BACK TO SCHOOL: A conversation with Raytown Quality Schools superintendent

Published: Aug. 23, 2023 at 12:28 PM CDT
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RAYTOWN, Mo. (KCTV) - Summer is over and it’s time for kids to head back to the classroom.

KCTV5 is your School Authority, so it’s our priority to make sure parents are prepared for the new school year.

Sharon Chen sat down with superintendent Dr. Penelope Martin-Knox of Raytown Quality Schools to address the key concerns parents might have for their children.

Sharon: “Dr. Martin-Knox Thank you for talking with me. Summer’s over, can you believe it?”

Dr. Martin-Knox: “Absolutely cannot!”

Sharon: “So what should parents expect as they go into the new school year?”

Dr. Martin-Knox: “I think what our parents should expect is that we have staff ready to embrace children and provide them with quality instruction on a day-to-day basis. Our responsibility is to make sure that in those environments that we’ve created our students should feel safe and they should feel like they belong, and our parents are part of the work as we travel along this road.”

Sharon: “What you brought up there – safety is the number one thing parents are concerned about, especially given the way the world is today, what are you doing differently or if you’re doing anything different to keep the kids safe.”

Dr. Martin-Knox: “Yes, ma’am – all of our buildings are actually equipped with safety door; we actually have a system called Raptor which allows all visitors to sign in. We have procedures in place that anyone who comes into our building must provide identification and has official business in the schoolhouse. Once in the schoolhouse, our school leaders go over the safety procedures for our students to understand the codes of conduct, so they’re on their very best behavior each day while they’re in school. We communicate this information to our greater community and not just communicating it, but we also engage in drills and right now we have a safety and security company that provides support to all our schools, all our secondary schools, but also our elementary schools just to ensure we have that physical presence of security in all our schools. So, we are very excited for the year, so we ensure that we put all procedures in place to safeguard the learning environment.”

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Sharon: “Speaking of learning, when it comes to learning it’s been difficult for districts, not just here, but across the nation to keep the teachers in the classroom. A lot of districts are facing shortages, not just with teachers but across the board, how does it look in Raytown?”

Dr. Martin-Knox: “We’re looking OK, we can always do better. But we continue to actively recruit, making connections with our higher education institutions and reaching out to our greater community to make sure we have quality staff in all our schools and in our administrative offices as well. It has been a challenge as you’ve indicated as all school districts are having challenges, but we are continuing to persevere and push forward, and we’ve come up with some creative ways to make sure our children receive quality education on a day-to-day basis.”

Sharon: “Down the road in Independence, they are going to 4-day weeks. Is that something that could be considered here even?”

Dr. Martin-Knox: “So the four-day week isn’t something that we’ve talked about here in Raytown. We’ve talked about it to talk about the benefits and the disadvantages of a 4-day week, but we have not talked explicitly about putting that in place.”

Sharon: “Yes, a lot of parameters to weigh for sure. But school starts next week, lots of excitement there.”

Dr. Martin-Knox: “Absolutely, it is Happy New Year! It is the excitement and anticipation of receiving our children. We’re so excited to see them the first week of school and throughout the year. I actually have it scheduled to walk to school with some of our students, just as I did last year. Just to let them know we’re here to support you, and we’re here for you. And so I look forward to seeing our children as they get started this week in the new year.”

Sharon: “Thank you so much for talking with us, Dr. Martin Knox.”

Dr. Martin-Knox: “Yes, ma’am. Thank you.”

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