Highlights of the May State Board of Education Meeting
TOPEKA—May 18, 2010—The Kansas State Board of Education met May 11–12, 2010, in the boardroom at the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE). All Board members were present with Ken Willard arriving shortly after the meeting commenced.
Interim Commissioner of Education Dr. Diane M. DeBacker opened the May meeting with her monthly report in which she discussed the recent federal grant application that was prepared for Kansas Charter schools. The grant focuses on Kansas College and Career Ready Charter Schools (K-C3) with an emphasis on biotechnology, green schools, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Results of the grant will be announced in July.
Having no speakers for Citizen’s Open Forum, the Board next heard a presentation from Pam Coleman, KSDE Director of Teacher Education and Licensure, and Joellen Killion, Deputy Executive Director of the National Staff Development Council (NSDC), with findings from the Professional Development Audit Task Force charged with developing a comprehensive professional learning system to improve student performance as well as teacher retention. Killion offered several recommendations on the basis of providing career-long professional development opportunities for educators and ensuring each professional development opportunity is focused on student achievement. The presentation opened to a discussion on the feasibility of implementing such recommendations.
After lunch, several students from Clifton-Clyde High School presented an overview of projects they have been working on in terms of wind energy, solar energy, biomass/composting, energy conservation, green houses, gardens, and recycling. These projects helped earned Clifton-Clyde the title of 2010 Kansas Green School of the Year by the Kansas Association of Conservation and Environmental Education (KACEE) and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). Clifton-Clyde High School will host the 2010 Kansas Green School Conference on July 30, 2010, and hopes to serve as a resource and model for other districts throughout Kansas.
Following the students’ presentation, Dr. Diane DeBacker provided results from a second survey conducted in April/May regarding graduation requirements, following the initial survey discussed during the March Board meeting. The Board then entered into a lengthy conversation regarding concerns over issues highlighted in the surveys, specifically pertaining to senior year requirements.
Next, Dr. Tom Foster, KSDE Director of Career, Standards & Assessment Services, briefly updated the Board on the Initiatives for Career and Technical Education. Based on the original nine, eleven initiatives were presented along with detailed implications. Each initiative works together to increase the integration of academic and technical education, foster partnerships linking education with industry, and improve connections between secondary and postsecondary education. After further discussion, the Board decided Foster should move forward with the initiatives.
Colleen Riley, Director of Special Education Services quickly addressed the Board in response to prior concerns regarding parental rights and distributed the Special Education Advisory Council’s (SEAC) response to changes to revocation of parental rights regulations.
Deputy Commissioner Dale Dennis then updated the Board on the state budget and its effects on education as well as any significant changes in legislation. Dennis also highlighted areas and positions within the agency that will be reduced or eliminated in the coming fiscal year.
The Board then voted on the Act on Consolidation Agreement between USD 486 (Elwood), Doniphan County and USD 406 (Wathena), Doniphan County. Meeting all state requirements, the Board approved, allowing an election to be held on the proposed consolidation on June 8, 2010.
Wednesday’s meeting opened with a presentation from Pam Davis, team advisor for Baldwin High School’s design team who placed first at the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2010 Real World Design Challenge National Competition held in Washington, D.C. at the National Air and Space Museum in March. Baldwin advanced to the national competition after placing first at the state level for the second year in a row since its inception in 2009. Davis offered an overview of their winning project, displayed the team’s numerous trophies, and took questions from Board members.
During Board reports, Dr. Diane DeBacker recommended a commission be formed in order to prepare Kansas for the anticipated reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The proactive approach aims at preparing the state for action when the reauthorization is passed in order to ensure a smooth transition. The Board agreed that a commission should be formed, and will move forward with selecting members.
Jodi Mackey, KSDE Director of Child Nutrition and Wellness, closed out the meeting with an Act on Staff Recommendation for adopting a required healthful school vending policy. The Board approved the recommendation which requires all accredited K–12 schools in Kansas to implement the Advanced level of the Kansas School Wellness Policy Model Guidelines for foods and beverages sold in vending machines by August 1, 2010 and the Exemplary level by August 1, 2011.
The next Board meeting is scheduled for June 8–9, 2010 in Topeka.