Wichita Public Schools

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Wichita Public Schools
Unified School District 259
Wichita USD 259.png
Address
201 North Water Street
Wichita, Kansas 67202
United States
Information
Funding type Public
Superintendent Alicia Thompson
Enrollment 50,639[1]
Website

Wichita Public Schools is a unified school district (USD 259) headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, United States.[2]

Overview[edit]

The largest school district in the state of Kansas, USD 259 has these approximate statistics in 2016:[3][4]

  • Students: about 51,000[5]
  • Teachers and Staff: about 9,000
  • Budget: about $650 million
  • Graduation rate: about 75%
  • Schools:
    • 54 - Elementary schools
    • 3 - "K-8" schools (combined Elementary/Middle school)
    • 15 - Middle schools
    • 9 - High schools
    • 12 - Special program sites

(Of these schools, 24 are specialized-curriculum "magnet" schools)

The National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) of the U.S. Department of Education, in 2006, reported that, in the Fall of 2004, the Wichita Public Schools ranked 91st largest, by total enrollment, among all school districts in the nation. It also indicated that the Wichita Public Schools, in 2003-2004, had a total revenue of $452,437,000[6]

School Board[edit]

Structure and Election[edit]

The Wichita Public Schools (USD 259) are governed by a non-partisan elected school board, the USD 259 Board of Education (BoE), which has seven members. Six board members are elected, by voters in six geographically defined Board Districts throughout the overall School District, with the seventh board member elected from the School District at large.[7][8]

Elections are for four-year terms, and are held in odd-numbered years (winners taking office the following January). Members are elected with staggered terms (four members are up for election in 2017; then, two years later, the remaining three members are elected). The 2017 candidate filing deadline is noon on June 1, followed by a primary election Aug. 1, and a runoff general election Nov. 7.[7][8][5][9]

Board membership[edit]

Following is the list of board members, as of April 2017 (an asterisk by the district number indicates that term expires in January 2018, and is up for election in 2017):[7][8][9]

  • At-Large: Sheril Logan (also serving as BoE President)[8]
  • District 1* (east/northeast): Betty Arnold[8] (former state Auditor)[9]
  • District 2* (east): Joy Eakins[8][9]
  • District 3: Barbara Fuller[8]
  • District 4: Jeff Davis[8]
  • District 5* (west): Mike Rodee[8][9]
  • District 6* (north-central/northeast): Lynn Rogers[8] (most senior member, elected 2001; also concurrently serving in the Kansas House of Representatives, as of January 2017, pending the expiration of his school board term in January 2018; he has announced he will not run for re-election to the BoE.)[5][9]

Administration[edit]

Superintendent[edit]

The Wichita Public Schools chief executive is the Superintendent of Schools.[10]

Alicia Thompson will become Superintendent in July, 2017—the District's first woman, and first African-American, to hold that post. Thompson's position, prior to Superintendent, is as the District's assistant superintendent for elementary schools. Thompson is one of the District's few Superintendents, in recent decades, to be promoted to that post from within the district; most have come from out-of-state. However, polling of the public, during the latest superintendent-hiring process, informed the Wichita BoE that the community strongly preferred a local person, from within the Wichita Public Schools system, for the post. Thompson—who attended Wichita Public Schools at all levels, from kindergarten though high school graduation—served in the District as an elementary school teacher, principal and administration executive, prior to appointment as assistant superintendent, then Superintendent.[11]

Thompson will succeed Superintendent John Allison (who announced his resignation, to become Superintendent of the Olathe Public Schools in Olathe, Kansas); Allison served as Superintendent since 2009, succeeding Winston Brooks who resigned in 2008.[10][9][11]

Assistant Superintendents[edit]

The District also has separate assistant superintendents for elementary and secondary schools. Michele Ingenthron is the assistant superintendent of elementary schools, and Gil Alveraz is the assistant superintendent for secondary schools. [12]

Schools[edit]

High Schools[edit]

Middle Schools[edit]

regular[edit]

special-purpose[edit]

  • Brooks Middle Magnet School
  • Wells Alternative

Elementary Schools[edit]

regular[edit]

special-purpose[edit]

  • Buckner Performing Arts and Science Magnet Elementary School[13]
  • Cleaveland Traditional College and Career Readiness Magnet School[14]
  • Earhart Environmental Magnet Elementary School
  • Greiffenstein Alternative School[15]
  • Hyde International Studies and Communication Elementary Magnet[16]
  • Kelly Liberal Arts Academy[17]
  • L'Ouverture Career Exploration and Technology Magnet Elementary School[18]
  • McLean Science and Technology Magnet[19]
  • Price-Harris Communications Magnet Elementary School[20]
  • Spaght Science and Communications Magnet Elementary School[21]
  • Woodland Health and Wellness Magnet[22]

Kindergarten through 8th grade schools[edit]

  • Gordon Parks Academy IB World School
  • Christa McAuliffe Academy
  • Horace Mann Dual Language Magnet School

Vocational/Technical and Continuing Education Schools[edit]

Beginning in 1931, and continuing until 2004, the Wichita Public Schools had vocational education programs, both in regular schools and in special vocational/technical and continuing-education schools. These programs primarily served secondary school students, but also served adults returning for further education and training.

