KSD BOE discusses advanced learning experiences, district well-being and a new turf


Janine Gassel

The Board of Education meets to discuss teaching goals and the mission of KSD.

The KSD BOE work meeting that occurred Feb. 6, talked about a variety of things including ACT scoring, increasing activity in dual credit and Pioneer Pathways opportunities, student and teacher well-being, SRO presence in district events, summer school changes, and a new turf field.

ACT scoring

The BOE said the expectation for ACT scores is to be higher than national and state averages, and average ACT scores for Black or African-American students to increase by 0.2 from 16.7 in 2022 to 16.9 in 2023. The board also said they are looking to implement ACT training, tutoring, and classes for students and teachers to strengthen ACT scores. 

Dual Credit and Pioneer Pathways

The BOE wants to increase activity in the 2023-2024 school year by 10% in enrichment and advanced learning experiences like Tech, CAPS, Early College, Dual Enrollment, College Credit, AP and Honors classes. Superintendent Dr. Ulrich expressed that Kirkwood has one of the highest percentages of students participating in CAPS in the county.

Student and teachers well-being

The BOE said they want to increase a culture of diversity and belonging in the high school and middle schools. They also said their panorama survey scores have gone up 11 percent in families and nine percent from teachers. Dr. Havener said that wellness days for staff are going extremely well, and teachers are working together to create activities to help support them. KHS’s administration also expressed the need to reduce the number of students who are “at risk” of social-emotional issues. The BOE applauded the Mental Health Awareness Club for all they have done, including the Hot Cocoa meetings and their college student informational meeting/Q&A. 

SRO at district events

This school year, the BOE passed a rule that when any type of event will exceed 50 spectators, a school resource officer is required to be there. The board talked about if this was “overkill” or if being over precautious is the right approach. They voted that being they would “rather be safe than sorry” is the best decision. 

Summer School

Ulrich talked about experimenting with having co-principals during summer school this year. This is to give internal assistant principal candidates more experience because they’re up against more experienced candidates. Ulrich also talked about how the district fell way under budget last year during summer school so they have the funds to pay teachers who are interested in gaining more experience in leadership roles over the summer. The BOE discussed the new Kindergarten readiness program being implemented this summer that will try to help incoming students get acclimated to KSD’s ways. 


Corey Nesslage, Athletic Director at KHS, said that a new turf field would help six different teams with four of those being female sports who “deserve this.” Nesslage also talked about how the field available for athletes at Kirkwood is “extremely difficult” to maintain and keep at a playable level. He mentioned how hard it is to have fall sports happen on the main turf because they have to schedule practices and games around other sports that are using the same field. Nesslage said that in the past two seasons of all 77 scheduled baseball practices, only 26 have happened outside. With the new turf fields there could be rain all day and teams could still be able to practice on their fields. A new turf is expected to cost 4.2 to 4.5 million dollars, but will have a lower maintenance cost that will save around $60,000 a year. Dr. Havener said that here has been around 300 thousand saved up from donations to help offset this cost, including the ability to rent out fields Dr.Havener also expressed that the new turf would not only be beneficial to athletes who use it but also P.E. classes and band.