KSDE Newsroom

State Board reviews teacher retention survey, hears proposal for remaining ESSER set aside funds, approves PPC regulation amendments

Results of the 2023 Kansas Teacher Retention Survey show Kansas teachers feel significantly less engaged than they did in 2021 and are at a higher risk of leaving the profession.

The Kansas State Board of Education at its March meeting received the latest research findings from Dr. Bret Church, associate professor of Educational Leadership at Emporia State University, about the current state of teacher satisfaction in Kansas.

Church and Dr. Luke Simmering of the Educator Perceptions and Insights Center (EPIC) in 2021 conducted the first Kansas Teacher Retention Survey in response to the increasing teacher shortage. The survey is designed to measure and understand the driving factors of teacher engagement and retention in Kansas.

More than 24,000 Kansas teachers participated in the 2023 survey, up from 20,000 in 2021.

In 2021, 54% of respondents reported feeling actively engaged or engaged in the profession while 46% reported feeling actively disengaged or disengaged. In 2023, however, the opposite was true: 46% percent indicated feeling actively engaged or engaged while 55% indicated feeling actively disengaged or disengaged. With engagement being a significant driver of educator retention and a critical driver of student engagement and academic success, Church emphasized the significance of this trend.

Among the areas rated highest in terms of satisfaction, the location of the district in which respondents teach remained the highest, followed closely by relationships with colleagues within their schools. Notably, respondents indicated increased levels of satisfaction with their principals.

Regarding areas of lowest satisfaction, society's view of the profession remained the area of least satisfaction for teachers, followed by salary growth potential, incentives to advance education, and current salary.

An analysis of demographic factors identified four profile characteristics in which overall engagement was significantly lower and the likelihood of leaving the profession was higher.

  • Educators with 4-11 years of teaching experience.
  • Educators with children attending school outside of their district.
  • Educators holding a second job.
  • Educators holding a specialist or doctoral degree.

Based on these 2023 results, Church shared four areas that, if improved, would likely lead to improved recruitment and retention:

  • Attention and approach to supporting teachers’ mental and emotional health.
  • Salary growth potential in the future.
  • Supports in place to handle challenging student behaviors/situations.
  • Society’s view of the teaching profession.


Kansas Education Commissioner Dr. Randy Watson presented board members with options for using the remaining ESSER III funds set aside funds to address learning loss. The Kansas State Department of Education estimates that amount to be around $23 million.

The deadline to use these remaining funds is Sept. 2024, however the agency has requested an extension of July 1, 2026. The board will discuss the following options during its April meeting with possible action taken in May.

  • Postsecondary Transition – $1 Million
    • Assistance in getting students into higher education.
  • Kansas LEADS – $300,000
    • Professional development series led by former Kansas Teacher of the Year teams.
  • Statewide Training – $10 Million
    • LETRS (Science of Reading)
  • Math Proficiency Training
    • STEM Enhancement
  • Assessment Assistance – $5 Million
    • Enhanced interim assessments and reporting.
  • Statewide purchase of assessment and screener (Fastbridge).
    • Additional Priorities – $1.5 Million
  • Principal and superintendent training in leadership.
    • Additional Priorities – $5 Million
  • Training for districts on how to select and use high-quality instructional materials.
    • Additional Priorities – $500,000
  • Registered Apprentice Program (Summer training program and funding assistance for exam.)

Literacy Requirement Update – Teacher Licensure

KSDE Director of Teacher Licensure Shane Carter provided an update on the work his team has been doing to ensure the alignment of teacher preparation provider programs and teacher licensure requirements with the Kansas Education Framework for Literacy.