In 1931 and 1952, vocational buildings were added onto the south side of Wichita High School East, and along adjacent Grove Street, to provide training in vocational and industrial arts. Between 1952 and 1968, about 600 students enrolled each year in various vocational courses there. In the summer of 1968, the District chose this site to open its Wichita Area Vocational-Technical School (WAVTS) "Vocational Technical Center" (by 1996, officially, the "Grove Campus" of the Wichita Area Technical College). This facility, under a separate administration, offered training in 18 different areas of trade and industry, to both students and adults.[23]

In 1953, bowing to decades of pressure from West Wichitans, the District built the first high school in West Wichita - Wichita High School West, which, at its inception was primarily a vocational-technical school (initially, only 22% of West High graduates went on to college). Consequently, the West High curriculum initially emphasized vocational preparation, rather than academics. A large homemaking department taught students family budgeting, food preparation, child care and family relations. The school's business education department taught secretarial training, stenography, retail selling and business. An industrial education department taught woodworking, metalworking, auto mechanics, electrical work, printing, mechanical drawing and other trades. However, the school eventually became a regular academic high school, which it is today.[23]

From 1965 to 2004, the Wichita Public Schools operated a system of vocational and continuing education which chiefly included:[23][24][25]

  • the School of Vocational Education (officially the Wichita Area Vocational-Technical School—WAVTS (popularly pronounced "WAH-vits") -- on Grove Street, behind Wichita High School East); and
  • the School of Continuing Education (in the original Wichita High School building at Third and Emporia streets—by 1970, designated the "Central Vocational School," by 1984 the "Central Vocational Building" (CVB), and by 1996, the "WATC Central Campus").

By 1973, the Wichita Area Vocational Technical School had become the largest public school in Wichita, with over 5,000 people enrolling in its classes each year. WAVTS had expanded its vocational training from rudimentary crafts, to include advanced industrial skills such as estimating, procurement, production line setup and production scheduling. Concurrently, traditional home economics courses were still being taught at secondary schools throughout the system, but had been expanded to provide professional food service skills. Wichita's superintendent of schools, at the time, reportedly declared that they were "offering... an educational mix" divided "equally between" normal "academic training" courses and "advanced vocational schooling"—vocational training that was "geared" towards "real concepts and needs", to prepare students for "job hunting."[26]

An additional WAVTS campus was established at the Wichita Municipal Airport to teach aircraft maintenance and provide training for occupations in Wichita's principal industry, aviation. However, difficulties between the aviation industry and WAVTS led to local industry leaders inviting Cowley County Community College to establish a substitute facility at the former Cessna Aircraft Field in southeast Wichita.>[27]

In 1987, the Wichita Area Vocational Technical School partnered with Butler County Community College to develop an Associate of Applied Science degree in electronic engineering technology. A technical school could not offer an associate degree, so the partnering with Butler was necessary. At the request of Wichita community business leaders in late 1990, Wichita State University and the technical school partnered to offer this degree through WSU, and the agreement and degree were approved by the Kansas Board of Regents in 1991[28]

In 1999, the name of WAVTS changed to Wichita Area Technical College (WATC), and the college gained authority to grant college credit, and was empowered to award Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees.[24]

In 2004, however, following strained relations between local industry and WATC, the Wichita Public Schools (USD 259) Board of Education transitioned WATC out of USD 259—and WATC became an independent public college, governed by its own board, the Sedgwick County Technical Education and Training Authority.[24][27][29]

Following the District's 2004 divestiture of WAVTS (as WATC), Cowley's aviation training facility was acquired by WATC—then replaced by WATC, in 2010, with the National Center for Aviation Training (NCAT) at Wichita's Jabara Airport.[24][27]

In 2001, an addition was added to the Levy Special Education Center, which included a vocational training center for the developmentally disabled.[23]

Notable alumni[edit]

Several figures of national prominence in their field are alumni of the Wichita Public Schools, including former U.S. Agriculture Secretary and Kansas 4th District Congressman Dan Glickman (later Director of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and Motion Picture Association of America president),[30] actress Kirstie Alley and actor Don Johnson.[31]

Various Olympic medalists began their athletic careers in the Wichita Public Schools, including basketball star Lynette Woodard, track star Jim Ryun, and swimmer Jeff Farrell.[32][33][34][35]

