Forty-one schools representing 19 districts across Kansas will take part in Apollo, the fourth phase of the Kansans Can School Redesign Project, the Kansas State Department of Education announced Tuesday, April 16.
The names of the schools and districts were shared during the Kansas State Board of Education meeting. Tuesday’s announcement brings the total number of schools taking part in the redesign process to about 150, representing 66 school districts.
The Kansans Can School Redesign Project was announced in 2017 in support of Kansas’ vision for education - Kansas leads the world in the success of each student. The vision was created in 2015 based on feedback from 20 community meetings and seven business conversations that took place across the state.
During those conversations, Kansans said that schools need to place an equal amount of focus on helping students develop nonacademic skills, such as social-emotional growth, as they do on developing academic skills. This vision calls for a more student- focused system that provides support and resources for individual success.
KSDE’s Jay Scott and Tammy Mitchell announced the names of the districts.
Districts and the schools taking part in the Apollo phase of school redesign process are:
KSDE’s Scott Smith, director of Career, Standards and Assessment Services (CSAS), and Mark Tallman, associate executive director of the Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB), led discussion on academic achievement in Kansas.
Academic achievement is only part of student success, Smith said. The community conversations KSDE conducted in 2015 show that Kansans think nonacademic skills, such as perseverance, conscientiousness and teamwork, are equally as important as academic achievement for students to be successful after high school.
Kansas Curricular Standards are among the most rigorous in the United States. As of 2017, Kansas ranked sixth among all other states for the strength of its proficiency standards.
Student performance hasn’t declined, Smith said. It is expected that when the bar is raised, there will be a lower percentage of students reaching that higher standard. That isn’t an indication that student performance has declined.
Tallman said since 1990, high school completion in Kansas has risen from just over 80 percent to more than 90 percent and improved for each major racial/ethnic group in Kansas – although there still are some disparities.
State Board of Education members approved the Kansas model standards for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade computer science. KSDE’s Stephen King, an education program consultant, led the discussion. Board members asked questions about the implementation process and professional development for primary teachers.
Dr. Rick Doll, executive director of the Kansas Educational Leadership Institute (KELI), gave board members an update on the organization. The mission of KELI is to collaborate and share resources to support professional growth of educational leaders needed in Kansas schools for the 21st Century and to mentor new district, school and special education administrators in their first two years and provide ongoing professional earning opportunities for these leaders.
KELI meets their mission through a partnership with KSDE, KASB, United School Administrators, Kansas School Superintendents’ Association and Kansas State University, Doll said.
State Board of Education members heard from several of the 2018 Kansas Blue Ribbon Schools. The schools were honored in November 2018 at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.
The schools and their principals are:
Principals shared with board members the factors they have found to be most significant in raising student achievement at their schools.
KSDE’s Gayla Randel announced that 39 Kansas high school seniors have been named 2019 Kansas Career and Technical Education (CTE) scholars.
The Kansas CTE Scholar program is an opportunity to recognize well-rounded outstanding CTE students who are finishing their senior years of high school. This is the second year for the initiative.
Deputy Commissioner Dale Dennis updated board members on legislative items.
On Wednesday, April 17, board members visited the Kansas State School for the Blind and the Kansas School for the Deaf. They also visited two of the Kansans Can School Redesign Project: Mercury 7 schools – Santa Fe Trail Middle School and Westview Elementary School, both in Olathe USD 233.
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