and increasing the number of courses available to Kearney High School students.

Increased School Day
KPS will be increasing the school day for students by 25 minutes a day. Starting next fall, students will start school five minutes earlier and release 20 minutes later than the current schedule. This additional time allows us to teach students valuable life skills in Career Education and Social/Emotional Curriculum.

Kearney Public Schools has a shorter school day than many comparable districts, and most of those provide an early release day for staff collaboration. A few schools with longer student school days include Grand Island, Hastings, North Platte, Norfolk, Columbus, Papillion LaVista, and Lincoln Public Schools (among others).

The changes in the schedules are a direct result of input from our parents, community members, teachers and staff from our Strategic Plan development meetings. Our teachers need additional time to teach important social/emotional and career education curriculum while maintaining time for our current subjects.

Bright Futures Preschool 8:30-3:20
Bright Futures Toddlers 8:20-3:20
Park, Windy Hills, Buffalo Hills, Kenwood 8:05-3:25
Bryant, Central, Meadowlark, Northeast 8:10-3:30
Emerson, Glenwood 8:15-3:35
Horizon, Sunrise 8:10-3:35
Kearney High School 8:00-3:41

Calendar Change
The school calendar will include one day out of school each month for K-8 students. This time will provide K-8 teachers with consistent time to collaborate and plan effective learning lessons, as well as to participate in planned professional development to improve teaching techniques. Kearney Public Schools is committed to continuous improvement in teaching methods, so our students received the best quality education possible.

Adding a Block to KHS Schedule
At Kearney High School, there is a need for additional teachers to provide students with more educational opportunities like internships, extended college credit opportunities, accreditation opportunities, and social/emotional and Career Education curriculum. Our current financial situation does not allow us to hire additional staff to meet these Strategic Plan goals. By adding an additional block to the current 4-Block schedule, students will have these additional opportunities. KHS teachers will maintain their current hours but teach four classes a day instead of three. Currently, students can take only eight classes in a year. The new schedule allows them to take 10 in a year.
As superintendent, I am proud of the work our team has done to make these goals a reality. We are thankful for the support of our parents and our community in implementing these changes. I am confident that our students will reap the benefits of a stronger education system.

Dr. Kent Edwards, Superintendent