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Highlights from the Kansas State Board of Education March meeting

Posted: Mar 7, 2016
Author: Ann Bush

Ann Marie Bush, Communications Specialist     (785) 296-7921

Highlights from the Kansas State Board of Education March meeting

During a March 8 meeting, Kansas State Board of Education members acted to submit an addition of suicide awareness and prevention training into a regulation that will be sent to the Department of Administration and the Office of the Attorney General for review.

The State Board in February received a proposed amendment to the current accreditation regulations that incorporates suicide awareness and training for all school employees and the development of crisis plans for each building.

Kansas State Department of Education staff members proposed that the regulation, as amended, be submitted to the Department of Administration and the Office of the Attorney General, which will review the proposed amendment. After the two agencies complete their review, the State Board will set a public hearing date for comments on the proposed regulations.

Kansas Commissioner of Education Randy Watson gave board members an update on work being done to support the board’s new vision for Kansas education. He likened the early stages of the vision to Project Mercury, the first human spaceflight program of the United States.

Watson also shared details about the US-36 highway tour he and board members Deena Horst and Sally Cauble went on in February. He said the tour really drove home the fact that there is a shortage of teachers in the state. Watson will put together a Blue Ribbon Task Force to tackle the issue of teacher shortage, he told board members. The task force, comprised of 24 people, will report back to the board with recommendations at the July board meeting.

Scott Myers, director of the Kansas State Department of Education’s Teacher Licensure and Accreditation team, presented information on the Higher Education Licensure Program Standards: Art, Gifted, Music, Instrumental Music and Vocal Music.

The Art (Pre-K-12) Standards committee members:

  • Changed language in some standards to clarify, simplify and bring standards up to current practices in the field.
  • Added emphasis on collaboration, on including new technologies and art forms, on drawing on local community and global resources, and on using multiple forms of assessment to support teachers’ decision making and student learning.
  • Added language that includes collaborative strategies; recognizes increased use of information and technology.
  • Enlarged assessment to include multiple methods; linked assessment to student’s engagement in their own growth; added that assessment guides teachers’ decision making.
  • Increased emphasis on professional responsibility.

The Gifted Standards Committee (K-6, 5-8, 6-12, PreK-12):

  • Updated standards for alignment with NAGC and INTASC standards and Praxis exam categories.
  • Rephrased standards for clarity by reducing redundancies.
  • References “gifted education teacher” and “learners identified as gifted.”
  • Adds “diversity” throughout the standards.
  • Combined needs into “cognitive, social and emotional” categories.
  • Emphasized individual differences.
  • Emphasized evidence-based instructional strategies.

The Musical, Instrumental Music and Vocal Music (all Pre-K-12):

  • Aligned standards with accreditation standards of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and the Council for Accreditation of Education Preparation (CAEP).
  • All three areas of licensures were aligned to make them more consistent.
  • Reduced the current nine standards to seven. Redundant material was removed, while other knowledge and performance indicators were moved to standards that were more relevant.
  • Merged Standards 2 and 3 to encompass the composition, arrangement and improvisation music within the classroom.
  • Combined Standard 6 with Standard 5.

Matt Fearing spoke about the program Jobs for America’s Graduates Kansas. JAG has been around for more than 30 years. It is a partnership between schools, students and the business community that not only provides the academic and emotional support that at-risk students need, but it prepares them with real-world job skills that enhance their sense of self-growth and provides the business community with skilled employees who are ready and eager to join productive society upon graduation.

The high school graduation rate within the first year of those who participated in JAG Kansas was established (in 2012) was 93 percent. Since its inception of the program in Kansas in 2012, there have been more than 3,000 students served. JAG Kansas is now in 61 schools within 29 public school districts across Kansas, Fearing said. JAG Kansas serves freshman, sophomores, juniors and seniors in a classroom setting with either an Alternative Education or Multi-Year program. It also serves sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students in a classroom setting with the Middle School program.

In the afternoon, board members heard from Kansas administrators who have received prestigious awards. Those speaking were:

  • Ed Raines, principal at Washburn Rural High School, Auburn Washburn Unified School District 437. Raines was named the 2015-2016 Kansas High School Principal of the Year by the Kansas Association of Secondary School Principals.
  • Traci Becker, principal at Mulvane Middle School, Mulvane USD 263. Becker was named the 2015-2016 Kansas Middle School Principal of the Year by the Kansas Association of Middle School Administrators.
  • John Ernst, principal at Rolling Ridge Elementary School, Olathe USD 233. Ernst was named the 2016 National Distinguished Principal of the Year by the Kansas Association of Elementary School Principals.
  • Cynthia Lane, superintendent at Kansas USD 500. Lane has been named the 2016 Superintendent of the Year by the Kansas School Superintendents Association.

Each person shared information about the positive and unique things they are doing in their schools.

Later in the afternoon, board members acted on the appointment of a State Board of Education member to the Kansas State High School Activities Association Board of Directors. State Board of Education members Carolyn Wims-Campbell and Kathy Busch are currently serving. Wims-Campbell’s term expires June 30, 2016. She has served six years and isn’t eligible for another term. Busch will remain on the KSHSAA Board through 2017.

Busch nominated board member Jim Porter to the KSHSAA Board. Wims-Campbell made a motion for Busch to serve on the executive board. Both nominations were approved.

After the nominations, Jessica Noble, education program consultant for KSDE, discussed proposed requirements and monitoring plans for Kansas Virtual Education and Kansas Diploma Completion programs.

The Kansas Charter and Virtual Education Advisory Council has recently updated the Kansas Virtual Education requirements, which were last updated in 2008. The Advisory Council is proposing that the monitoring of virtual schools and programs change from annual monitoring to every three years, using a risk-based monitoring model. Additionally, KSDE staff convened stakeholders to form the Kansas Diploma Completion Advisory Council, which was a one-year endeavor to create requirements and a monitoring plan for Diploma Completion programs that use an alternative model. This will be the first time that these programs will have established requirements and an approval process with KSDE. A vote for approving the documents will take place at the April State Board of Education meeting.

The key changes to requirements:

  • Previous: Final assessments must be provided and proctored for every high school course. Award credits when students meet all goals and objectives for all online courses.
  • New: Students must be awarded credit when they have met all goals and objectives for each online courses and demonstrated competence.
  • Previous: Establish a district policy for the provision of special education services.
  • New: A district policy, that aligns with federal law, must be established for the provision of special education, ESOL, migrant and homeless services for virtual students.
  • ​Previous: Provide opportunities to learn for students who don’t meet NCLB targets. Provide a student intervention plan for online students if necessary.
  • New: Student intervention plans must be developed for virtual students, as needed, to address attendance and academic issues.

On Wednesday, board members and KSDE staff members toured the Kansas School for the Deaf in Olathe and the Kansas School for the Blind in Kansas City, Kan.

The next meeting of the KSBE is scheduled for April 19-20 in Topeka

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