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State Board to hold public hearing on amendments to state regulations governing high school graduation requirements, act on literacy requirements

State Board to hold public hearing on amendments to state regulations governing high school graduation requirements, act on literacy requirements

Members of the Kansas State Board of Education (KSBE) are expected during their May meeting to act on proposed amendments to Kansas Administrative Regulations (K.A.R.). reflecting new minimum high school graduation requirements. They are also expected to take final action on literacy requirements for teacher licensure.

The board will hold a public hearing on May 14 to hear comments on proposed amendments to K.A.R. 91-31-35, the state regulations governing high school graduation requirements. Board members are expected to vote on the amendments during their May 15 meeting. If the board approves the amendments, the minimum graduation requirements will go into effect for the incoming freshmen class that will graduate in May 2028.

Currently, Kansas requires a minimum of 21 credits to graduate from high school. The number of credits will remain the same, but the following are the proposed changes to what subjects constitute the 21 credits:

  • Instead of four credits of English language arts (ELA), students will now need 3.5 credits of ELA and one-half credit of communication.
  • Addition of a STEM elective.
  • Instead of one physical education credit, students will now need a half credit of P.E. and a half credit for health.
  • Instead of six electives, they will now need a half credit for financial literacy and 4.5 electives aligned with their Individual Plans of Study (IPS).

Graduation requirements also will include student completion of at least two postsecondary assets (as defined by the KSBE) and completion of the free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The board also is expected to act on recommendations from KSDE to amend one item and add another to the list of postsecondary assets: 1) Increase the attendance in high school from 90% to 95%; and 2) serve as an officer of a Career and Technical School Organization (CTSO).

Also on May 14, board members are expected to act on licensure requirements related to literacy.

If approved, current elementary school educators who teach general content areas of language arts, history, government and social studies will be requiredstate board members by July 1, 2027. This requirement would also be mandatory for special education teachers, school psychologists and elementary school administrators who provide services to elementary school students. The initial recommended training options will be LETRS®, Pathways to Proficient Reading and Keys to Literacy.

In lieu of completing an approved training, a current teacher can take a test reviewed and recommended by the KSDE Professional Standards Board that measures the educator’s science of reading and structured literacy knowledge. Individuals obtaining a teaching license for the first time will be required to take the assessment beginning Sept. 1, 2024.

Also on May 14, board members are expected to act on an amendment to the regulations related to school bus safety. The purpose of the amendment is to require transportation supervisors to avoid, when practicable, requiring students to cross any street or roadway when boarding or getting off a school bus at bus stops.

If the board approves the amendment, it will have to go through the formal regulatory adoption process to go into effect.

Board members also will receive the annual school behavior data report as well as hear a presentation from the school mental health committee. There will be updates provided for the Mental Health Intervention Team (MHIT), inter-agency partnerships, the 2023 updated toolkit, the Technical Assistance System Network (TASN) School Mental Health Initiative, Families Together, and Kansas Parent Information Resource Center (KPIRC).

The second day of the meeting on May 15 will be held at the Brown v. Board of Education National Historical Park to recognize the 70th anniversary of the landmark school desegregation case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

After the business portion of the meeting concludes, Carolyn Wims-Campbell, a former Kansas State Board of Education member, and Keith Tatum, a current member of the Topeka Unified School District 501 board of education, will speak to “celebrating the past” and “shaping the future”, respectively. The Lansing High School choir, Lansing USD 469, will also perform throughout the program.

In other items on the board’s May agenda include the following:

  • Program highlights from the Fort Hays State University teaching program;
  • Introduction to the U.S. Senate Youth delegates: Madisen Finch, a student at Leavenworth High School, Leavenworth USD 453, and Tucker Leck, a student at Neodesha High School, Neodesha USD 461;
  • Hear a presentation from Payton Lynn, a policy intern from Kansas State University; and
  • Receive a policy regarding Narcan for the Kansas School for the Deaf in Olathe.

Click here for the full May agenda and board materials.

Posted: May 9, 2024,
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