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September Board highlights: State Board of Education members learn about system that tracks buses

Posted: Sep 28, 2016
Author: Ann Bush

A school bus rollover wreck in November 2015 led Hiawatha Unified School District 415 leaders to create a system that can track buses, bus routes and the buses most precious cargo - students.

The wreck resulted in 22 people being transported to the hospital with minor injuries - the worst injuries being two broken teeth and one broken arm.

A list of students on the bus, which was recorded on a paper inside the bus, couldn't be accessed after the wreck because law enforcement officers weren't sure the bus was safe enough for school personnel to enter, said USD 415 superintendent Dr. Penny Hargrove.

This caused concern for the district, and Tim Larkin, an information technology specialist with USD 415, worked to create the system, which tracks bus routes, athletic and activity routes and the students who are on each bus.

The cost is about $1,500 per bus, Hargrove said. The district has the tracking system installed on 13 buses currently.

Kansas State Board of Education members learned about the system from Hargrove and Larkin during the September board meeting.

Board members also heard an update about Kansas' Career and Technical Education programs from Jay Scott, assistant director of the Kansas State Department of Education's Career Standards and Assessment Services team.

He introduced a new consultant for the media and technology career field, Stacy Smith. He also introduced Natalie Clark as the new consultant for the business career field.

A new career field, public services, has been added, Scott told board members. Other career fields are health, design, production and repair, agriculture and family and consumer sciences. There are 2,600 pathways in the 310 high schools across the state.

Several consultants spoke about different career clusters during Scott's presentation. They shared information about revisions taking place to career clusters such as the Transportation Career Cluster and the Government and Public Administration Career Cluster.

Board members also approved assessment performance levels and cut scores for history/government and social studies.

In August, the board received performance level and cut score information for the Kansas College and Career Ready Assessments in history, government and social studies. Twenty-six teachers in grades six, eight and 11 were selected to participate in the process of developing the performance levels and cut scores. Teachers were nominated by their peers, and KSDE staff members reviewed the candidate nomination forms and identified a representative sample of qualified teachers from across the state.

Participants determined the percentage weight for each part on the test. The committee proposed for grade six that the historical vignette percentage weight be 35 percent. It would be 45 percent for eighth grade and 20 percent for 11th-grade. The percentage weight for document analysis in sixth-grade would be 40 percent, 30 percent for eighth- grade, and 30 percent for 11th-grade. The percentage weight for the Multidisciplinary Performance Task (on-demand writing response) for sixth grade would be 25 percent, 25 percent for eighth-grade, and 50 percent for 11th-grade.

The cut scores for sixth-grade would be 267 for level two, 300 for level three and 327 for level four. The cut scores for eighth-grade would be 266 for level two, 300 for level three and 339 for level four. The cut scores for 11th-grade would be 268 for level two, 300 for level three and 332 for level four.KSDE staff members recommended selecting the committee’s proposals. The board approved the committee's recommendations.

In other business, board members:

◾Approved submitting amended Emergency Safety Intervention regulations to the Department of Administration and the Office of the Attorney General for review.
◾Received information on AdvancED accreditation protocols and standards.
◾Received an update on Kansans Can communication tools.
◾Discussed 2017 board meeting dates. The board will take action on the dates at the October board meeting.

The board will meet next on Oct. 18-19 in the board room at KSDE, 900 S.W. Jackson St.

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