Highlights of the December Board of Education Meeting
TOPEKA – December 10, 2008 – The Kansas State Board of Education held its monthly board meeting December 9-10, 2008, in the boardroom of the Kansas State Department of Education, 120 SE 10th Avenue. All ten Board members were present. Following are the highlights of the two-day meeting.
Commissioner Alexa Posny presented her monthly report to the Board. Dr. Posny discussed her recent involvement at the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) Annual Policy Forum in which members had the opportunity to discuss the future of education with President-elect Obama’s educational advisor, Linda Darling-Hammond. Additionally, a task force was formed to develop immediate recommendations for the consideration of President-Elect Obama’s Education Transition Team, Congress, and the U.S. Secretary of Education.
A representative from the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) spoke to the Board about recent efforts to ensure foster children receive uninterrupted education when moved from home to home. Such efforts include an education enrollment form which details contact information of the child’s past two schools as well as a database which holds and tracks records and transcripts of children. The Department of Education will continue to work with SRS on this ongoing process. She was available to respond to questions from Board members.
The 2008 Milken National Educator, Vanessa Martinez addressed the Board about her efforts as assistant principal at Horace Mann Dual Language Magnet School in Wichita. Ms. Martinez is the only Kansas educator to receive the 2008 Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award. The Milken Family Foundation recognizes and rewards teachers and principals who have made significant contributions to the education of children.
Representatives from four of the five 2008 No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon Schools had the opportunity to share their thoughts on what factors seem to be most significant in raising student achievement. The 2008 NCLB Blue Ribbon Schools are: Beeson Elementary School, Dodge City; Lincoln Elementary School, Lincoln; Syracuse High School, Syracuse; Blue Valley North High School, Overland Park; and Ellsworth Elementary School, Ellsworth.
Pamela Coleman, Director of Teacher Education and Licensure at the Department of Education, along with co-chairs Tes Mehring and Brad King presented the Final Report of the Teaching in Kansas Commission which pinpoints the areas which need improvement in the efforts of teaching recruitment and retention. A series of goals were presented in each of the five areas of improvement: working conditions, regulations and data, image and promotion, salary and benefits, and teacher preparation. The commission was available to respond to questions and concerns of the Board.
Deputy Commissioner Diane DeBacker of the Department of Education spoke briefly to the Board about the Kansas Educational Leadership Commission and the progress it has made in the past few months. Five design teams continue to work on the efforts of the twelve recommendations in the areas of teacher leadership, preparation programs, leader evaluation, professional development, and working conditions. Final recommendations are scheduled to be presented in July. The Kansas Educational Leadership Commission was created in April 2006 to focus on recent research and evidence-based practices which demonstrate the impact leadership has on student learning and achievement.
Superintendents from the Kansas State School for the Deaf and the Kansas State School for the Blind presented the Board with their budget appeals for fiscal years 2009 and 2010. Following their presentation, Deputy Commissioner Dale Dennis briefly discussed the financial situation of the state, noting that more will be known in January in regards to fiscal years 2009 and 2010. Currently, funding has not been cut.
Following the meeting, a reception was held for outgoing Board members Steve Abrams, District 10; Carol Rupe, District 8; Bill Wagnon, District 4; and Sue Gamble, District 2. Each was presented with a plaque in appreciation of their years of service with the Board.
The State Board approved the consent agenda by a vote of 10-0. The Board will meet again on January 13–14, 2009 in Topeka.