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September Kansas State Board of Education highlights: ESSA plan, teacher vacancy discussed

Posted: Sep 21, 2017
Author: Ann Bush

The Kansas State Department of Education submitted the Kansas Consolidated State Plan to the federal government on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017, to meet the requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Kansas State Board of Education members learned during their September meeting.

The meeting took place Sept. 12-13, 2017, at the Landon State Office Building.

Colleen Riley, director of the Kansas State Department of Education’s Early Childhood, Special Education and Title Services team, gave board members an update on the submission of the Kansas Consolidated State Plan to meet the requirements for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), under the Elementary and Secondary Education ACT (ESEA).

KSDE’s Sandry Guidry, who retired earlier in the month, Tate Toedman and Beth Fultz joined Riley for the update and discussion.

Riley said the final date for submitting the Consolidated State Plan is Monday, Sept. 18. However, the staff planned to submit the plan a few days early.

Toedman, assistant director of ECSETS, told board members the comment period for the consolidated plan took place between Aug. 1 and Aug. 30.

Fultz said that the State Report Card beginning in 2018 will include these ESSA accountability indicators: academic proficiency; academic gap; high school graduation; English language proficiency; and student success. The goal for each indicator should be reached by 2030, Fultz said. While reporting will be done annually, KSDE will only take measurements every three years.

Toedman also informed the board that Gov. Sam Brownback had signed the state’s consolidated plan.

Also on Tuesday, Susan Helbert, assistant director of KSDE’s Teacher Licensure and Accreditation (TLA) team, and representatives from the Professional Standards Board discussed the Teacher Vacancy and Supply Committee and shared information from the Licensed Personnel Report.

The Commissioner’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Teacher Vacancies and Supply presented their final report and recommendations to the board in 2016. The board accepted the report and created the Teacher Vacancy and Supply Committee (TVSC) as a standing subcommittee of the Professional Standards Board. The State Board of Education also tasked the Professional Standards Board with evaluating the Blue Ribbon Task Force report and addressing recommendations in the report.

TVSC has been meeting regularly on specific licensing issues that were identified by the State Board of Education as the most immediate priority outcomes for the group. License issues include elementary alternative; multi-year first license (mentoring); student-teaching options; and comprehensive science. Special education was added by TVSC.

TVSC has been focused on elementary alternative and SPED options. Discussions focused on the pros and cons of an alternative elementary license. The group reviewed existing and proposed licensing program alternatives. The group recommended that the State Board of Education approve of a pilot for an alternative elementary license.

Under the requirements, a district would identify and select a person with "great potential." The selection would be based on the needs of the district. Individuals would need a bachelor’s degree (regionally accredited) and would have to be enrolled in an approved elementary education preparation program. There also would be required mentoring and support.

The license would be limited to elementary and would be good for two years so the individual could complete the approved elementary program. An extension could be requested.

This would be a statewide pilot and reviewed annually.

Under special education, discussion focused on current options; reporting issues; and issues around supportive services versus content delivery.

TVSC’s recommendation would be for State Board of Education members to approve a pilot similar to the alternative elementary license proposal. The individual would have to have a bachelor’s degree (regionally accredited) and enrolled in a high-incidence K-12 program. The issued license would be “limited special education” for two years, which would allow the individual to complete an approved high incidence program. An extension can be requested.

Like the elementary proposal, the special education proposal would be a statewide pilot.

TVSC will meet again Sept. 21, Oct. 19 and Nov. 16. The group will continue to discuss special education; comprehensive science; and student-teaching options. The group also will look at the 64 recommendations from the Blue Ribbon Task Force.

Helbert introduced KSDE’s Lori Adams, who discussed vacancies. A vacancy is considered any licensed position not filled at all or filled by an individual who isn’t appropriately licensed for the assignment (not licensed, expired license, sub license, licensed unqualified).

Adams pointed out the difference between individual and assignment reporting. An individual means each educator is only counted once and there are no duplicates, Adams explained. An assignment is a “count calculated by counting all assigned courses; educators with more than one assignment are counted more than once.”

Exit and entrance data was reported using the individual category. Novice teacher experience; novice teacher qualification data; and novice teacher licensure counts were reported using the assignment category.

