Welcome to a cold and blustery 2014! It's hard to believe that Kansas students are now in the second semester of the 2013-14 school year. It seems like it was just yesterday that parents were shopping for back-to-school clothes, school custodians were putting the final coat of polish on the hallway floors, and we at KSDE were preparing for our move to a new location. Much was accomplished during 2013 and predictions for 2014 indicate that we'll have another busy year.
What do you have planned for the coming year? Increased student achievement? Safer schools? Healthier children? Deeper professional development? Improved technology? Better communication with parents? This time of year gives all of us the perfect opportunity to make mid-year adjustments and re-examine our goals and priorities. With the cold weather comes renewed effort and energy to finish the school year strong. Good luck on your mid-year course adjustments. And, yes, I am purposefully not referring to any of these as resolutions!
The Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) and the Kansas State Board of Education (KSBE) will also have a busy 2014 beginning with anticipated approval of the Kansas Curricular Standards for Theatre early in the year. We'll continue to pilot the new accreditation system with voluntary districts using the 5 R's of Relevance, Relationships, Results, Responsive Culture, and Rigor. The Kansas College and Career Ready Standards (KCCRS) will find 2014 as the year of full implementation. The transitional assessment, based on the KCCRS, will take place this spring and we'll work closely with the Center for Education and Testing (CETE) to develop the state summative assessments in math and English language arts. Staff at KSDE will submit revisions to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) waiver and await a decision from the US Department of Education. Our work with multiple measures as part of the teacher and principal evaluation systems will continue. Teacher licensure in the areas of career and technical education and out-of-state applicants will undergo a thorough review. We also anticipate a pilot of individual plans of study as part of the state summative assessment program. Whew! Looks like we'll need all of 2014 to accomplish everything on our "To Do List"!
Best of luck as you begin the year with enthusiasm and optimism!
Dr. Diane DeBacker
Kansas Commissioner of Education