October 16, 2008
For Immediate Release
Highlights of the October State Board of Education Meeting
TOPEKA/ The Kansas State Board of Education held its monthly board meeting, October 14-15, 2008, in the Riley Resource Center Board Room, 1201 North 10th Street, Independence, Kansas. Eight State Board members were present with Ken Willard and John Bacon absent, The Board also toured the Age to Age Kindergarten at Windsor Place in Coffeyville as well as the career cluster programs at Coffeyville High School on Monday, October 13, 2008. Prior to the Tuesday, October 14 meeting, the Board toured the Cessna Aircraft plant in Independence. Following are highlights of the two-day meeting.
Commissioner Posny invited the State Board members to recommend committee members for the review of the reading and mathematics standards. Board members were reminded that the Kansas Teacher of the Year State Awards Banquet invitations are in the mail.
Dr. Posny shared that the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) has applied to the National Governors’ Association (NGA) to be one of five states to receive a grant to form a Policy Academy for the coordination of Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs within the state. The grant will be used to coordinate with nationally known experts in the development of CTE programs. The funds will be used to pay for meetings and travel expenses. Those states receiving grants will be announced October 24, 2008.
The State Board voted 8-0 to change the November Board meeting from a two day to a one day meeting. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 12, 2008. Following the November meeting, the Board will travel to Junction City Middle School to participate in the Challenge Awards dinner and awards ceremony.
Dr. Posny shared a template for the revised accountability report. The new template will be used for the 2008-09 report.
Jeannine Phillips, founding director of FUNdamental Learning Center, Wichita, gave a brief presentation on dyslexia. She was available to respond to questions.
As there were no citizens wishing to address the State Board, Open Forum was suspended.
By holding meetings in Board member districts twice a year, the Board has the privilege of hearing about activities in the host district. USD 446 Superintendent Chuck Schmidt and Curriculum Director Jannette Luthi introduced several teachers who highlighted a variety of programs which have contributed to increased student motivation, resulting in higher assessment scores throughout the district. Programs include the following:
· The after school program which serves an average of 180 students a day and provides extended learning opportunities for students grades 1-5. Student mentors Kyle Taylor, Conner Frizel & Zach Stacey, all 6th graders, assisted Mandy Smith with the presentation;
· The Sunform Alphabet program, a research-based instructional program designed to produce successful readers and writers. The program is used in all USD 446 kindergarten classes. Kindergarten and first grade students Caleb Hayes, Caitlynn Brown, Kaiden King and Anthony LeDrono assisted kindergarten teacher Lisa Mitchell with the presentation; and
· The career & technical education program, a business-education alliance in Independence and surrounding communities. High School Principal Mitch Shaw introduced teachers Tim Knoles and Al Speicher who discussed the partnerships ongoing in the district. Curriculum courses have been developed to support the partnerships.
Dr. Steven Scott, Provost & Vice President of Academic Affairs, Pittsburg State University; Mr. Brad King, Dean of the Division of Health & Exercise Science & former Director of Teacher Education, Mid-America Nazarene University; and Dr. Ken Weaver, Interim Dean of The Teachers College, Emporia State University; shared information with the State Board of Education regarding the teacher preparation programs at their various institutions of higher education. The discussion centered around the current research and best practices that are being taught to education majors as part of the preparation programs. Additionally, the panel addressed how preparation programs have changed to meet the needs of students in the 21st century.
It was moved that the Kansas State Board of Education adopt the findings of fact and conclusions of the Professional Practices Commission and approve the recommendations of the Commission. The motion passed 8-0.
Deputy Commissioner Dale M. Dennis introduced Ms. Diane Lindemann, Director of Student Financial Assistance for the Kansas Board of Regents, who reviewed for the Board the Kansas Teacher Service Scholarship Program. The program is available to students attending all public and private two year and four year post-secondary institutions in Kansas, with preference given to students in their junior or senior year of college or current teachers seeking licensure or endorsement in hard-to-fill teaching disciplines or underserved geographic areas of the state. The designated hard-to-fill disciplines for AY 2008-09 are special education, math, science, foreign language, and English as a Second Language. The underserved geographic areas of the state are identified as USD 259 Wichita Public Schools, USD 500 Kansas City Public Schools, USD 501 Topeka Public Schools, and the State Board of Education Board member district #5 which incorporates the western 1/3 of the state. Students may receive up to $2,550 a semester. The amount is pro-rated based on the number of hours of enrollment. Students may be pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree in education but must agree to teach either in a hard-to-fill discipline or an underserved geographic area of Kansas for a period of one year for each year of scholarship assistance received. If students do not follow through on the service obligation, they will need to repay the amount of the scholarship received plus interest, currently at the rate of 12.9 percent. Ms. Lindemann was available to answer questions from the State Board.
Dale M. Dennis also reviewed with the Board a report on the teacher vacancies survey conducted by his office. As of August 1, 2008, there were 85 unified school districts with approximately 228.9 teacher vacancies compared to 315.5 at the beginning of the 2007-08 school year. Two reasons for the reduction are the State Board’s changes to rules and regulations and the hiring of retirees. Teacher shortages are an ongoing problem that the schools of education are helping to resolve by recruiting students into the teaching profession.
Mr. Dennis reviewed the health insurance coverage survey of school districts conducted by his office.
Mr. Dennis also shared possible legislative policy proposals with the Board. One such proposal, in order to increase planning time and allow school districts to be more efficient in the budget preparation process, is for the state to adopt a multi-year plan for financing school based on the CPI-U. Mr. Dennis reviewed the options with the State Board. He also reviewed the work of the interim legislative study committees.
The State Board of Education approved the consent agenda by a vote of 8-0 and recessed for the day.
On Wednesday, October 15, 2008, the State Board of Education reconvened at the Riley Resource Center in Independence. Commissioner Posny and Deputy Commissioner Dr. DeBacker presented the 2008 State Report Card.
Results released today from the 2008 Kansas Statewide Assessments show strong performance in reading, mathematics, science, and history/government for all students. When compared with the 2000 – 2007 results, the reading and mathematics scores reflect a continuing upward trend. Students have met and exceeded increasingly higher targets under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation. The achievement gaps among various groups of Kansas students in both reading and mathematics are gradually closing. Participation rates on all assessments in Kansas are above ninety-nine percent, indicating that the stakeholders in Kansas take the assessments very seriously and make sure that all students are counted. As a part of this report, the final list of schools making AYP was presented to the Board. The 2008 State Report Card may be accessed at the KSDE website (www.ksde.org) under Data/Reports.
Kansas also released the list of grades/schools achieving the Standard of Excellence in reading, mathematics, science, and history/government. The list is available on the KSDE website under “Hot Topics.”
Colleen Riley, Director of Special Education Services at KSDE, was asked to delay until the November meeting her report on the status of the dyslexia resolution and state efforts that have taken place since its approval during the last legislative session.
The State Board will meet in Topeka in November. The meeting was adjourned.