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Kansans Can & So Can NC Thunder

Darrel Kohlman

September 27, 2016

In the past year the Kansas State Board of Education and Commissioner of Education Randy Watson have announced a new initiative for Kansas Education called “Kansans Can”. The initiative was formulated after hosting many community meetings across the State asking patrons, parents, students, educators, and business leaders what they wanted from a Kansas public school graduate. The website that contains lots of information and resources can be found here. The official vision for Kansas Education is “Kansas leads the world in success of each student.


For Kansas (and Nemaha Central) to lead the world in success of each student, it will require flexibility, groups working together, new perspectives, and new outcomes. You can learn more about each of these components here. Our district supports this initiative and vision as we continue to work on our district and school improvement plans.  We will focus on “Nemaha Central leading the world in success of each student.”


The flexibility for the new approach is that the world is changing and what is needed by a graduate for the workforce is different than in the past. We are preparing the kindergarten class for jobs that haven’t even been thought of yet. Research shows that by the year 2020 over 70% of jobs will require some type of postsecondary training. That doesn’t mean just traditional four year colleges but all types of training at 2 year schools, vocational schools, or just certification training. Data collected by Kansas Department of Education shows that employers not only want students with good academic skills they also want them to have nonacademic skills like work ethic, commitment, and ability to work with others. At Nemaha Central we are striving to get give our students the academic skills as well as the nonacademic skills while we give them training in careers areas that interest them.  A great example of this at NCHS is with the Career and Technical Pathways that we offer to our students.


In our school district we have many examples of groups working together to provide our students with both the academic and nonacademic skills that are required in today’s workplace. Again, our CTE Pathways allow for students to become prepared in areas that they have interest in.  Each of these Pathways is required to have an Advisory Board with patrons from the field. We also have many businesses that allow our students to do job shadowing so that they can learn the nonacademic skills like conscientiousness, grit, and collaboration in real-life settings.


A new perspective is needed across preK-12 education.  Research continues to support the fact that quality preschool is important for all students’ success in school. Nemaha Central is fortunate to be ahead of the curve in this area with an outstanding early childhood program that prepares students for success. Again at the high school CTE pathways, job shadowing, and Individual Plans of Study allow students to explore career areas of interest as well as guide them to the correct postsecondary education needed for those careers. Areas that we need to continue to improve on is in providing students with the mental health support that many of them need as well as increasing the importance of giving back to community that supports them. We must also continue to refocus on the needs of the student and not on the system of education.


All of this leads to the five new outcomes developed by Kansas State Board of Education:

  • Kindergarten readiness
  • Increasing graduation rates
  • Increase the percent of students completing a credential or pursuing postsecondary education
  • Each student will have an individual plan of study focused on career interest
  • Social/emotional factors relative to student success are to be measured locally

Nemaha Central schools supports each of these five outcomes and believe that they fit into our own Strategic Plan and Core Beliefs.



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