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Kansas State Board of Education January highlights: State Board names new chair, hears from CTSO students

Posted: Jan 12, 2023
Author: Ann Bush

The January 2023 Kansas State Board of Education meeting brought with it several changes. 

Three newly elected individuals joined the State Board – Danny Zeck, District 1, Cathy Hopkins, District 5, and Dennis Hershberger, District 7.  

Melanie Haas, District 2, was named chair and Jim Porter, District 9, was named vice chair. Porter had served as chair the previous two years. 

Ann Mah, District 4, and Dr. Deena Horst, District 6, were named legislative liaisons, and Betty Arnold, District 8, Horst and Hopkins were named Board Policy Committee members. 

Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson gave his monthly presentation to Board members. 

During his presentation, Watson discussed graduation, postsecondary effectiveness and moving students out of level one on the state assessments. 

The state goal for high school graduation is 95%. In 2016, the state’s graduation rate was 86.1%. By 2022, it had increased to 89.3%. The goal for Kansas in postsecondary effectiveness is 70-75%. Kansas had a five-year average postsecondary effectiveness rate of 44% in 2015. By 2020, the state had increased to 52%. 

Commissioner Watson highlighted three districts that are doing great work in the areas of high school graduation rates, postsecondary success and moving students out of level one on state assessments. 

Caney Valley Unified School District 436 has a graduation rate of 91.6% and the district’s postsecondary effectiveness is 55.1%. Ingalls USD 477 has a graduation rate of 98.6% and the district’s postsecondary effectiveness is 73.1%. Louisburg USD 416 has a graduation rate of 92% with postsecondary effectiveness at 62.4%. 

In 2017, Caney Valley USD 436 had 35.4% of its students in level 1 on the state science assessment. In 2022, there were only 32.4% of students in level 1. On the English language arts assessment in 2017, the district had 35.2% in level 1. By 2022, there were only 23.8% of the district’s students in level 1 on the ELA assessment. On the mathematics assessment in 2017, Caney Valley had 31.1% of its students in level 1. That dropped significantly to 18.4% in 2022. 

Ingalls USD 477 and Louisburg USD 416 saw similar results. 

In 2017, Ingalls had 28.6% of students score in level 1 of the science assessment. That decreased to 15.4% in 2022. On the ELA state assessment, 28.4% of students scored at a level 1. By 2022, the percentage of the district’s students in level 1 had dropped to 15. In 2017, Ingalls had 29.5% of its students in level 1 on the math assessment. By 2022, there was only 15.8% in level 1. 

Louisburg USD 416 had 25.4% of students score in level 1 on the science assessment in 2017. In 2022, the percentage had dropped to 19.6. In 2017, there were 12.6% of the district’s students who scored in level 1 on the ELA assessment. In 2022, that percentage dropped to 11.7. On the math assessment in 2017, Louisburg had 15.3% of its students who scored at a level 1. By 2022, there were only 11.4% in level 1. 

In the past five years, Caney Valley, Ingalls and Louisburg significantly grew their five-year average postsecondary success rates, significantly decreased students scoring in level 1 on the state assessments and increased students scoring in levels 3 and 4. 

Deputy Commissioner Dr. Ben Proctor shared the agency’s short-term priorities for addressing academic success:  

  • Establish clear actions to address academic performance.  
  • Create (internal) measurable outcomes related to addressing academic performance.  
  • Mobilize at all levels to address academic performance.  
  • Understand the student impact of each State Board Outcome.  

 

Scott Gordon, general counsel for the State Department of Education, led Board members through proposed changes to licensure regulations. The Board had a continued hearing from its December meeting on the licensure regulations. No one from the public signed up to speak. 

Cheryl Johnson, director of KSDE’s Child Nutrition and Wellness (CNW) team, shared an update on fiscal year 2022 statistics. There were 841 sponsors that implemented child nutrition programs, including 409 nutrition sponsors, 310 Child and Adult Food Care Program (CAFCP) sponsors and 122 Summer Food Services Program sponsors. 

The number of meals served during fiscal year 2021-2022 was 96,987,146, Johnson said. 

The United States Department of Agriculture has provided more than $28 million to Kansas sponsors that will help provide schools with resources to support the availability of food due to supply chain disruptions. 

