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Kansas State Board of Education April highlights: Board members discuss potential new goals, outcomes

Kansas State Board of Education members are working with Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson to develop new strategic and targeted goals.  

Watson discussed the goals with State Board members during their Tuesday, April 11, meeting in Topeka. 

One of the goals is to provide effective educators in every school district, Watson said. Outcomes could include increasing the number of teacher candidates in Kansas and strengthening the leadership development in Kansas. 

Other goals include: 

  • Position each student for postsecondary opportunities and success. An outcome for this goal could be to decrease the number of students scoring in level 1 on the Kansas assessments and increase the number of students scoring in levels 3 and 4. It also could help align each school district budget with the building needs assessment and the vision and goals of the State Board of Education; increase the graduation rate toward the state goal of 95%; and increase postsecondary effectiveness toward the state goal of 70-75%. 
  • Enhance engagement and partnerships with families, communities, business and policy stakeholders. 
  • Enhance the safety and security of school districts in Kansas, which could diminish the threat and severity of school violence and cybersecurity attacks on school districts. 

During the meeting, State Board members recognized Maddie McCarty, a Colby Middle School student, Colby Unified School District 315. She won the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) Foundation’s National InvestWrite Competition. 

Nathan McAlister, a humanities program manager for the Kansas State Department of Education’s (KSDE) Career, Standards and Assessments Services (CSAS) team, introduced Charlene Nichols, with the Kansas Council for Economic Education, Maddie, and Brandi Jones, a teacher at Colby Middle School. The three appeared via Zoom. 

Maddie played the Stock Market Game in Jones’ eighth-grade class. She then wrote an essay to submit to InvestWrite about her experience and long-term investing and capital markets. 

Maddie was the state winner and then moved on to the national competition, which she also won. 

Natalie Clark, assistant director of KSDE’s CSAS team, announced the 2023 Kansas Career and Technical Education (CTE) Scholars. 

There were 261 Kansas seniors who were named CTE Scholars this year. This is the largest number of seniors recognized since the program’s inception in 2017. The program is an opportunity to recognize well-rounded, outstanding CTE students who are finishing their senior year of high school. 

Board 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 change requests and ESSER III expenditure plans for use of federal COVID-19 relief funds.    

Doug Boline, assistant director of KSDE’s Special Education and Title Services (SETS) team, said there were nine ESSER II change applications from districts, representing 56,344 students. The plan includes 580 individual budgeted expenditure items totaling $83.2 million. Out of $343.5 million allocated for ESSER II, $341.7 million (99%) has been approved by the State Board with $1.2 million remaining.  

Six districts submitted ESSER III plans, representing 8,320 students. The plans included 253 individual budgeted expenditures totaling $13.3 million being considered eligible expenditures. Nine districts submitted ESSER III change plans, representing 14,563 students. The change plans included 311 individual budgeted expenditures totaling $22.2 million.   

Out of $768.1 million allocated for ESSER III, $688.5 million (90%) has been approved for allocation, with $66.3 million (2%) remaining, $2.3 million (less than 1%) being reviewed and $13.3 million (2%) in change requests. 

State Board of Education members recognized three school districts that have recently been designated as Kansas Purple Star Schools and one district that was the first district in the state to implement a pilot Purple Star School program in 2020. 

The Kansas Purple Star School designation is given to military-friendly school districts and schools that have demonstrated a commitment to students and families connected to our nation’s military, including active duty, National Guard or Reserve. 

Dr. Keith Mispagel, superintendent at Fort Leavenworth USD 207, and Col. John Misenheimer Jr., Fort Leavenworth, discussed how Fort Leavenworth USD 207 earned the Kansas Purple Star designation by having events such as the annual USD 207 Freedom Walk, Retiree Appreciation Day and Month of the Military Child, which takes place in April. 

Heather Bohaty, superintendent of Derby USD 260, along with three students from Tanglewood Elementary School and Derby North Middle School, shared how Derby USD 260 earned the designation by conducting age-appropriate spirit weeks, having military morning greeters, military appreciation events and more. Col. Heath Frye, 22nd Mission Support Group Commander at McConnell Air Force Base, and Gregory Martin, school liaison program manager for McConnell, also spoke. 

Glenda Cowell, director of special services and communication for Mulvane USD 263, shared a message from a former student, Valerie Ford, who just completed Navy boot camp. Ford said she is proud of her school for receiving the Kansas Purple Star designation. Cowell also shared how Mulvane USD 263 helps military students and their families. 

Dr. Reginald Eggleston, superintendent of Geary County USD 475, said his district is proud to be the first in Kansas to implement a pilot Purple Star School Program in 2020. Col. Michael Foote also spoke about the partnership with the district. 

