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Kansas State Board of Education February highlights: Board approves Kansas model standards for handwriting

The Kansas State Board of Education approved the Kansas model standards for handwriting, kindergarten through sixth grade, as recommended by the Kansas Handwriting Model Standards review team during its February 2020 meeting.

Sarah Perryman, redesign coordinator for Kansas State Department of Education, introduced Josh Snyder, director of curriculum and instruction for Wellsville Unified School District 289, and Nichole Kuhn, a reading interventionist for Topeka USD 501. Snyder and Kuhn both served on the standards review team and answered questions before board members voted.

The model standards for handwriting recently underwent a review in accordance with the legislative review mandate. The proposed updates to the standards were presented to the board for review in January.

Dr. Regina Peszat, KSDE’s world language consultant, and Perryman, redesign coordinator for KSDE, updated the board on the Visiting International Teacher (VIT) program. Teachers involved in VIT can only stay in Kansas for three years, but most only stay for one or two years.

All teachers in the program must be experienced and vetted, Peszat said. They must be employed as a teacher in Spain the year before coming to the United States to teach. They also must have at least two years of teaching experience and have a master’s degree or higher in content area or in pedagogy. The Spanish Ministry of Education vets the teachers.

Participating districts for the 2019-2020 school year are: Topeka USD 501; Kansas City USD 500; Goodland USD 352; Lyons USD 405; Sabetha USD 113; Seneca USD 115; and Jackson Heights USD 335.

Maria Pilar Cisneros, who is involved in the VIT program this school year, is a teacher at Nemaha Central High School in Seneca and presented to the board. Other teachers who presented included Maria Valiente, of Spain, who is teaching at Jackson Heights Middle and High School, and Celi Merino, also of Spain, who is teaching at Sabetha High School. All three teachers said they have enjoyed the opportunity to teach in Kansas schools and have learned a lot.

Stephen King, an enterprise architect with KSDE’s Information Technology team, led discussion with the State Board about recommendations for Computer Science Standards implementation. In January, the board received a report from the Computer Science Implementation Task Force. The report described the following five recommendations:

  1. KSDE creates a dedicated computer science education position. King announced that he recently accepted the position.
  2. KSDE should encourage all schools to offer computer science.
  3. Computer science should satisfy a core graduation requirement.
  4. Create a licensure endorsement.
  5. Arrange funding ($1 million per year to cover professional development - $700,000 per year for five years; $100,000 for the state computer science consultant (salary and benefits; and $200,000 for regional support and stipends for building leaders).


The board recognized the 2020 Kansas Teacher of the Year team. Team members and the schools they work at are:

  • Teacher of the Year - Tabatha Rosproy, a preschool teacher for Winfield Early Learning Center’s Cumbernauld Little Vikes program, Winfield USD 465.
  • Kara Belew, a high school social studies teacher at Andover Central High School, Andover USD 385.
  • Amy Hillman, a project-based learning and Achieving Through Individual Motivation (AIM) teacher at Santa Fe Trail Middle School, Olathe USD 233.
  • Shawn Hornung, a high school social studies teacher at Wamego High School, Wamego USD 320.
  • Stefanie Lane, a fourth-grade math and English language arts teacher at Garfield Elementary School, Clay County USD 379.
  • Julie Loevenstein, a fourth-grade teacher at Glenwood Ridge Elementary School, Basehor-Linwood USD 458.
  • Lara McDonald, a seventh-grade language arts teacher at Washburn Rural Middle School, Auburn-Washburn USD 437.
  • Melissa Molteni, a second-grade teacher at Corinth Elementary School, Shawnee Mission USD 512.


The State Board of Education approved the new educator preparation program standards for Health Education, pre-K through 12th grade, and the new education preparation program standards for Physical Education, pre-K through 12th grade.

Educator preparation program standards establish program approval requirements to ensure that preparation programs in Kansas provide educator candidates with the opportunity to learn the knowledge and skills educators need for today’s learning context. The Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) utilize program standards to develop their preparation programs and submit them for approval and for continuous monitoring and improvement of their programs.

The board heard from the 2019 Elementary and Secondary Education ACT (ESEA) Distinguished Kansas Schools. The schools were honored earlier in February at a ceremony in Atlanta, Georgia, at the national ESEA conference.

The 2019 ESEA Distinguished Schools are Ruth Clark Elementary School, Haysville USD 261, and New Stanley Elementary School, Kansas City USD 500.

Ruth Clark Elementary’s Carla Wulf, principal, and John Burke, superintendent, spoke to the board about receiving the category 1 award. Category 1 is exceptional student performance for two or more consecutive years.

New Stanley Elementary’s Shonielle Roberson, principal, and Charles Faust, superintendent, presented about receiving the category 2 award. Category 2 is closing the achievement gap between student groups.

