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Kansas State Board of Education: May highlights

Posted: May 16, 2018
Author: Ann Bush

Accreditation process focus of board's May work session

Kansas State Board of Education members at their May meeting received in-depth training about the Kansas Education Accreditation System (KESA) process, learned more about a new pilot for respecialization that could help solve a shortage of school psychologists and approved new goals for the Kansas State Schools for the Blind and Deaf.

The State Board met Tuesday, May 8, and Wednesday, May 9, at the Landon State Office Building, 900 S.W. Jackson.

Colleen Riley, the director of the Kansas State Department of Education’s Early Childhood, Special Education and Title Services (ECSETS) team, spoke to the board about a shortage of school psychologists in the state. KSDE is working with Emporia State University on a one-year pilot program that would expedite the process of getting licensed mental health professionals into schools as school psychologists. 

The pilot will begin in the 2018-2019 school year. While KSDE is working exclusively with ESU for the pilot, the agency is open to working with other universities across the state, Riley said. She stressed that this isn’t an alternative route. Instead, it is a way for districts that don’t have a school psychologist in place to hire a student working toward that degree.

Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson spoke to board members about a decrease in Title I funding for the state. Nationally, Title I funding for the 2018-2019 school year is up 1.94 percent. However, Kansas will see a decrease of 8.9 percent, which is $9,583,856.

For the 2018-2019 school year, Kansas had the greatest percentage of a decrease in funding, and Oklahoma had the greatest percentage of an increase at 11.63 percent. The 2018-2019 awards are based on State Per Pupil Expenditre (SPPE) data from the 2015-2016 school year. In fiscal year 2016, SPPE for Kansas was down $117. Kansas had both a decrease in the percentage of students below the federal poverty level and a decrease in the total number of children ages 5 to 17 years.

As a result of the decrease, KSDE doesn’t expect to see the increases to school funding that the current legislature has made reflected in an increase SPPE until 2020-2021.

KSDE will send preliminary allocation amounts to districts during the second week of May, Watson said.

The board recognized Gary Musselman, executive director of the Kansas State High School Activities Association, who will retire in July after 30 years with the organization. Musselman received a plaque from the State Board of Education.

The board approved the Kansas State School for the Blind’s (KSSB) fourth goal, which is to increase professional development, and two goals for the Kansas State School for the Deaf (KSSD), which are to increase community engagement and partnerships (goal three) and to increase the amount of professional development and supports (goal four).

In June 2017, the State Board authorized KSSB and KSSD to work together with the Kansas Association of School Boards to develop recommendations on administrative structure to serve both schools now and in the future. There were five goals identified to help set the schools’ future. 

Jon Harding, KSSB's interim superintendent, presented the fifth goal, which centers on transition services to students. The fifth goal is scheduled for action at the board’s June meeting.

Luanne Barron, interim superintendent of KSSD, presented information on the school’s fifth goal, which focuses on transition services. The school wants to create a system to empower active engagement, preparing students for their future to be successful, employed, independent/self-sufficient contributors to society. There already is a system in place on campus. However, KSSD wants to focus on statewide implementation through a variety of ways. These could include arranging for students to attend college and career fairs; expanding the current Kansas Student Transition Academic and Readiness (KSTAR) program, which is for adults, ages 18 to 21; and exploring the availability of online education programs designed for deaf communities.

The board is scheduled to take action on KSSD’s fifth goal at the June meeting.

The 2018 Kansas Senate Youth delegates were recognized during Tuesday afternoon’s session. Jaron Caffrey, of Haven High School, Haven USD 312, and Sandhya Ravikumar, of Free State High School, Lawrence USD 497, shared their thoughts on a week-long trip to Washington, D.C.  Each delegate also received a $10,000 scholarship. Phillip Pyle, of Eudora High School, was an alternate and also was recognized at the meeting. Alternate Benjamin Wright, of Abilene High School, didn’t attend the meeting.

Stacy Smith, assistant director of KSDE’s Career Standards and Assessment Services, updated board members on Career and Technical Education (CTE). He spoke about innovation with business and industry partners.

KSDE’s Joyce Huser introduced Gretchen Bixler, president of the Kansas Music Educators Association (KMEA), who gave an update on the Kansas State Music Standards, which were adopted in 2015, and how they have been implemented.

On Wednesday, the board had a work session focusing on the KESA process. KSDE’s KESA team presented an overview of the accreditation process. KESA is a five-year model that accredits systems. It replaces Quality Performance Accreditation (QPA) which accredited schools instead of systems/districts.

State Board of Education members during the May meeting also:

•    Approved curricular standards for driver education.
•    Approved three new appointments to the Professional Standards Board, all effective from July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2021.
•    Approved two appointments to the Licensure Review Committee, effective from June 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019.
•    Discussed comprehensive science licensure. With the proposed endorsement, a teacher could take a comprehensive science test, and if he or she passes, be able to teach any secondary science class. The board requested that the Teacher Vacancy and Supply Committee continue discussions and bring back recommendations.
•    It was proposed that the proposal be taken back to the Teacher Vacancy and Supply Committee, which is where the proposal came from. Some board members were concerned that if the comprehensive science license is approved, it may be seen as lowering standards.
•    Received information from Deputy Commissioner Dale Dennis about the final school finance plan approved by the Kansas Legislature.
•    Approved 40 applications for specialized teaching certificates through the Coalition of Innovative School Districts. The applications represented 14 renewals and 26 new candidates for Kansas City USD 500. The specialized certificate is effective for a one-year period and is nontransferable to any other Kansas school district. This allows Kansas City USD 500 to hire nonlicensed professional employees or licensed professional employees in areas outside of their areas of licensure for the 2018-2019 school year.
 

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