  • Early Childhood Unified Standards Review: The review of these standards will begin in April and are anticipated to be presented to the board in August.
  • Educator Preparation Provider Program Reviews: Within the next 90 days, the following programs will be reviewed to ensure the required components of structured literacy are embedded and being taught. Following these reviews, the board will vote whether to approve these programs.
    • Newman University – Innovative Limited Elementary Residency Program (LERP) progress report.
    • Bethel College – English 6-12.
    • MidAmerica Nazarene University – Reading Specialist.
    • Pittsburg State University – High Incidence K-6, 6-12.
    • University of Saint Mary – Innovative Limited Elementary Residency Program (LERP).
    • Wichita State University – Early Childhood Unified Birth-3.
    • Options for verifying structured literacy knowledge: The board will consider the following options for pre-service and veteran teacher licensure.
      • Pre-service educators
        • Elementary Standards Updated February 2024.
        • Elementary Content Exam. (not pedagogy)
        • Current content exam was identified as being a weak indicator of structured literacy knowledge, which is what’s driving our push to change this test.
          • Praxis Elementary Content Exam (7001) includes (4) subtests.
          • ELA subtest incorporates Teaching Reading Elementary (5205) test into the Elementary content exam.
          • Cost: $226
          • Initial review by Professional Standards Board on February 23, 2024.
          • Final review by Professional Standards Board will be April 19, 2024.
          • Consent agenda item to the KSBE May 2024.
          • If approved, test would be required for an initial license as of July 1, 2024.
    • Veteran educators
      • Tracked one of two ways: professional development training or passing an approved test.
        • Professional Development Training.
          • All elementary teachers, administrators, school psychologists and reading specialists. (the options below are recommendations from literacy experts)
            • LETRS; OR
            • Pathways to Proficient Reading (AIM Institute for Learning and Research). Has a middle level and secondary level option; OR
            • Keys to Literacy; or
            • KBOR Literacy Blueprint approved training; or
            • Other solutions approved by the State Board of Education.
        • Test options in effect July 1, 2024.
          • ETS
            • 5205 Teaching Reading Elementary.
            • 5206 Teaching Reading K-12.
            • 7001 ELA Subtest.
        • Pearson: 190 Foundations of Reading.
        • Knowledge and Practice Examination for Effective Reading Instruction (KPEERI) – Center for Effective Reading and Instruction.
  • Veteran teacher training tracking options – The board will determine the appropriate way to track this literacy training requirement.
    • Track annually within the Licensed Personnel Report.
      • Create a new data collection set within the EDCS common authenticated application system.
      • Implement for the 2024-2025 School Year.
    • Track by individual with the licensure renewal process.
      • Required for licensure renewal as of July 1, 2026, for elementary teachers, administrators, school psychologists, and reading specialists.

Assessment Development

Dr. Neil Kingston, director of the University of Kansas Achievement and Assessment Institute (AAI), described for state board members how assessments are developed, and the role psychometricians play in that work.

Kingston first explained the importance of providing a balanced assessment program. Doing so provides educators multiple sources of data at different levels and intervals to make strong instructional decisions and document progress and growth over time.

Kansas Assessment Program offers districts summative assessments, interim assessments, focused interims and mini tests.

State assessments are developed in collaboration with Kansas educators representing each of the 10 State Board districts, who review and provide feedback to improve test questions and answer choices, mitigate potential bias and enhance fairness; and help identify field-tested items that should move forward as operational.

Psychometricians are scientists who apply statistical modeling to test data to ensure test specifications support inferences about student performance levels, assess item difficulty and correlation with the subject matter, maximize statistical quality of test, perform statistical quality control analysis, and more.

Beth Fultz, director of Career Standards and Assessments, reminded the State Board that this year is the last year Kansas will be using its 2015 assessment. KSDE has been working with AAI over the past four years to develop a new assessment that will be rolled out next year.

Fultz introduced Dr. Zach Conrad, executive director of Data, Evaluation, Research and Assessment at Kansas City USD 500; and Spencer Brown, mathematics coordinator at Olathe USD 233 who have been working in collaboration with AAI on what some are referring to as a benchmark or a common assessment.

These benchmark assessments are used throughout the district and designed to provide rapid feedback on student learning at the standard level to determine whether the student is on or off track. If the student isn’t on track, the assessment data will show teachers which areas need to be remediated and can quickly address those with the student.

Before teachers review their student assessment data, they’re asked to look at the assessment, estimate which items they believe most of their students got correct or incorrect and explain why they believe this. Then, teachers are asked to describe what that performance would tell them about a student’s learning progression. Once this is done, teachers are asked to review their student data and say whether their estimations were correct, identify where there are relative strengths, weaknesses and key misunderstandings and explain why this might be. The next step for the teacher is then to determine if whether the whole class needs supports or if they need to pinpoint supports for students missing low rigor items or those missing high rigor items.

KSDE will continue to monitor the progress of this project with an eye toward being able to offer it to districts statewide.


On Tuesday, March 12, the State Board conducted a public hearing on proposed amendments to Professional Practices Commission Regulations 91-22-1a et sec. Individuals were given five minutes to present oral testimony on the proposed amendments. The following day, KSDE’s General Counsel Scott Gordon presented his response to the public hearing testimony. Following his remarks, the board conducted a roll-call vote approving the regulation amendments. A copy of the amendments is available here, beginning on page 30: LinkClick.aspx (ksde.org).

The board also received a presentation from Gordon on amendments to the Graduation Requirement Regulations. The board is scheduled to act on the proposed amendments in May due to an abbreviated meeting schedule in April. If approved, the new graduation requirements will go into effect with the 2024-2025 ninth grade cohort.