Three people who received a Kansas Certificate in Child Nutrition Management, a program sponsored by KSDE’s Child Nutrition and Wellness (CNW) team, were honored by the board. To receive a Kansas Certificate in Child Nutrition Management, 120 hours of CNW-approved management classes must be completed. The three are Kay Cox, Buhler USD 313, Martha Ohnick, Inman USD 448, and Sheila Carinder, Caney Valley USD 436. This is the first group to receive this type of certificate.

Bert Moore, KSDE’s director of Special Education and Title Services (SETS), shared the Special Education Advisory Council’s (SEAC) report on Transition Task Force recommendations. These recommendations address effective transition planning to improve postsecondary outcomes for all students with disabilities. Moore’s presentation included a summary of the council’s comments and suggestions for effective implementation.

The recommendations will be brought back for board action in March.

Board members received recommendations from the Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC) to change the emotional disturbance term in Kansas special education statute and regulation. At its January 2020 meeting, SEAC voted to support a change in the term emotional disturbance. This followed a discussion with a panel of experts including representatives from the Kansas Association of School Psychologists, Kansas School Social Work Association, Kansas School Mental health Advisory Council and the State Interagency Coordinating Council. Information also was solicited from the United States Department of Education, other states, national technical assistance centers and advocacy groups.

SEAC recommends that the State Board of Education support a statutory change from emotional disturbance to emotional disability. SEAC recommends that if the Kansas Legislature changes this term in Kansas statute, that the State Board makes a corresponding change to its special education regulations. This recommendation is only a change in term, not a change in the definition or eligibility criteria for the disability category.

SEAC’s chair Rebekah Helget said the recommendation will come back for action at the State Board’s March meeting.

Deputy Commissioner Dale Dennis and Craig Neuenswander, director of school finance, provided a state report on education legislation.

The board accepted a resolution in support of Public Schools Week, which is Feb. 24-28.

Deputy Commissioner Dr. Brad Neuenswander discussed with the board changes in qualified admissions and the impact on high school graduation requirements.

The Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR) has statutory authority to enact rules and regulations for admission to state universities. KBOR approved changes to the undergraduate admissions standards for public universities. State Board members discussed the changes and the potential impact to precollege curriculum, high school course offerings, high school graduation requirements and accreditation regulations.

Admission requirements for KBOR universities will change for students in the graduating class of 2021 and those following.

Admission requirements will change to:

Emporia State University, Fort Hays State University and Wichita State University:

  • ACT of 21 or higher or cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.25 or higher.
  • Precollege curriculum units recommended.
  • Cumulative GPA 2.0 or higher for college credit earned in high school.

Kansas State University

  • ACT of 21 or higher or GPA of 3.25 or higher.
  • Precollege curriculum units recommended.
  • Cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher for college credit earned in high school.

University of Kansas

  • ACT of 21 or higher and cumulative GPA 3.25 or higher or ACT of 24 or higher and cumulative GPA of 3.0 and higher.
  • Precollege curriculum units recommended.
  • Cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher for college credit earned in high school.

State Board of education requirements are (21 total credits, but most districts require more):

  • Four units of English language arts – reading, writing literature, communication and grammar.
  • Three units of history and government – world history, United State history and United State government.
  • Three units of science – physical, biological and earth and space science concepts, including one laboratory course.
  • Three units of math – including algebraic and geometric concepts.
  • One unit of fine arts – including health.
  • Six units of elective courses.


The board also discussed whether computer science would count toward a core graduation requirement (science, math, elective).

State Board of Education members voted to adopt the recommendations of the Computer Science Standards Implementation Task Force and requested further work. The board asked the committee to report back for specifics on recommendations for approval and implementation.

The State Board authorized KSDE to continue the formal adoption process of the proposed amendments to the Kansas Education Systems (KESA) accreditation regulations. The board last voted to amend the accreditation regulations in September 2017. Since that time, substantive changes have come to light that required further approval by the State Board before proceeding through the formal adoption process.

KSDE’s general counsel Scott Gordon answered questions before the vote. In January 2020, the State Board of Education received proposed changes to the KESA regulations. Since the January meeting, paraprofessionals and those licensees holding the high-incidence, special education endorsement were added to the list of staff members whom education systems must provide dyslexia-centered professional development.

KSDE’s Don Gifford and Dr. Tina Ellsworth, curriculum coordinator for Olathe USD 233, presented Kansas history, government and social studies (HGSS) curricular standards. Ellsworth serves as a co-chair on the Kansas HGSS Standards Revision Committee. The committee worked on the standards for 18 months, said Gifford, who served as the facilitator for the committee.

Action to adopt the standards is scheduled for the March board meeting.

Board member Deena Horst, who is chair of the State Board Policy Committee, reviewed board policies with the board. The policy committee reviews board policies every two years and suggests any needed changes.

The next board meeting will take place March 10-11 in Topeka.

Posted: Feb 19, 2020,
Comments: 0,
Author: Ann Bush

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