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Kansas State Board of Education April highlights: Schools, students recognized at meeting

Posted: Apr 16, 2021
Author: Ann Bush


Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson announced the districts being recognized for the 2020 Kansans Can Star Recognition Program during the Kansas State Board of Education meeting Tuesday, April 13, 2021.

The program recognizes district success in the outcome measures Kansans said they value. These outcomes, categorized as either quantitative or qualitative measures, are serving as a roadmap to help Kansas reach its educational vision.

Districts had to apply for recognition in the qualitative measures area. Applications were due to the Kansas State Department of Education by Dec. 31, 2020.

District recognition in the quantitative measures area are automatically calculated by KSDE based on collected district data. No application is necessary.

Districts can receive gold, silver, bronze or copper stars in the qualitative measures of:

  • Social-emotional growth.
  • Kindergarten readiness.
  • Individual Plan of Study.
  • Civic engagement.

Districts can receive gold, silver, bronze or copper stars in these quantitative measure areas:

  • Academically prepared for postsecondary.
  • High school graduation.
  • Postsecondary success.

There were 21 districts that achieved the copper level for graduation; 41 achieved bronze level; and 24 districts achieved at the silver level for graduation. Seventy-one districts reached gold level in graduation.

There were 69 districts that received copper level for academically prepared for postsecondary; 10 received bronze level; and one system received silver level.

In postsecondary effectiveness, 15 districts achieved the copper level; 82 districts achieved the bronze level; and 33 districts achieved the silver level. Seven districts achieved the gold level in postsecondary effectiveness.

Fifty-four districts achieved the Commissioner’s Award, and 39 districts achieved the Commissioner’s Award with Honors.

Four districts/systems – Dighton USD 482, Fairfield USD 310, Frontenac USD 249 and the Wichita Catholic Diocese – received the Commissioner’s Award - Highest Distinction.

Six districts achieved copper level in the Individual Plans of Study area. There was one district in each of the levels of bronze, silver and gold.

Seven districts achieved copper in the social-emotional growth area, and eight received bronze. Four districts achieved silver level, and there were no districts that received gold.

In kindergarten readiness, three districts achieved copper level, and six achieved bronze. No districts received silver or gold.

In civic engagement, four districts achieved copper level, and five received bronze. No districts received silver or gold in civic engagement.

Four districts were recognized in five areas. Those were Hillsboro USD 410; Nemaha Central USD 115; North Lyon County USD 251; and Valley Falls USD 338.

Three districts were recognized in six areas. Those were De Soto USD 232; Piper USD 203; and Southern Lyon County USD 252.

Dr. Brad Neuenswander, deputy commissioner, talked to board members about how the Navigating Next guidance document was developed and how the guidance is being used by districts.

The goal of Navigating Next is to support school systems by providing concise, prioritized guidance for effectively and successfully completing the 2020-2021 school year while simultaneously planning and preparing for the start of the 2021-2022 school year and beyond, Neuenswander said. Navigating Next also can be used by districts to help determine options for the use of the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds.

The team that helped develop Navigating Next included staff members from KSDE, Service Centers and TASN, as well as superintendents. The group first met in late December 2020, and continued to meet biweekly to develop a plan for the February 2021 State Board of Education meeting.

Denise Kahler, director of KSDE’s Communications and Recognition Programs (CRP) team, introduced the 2021 United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) delegates and alternates. Kansas delegates and alternates each spoke to board members via Zoom.

The 2021 Kansas delegates are Sean-Patrick Hurst, Yates Center High School, Yates Center USD 366, and Seth Jarvis, Burlington High School, Burlington USD 244.

The 2021 Kansas alternates are Charles Birt, Shawnee Mission East High School, Shawnee Mission USD 512, and Sean Wentling, Derby High School, Derby USD 260.

Each delegate receives a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship with encouragement to continue coursework in government, history and public affairs.

The 2021 delegates also attended Washington Week virtually from March 14-18.

USSYP is for high school juniors and seniors. It was established in 1962 by a United States Senate Resolution.

Kent Reed, a counseling education program consultant for KSDE’s Career, Standards and Assessment Services (CSAS) team, and Rachel Beech, an education program consultant for KSDE’s Special Education and Title Services (SETS) team, shared information on the effective use of restorative justice practices in schools. They also reported on learning services for incarcerated students.

There are three main types of detention/correction placements: juvenile detention centers, adult corrections and juvenile corrections, Beech said. There are 11 county juvenile detention center facilities statewide. Services that are provided can include special education, general education, credit recovery, Title I Part D supplemental services and General Educational Development (GED) program.

Kansas juvenile detention centers are located in the following counties: Douglas, Johnson, Sedgwick, Wyandotte, Franklin, Leavenworth, Reno and Shawnee, along with Southwest Kansas Regional and North Central Kansas Regional.

There are eight adult correction facilities across the state. Services provided include general education, special education, Title I Part D supplemental services, GED program, credit recovery and Career and Technical Education (CTE).

There is one juvenile corrections facility in the state. Services include general education, special education, Title I Part D supplemental services, GED program and credit recovery.

Presenters from Kansas City USD 500 also shared information on restorative practices in their district.

Yolanda Thompson, principal at F.L. Schlagle High School, and Terry Bigby, an interventionist at Schlagle High, said there are 886 students at their school. The school interviewed students to better understand experiences and also did school safety surveys with students, staff members and administration.

Four out of every five children at Schlagle High have experienced some form of chronic or acute trauma. Eighty percent of the school’s students live in poverty and 40% live with a relative other than a biological parent or live in foster care.

