Chamber: New Haysville school superintendent reveals 100-day plan


By Michelle Leidy-Franklin

HAYSVILLE – USD 261 hired Jeff Hersh as the new district superintendent in January. On June 15, Hersh made a presentation to the Haysville Chamber of Commerce introducing himself and inviting businesses to partner with the district.
“Public education could not function without businesses,” said Hersh.
Hersh stressed the importance of the school district and businesses partnering to build a stronger community.
“My goal is for when a family moves to Sedgwick County and they are looking for schools that their number one choice is the Haysville public schools,” said Hersh.
A 100 day plan was introduced with a strategy for implementing the plan. Hersh’s first goal is to access the strengths, challenges and opportunities the district could take advantage of. After determining where the district excels and where there is room for improvement, he wants to ensure strong relationships are built between the district, local businesses, and other stake holders. He said he wanted to establish a positive presence and build a broad base of support to help “develop a plan for accelerating the academic progress” of Haysville students.
“It’s going to consist of three things – listening, planning, and leading. In listening our team is going to engage a series of listening and learning activities that will include individuals and groups. We will be doing individual interviews with the board and internal and external stake holders. I’m going to ask for your input.
“The second part is going to be planning. After we do these, we are going to analyze the interview data and identify trends and major themes across the information that we have gathered. We will use that to help create our plan for moving forward.
“Finally, leading that process will include a report that will be presented to the board and to the public of our plan for moving forward,” said Hersh.
Hersh asked the chamber to fill out cards with some immediate feedback. He wanted them to write down what they liked about the district and where they thought improvements could be made. He took questions from the audience including one question regarding critical race theory.
“CRT is not taught in Kansas schools. We follow the standard set by the state board of education,” said Hersh. “If you hear anyone with questions about it, please have them come talk to me.”
Hersh said recent improvements made in the district include a recess initiative that has been very successful. Allowing students regular breaks by taking three or four recesses per day has resulted in fewer behavioral issues and more engagement from students. He also reported favorably on new science and math curriculums that had been adopted.
The school board also voted to make masks optional for the upcoming school year. Hersh reported the COVID-19 infection numbers were looking good enough to make the decision, but a huge spike could cause the board to re-evaluate their position on the matter.
Hersh also intends to increase the collaboration with WSU technical college that has a physical location in Haysville. He said he believes good educators are an essential function of the success of students. As the first in his family to graduate college, he credits finding his motivation to go to college to a high school coach who told him he could.
“I went because of him,” said Hersh. “That’s the power of a good educator.”
In other business chamber president Tim Massey announced:
• There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony on Aug 6 at noon for the grand opening of Sunstone Nutrition.
• There will be no chamber lunch on Aug 19.
• The chamber golf tournament will be held at the Derby Golf and Country Club on Aug 31.
• A vaccine clinic held on July 9 was able to vaccinate 14 people. Gift cards to local businesses were passed out to participants.