The Licensed Personnel Report summarized the personnel information collected from all state accredited schools in Kansas for the 2016-2017 school year. There were 42,688 licensed personnel in the state, including 32,108 females (75.22 percent) and 10,580 (24.78 percent) were male.

The 2017-2018 fall vacancy data showed there are 90 elementary vacancies; 14 early childhood vacancies; and 82 special education/English to Speakers of Other Languages vacancies.

KSDE’s Dr. Suzanne Myers and Dr. Lizette Burks gave an overview of the Visiting International Teachers program. The purpose of the program is to give people the opportunity to learn languages and other subjects from native speakers; improve international education; meet the needs of Kansas students; and alleviate teacher shortages.

Myers announced that as of Aug. 14, 2017, Dr. Regina Peszat was named the new coordinator for world languages, the Visiting International Teachers Program and English Language Learners (ELL) assessment.

The program has a memoranda of understanding with the Ministry of Education of Spain and the Ministry of Education of China, Myers told the board.

More than 100 teachers taking part in the program since 2001. They have taught several subjects, including Spanish, Chinese, Spanish Dual Language, French, math, science, social studies, art and music.

Teachers taking part in the program have to have these qualifications: be proficient in English; have a relevant degree (most have at least one master’s degree); have K-12 experience; have their transcripts evaluated by a third party; have KSDE verify that they meet Kansas requirements; and obtain an Exchange Visitor license for one year (renewable for a total of three years).

In other discussions and actions, the State Board of Education:

  • Approved the submission of the proposed KESA regulations 91-31-31 through 91-31-42 to the Department of Administration and Office of Attorney General for review. Deputy Commissioner Brad Neuenswander talked to the board about the KESA regulations. There were two changes to the regulations, he said. In Section 91-31-31, the definition of Action plan was removed. This would be a local plan that doesn’t need to be in the KESA definitions, Neuenswander said. Section 91-31-39 was completely removed because it “simply stated that schools may be rewarded,” Neuenswander said. After the review by the Department of Administration and the Office of Attorney General, the State Board of Education is slated to set a public hearing date for comments on the proposed accreditation regulations.
  • Heard from Dr. Blake Flanders, president and CEO of the Kansas Board of Regents, about how the Kansans Can vision coincides with KBOR’s Foresight 2020 strategic plan for higher education. He also updated the board on Regents’ work toward goals that cross both PreK-12 and higher education systems.
  • Received an update on the Seal of Biliteracy Certificate. KSDE’s Peszat and Julie Ewing, a world language consultant for Career Standards and Assessment Services, presented. The certificate recognizes any Kansas student who has attained proficiency in English and one or more other world other languages by the time the student graduates. The State Board of Education adopted the certificate program at the May 17, 2016, board meeting. The program was implemented during the 2016-2017 school year. In Kansas, nine districts have taken part in the program, which includes 12 schools and 199 students. There are two certification levels, platinum (advanced low) and gold (intermediate mid).
  • Heard from Mark Thompson, assistant director of Child Nutrition and Wellness, about the 28th Annual KSDE Conference with board members. Kansans Can: Imagine! is the theme for this year’s conference, which will take place Oct. 11-13 at the Hyatt Regency/Century II in Wichita.
  • Approved the appointment of Kristy Oborny to her first three-year term on the Professional Standards Board to run July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2020. Oborny is an elementary teacher and librarian for USD 489 Hays. She was nominated to fill the vacancy for Teacher, Public Elementary School.
  • Approved the appointment of Alicia Young to serve a full three-year term on the Professional Standards Board representing Public Secondary School Teachers effective July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2020.
  • Received a report from Denise Kahler, director of Communications and Recognition Programs, about training modules for the vision. There are seven modules, including an overview by Commissioner Watson. The modules will be distributed to Kansas educators.
  • Received an overview about the Kansas National Education Association’s Teacher Leadership Institute, which was launched in February 2017. KNEA also shared information about the Teacher Leadership Initiative (TLI), which is a joint endeavor of the National Education Association, Center for Teaching Quality and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. TLI is in its fourth year with 17 states and more than 200 teacher leaders participating. The initiative, funded in part by the Ford Foundation and W.K. Kellogg Foundation, is a comprehensive effort to recruit, prepare, activate and support the next generation of teachers to lead a transformed teaching profession.

The next meeting will take place Oct. 17-18 at the Landon State Office Building, 900 S.W. Jackson, in Topeka.

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