School breakfast is a big deal, Johnson said. Students who don’t have access to food at home but are able to start the day with breakfast at school earn higher test scores, have better attendance and are more likely to graduate, according to No Kid Hungry. 

KSDE applied for and was selected to be a part of a demonstration project to evaluate using Medicaid eligibility data to directly certify children for free and reduced-price school meals, Johnson said. The agency also was able to collaborate with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE)t to provide the Medicaid eligibility data.  

KSDE was awarded the Farm to School Formula grant to increase and expand Farm to School programs. This will allow KSDE to add Farm to Plate resources, such as culinary training videos, recipe development and menu templates. 

KSDE also received the Farm to School competitive grant, which will improve access to local foods, specifically grains and flour, through programming that includes local procurement and agricultural education. 

KSDE’s CNW team also will be debuting a new Body Venture exhibit to replace the old one. The new educational display, similar to a bouncy house, is easier to set up and tear down, according to Johnson. 

Johnson also announced that three child nutrition professionals have received the Kansas Certificate in Child Nutrition Management. To receive this certification, 120 hours of KSDE CNW-approved management classes must be completed. 

Those who received the certification in 2022 are: 

  • Kimberly Baillargeon, Southeast of Saline USD 306 
  • Kimberly Chambers, who retired in September 2022 from Norton Community Schools USD 211. 
  • Tara Daniels, Labette County USD 506. 

 

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 the district expenditure plans for ESSER III and ESSER II change requests. 

Doug Boline, assistant director of KSDE’s Special Education and Title Services team, said there was one ESSER II change application from a district, representing 1,493 students. The plan includes 79 individual budgeted expenditures items with a total value of $500,000. Out of $343.5 million allocated for ESSER II, $340 million (99%) has been approved by the State Board with $3.8 million remaining. 

Eleven districts submitted ESSER III plans, representing 13,871 students. The plans included 229 individual budgeted expenditures totaling $15.6 million, with $15.5 million being considered eligible expenditures and $70,000 considered ineligible. Seven districts submitted ESSER III change plans, representing 1,802 students. The change plans included 124 individual budgeted expenditures totaling $2.9 million. 

Out of $768.1 million allocated for ESSER III, $601.1 million (78%) has been approved for allocation, with $151 million (20%) remaining, $15.5 million (2%) being reviewed and $500,000 (less than 1%) in change requests. 

State Board of Education members accepted the recommendation of the Accreditation Review Council (ARC) and approved accreditation for Hutchinson USD 308, Perry-Lecompton USD 343 and Udall USD 463. 

During the 2022-2023 school year, 179 systems (157 public, one state and 21 private) are scheduled for accreditation. Of these 179 systems, 174 entered the Kansas Education Systems Accreditation process as year-one systems and chose to pause because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In December, the ARC met and determined accreditation recommendations for six systems: 

  • Pittsburg USD 250 
  • Plainville USD 270 
  • Hesston USD 460 
  • Geary County USD 475 
  • Satanta USD 507 
  • Kansas School for the Blind 

 
ARC recommends that all six systems be accredited. The State Board is scheduled to act on the recommendations during its February 2023 monthly meeting. 

Bert Moore, director of KSDE’s Special Education and Title Services (SETS) team, and Trish Backman, a coordinator on KSDE’s SETS team, gave the Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC) annual report. 

Deputy Commissioner Dr. Craig Neuenswander provided information to Board members on how to follow legislation online and gave a review of legislative leadership and education committee membership. 

Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) representatives presented to State Board members on Wednesday morning.  

Those presenting were: 

  • Eleanor Warren, a student at Blue Valley High School and president of Kansas Business Professionals of America (BPA). 
  • Joy Yan, a student at Blue Valley North High School and president of Kansas DECA. 
  • Sophia Weber, a student at Herington High School and president of Kansas Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA). 
  • Kara Kunselman, a student at Satanta Junior-Senior High School, and president of Kansas Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA). 
  • Mackenzie Anderson, who attended Andale High School/Renwick FFA Chapter and is now a freshman at Kansas State University and who is now the Kansas FFA State Sentinel. 
  • Ella Rhuems, a student at Pittsburg High School and president of Kansas HOSA. 
  • Chanez Hachour, a student at Olathe Advanced Technical Center and president of SkillsUSA Kansas.  
  • Jayce Quirin, a student at Parsons High School and president of Kansas Technology Student Association (TSA). 

