Lawrence school board to hear four schools’ education redesign plans for 2020-21 academic year

photo by: Mackenzie Clark/Journal-World File Photo

The Lawrence Board of Education meeting room at district offices, 110 McDonald Drive, is pictured in this file photo from Feb. 25, 2019.

The Lawrence school board on Monday will hear how four district schools want to redesign their approaches to education in the next academic year.

Groups from Broken Arrow Elementary, Deerfield Elementary, Hillcrest Elementary and Free State High School will present the redesign plans for their respective schools during the board’s regular meeting. The plans are part of the school district’s participation in the Apollo phase of the Kansas State Department of Education’s Kansans Can school redesign project.

The goal of the redesign, which will eventually touch all Kansas schools, is to move away from an approach that relies exclusively on state assessments and into a model driven by four principles: student success skills, personalized learning, community partnerships and real-world applications, according to talking points from KSDE.

Each of the four Lawrence schools put together teams that have been meeting during the current school year to craft their redesign plans. Despite the coronavirus pandemic affecting the school’s operations this year, the plans are still set to be implemented during the 2020-21 school year, school district spokeswoman Julie Boyle said in an email to the Journal-World this week.

According to powerpoint presentations included with the board’s meeting agenda, the elementary schools’ plans include providing more play-based learning opportunities for younger students and focusing on ways for educators to provide more individual attention in a student’s learning, among other initiatives.

Free State’s plan prioritizes giving students more breaks and study time, while also requiring fewer classes — which would in turn require less homework. It also calls for offering more opportunities for students to explore career pathways.

The meeting agenda does not appear to show the board plans to take any action related to the reports.

The school board will meet at 6 p.m. through an online conference call. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the school district encourages the public to to watch the meeting on Midco channel 26 or online at

Those who want to speak during public comments at the meeting can still do so. Email Deputy Board Clerk Dawn Downing at by 5 p.m. the day of the meeting; she will provide a link to allow patrons to share comments with the board by Google video, telephone conferencing or in writing, according to a school district news release.

Comments can also be emailed to board members ahead of the meeting. Their contact information is available on the district’s website at

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