School Improvement and KESA 2.0

Deputy Commissioner Dr. Ben Proctor and Dr. Jake Steel, KSDE director of Strategy and Operational Alignment, provided an update on the agency’s work around school improvement and the new accreditation model that will be rolled out in August. Several workgroups are currently engaged in this work.

School Improvement Model: The board will receive an outline of the school improvement model during its April meeting. Districts will develop action plans based on this model.

Student Outcome Data: This group is working to identify what is the most valuable high-leverage data that will help the system make meaningful change.

State Board Outcomes: Knowing districts have finite capacity, these groups are working to identify key work districts must continue to do in the areas of Individual Plans of Study, Early Childhood and Social-Emotional Learning.

Facilitators and School Improvement Days: KSDE had more than 200 educators volunteer to serve as facilitators. This group is working to finalize the facilitator training program.

Service Center Collaboration: Meeting with service centers to ensure they remain updated on the school improvement work.

Proctor shared that KSDE’s Accreditation and Design team continues to conduct check-in meetings with each system to review data and provide information on what they can expect from the school improvement model and KESA 2.0. He also shared upcoming and ongoing engagement work be done:

  • Monthly Service Center Visits
  • Spring and Summer Informational Sessions
  • Accreditation Advisory Council (AAC)
  • Accreditation and Design Cabinet
  • Accreditation Review Council (ARC) Monthly State Board Meetings
  • Internal Work Groups and Collaboration with Hanover and TNTP (HQIM)

During the April State Board meeting, the group will share the School Improvement Model, the timeline for implementation of KESA 2.0, an overview of the School Improvement Day collaboration process and an overview of the facilitator training process.

School and Student Showcase

The State Board recognized 2023 Milken Educators Alex Lahasky, social studies teacher at Blue Valley West High School, Blue Valley USD 229; and Matt Mayeske, world history and geography teacher at Gardner Edgerton High School, Gardner Edgerton USD 231. The two were named 2023 Milken Educators last month during surprise assemblies at their respective schools where each was awarded a $25,000 cash prize.

Maya Smith, a senior at Lawrence High School, Lawrence USD 497, presented to the board about her experience being named Kansas Student Journalist of the Year by the Kansas Scholastic Press Association in February. She is a second-year editor-in-chief of the LHS Red and Black Yearbook and a third-year student journalist. Maya is the second LHS student to earn this statewide honor. She will go on to compete at the national level this spring during the Journalism Education Association and National Scholastic Press Association’s Spring National High School Journalism Convention in Kansas City, Missouri, April 4-6.

In celebration of Child and Adult Care Food Program Month, the board heard from a childcare sponsor and a public school how they are incorporating locally grown products as part of STEM education and into school meals.

Brooke Wolf, director at Quality Care Services and a 2020 USDA Farm-to-School sub-grantee recipient described how she used grant funds to create Home Provider Local Foods kits including beginning baker, great gardener, and Quality Coop. The home providers recorded almost 8,000 lbs. of local food during this grant period. As a result of her innovative ideas, Wolf was selected as the winner in the Trailblazer category of the Inspire Awards for her joyful innovation during the 2022 National Child Nutrition Conference. She was inspired to apply and was awarded a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Edible Garden Turn-Key Grant effective July 2022 through June 2023. To apply for the grant, Quality Care Services partnered with Kansas Corn STEM and created a preschool curriculum now offered free to all childcare home providers.

Summer Warren, food service director for Pittsburg Community Schools USD 250 along with Aubry Ross, Pittsburg High School science instructor; and students Makenzi Hurlbert, Benjamin Hughes, and Topanga Taylor, shared about their school’s hydroponic farm. Dragon Farms was created to be a hands-on experience for students to learn lifelong skills in agriculture and horticulture. Additionally, the farm works to instill civic responsibility in students by providing fresh produce to their community. Students work together year-round to grow nutrient rich greens that are provided to the school’s cafeteria or sold to the community. The program teaches students STEM concepts and provides real-world experience with the plant growth cycle.

Finally, the board had the opportunity to hear a brief performance from the Shawnee Heights High School Choraliers, Shawnee Heights USD 450, directed by Nicolas Carr. 

Upcoming action items

The board is scheduled to act next month on the following:

  • Evaluation Review Committee recommendations for educator preparation accreditation and program approval.
  • Accreditation Review Council redetermination recommendations for 13 systems.
  • Memorandum of Understanding with Kansas Board of Regents to establish the Kansas Advisory Council for Indigenous Education (KACIE)

The State Board will meet next on April 9 in the Board Room at the Landon State Office Building, 900 S.W. Jackson, Suite 102, in Topeka. Wednesday, April 10, the board will travel to Olathe and Kansas City to visit the Kansas School for the Deaf and the Kansas School for the Blind.

Posted: Mar 14, 2024,
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