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Kansas State Board of Education July highlights: Board members hear first KESA recommendations

Posted: Jul 12, 2018
Author: Ann Bush

The Kansas State Board of Education at its July 2018 meeting heard the first recommendations for districts/systems seeking accreditation under the new Kansas Education Systems Accreditation (KESA) process.

A state-level review committee, called the Accreditation Review Council (ARC), recommended to the board that two public districts and five private systems be accredited.

Jeannette Nobo, assistant director for KSDE’s Teacher Licensure and Accreditation team, discussed the KESA decision process. KESA was approved in 2016 as the new model for accreditation.

The new model shifts accreditation from schools to the district/system level and also moves it from a yearly cycle to a five-year improvement model approach. The 2017-2018 school year served as a KESA implementation year. Based on criteria, districts determined which year of the five-year process that their system would enter into in the KESA process. Therefore, staggered implementation is in place.

In the KESA model, an Outside Visitation Team (OVT) visits the system yearly to support and review progress toward its accreditation and state board goals. Members of ARC review all OVT documentation and submit a recommended accreditation status for each system to the state board for final consideration.

Members of ARC met twice to discuss the first seven systems. They met May 2 to discuss two public systems - Louisburg USD 416 and Central Heights USD 288. Members then met June 20 to discuss private systems – St. Michael the Archangel; Maur Hill-Mount Academy; Most Pure Heart of Mary; Good Shepherd; and Christ the King – Kansas City.

Based on the evidence submitted, ARC members recommend to not accredit, conditionally accredit or accredit systems. Members of ARC recommended that all systems be accredited. The State Board is slated to make decisions about the accreditations at the August meeting.

After an executive session, State Board of Education members approved Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson's recommendation to appoint current interim superintendent Luanne Barron as superintendent of the Kansas State School for the Deaf and current interim superintendent Jon Harding as superintendent of the Kansas State School for the Blind. Both currently serve as interims of the respective schools.

Program standards for Safe and Secure Schools state aid grants and the recommendations for grant allocations to school districts not to exceed $5 million were approved.

Deputy Commissioner Dale Dennis discussed the grants and applications with board members. Applications were received from 153 school districts requesting state aid of about $13,000. Representatives from the Kansas Attorney General’s Office, Adjutant General’s Office, Kansas Highway Patrol, Kansas Fire Marshal, KSDE and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment met June 26 to determine the criteria for approving applications and to review the applications.

Legislation requires that grants received by school districts must be matched with local funds on a dollar-for-dollar basis at a minimum.

Dennis also discussed budget options for fiscal years 2020 and 2021. The board voted to approve a 1.44 percent inflation rate for two years in Base State Aid Per Pupil, which is roughly an extra $90 million for fiscal years 2020 and 2021.

KSDE staff members updated board members on the Kansans Can vision outcomes.

Stacy Smith, KSDE’s assistant director for Career, Standards and Assessment Services (CSAS), focused on the Individual Plan of Study (IPS) outcome. The first state IPS goal was that every middle school and high school in the state would implement an IPS tool and process by the end of the 2017-2018 school year. Beginning with the 2018-2019 school year, the goal is to have an IPS in place for every student, beginning in the middle grades.

KSDE’s Branden Johnson, assistant director of CSAS, led discussion on the graduation outcome. A cohesive team has been established with clear goals and guidelines, Johnson said. A team is currently working on developing a parent tips and guidelines document; developing internal professional development; and researching root cause and prevention for chronic absenteeism and poverty. 

The annual dropout rate for the past three years and the number of students living in poverty in Kansas are:
•    2015 – 3,578 (2733 living in poverty).
•    2016 – 3,750, (2,970 living in poverty).
•    2017 – 3,608 (2,846 living in poverty).

Chronic absenteeism data shows there were 64,572 students who were chronically absent in 2016, including 4,496 kindergartners; and 69,195 who were chronically absent in 2017, including 4,478 kindergartners.

The state’s goal is to have a 95 percent graduation rate by 2026, Johnson said. Addressing poverty and chronic absenteeism controls and influencers will be key to reaching this goal.

KSDE’s Beth Fultz, assistant director of CSAS, discussed postsecondary success. By the year 2020, 71 percent of the jobs in Kansas will require some level of postsecondary education, Fultz reminded the board.

It is important for schools to be able to track the postsecondary movement of high school graduates to determine whether students are pursuing and succeeding in postsecondary education, she said. Districts can do this through postsecondary reports, which represent a new way of thinking and will require time to compile and analyze the data for each school district.

The board also:
•    Approved the renewal of a specialized teaching certificate for  Marysville USD 364. Marysville is a member of the Coalition of Innovative School Districts, which recommended the renewal of the specialized teaching certificate.
•    Approved appointments to fill open positions representing various categories on the Professional Practices Commission.
•    Heard a presentation from Teach for America, which finds, develops and supports a diverse network of leaders who expand opportunities for children from classrooms, schools and every sector and field that help shape the broader systems in which schools operate.


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