Administration and staff subcommittees conducted an extensive review of research literature regarding effective practices to increase positive behavior and academic engagement. The subcommittee also contacted schools in Kansas and Missouri that were implementing effective practices.

The school found things that work well, such as an environment that is culturally and socially responsive; teaching and recognition of expectations; teaching academic and social problem solving; and implementing trauma-informed restorative practices.

To implement the process, administration provided funding for a professional to lead the teaching and learning of restorative practices, Schlage staff members said. Time also was allocated for professional development, and a student advisory team and staff advisory team were convened to involve students and staff.

Since the implementation at Schlage High, office referrals have decreased by 52% and suspensions have decreased by 42%. Major safety offenses decreased by 81%.

Jeremy Anderson, president of the Education Commission of the States (ECS), and Joel Moore, ECS state relations strategist for ECS, gave board members an overview of services and resources provided to states by the commission.

The commission, headquartered in Denver, partners with education policy leaders across the United States to address issues, share resources and provide expertise. Kansas has a long history of involvement with ECS, Anderson said. Board member Jim McNiece, who represents District 10, currently serves as the ECS Steering Committee member for Kansas.

Other Education Commission of the States Commissioners include Gov. Laura Kelly; Sen. Molly Baumgardner; Ann Brandau-Murgia, Kansas Board of Regents; Rep. Steve Huebert; Cindy Lane, chair of the Kansas Governor’s Council on Education; and Dr. Watson.

Fifty Kansas high school seniors were named 2021 Kansas Career and Technical Education (CTE) Scholars, said Stacy Smith, assistant director of KSDE’s CSAS team.

The Kansas CTE Scholar program is an opportunity to recognize well-rounded outstanding CTE students who are finishing their senior year of high school. This is the fourth year for the initiative.

Smith also shared information regarding student participation in state-approved CTE pathways and alignment with workforce needs.

KSDE’s Tate Toedman, assistant director of SETS, discussed Emergency Assistance to Non-Public Schools (EANS) with the board. EANS was awarded to governors to provide services or assistance to eligible nonpublic schools to address the impact of COVID-19 on nonpublic school students and teachers.

KSDE received 72 applications, with about 2,000 individual requests totaling $27.4 million. This was slightly higher than Kansas’ $26.7 million EANS allocation. About 65% of the dollar value would be for full-time and part-time personnel, with the remaining 35% for products and services.

Dr. Watson discussed Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER). This was awarded based on the Title I formula to provide emergency relief funds to local education agencies to address the impact that COVID-19 has had and continues to have on elementary and secondary schools across the nation.

Kansas received $85 million in ESSER I funds, which can be used from March 2020 through September 2022. It includes $8 million for special education.

Kansas received $370 million in ESSER II funds, which can be used from March 2020 through September 2023. It includes $24 million for special education.

Kansas received $830 million in ESSER III funds, which can be used from March 2020 through September 2024. It includes $28 million for special education.

Deputy Commissioner Dr. Brad Neuenswander gave Kansas State Board of Education members a report on how school districts teach financial literacy.

In April 2015, a letter was written and co-signed by the Kansas State Board of Education and Kansas House Education Committee requesting that any local board of education that hasn’t done so pass and implement a policy on the instruction of personal financial education.

A survey was developed in 2016 to capture the data related to this request, Neuenswander said. The compiled data was shared with the State Board of Education and the Kansas House Education Committee.

Recently, Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) employees updated the survey, and the results were shared with State Board of Education members. The 2021 Financial Literacy Education Survey results show that 65.8% of Kansas districts have a policy in place and fully implemented; 13.6% have a policy in place and partially implemented; and 20.3% have a policy under development. A small percentage of districts have a policy in place but it hasn’t been implemented.

A large portion of districts teach financial literacy at the high school level, while 37.3% also teach it at the middle/junior high level, and 21.2% also teach it at the elementary level. About 54% of districts embed financial literacy in their curriculum, and 42.8% of districts require a financial literacy course for graduation.

During the past eight years, 79,877 students have completed the Consumer and Personal Finance course.

In 2016, 42% of districts had a policy in place and fully implemented. In 2021, that was up to nearly 66 percent.

The board approved McNiece to serve on the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) board of directors for 2021-2023.

Board members approved renewal of a contract with Gates Shields Ferguson Swall Hammond P.A. for providing legal services for the period of July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022, with no increase in rates.

Deputy Commissioner Dr. Craig Neuenswander gave board members an update on bills tracked in the Kansas Legislature that may impact pre-k-12 education. The legislative session is on break through May 2. The veto session begins May 3.

On Wednesday, April 14, State Board of Education members received a presentation from KSDE’s Natalie Clark, education program consultant for CSAS, on ACT WorkKeys and Work Ready Communities.

ACT WorkKeys assessments measure foundational skills required for success in the workplace, Clark said. The assessments also measure the workplace skills that can affect job performance. Statewide administration of ACT WorkKeys is a powerful tool in many Kansas communities. Clark also talked about the importance and benefits of earning a National Career Readiness Certificate.

The ACT Work Ready Communities program empowers counties and states to create a community-based workforce development process with the goal that education and training match the needs of employers, lead to jobs and help individuals advance in their careers.

The Kansas State Board of Education will have a special virtual meeting at 10 a.m. Monday, April 19, to discuss and act on expenditure plans for federal COVID-19 relief funds through EANS.

The board will meet in person again on May 11 in Topeka and May 12 at the Kansas State School for the Blind, 1100 State Ave. in Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas School for the Deaf, 450 E. Park St. in Olathe, Kansas.

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