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January State Board of Education highlights: Jim Porter selected as new chair

Posted: Jan 30, 2017
Author: Ann Bush

The Kansas State Board of Education began Tuesday’s meeting by electing a new chair and vice chair. District 9’s Jim Porter was elected the new chairman, and District 8’s Kathy Busch was elected the vice chair.

Next, board members were assigned to State Board Committees.

New seating was assigned based on seniority. New seating assignments, from left, are Board Secretary Peggy Hill, Jim McNiece, Ken Willard, John Bacon, Steve Roberts, board attorney Mark Ferguson, Porter, Commissioner Randy Watson, Busch, Janet Waugh, Sally Cauble, Deena Horst and Ann Mah.

The board adopted a resolution establishing the 2017 board of education calendar of meeting dates, times and location. The board also appointed Mark Ferguson, of Gates Shield Ferguson Hammond PA, of Overland Park, as state board attorney, and Peggy Hill as the board secretary.

Kansas Commissioner of Education Randy Watson gave his report to the board. He discussed the superintendent search for the Kansas State School for the Deaf and the Kansas School for the Blind. Watson said there will be a nationwide search for the superintendent, but he hopes there will be a recommendation to the board in April or May.

Watson also spoke about aligning the Kansas State Department of Education to the State Board’s vision of Kansas leading the world in the success of each student. KSDE’s leadership team will be involved in determining strategies and timelines to implement the vision. Later this winter, KSDE will look at whether the agency is aligned properly to drive the board’s five outcomes: kindergarten readiness; social-emotional growth; high school graduation rates; postsecondary completion; and Individual Plans of Study.

With the start of the 2017 legislative session, Watson gave an update on meetings he and other KSDE staff members will have to discuss the vision.

Sara Schafer, with KSDE’s Career Standards and Assessment Services (CSAS) team, and Melissa Fast, also with the CSAS team, gave an update on the mathematics standards review process. The committee groups were broken into elementary, middle and high schools. There also were ad hoc members, such as parents and business and industry leaders. The writing group met in May and July to work on updates. The review group looked at the updates virtually through Skype, email and Google.

General changes include a cleaner format and easier to read, glossaries for teachers and students, and an interactive document with links to resources, pop-out clarifiers, concrete examples of math practices within each grade, a links to jump to a standard with in a document.

Proposed changes for kindergarten through fifth grade include embedding of tables and videos, clarification of language and examples, adding of resource links within the document and a few removed standards (for example, angles are mentioned in the fourth-grade standards, but the students in fourth grade don’t learn about it until they move into seventh grade, so the standard was moved to the seventh grade).

Proposed changes for sixth through eighth grades include adding of resource links within the document, embedding of tables and videos, clarification of language and examples and moving a few standards.

Proposed changes for ninth through 12th grades include adding of resource links within the document, clarification of language and examples, moving of a few standards down to middle school and up from middle school, and putting an emphasis on modeling. Another proposed change is labeling standards differently (such as 9/10; 9/10/11; 11; All; and + Notation).

There will be meetings during February in Dodge City, Hays, Pittsburg, Topeka and Wichita so the public can review the standards.

The timeline shows the third draft being developed in March and presented to the board in May. The standards are set to be adopted in summer or early fall 2017.

During the afternoon session, the Kansas Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC), which serves as a liaison between the statewide populace and the Kansas State Board of Education, gave its annual report to the board. Dr. Matthew Ramsey, SEAC chairman for the 2015-2016 school year, highlighted council activities. He said the group met six times during the 2015-2016 school year.

SEAC’s focus is to improve outcomes for students with exceptionalities and their families. SEAC advises the board in key areas as required by the regulations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and by Kansas statutes. The 2015-2016 SEAC was comprised of 19 members and one nonvoting ex-officio member. SEAC members include individuals with disabilities and/or parents of children with exceptionalities.

Scott Myers, director of KSDE’s Teacher Licensure and Accreditation (TLA) discussed the direct entry special education preparation program standards for kindergarten through grade six. Educator Preparation 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. Institutes of Higher Learning (IHEs) utilize program standards to develop their preparation programs and submit them for approval and for continuous monitoring and improvement of their programs.

When a new license or endorsement content is created, a standards-writing work group is tasked with writing the new program standards to ensure they reflect the knowledge and skills educators need. Once approved, IHEs have access to develop new programs around the standards.

The writing committee met Thursday, Jan. 5, to finish the draft standards for K-6, and the draft standards were provided to the board at the Tuesday, Jan. 10, meeting.

Also during the afternoon session, the State Board recognized the 2016 Blue Ribbon Schools: Challenger Intermediate School, Goddard USD 265; Chanute Elementary School, Chanute USD 413; McKinley Intermediate School, Abilene USD 435; and Wheatridge Middle School, Gardner Edgerton USD 231.

The four schools were honored in November at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes schools whose students achieve at very high levels and are making significant progress in closing achievement gaps among different groups of students.

The Commissioner’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Teacher Vacancies and Supply created the Teacher Vacancy and Supply Committee as a standing subcommittee of the Professional Standards Board. The TVSC was formed with membership based upon State Board recommendations. The committee had its first meeting in October, with subsequent meetings scheduled for every month. Committee members on Tuesday afternoon provided an update on their work surrounding the four licensing issues: elementary restricted, multi-year first license, students teaching options and comprehensive science.

Dr. Laurie Curtis, with Kansas State University, and Deb Ayers-Geist, of Turner USD 202, shared mentoring recommendations including:


  • Tied to meeting identified needs of the mentee.
  • Data shared with administration and local board.
  • Mentee feedback on mentor and program as a whole.
  • Overall accountability tied to retention of teachers.


  • Connect efforts to higher education credit and/or licensing.
  • Separate the teacher program from the specialist program.

Recommendations: Next steps

  • Take ideas to the Professional Standards Board
  • Mentor committee
  • Regulations committee
  • Professional Standards Committee

Future TVSC Work:

  • Alternative Elementary
  • Comprehensive science
  • Student-teaching options
  • Special education
  • Data quality focus

On Wednesday morning, Career Technical Student Organizations representatives gave a report and presentation to the board. There were eight CTSOs during the 2015-2016 school year. However, a ninth CTSO is being added.

Students from each of the eight CTSOs spoke. The current eight are Business Professionals of America; DECA; Future Business Leaders of America; Family, Career and Community Leaders of America; FFA; Health Occupation Students of America; SkillsUSA; and Technology Student Association.

Educators Rising is the new CTSO for the 2016-2017 school year. Educators Rising cultivates highly skilled educators by guiding young people on a path to becoming accomplished teachers, beginning in high school and extending through college and into the profession.

Laura Downey, executive director of the Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education (KACEE), updated board members on the organization’s work in schools. KACEE, founded in 1969, is a private, nonprofit association with a mission of promoting and providing quality, nonbiased and science-based conversation and environmental educational throughout the state.

KACEE meshes well with the nonacademic and academic skills that are important, Downey said. KACEE helps connect learning outside of the classroom, she said. Zoos, nature centers, park programs, conservation districts and others provide educational opportunities to thousands of children a year.

The board’s next meeting will take place Feb. 14-15 in the Board Room of the Landon State Office Building, 900 S.W. Jackson. The Feb. 15 meeting will include a work session.



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