Mercury Seven School Redesign Project

  • The Vision

    In 2015, the Kansas State Board of Education conducted community conversations across the state to find out what Kansas citizens and businesses want from their public education system.

    More than 2,000 Kansans said that while academics are important, schools must also focus on helping students discover their passions and preparing them with the skills needed to be successful in the workforce, to be good citizens and to give back to their communities.

    In Kansas, we define a successful high school graduate as having the academic preparation, cognitive preparation, technical skills, employability skills and civic engagement to be successful in postsecondary education, in the attainment of an industry recognized certification or in the workforce, without the need for remediation.

    Today, through the launch of Kansas’ new vision for education, our schools are researching education models that provide students with choices in how they learn and best practices that ensure learning is relevant to each child.


    It’s an exciting time in Kansas education.

    The State Board of Education’s powerful, new vision for Kansas education – Kansas leads the world in the success of each student – requires us to rethink and redesign the way we teach students.

    Our school district was selected to participate in the Kansans Can School Redesign Project. With the support of our staff, school board and local educator association, we have agreed to redesign one elementary and one secondary school with the goal of providing personalized learning for each student in a manner in which he or she learns best.

    These changes are being led by our teachers – the professionals who work every day with our students and who know what our children need to succeed.

    Please take a moment to review this information and learn how we’re redesigning school to address the individual needs of our students.

    Our Journey

    Empowering ALL Learners to Explore.

    That’s the vision for us here at Santa Fe Trail Middle School—which allows us to focus on empowering  our students to have future successes through their learning journey.  We have chosen three pillars of emphasis:

    Academic: One of the key focus areas for the academic pillar is a guaranteed intervention for all students.  This is implemented through the ACE, WIN, and Discovery period each day.  ACE (All Cyclones Excel) is a time when the students are given the opportunity to receive more intensive support from their teachers.  WIN (What I Need) is a space for students to complete assignments, study, and ask questions.  DISCOVERY allows for enrichment and exploration into topics that students are interested in learning more about.  Another area of focus for the academic pillar is Project Based-Learning (PBL).  PBL is encouraged through all content areas and will be a major focus of the current Disciplinary Literacy Curriculum. 

    Social-Emotional Learning:  There are several ideas that are being implemented to help further our students’ social-emotional growth and needs. One way this will be met is through our Cyclone Start-up time.  Cyclone Start-Up will occur at the beginning of the school day with homeroom teachers.  The focus will be on daily goals, mentoring, relationship building, and social-emotional learning through the “Second Step” Program.  Another way this will be met is through our “Exploration Days”.  Exploration Days allow students to investigate and dive deeper into topics that they are interested in that are outside or an extension of curriculum.  These may include guest speakers, field trips to learn more about a topic, hands on activities, and more.

    Civic Engagement:  The primary focus of the civic engagement pillar is to create culturally responsive and accepting learners to become civic-minded through mutual relationships within our community.   One of the opportunities will be through the job shadowing program that will be available for seventh graders.  Students will have the opportunity to learn more about a particular career of interest.  Another opportunity will be through RSVP (Raising Student Voice and Participation), a student engagement program sponsored by National Student Council (NatStuCo) and the National Association of Secondary School Principals that uses democratic dialogue to give students a chance to speak out and take action on important issues in their schools and communities.