 

Todd Wiedemann, co-director of Kansas MTSS and Alignment, presented to State Board members about the Kansas Math Proficiency Project. The purpose of the project is to ensure every math teacher in Kansas has a strong understanding of research-based teaching strategies and math content. There needs to be a collaborative belief that every student can be successful in math, Wiedemann said. 

To help develop the Kansas Math Proficiency Project, Wiedemann and KSDE partnered with Dr. Sarah Powell, an associate Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, and Dr. Brad Witzel, Adelaide Worth Daniel’s Distinguished Professor of Education at Western Carolina University. 

Effective math teaching requires a combination of strong teaching skills and strong understanding of math content, Wiedemann said. The Kansas Math Proficiency Project aims to fill both of these buckets for teachers – simultaneously. 

Through the Kansas Math Proficiency Project, all teachers of math, pre-K through 12th grade, will have the opportunity to participate in five modules. Each module is between 30 and 90 minutes and can be accessed as in-person training or online training. 

The five modules are: 

  • Module A: All Students Can Learn Mathematics. 
  • Module B: Progressions That Lead to Long-Term Proficiency. 
  • Module C: Systematic and Explicit Instruction. 
  • Module D: Using Data to Drive Instruction and Intervention. 
  • Module E: Building Students' Language, Understanding, Fluency and Problem-Solving. 

 

The 2023-2025 State Board Committee assignments were announced. Board members and their committee assignments are: 

Danny Zeck, District 1: 

  • Charter and Virtual Education Advisory Council 
  • Interstate Migrant Education Council 
  • Student Voice Committee 

 

Melanie Haas, chair, District 2: 

  • Liaison to the Kansas State School for the Blind 
  • Kansas Volunteer Commission 
  • Kansas Alliance for Education Advocacy 
  • Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education 
  • Coordinating Council 
  • Computer Science Standards Implementation Committee 

 

Michelle Dombrosky, District 3: 

  • Kansas School for the Deaf 
  • Kansas School for the Deaf/KNEA bargaining team 
  • Communications Committee for State Board 
  • Student Voice Committee 

 

Ann Mah, District 4: 

  • Kansas Advisory Committee on Indigenous Education Working Group 
  • Kansas Advisory Committee for Career and Technical Education 
  • Professional Standards Board 
  • Teacher Vacancy and Supply Committee 

 

Cathy Hopkins, District 5: 

  • Policy Committee 
  • Kansas Council for Economic Education 
  • Professional Standards Board Liaison 
  • Commissioner’s Task Force on ESSER and EANS 

 

Dr. Deena Horst, District 6: 

  • Policy Committee 
  • Kansas Master Teacher Award Selection Committee 
  • Kansas Foundation for Excellence/Teacher of the Year 

 

Dennis Hershberger, District 7: 

  • Agriculture in the Classroom 
  • Kansas Learning First Alliance 
  • ESSA/ESEA Board Representative 
  • Kansas Prescription Drug and Opioid Advisory Committee 

 

Betty Arnold, District 8: 

  • Policy Committee 
  • Student Voice Committee 
  • School Mental Health Advisory Council 

 

Jim Porter, District 9: 

  • Governor’s Education Council 
  • Capital Improvement (Bond and Interest) State Aid Review 
  • Confidence in Kansas Public Education Task Force 
  • Coordinating Council 
  • Commissioner’s Task Force on ESSER and EANS 

 

Jim McNiece, District 10: 

  • Governor’s Education Council 
  • Education Commission of the States 
  • Special Education Advisory Council  
  • Communications Committee for State Board 

 

State Board of Education members approved the expenditure of the remaining money - $3.5 million - allocated for the Sunflower Summer program in 2023. The summer of 2023 will be the last year for the program. The last summer will include an expansion in the number of venues, special events and day camps. 

Dr. Mike Argabright, superintendent of Southern Lyon County USD 252, was recognized by the State Board. He was named the 2023 Kansas Superintendent of the Year by the Kansas School Superintendents' Association. 

State Board of Education members had lunch with representatives of Kansas CTSOs at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library. They also had a retreat at the Kansas Health Institute before adjourning. 

The next State Board meeting will be Feb. 14-15 at the Landon State Office Building, 900 S.W. Jackson, Suite 102, in Topeka. 

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