2020 Year In Review

2020 KNPS Year In Review
Posted on 12/31/2020
2020 Year In Review Image

Dear Knob Noster Parents and Community:


I hope this memo finds you well and that you enjoyed a restful, relaxing, and healthy Christmas Break with your family. It goes without saying that 2020 was a year unlike any we have seen.  Yet, despite the challenges presented by Covid-19, Knob Noster Public Schools continued to push forward with a number of successes for our students and community.  We want to take this opportunity to thank each of you for your support of Knob Noster Public Schools, our students, and our team.  Through your support and partnership, 2020 was another standout year! Provided below is a year-in-review “Top 10 List” of accomplishments of Knob Noster Public Schools. Our students, teachers, and Board of Education continue to firmly plant our feet as one of the best school districts in the nation…and we look forward to what’s in store for 2021! We are very pleased to share the following list of select accomplishments that you have helped our students achieve during a very challenging year!


10.  The United States Air Force conducted a nationwide study on the quality of education serving its 154 installations.  Amidst very elite competition, Knob Noster Public Schools / Whiteman Air Force Base ranked NUMBER 1 in the country for quality of education.  The study measured academic outcomes, college and career readiness programs, attendance, graduation rate, preschool offerings, and a variety of other metrics.


9.  With support from a $1,000,000 grant from the Department of Defense Education Activity, Knob Noster Public Schools opened the Little Wingmen Preschool Program to serve the students of Knob Noster and Whiteman AFB. In 2013, the Knob Noster community reported that a preschool program was among its greatest needs.  The district is pleased to have delivered this program in 2020 through start-up federal funding.


8.  For the second year in a row, Knob Noster High School was recognized as the NUMBER 1 rural high school in Missouri for college and career readiness by US News and World Report.  This study measured and ranked over 600 high schools in the state on a variety of academic and performance measures.


7.  Whiteman Elementary School’s Student 2 Student program was recognized as the NUMBER 1 program in the nation by the Military Child Education Coalition. The S2S program serves as the face of the school, with the core function of establishing a welcoming climate and culture for all students.  When students PCS to and from Whiteman Elementary, our S2S ambassadors ensure these transitions are not solo missions, but are supported from start to finish by a team of friendly, embracing students.


6.  Employee compensation increases were a point of pride in 2019 and again in 2020, with the Board of Education approving the most aggressive wage increases (back to back) in over a decade. The district also enhanced the health program and benefits offered to our team.  Throughout the Covid pandemic, the district did not cut a single employee or a single paycheck.  The district ended 2020 by providing a Covid supplemental payment for employees.  The Board and administration remain fully committed to aggressive recruitment and retention of quality employees.


5.   To further strengthen our secondary programs, Knob Noster partnered with Embry Riddle University to provide dual credit courses within our JROTC aviation program. The district added a Community Based Instruction Teacher for our Project Partners Program which provides worksite experiences for special needs students. The district expanded the reach of our Business Program by adding a second instructor and expanding courses into Knob Noster Middle School.  The district also took additional steps in developing career academies to provide high school students real world worksite experience to jump start their careers.  From PreK to Career, Knob Noster continues to establish new ways to innovate.


4.  Financially, Knob Noster Public Schools continues to offer an exemplary return on investment for our taxpayers.  In 2020, the district spent more on direct instruction than ever before while simultaneously securing the largest reserve fund balances in school history, the majority of which is being held in reserve for future capital projects. The district produced another clean audit for 2020, with notable enhancements to operational practices.  All of this was accomplished with the lowest K-12 public school tax levy in the region...a tax rate 50% lower than most other schools in our region.


3.  Knob Noster Public Schools continues to strengthen its local, state, and national profile as a leader in public education.  In 2020, the district was profiled in/by: Digital Learning Collaborative, Association of Defense Communities, Collaborative for Student Success, Military Impacted Schools Association, Military Child Education Coalition, Whiteman Area Leadership Council, Missouri Military Preparedness and Enhancement Commission, Department of Defense Education Activity, and others.  In an era where partnerships are paramount for securing grant funding and educational opportunities for students, the future looks promising and bright for Knob Noster Public Schools.


2.  Above all other goals, Knob Noster Public Schools seeks to develop quality character, citizenship, and patriotism in our students, with this effort being championed through our Panthers R.O.C.K character program and The Leader In Me program.  In 2020, our students lived these values in many ways, most notably through their resilience and perseverance throughout the Covid-19 crisis.  We send a HUGE thank you to our students for living out the most important elements of our school mission! We hope our community is as proud of our students as we are!


1.  A typical year in Knob Noster….VIRTUALLY! When Covid reached the Knob Noster community….we were ready.  Decisions by the district over the last several years allowed us to have one of the most seamless shifts to virtual learning in the nation.  The technology infrastructure, 1:1 devices K-12, and embedded skills of our teachers were already in place, which made the transition very smooth.  The readiness of our school district was second only to the resolve, commitment, and extraordinary humanity of the people that make up our school and community.  From drive through food service lines to zoom classrooms to school bus hotspots and everything in between, our team stepped up to the challenge to continue services to our students and families.  While it was not perfect at every step, we were able to move forward with high levels of success.  When we reopened our doors in the fall, students and teachers alike rushed back into their classrooms with a new found appreciation for what school really means to all of us. Covid 19 helped remind all of us that the functions of public schools extend far beyond academics.  Public schools support students and families with basic needs.  They create a safe space for friendships and social interactions.  They challenge students to grow and learn and to not take a single day for granted. Covid 19 reminded us all that public schools are the heartbeat of the communities of our nation.  And when it comes to communities, Covid-19 proved that Knob Noster is one of the best communities in our country!  When adversity hit, the Knob Noster community embraced it, we united, and we put our best foot forward!  Our trust and relationships carried us through 2020….and we are aligned for 2021 even stronger than before!


As 2020 comes to a welcomed end, we again want to thank you for your partnership in helping the accomplishments listed above, and many others, occur for our students!  From the Knob Noster Panther Family to yours, we wish you and your family the best of health, happiness, and prosperity in 2021 and we look forward to great things in partnership with each of you!


In Knob Noster Public Schools – Our Mission Is Student Success!


Very Respectfully,


Jerrod Wheeler, Ed. D.

Superintendent of Schools