Among those who publicly credit their Wichita public school education for some of their success are former CIA director and U.S. Defense Secretary (under Presidents G.W. Bush & B. Obama) Robert Gates, Broadway theater and Metropolitan Opera star Karla Burns, and football Heisman Trophy winner Barry Sanders.[31]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wichita Public Schools 2012-13 Demographic Snapshot
  2. ^ USD 259 District map
  3. ^ (NOTE: Only approximations are provided because of continual annual variations in data, and sub-annual official corrections.)
  4. ^ District Snapshot, Wichita Public Schools / USD 259 official website, Wichita, Kansas, retrieved 2016-08-15
  5. ^ a b c Tobias, Suzanne Perez, "Former Wichita teacher files for school board," Wichita Eagle, retrieved April 30, 2017
  6. ^ "Table 89. Enrollment, poverty, and federal funds for the 100 largest school districts, by enrollment size: 2003–04 and fiscal year 2006," published 2006, in Digest of Education Statistics, National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) of the U.S. Department of Education, retrieved April 30, 2017.
  7. ^ a b c "2017 BOE Election Information," Wichita Public Schools official website, retrieved April 30, 2017
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "BOE Contact Information/Profiles," Wichita Public Schools official website, retrieved April 30, 2017
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Tobias, Susanne Perez, "Lynn Rogers won’t seek 5th term on Wichita school board," April 24, 2017, Wichita Eagle, retrieved April 30, 2017
  10. ^ a b "Superintendent and Staff Leadership - Superintendent John Allison.htm," Wichita Public Schools official website, retrieved April 30, 2017
  11. ^ a b Tobias, Susanne Perez, "Wichita school board appoints Alicia Thompson as next superintendent," February 21, 2017, Wichita Eagle, retrieved April 30, 2017
  12. ^ https://www.usd259.org/Page/9108
  13. ^ Official website: "Buckner Performing Arts and Science Magnet Elementary School," Wichita Public Schools / USD 259, Wichita, Kansas, retrieved May 2, 2017.
  14. ^ Official website: "Cleaveland Traditional College and Career Readiness Magnet School," Wichita Public Schools / USD 259, Wichita, Kansas, retrieved May 2, 2017.
  15. ^ Official website: "Greiffenstein Alternative School," Wichita Public Schools / USD 259, Wichita, Kansas, retrieved May 2, 2017.
  16. ^ Official website: "Hyde International Studies and Communication Elementary Magnet," Wichita Public Schools / USD 259, Wichita, Kansas, retrieved May 2, 2017.
  17. ^ Official website: "Kelly Liberal Arts Academy," Wichita Public Schools / USD 259, Wichita, Kansas, retrieved May 2, 2017.
  18. ^ Official website: "L'Ouverture Career Exploration and Technology Magnet Elementary School," Wichita Public Schools / USD 259, Wichita, Kansas, retrieved May 2, 2017.
  19. ^ Official website: "McLean Science and Technology Magnet," Wichita Public Schools / USD 259, Wichita, Kansas, retrieved May 2, 2017.
  20. ^ Official website: "Price-Harris Communications Magnet Elementary School," Wichita Public Schools / USD 259, Wichita, Kansas, retrieved May 2, 2017.
  21. ^ Official website: "Spaght Science and Communications Magnet Elementary School," Wichita Public Schools / USD 259, Wichita, Kansas, retrieved May 2, 2017.
  22. ^ Official website: "Woodland Health and Wellness Magnet," Wichita Public Schools / USD 259, Wichita, Kansas, retrieved May 2, 2017.
  23. ^ a b c d Davis, Nina (1978), updated 1996 by Sara Lomax, "School Histories," Excerpts from A History of Wichita Public Schools Buildings, Wichita Public Schools / USD 259, retrieved April 30, 2017.
  24. ^ a b c d Trease, Jake (correspondent) "WATC turns 50, shows glimpse at future," March 01, 2015, Wichita Eagle, retrieved April 30, 2017
  25. ^ "About WATC," Strategic Communictions, Wichita State University, retrieved April 30, 2017.
  26. ^ Winchester, James H., [ "Wichita, Kan.,"] pg.114, in "College Isn't for Everyone" pg.46, September, 1973, Scouting magazine, Vol. 61, No. 5, Boy Scouts of America, retrieved April 30, 2017
  27. ^ a b c Voorhis, Dan, "Gustaf resigns as WATC head," December 12, 2009, Wichita Eagle, retrieved April 30, 2017
  28. ^ Bischoff, William D., Dean, Official Statement: "Associate of Applied Science, Electrical Engineering Technology" in Dean's Proposals for Program Discontinuance, Fairmount College of Arts & Sciences, Wichita State University, 2003
  29. ^ Tobias, Suzanne Perez, "Wichita State, WATC discussing possible expanded affiliation or merger," October 20, 2015, Wichita Eagle, retrieved April 30, 2017
  30. ^ "GLICKMAN, Daniel Robert (1944-)", Biographical Information, Bioguide, U.S. Congress official website, retrieved April 3, 2017.
  31. ^ a b Bing, Bonnie, "Successful Wichita natives praise their schooling here," Feb.26, 2012, Wichita Eagle, retrieved April 3, 2017.
  32. ^ "Lynette Woodard," in "Famous Basketball Players" Biography, retrieved April 30, 2017.
  33. ^ "Woodard, Lynette", biography, Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, inducted 1990, retrieved April 30, 2017
  34. ^ "Ryun, Jim", biography, Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, inducted 1977, retrieved April 30, 2017
  35. ^ "Farrell, Jeff", biography, Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, inducted 2001, retrieved April 30, 2017

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

District
Historical
News
Maps