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Kansas State Board of Education August highlights: Board approves adjusting KESA cycle for 'Learning Year'

Kansas State Board of Education members at their August meeting approved adjusting the current Kansas Education Systems Accreditation (KESA) cycle to allow systems to follow the KESA Learning Year timeline for the 2023-2024 school year.

Jay Scott, director of the Kansas State Department of Education’s (KSDE) Accreditation and Design (AD) team, said in the spring of 2022, focus group feedback included that KESA should have more clarity, consistency and less redundancy.

In response to this feedback, KSDE developed technical changes to the accreditation cycle; created “learning year expectations;” added a support and accountability model, as well as annual one-on-one reviews; and will move from the Outside Visitation Team (OVT) model review to a peer review, which adds third-party accountability.

On Tuesday, Aug. 8, the State Board discussed the Learning Year with Scott. During the 2023-2024 school year, Learning Year expectations for systems include gathering artifacts; meeting with a KSDE regional executive; and meeting for peer reviews.

From August 2023 through May 2024, systems will collect artifacts and evidence focused on the four fundamentals – structured literacy, balanced assessment, standards alignment and high-quality instruction. Systems will have check-ins with KSDE from January-May 2024 and peer reviews in April and May 2024.

State Board members will receive the proposed KESA framework in November and act on it in December.

Board of Education members accepted recommendations from the Commissioner’s Task Force on Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) and Emergency Assistance Nonpublic Schools (EANS) Distribution of Money to approve ESSER II and ESSER III change requests for use of federal COVID-19 relief funds.      

Doug Boline, assistant director of KSDE’s Special Education and Title Services (SETS) team, said there was one ESSER II change application, representing 1,659 students. The change application includes 50 individual budgeted expenditure items totaling $2.3 million. Out of $343.5 million allocated for ESSER II, $343.5 million (100%) has been approved by the State Board with no funds remaining.    

Thirty-two districts submitted ESSER III change applications, representing 58,626 students. The plans included 970 individual budgeted expenditures totaling $112.8 million being considered eligible expenditures.

Out of $768.1 million allocated for ESSER III, $733.2 million (95.5%) has been approved for allocation, with $27.6 million (3.6%) remaining.

State Board members recognized recipients of the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) Child Nutrition and Wellness (CNW) Kansans Can 2022-2023 Best Practice Awards. The awards honor outstanding practices in child nutrition and wellness programs that support the Kansans Can vision.

The following child nutrition and wellness program sponsors were honored for outstanding and/or innovative practices:

  • Kansans Can Serve Local Foods: DeSoto USD 232; Quality Care Services Inc.; and Logan USD 326.
  • Kansans Can Impact Wellness: Lansing USD 469.
  • Kansans Can Step up to Lead: First Choice Support Service Inc.

Cheryl Johnson, director of KSDE’s CNW team, introduced the award recipients.

State Board of Education members approved the Accreditation Review Council’s (ARC’s) recommendations to accredit 13 public systems and seven private systems, and conditionally accredit nine public systems through Kansas Education Systems Accreditation (KESA). These 29 systems entered KESA in the first year and paused in year four during the 2020-2021 school year.

The ARC can make a recommendation of:  

  • Accredited – Evidence of student success, a quality continuous improvement process and in compliance.
  • Conditionally accredited – Insufficient evidence of either student success or a quality process and in compliance.  
  • Not accredited – Insufficient evidence of student success and a quality process or not in compliance.  

Accreditation of systems began in the 2017-2018 school year and accredits systems as opposed to buildings. It is a five-year cycle, and systems were able to select what year they would begin their cycle.  

The ARC reviews a system’s accountability and narrative report, as well as the Outside Visitation Team’s (OVT) report, and makes an accreditation recommendation to the State Board. The OVT is an external collaborator that makes the report to the ARC.  

