Superintendent and Principal Newsletters

Dean Katt

USD 489Welcome Back From Superintendent Katt

USD 489 is gearing up for the beginning of what is sure to be another successful school year for the 2015-16 term. Several positive changes have been occurring throughout the district over the past few months.

USD 489’s technology initiative is on the ground and running. The Windows Surface Pro 3’s and Windows Surface Pro devices are currently being used at Hays High School. The IT Department  worked diligently over the summer to ensure the kindergarten through twelfth grade 1:1 initiative kicked off with a bang. Administration will be sharing technology updates with the Board of Education throughout the school year to showcase how these valuable tools will enhance student development.

Numerous teachers have participated in trainings over the summer. Victoria hosted an iPad Academy for area teachers this summer. Multiple USD 489 teachers took advantage of the opportunity to learn the many functions of iPads in the classroom setting. The district’s Instructional Technology Specialist has been offering trainings on Canvas, the district’s Learning Management System, as well as how to utilize technology in the classroom. Several teachers also participated in writing and reading workshops over the summer. The district is grateful for the commitment of the teachers and staff that have put extra time in over the summer.

The maintenance and custodial staff began working feverishly doing deep cleans in all of the district facilities this summer. Hays High School’s floors were completely stripped and waxed, giving new life to the building. O’Loughlin, Roosevelt, and Wilson received partial stripping and waxing over the summer. Hays High School also received new seating in the little theater as well as a new surface on the running track. Washington Elementary was officially converted into the Early Childhood Connections – Washington Site (ECC-WS) over the summer, allowing most of the ECC to run out of one facility. The district would like to commend the custodial and maintenance staff for all of their hard work over the summer and every day.

The public hearing for the budget was held on August 17th, 2015. USD 489’s budget remains flat with the block grant funding. Funding is based on 2014-2015 enrollment numbers and will remain the same for 2015-16 and 2016-17.

Gella’s Diner and Lb. Brewing Co. and Whiskey Creek Woodfire Grill will once again be partnering with USD 489 to recognize students and staff with the Best of the Best Awards. Each month, one student and one staff member will be chosen as the winner and receive $50 dining certificate from one of these fine establishments. Nomination forms can be found on the district website. The district would like to thank these businesses for their continued generosity and support.

School Spotlights will continue to recognize student and staff accomplishments and highlights that occur throughout the district each month. The district will continue to post information on the website. Please like us on Facebook under Hays Unified School District 489 or follow us on Twitter at usd489@usd489 to stay up- to-date with district happenings and news. Center Voice will be used this year as a means of alerting parents and guardians with school closings and emergencies. We will update the website and send out notification of the change to parents, as well as use social media to advertise the change. The Board of Education started with new members on July 1, 2015. Lance Bickle is serving as current Board President, and Josh Waddell is the new Vice-President. Other board members include Danielle Lang, Sarah Rankin, Paul Adams, Luke Oborny, and Mandy Fox. Contact information for board members can be found on the district website.

This year will mark the beginning of early release days. Early release days include September 2, October 7, November 4, February 3, March 2, and April 6. These days were designed to allow teachers to have time to collaborate with one another and complete training for technology and other district initiatives. School will dismiss at 1:00 pm, and students will still eat lunch on those days. The Center for Health Improvement and the Hays Recreation Commission are partnering with USD 489 to provide activities for students after school on many of these days. Please contact each organization if you have questions about the programs that will be offered. Thank you to both organizations for providing activities for students. If your organization is interested in providing activities for students on these days, please contact the Board Clerk at 785-623-2400 to make arrangements.

Wishing you the best for a new school year!


Dean Katt

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