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Chanute Public Schools gets a visit from Kansas Education Commissioner, Dr. Randy Watson


Posted Date: 09/29/2017

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Chanute schools included on commissioner’s SEK tour

The Kansas Commissioner of Education made two stops in Chanute this week while on his tour of 25 schools in the southeast region of the state.

Students at Chanute High School and Chanute Elementary welcomed Commissioner Randy Watson to their building and “bent his ear” while taking him to see some of the “sights” in their buildings.

Dalton Misener, Emilee Roberts, Rosebelle Toledo and Sky Head – all members of Dustin Fox’s new Leadership Service in Action class – talked with the commissioner about the open enrollment policy for the class and how that that can affect their school culture. With the class being open to any student in any grade, the 27 class members can make a greater impact on the student body through their individual peer groups.

The theme at CHS this school year is “Lead the Change.” The theory is that each student can find what their strength is to lead the change, whether it’s complimenting someone in the hallway, helping someone with their homework, or picking up trash after a football game. All these things lead to making their school a better place.

They stopped to meet Dustin Fox teaching honors English, and then proceeded to Beth Jackett’s room where students in front of three different whiteboards were writing plusses and minuses on grids resembling tic-tac-toe boards. Watson observed the comfortable and flexible seating which replaced most of the desks, tables and straight back chairs in her classroom this year.

On the way to the science hallway, Dalton Misener told Commissioner Watson about the peer mediation program. He and Rosebelle Toledo sit down and talk confidentially with students and help them work to resolve a conflict as best they can. The idea is to help them solve the situation without having to go to an administrator.

He asked the group what they liked most about CHS.

“I like our teachers,” senior Sky Head responded. “They really push us to be the best we can.”

In the Principles of Biomedical Science, Watson viewed the blood spatters the students had completed and talked with Tonya Frederick’s students about the difficulty of the class. In Jill Stevenson’s Drone Academy, he talked with several boys about the potential uses for drones and companies that are interested in using them in Kansas.

At an adjacent classroom, Watson greeted video production teacher Sherri Bagshaw, then was escorted to the broadcast booth where a student was waiting to interview him on camera about his visit to southeast Kansas.

There are a lot of neat things happening in this part of the state and he was taking time to see that for himself, Watson told the Blue Comet News reporter.

Stopping to view the CHS auditorium, Misener told Watson about the WOW assemblies that are held on Mondays and how good they are for the student body. Instead of recognizing students only for academic or athletic achievements, staff and students can nominate someone for doing something nice, which can range from good citizenship to standing up for others or helping a classmate understand an assignment.

The students in the leadership class are also involved in the WOW assemblies. They’ve been creating videos to illustrate each of the seven C’s to being a good Comet, which are culture, contagious, consistent, communicate, connect, commitment, and care.

When Watson arrived at Chanute Elementary, fifth graders Abigail Fisher, Rylee Kearns-Smith and Luke Becknell met him at the door and said they’d be visiting a first grade classroom and then the cafeteria to hear about the school’s attendance race.

The commissioner took time to talk with first grader Rylan Carter about the paper she was working on, visit with Superintendent of Schools Rich Proffitt about how the school’s great rooms are used and then ask questions about the large graph illustrating each classroom’s quest for perfect attendance. Every day all the students and teacher are in class, their rocket ship moves one step across the graph. At the end of the month, the class with the best attendance record gets their photo taken with the traveling trophy. Those who attain 80 percent are awarded a prize, which is an extra recess with the principal this month.

Story By: Connie Woodard

Dr. Randy Watson with CHS Students   Dr. Watson with CES Students

Dr. Watson with CES student in Mrs. Wire's class   Dr. Watson in Halls at CHS

Student Leaders at CES giving tour to Dr Watson   Dr. Watson with CHS Students leaders