The State Board of Education approved regulation changes that were needed to reflect the newly established graduation requirements. 

The 2023 Kansas Teacher of the Year Brian Skinner, an interrelated special education/English teacher at Newton High School, Newton USD 373, and the 2023 Kansas Teacher of the Year Team presented to the State Board members. Team members are: 

  • Jessica Gazzano, an art and publications teacher at Woodland Spring Middle School, Spring Hill USD 230. 
  • Erica Huggard, a biology, anatomy and physiology teacher at Emporia High School, Emporia USD 253. 
  • Mallory Keefe, a preschool teacher at Cheney Elementary School, Cheney USD 268. 
  • Pamela Munoz, a kindergarten teacher at McCarter Elementary School, Topeka USD 501. 
  • Kendal Norberg, a fourth-grade teacher at Broadmoor Elementary School, Louisburg USD 416. 
  • Jaimie Swindler, a special education teacher at Ottawa High School, Ottawa USD 290. 
  • Carly Torres, a fifth-grade teacher at Wiley Elementary School, Hutchinson USD 308. 

The State Board of Education approved a recommendation from the Accreditation Review Council (ARC) to accredit the following school districts through Kansas Education Systems Accreditation (KESA): 

  • Bonner Springs USD 204. 
  • Spring Hill USD 230. 
  • North Ottawa County USD 239. 
  • Southern Lyon County USD 252. 
  • Oberlin USD 294. 
  • Comanche USD 300. 
  • Jayhawk USD 346. 
  • Conway Springs USD 356. 
  • Argonia USD 359. 
  • Marysville USD 364. 
  • Garnett USD 365. 
  • Woodson USD 366. 
  • Clay County USD 379. 
  • Tonganoxie USD 464. 
  • Haviland USD 474. 
  • Rural Vista USD 481. 
  • Hays USD 489. 
  • Fort Larned USD 495. 

The State Board also voted to accept the ARC recommendation to conditionally accredit Accelerated Schools of Overland Park. 

Jay Scott, director of the Accreditation and Design (AD) team for KSDE, also gave State Board members the names of districts that they will receive for action in May. 

In March, the ARC met and acted on the accreditation recommendation for 16 systems – 15 public and one private. 

The ARC recommends that the following systems be accredited: 

  • Western Plains USD 106.
  • Doniphan West USD 111. 
  • Barnes USD 223. 
  • Clifton-Clyde USD 224.
  • Uniontown USD 235. 
  • Valley Falls USD 338. 
  • Osawatomie USD 367. 
  • Hoxie USD 412. 
  • Osage City USD 420. 
  • Hoisington USD 431. 
  • Easton USD 449. 
  • Lansing USD 469. 
  • Parsons USD 503. 
  • Linn Lutheran.

ARC recommends that Leroy-Gridley USD 245 and Kiowa County USD 422 be conditionally accredited. 

State Board members are slated to act on the recommendations in May. 

Shane Carter, director of KSDE’s Teacher Licensure team, updated the State Board on the Kansas Registered Teacher Apprenticeship Program. The program provides another grow-your-own option for promising teacher candidates identified by local school districts. Individuals identified through their local school districts as promising teacher candidates are eligible for the Registered Teacher Apprenticeship Program. 

Once accepted, the individual becomes a paid teaching assistant to the lead classroom teacher while earning a bachelor’s degree from a partnering, approved teacher preparation program. 

The program can help address teacher shortages across the state. 

KSDE’s Teacher Licensure team has been meeting since May 2022 with higher education partners, district partners and other professional education organizations to explore the idea of creating a Registered Teacher Apprenticeship Program. 

The plan is to begin a pilot apprenticeship program during the 2023-2024 school year. 

KSDE’s General Counsel Scott Gordon provided an update to State Board members about Emergency Safety Intervention (ESI) regulations.  

In 2013, the State Board adopted ESI administrative regulations. Those regulations have been amended numerous times since then, Gordon said. In response to an administrative review, the State Board sought clarification and revision on its definition of “seclusion.” The State Board approved submission of new language through the formal regulatory adoption process. 

As part of the adoption process, the State Board will have a public hearing at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 9, and is scheduled to vote on whether to formally adopt amendments to the ESI regulations. 

Deputy Commissioner Dr. Craig Neuenswander updated the State Board on the current legislative session. Legislative committees will return April 24, and the full legislature will return April 26. 

On Wednesday, April 12, the Board visited and toured the Kansas School for the Deaf, 450 East Park St., in Olathe, and the Kansas State School for the Blind, 1100 State Ave., in Kansas City, Kansas. 

State Board of Education members will have their next meeting May 9-10 at the Landon State Office Building, 900 S.W. Jackson,

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

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