Highlights of the September State Board of Education Meeting
Karla Denny, Director, Communications and Recognition Programs, 785-296-4876
TOPEKA, September 12, 2007 /The Kansas State Board of Education held its regular monthly board meeting on September 11 - 12, 2007, in the boardroom of the Kansas State Department of Education, 120 SE 10th Avenue. All ten Board members were present. Following are highlights of the two-day meeting.
The Board heard a presentation by Superintendent Beth Reust, USD 270 Plainville, on long-range planning which is occurring in her district. Ms. Reust discussed challenges and highlighted successes experienced from the “Plainville” perspective. Since becoming superintendent, Ms. Reust’s focus has been on increasing student achievement. Plainville schools have made a dramatic improvement in the number of students achieving at proficient or above on state assessments. The goal this year is to further reduce the number of students scoring below proficient by 25 percent. Focused instruction, a strategic communication plan targeting stakeholders, and the engagement of student is paying dividends for the district.
The 2007 – 2008 Kansas Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC) members were introduced. Mr. Bert Moore highlighted council activities. A report on special population requests was also presented, as well as the 2006 – 2007 Annual Report. SEAC continues to function as an advisory panel to the Kansas State Board of Education. Members of SEAC are appointed by the State Board and advise the Board in five key areas as required by the implementing regulations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and by Kansas statutes.
The list of public schools and districts not making adequate yearly progress (AYP) was given to the Board as required by federal legislation. To access the list presented to the Board, look under Hot Topics on the KSDE website homepage.
In the 2006 – 07 testing cycle, 89% of the state’s public schools made adequate yearly progress (AYP), even though the targets for mathematics and reading have been steadily increasing since 2002. This compares with 84% of public schools making AYP last year. Student achievement continues to rise in Kansas.
“The good news is that more Kansas schools are achieving their goals in reading and math. This is true even though these same goals increased substantially over last year. By a persistent focus on academic success, Kansas educators are clearly meeting the challenge of educating all students to a high standard,” according to the Kansas Commissioner of Education, Dr. Alexa Posny.
A review of the development process for Kansas curriculum standards was requested at the last Board meeting. An update on the standards development process was given by Dr. Tom Foster. The update included a brief overview of the connection the standards have with the development of state assessments, the graduation requirements and Qualified Admissions.
Mr. Tracy Newell, lead assistant principal at Garden City High School, USD 457 Garden City; Mr. Ernie Sweat, high school mathematics coordinator for USD 259 Wichita; Dr. George Abel, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, USD 253 Emporia; and Ms. Ethel Edwards, curriculum coordinator for USD 501 Topeka presented information regarding how districts align local curricula with state content standards and what specific instructional methods are used to teach mathematics in Kansas. Mr. Newell and Ms. Edwards are former state mathematics consultants.
The consent agenda was approved by a 10 – 0 vote.
Dr. Alexa Posny, Kansas Commissioner of Education, presented an overview of the strategic goal and objectives adopted by the Board. She shared a plan of action, including specific activities, timelines, and persons responsible in order to move the Board forward in this process.
Mr. Dale M. Dennis reviewed the legislative recommendations for the 2008 session.