The ARC recommended, and the State Board approved, the following systems for accredited status: 

  • Rawlins County USD 105
  • Thunder Ridge USD 110
  • Norton USD 211
  • Lebo-Waverly USD 243
  • Ell-Saline USD 307
  • Jefferson County North USD 339
  • St. John-Hudson USD 350
  • Sterling USD 376
  • Osborne County USD 392
  • Marion-Florence USD 408
  • Little River USD 444
  • Dexter USD 471
  • Shawnee Mission USD 512
  • Good Shepherd Lutheran Elementary
  • Zion Lutheran Elementary
  • Trinity Lutheran Elementary-Winfield
  • Topeka Lutheran Elementary
  • Faith Lutheran
  • Dodge City Diocese
  • St. Michael the Archangel Catholic

The ARC recommends that the following systems be conditionally accredited:

  • Bluestem USD 205
  • Ulysses USD 214
  • Grinnell USD 291
  • Wheatfield (Grainfield) USD 292
  • Kinsley-Offerle USD 337
  • Centre (Lost Springs) USD 397
  • Peabody-Burns USD 398
  • Paradise USD 399
  • Canton-Galva USD 419

ARC members met and acted on accreditation recommendations for 12 systems, eight public systems and four private systems. State Board members received the ARC recommendations this month for action at their September meeting.

The ARC recommends that the following systems be accredited:

  • Wabaunsee USD 329
  • Maur Hill-Mount Academy
  • Most Pure Heart of Mary Elementary
  • Good Shepherd School
  • The ARC recommends that the following systems be conditionally accredited:
  • Deerfield USD 216
  • Haysville USD 261
  • Brewster USD 314
  • Southern Cloud USD 334
  • Burrton USD 369
  • Otis-Bison USD 403
  • Kansas City Kansas USD 500
  • Life Prep Academy

State Board members accepted the recommendations of the Evaluation Review Committee (ERC) for program approval for Wichita State University through Dec. 31, 2029, and probationary accreditation status through June 30, 2026, for Barclay College.

KSDE’s Catherine Chmidling, assistant director of Accreditation and Design, discussed the ERC recommendations with State Board members.

Each educator license and endorsement program must be peer-reviewed and approved by the State Board. The educator preparation program reviews take place on a seven-year cycle. All preparation programs offered by a college/university are reviewed as part of the provider’s Education Accreditation process.

The Program Review Team is comprised of content experts from pre-K-12th grade and higher education. The team reviews each program’s alignment report, key assessment and data, as well as a team report. The review team then makes a recommendation for program approval to the State Board.

Beth Fultz, director of KSDE’s Career, Standards and Assessment Services, gave a presentation on changes to high school graduation requirements.

Changes will begin with the class of 2028, which is the incoming eighth-grade class.

There have been questions regarding whether a class could be counted twice toward the new graduation credits, Fultz said. No “nesting” or doubling up will be allowed.

New guidance is evolving, and a new course code may be introduced to have a half-credit English language arts class and a half-credit communication class. If a new course code is introduced, the new class will be announced by the end of the calendar year.

Currently, KSDE staff members are completing a review of ninth through 12th-grade content competencies identified in the September 2020 Navigating Next document and the Kansas Teaching and Leading Project on the Greenbush website. Groups of high school content teachers will meet to develop meaningful assessment options and best-practice instructional examples.

KSDE staff members also are considering the Kansas Board of Regents recommendation for mandatory completion of the FAFSA prior to graduation. Any student, family or school can opt-out from a student completing the FAFSA.

A review committee will be established to gather input and provide recommendations to the State Board on potential changes in the future.

Kathi Grossenbacher, director of KSDE’s Information Technology (IT) team gave board members an overview of KSDE’s data management system.

KSDE’s General Counsel Scott Gordon shared information on the student data privacy act and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Shane Carter, director of KSDE’s Teacher Licensure team presented the State Board with two recommendations, approved by the Professional Standards Board, to amend the current testing requirements for teacher licensure in Kansas.

The first recommendation is to no longer require teacher candidates to take and pass the Principles in Teaching and Learning (PLT) exam. Teacher candidates already are required to successfully complete a Teacher Work Sample, which requires them to demonstrate competency in the pedagogical concepts tested by the PLT.

The second recommendation is to develop an alternate process for teacher candidates who have not passed the Praxis content exam after two attempts.

The State Board will act on these license testing recommendations during its September meeting.

Board members also received presentations on the district budget timeline and process, school audits, district disorganization, and updates from the Special Education Advisory Council. 

The State Board will meet next Sept. 12-13 at the Landon State Office Building, 900 S.W. Jackson St., Suite 102, in Topeka.

Posted: Aug 18, 2023,
Comments: 0,
Author: Ann Bush

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