Karla Denny, Director of Communications, 785-296-4876
July 11, 2008
For Immediate Release
Highlights of the July State Board of Education Meeting
TOPEKA/ The Kansas State Board of Education held its monthly board meeting, July 8 - 9, 2008, in the Board Room at the Kansas State Department of Education, 120 SE 10th Avenue, Topeka, Kansas. All State Board members were present. Following are highlights of the two-day meeting.
Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Alexa Posny reviewed with the Board the Partnership in Character Education Program awards grant. The Kansas application featured integration of character education principles with on-going academic, career and technical initiatives such as the multi-tiered system of supports, recent anti-bullying legislation and the integration of career and technical standards with existing academic standards. Schools in Kansas, Florida and New York will share $1.4 million in grants designed to help them implement programs that teach the principles of character development and the responsibilities of citizenship to their students, U.S. Secretary of Education announced last week. Kansas will be funded $630,030 the first year of the grant beginning July 1, 2008.
The Kansas State Board of Education received the 21st Century Skills Practice of the Year Award for the State Board’s policies promoting comprehensive redesign with integration and partnerships from the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, the nation’s leading advocacy organization focused on infusing 21st century skills into education. The meeting was held in June in Madison, Wisconsin. Each Board member received a plaque commemorating the award.
Additionally, the Commissioner summarized the major State Board activities related to the Board’s strategies including outcomes achieved, that have taken place since the August 2007 retreat.
Dr. Diane DeBacker, deputy commissioner, shared information regarding the progress high poverty schools have made in ensuring highly qualified teachers are employed. Dr. DeBacker provided the definition of highly qualified teachers, the status of Kansas in reaching the goal of 100% of teachers being highly qualified, and strategies being used to assist districts in reaching this goal. The Deputy Commissioner then introduced Mr. James Mireles, principal Garden City High School, USD 457 Garden City, and Ms. Denise Seguine, chief academic officer at USD 259 Wichita. They shared strategies being used in their districts to assist teachers in reaching the highly qualified goal.
In January 2008, the Kansas State Board of Education endorsed 12 professional development standards of the National Staff Development Council (NSDC) for use in Kansas. As a result of the Board’s endorsement of the NSDC standards, the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) arranged to use a portion of the NSDC Standards Assessment Inventory for the study of the implementation of effective professional development practices.
During the spring of 2008, the Research and Evaluation Team at KSDE conducted a survey of teachers regarding the frequency of implementation of the effective professional development practices in their school. Concurrently, the team reviewed the reports of the Kansas Blue Ribbon Schools and the schools receiving the Confidence in Public Education Task Force Challenge Awards to study the implementation of aspects of the newly adopted professional development standards. Dr. Phyllis Clay, director of the Research and Evaluation Team, shared with the Board the results of the two studies.
In April, the Board authorized the Teaching in Kansas Commission (TKC) to become the oversight committee for the work approved on the TKC’s plan. In May, the Board was presented with specific recommendations that organized the five areas of emphasis—working conditions, teacher preparation, salary and benefits, image and promotion, and regulations/requirements/data. These work groups have been given the responsibility and authority to accomplish the tasks outlined. Pam Coleman, director of the Teacher Education & Licensure Team, shared the action plan timeline and the subcommittee membership with the Board.
Dr. Bill Hagerman, director of Innovations and Improvement, updated the Board on the work of the Kansas Educational Leadership Commission’s (KELC). He shared the activities completed to date including the development of a plan of action, the projected costs, and proposed implementation strategies focusing on teacher leadership, preparation programs, leader evaluation, professional development, and working conditions.
Melinda Stanley, education technology consultant at the Kansas Department of Education, shared with the Board information about the grantees of the Technology Rich Classrooms (TRC) initiative and presented an overview of TRC since its inception in 2003. Dr. Phyllis Clay reported the highlights of the TRC study regarding the replication, sustainability, and impact of the project. These topics and more were addressed in a survey of those TRC grantees that had concluded formal participation in the project by the end of the 2006-07 school year. Ms. Stanley introduced Mrs. Linda Kenne, superintendent USD 432 Victoria, who related to the Board the positive effects of the TRC initiative on schools in her district.
The State Board acted on the recommendations of the Professional Practices Commission, voting 10-0 to adopt the findings of fact and conclusions of the Professional Practices Commission and approve the recommendations of the Commission.
Mr. Dale M. Dennis, deputy commissioner, reviewed with the State Board the FY 2010 budget options, allocations, and recommendations. The State Board voted to approve the FY 2010 budget recommendations as amended. The approval will allow KSDE staff to proceed with the preparation of the budget and comply with the September 15, 2008, due date.
The consent agenda was approved on a 10-0 vote. The Board then convened an executive session to discuss non-elected personnel. No action was taken following the session.
The State Board of Education reconvened on Wednesday to receive the Board Policy Committee report and recommendations. The Policy Committee will meet prior to the August Board meeting to make revisions to the policies discussed and will bring this back to the Board at the August meeting for action.
Dr. Alexa Posny, commissioner of education, shared the proposed changes to the Virtual Schools Guidelines with the Board. After discussion, the Board voted 10-0 to change the wording of the Recruitment/enrollment of virtual schools section to read as follows:
Virtual programs/schools may advertise their programs. Prior to publicly distributing any written materials to advertise or promote a virtual program/school, such written materials must be provided to the school district or districts located within the geographical area where the materials are distributed.
The wording will be changed and the Virtual Schools Guidelines will be brought back to the Board in August as an action item.
The Board acted on Board travel prior to the Postsecondary Technical Education Authority’s presentation.
In 2007, the Kansas Legislature through HB 2556 established the Postsecondary Technical Education Authority. In an effort to continue its outreach and informational awareness, Authority members Mr. Bill Quattlebaum, Cessna Aircraft Wichita, and Mr. David Kerr, Kansas Secretary of Commerce, updated the Board on the progress that has been made to date on the Technical Authority’s plan. Information on the Aviation High School in New York City was also shared with the Board.
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