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Kansas State Board of Education June highlights: Board, CETE to continue partnership

Posted: Jun 16, 2017
Author: Ann Bush

The Center for Educational Testing (CETE) and the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) will continue their partnership for administering assessments after the Kansas State Board of Education on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, approved entering into contract negotiations with CETE for the 2017-2018 assessments. 

After considering several options, KSDE recommended to the board to approve entering into contract negotiations with CETE for the 2017-2018 assessment period with an amount not to exceed $6 million. 

KSDE began working with the CETE in 1984, Neuenswander said. In 2003, online/computerized assessments began. New College and Career Ready Standards were approved in 2011, and in 2013 the state board decided to leave the Smarter Balance Consortium and have CETE develop the Kansas assessment. Kansas piloted a new assessment in 2014, and 2015 was the first year for the new Kansas Assessment Program (KAP). In 2017, interim assessments were added to the assessment package, the deputy commissioner told board members. 

CETE is responsible for administering, scoring and reporting the scores for students, buildings and districts, Neuenswander said. The Kansas Integrated Testing Engine (KITE), which delivers the test, is subcontracted through Agile Technologies, which is also located at the University of Kansas. Due to technical issues during the past few years with the test delivery engine, KSDE considered other options to meet the state’s assessment needs. 
The options KSDE considered included:
•    Return to a paper/pencil assessment.
•    Look for a national testing vendor.
•    Look into a national consortium of states to join.
•    Continue to work with CETE.
Going back to a paper/pencil assessment would require the development of a new test and it doesn’t measure the cognitive levels that computer-enhanced items can measure, Neuenswander told the board. 

In looking for a national testing vendor, a Request for Proposal (RFP) would have to be submitted and test items would have to be aligned to the Kansas Standards, Neuenswander said. The RFP would have to include all assessment services that Kansas is currently receiving. In prior estimates, this would require an additional $1.5 million. 

Joining a consortium of states would be an additional estimated cost of $1.8 million. It would only cover math and ELA, and Kansas would lose flexibility with the test format, design and footprint, the deputy commissioner said. KSDE would still need to select a vendor to deliver the test. 

Dr. Scott Myers, director of teacher licensure and accreditation, discussed higher education preparation program standards for elementary education, kindergarten through sixth grade. Amy Hogan, with Ottawa University, talked about the changes in the standards. 

Educator preparation program standards establish program approval requirements to ensure Kansas educator candidates are provided the knowledge and skills educators need for today’s learning context. 

Learning readiness, student wellness and healthy environment were combined into standard one to emphasize student wellness, acceptance, equitable conditions and classroom, Hogan said. 

Standards for English Language Arts (standard two), mathematics (standard three), science (standard four), social studies (standard five) and the arts (standard six) were brought current through the Kansas College and Career Readiness standards, content-specific professional associations and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) notions. 

Standards two, three, four, five and six are divided into the following functions: (function one) content; (function two) assessment and (function three) instruction including instructional strategies. 

The board is scheduled to take action on the standards in July. 

Rep. John Alcala, Christina Valdivia-Alcala and Rep. Valdenia Winn presented to board members about the current status of ethnic and diversity education in Kansas schools.
In 2013, the board adopted the Kansas Standards for History, Government and Social Studies. 

The presenters said they are recommending the creation of an Ethnic Studies Curriculum Development Project, a public-private partnership between the project tri-directors and their educational consultants; educational specialists assigned by KSDE; and staff of Washburn University in Topeka. 

The goals of the project are to provide the opportunity for 15 teachers in grades seven through 12 to learn “culturally relevant pedagogy” and to develop curriculum guides, lesson plans and assessment tools (aligned with the Rose Standards) on topics within their respective disciplines. 

The proposed timeline, according to Winn, would start in January 2018 with the state board announcing the details and opening of a competition for participants for the project. 

Also in the morning, board members were introduced to five educators who have received prestigious awards.
•    Sue Givens, superintendent at El Dorado Unified School District 490, has been named the 2017 Kansas Superintendent of the Year by the Kansas School Superintendents Association.
•    Dr. Britton Hart, principal at Emporia High School (Emporia USD 253), has been named the 2016-2017 Kansas High School Principal of the Year by the Kansas Association of Secondary School Principals.
•    Terrell Davis, principal at Truesdell Middle School (Wichita USD 259) and Tony Helfrich, principal at Liberty Middle School (Pratt USD 382) have been named 2016-2017 Kansas Middle School Principals of the Year by the Kansas Association of Middle School Administrators.
•    Dana Sprinkle, principal at Ell-Saline Elementary School (Ell-Saline USD 307) has been named 2017 National Distinguished Principal of the Year by the Kansas Association of Elementary School Principals.
Educators from Jackson Heights and Rock Creek gave a presentation on UAVs (unmanned aircraft systems, also known as drones). The drones are used in FFA classes; at band performances; for aerial photography; video production classes; yearbook; special events and advertisements. 

Bob Brock, director of the Kansas Unmanned Aircraft Systems, also spoke to the board during the presentation on drones. He encouraged board members to consider a standardized curriculum program for teaching about unmanned aircraft systems. 

The board approved 16 applications for specialized certificates submitted by the Coalition of Innovative School Districts. The applications presented for approval are all for Kansas City USD 500. The specialized certificate is effective for a one-year period and is nontransferable to any other Kansas school district. USD 500 may hire the individuals as nonlicensed professional employees or licensed professional employees in areas outside of their areas of licensure for the 2017-2018 school year. 

Colleen Riley, director of KSDE’s Early Childhood, Special Education and Title Services team, shared information with the board on the Kansas school mental health framework. 

In another move, the board reappointed Joan Macy, Kathy Kersenbrock-Ostmeyer, Marcy Aycock and Dr. Marvin Miller for a second, three-year term, and appointed Laura Thompson, Kelly McCauley and Chelle Kemper to the Special Education Advisory Council for their first term. All terms will run from July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2020. 

Deputy Commissioner Dale Dennis gave board members an update on the legislative session, which recently came to an end. 

Board members then went into an executive session for 10 minutes to discuss personnel matters. 

After the executive session, board members announced the names of two separate interim superintendents for the Kansas State Schools for the Deaf and Blind. 
Luanne Barron, current assistant superintendent of the Kansas State School for the Deaf will serve as interim superintendent for the Kansas State School for the Deaf. 

Jon Harding, director of instruction for the Kansas State School for the Blind, will serve as interim superintendent for the Kansas State School for the Blind. 

The board has asked that Barron and Harding work with the Kansas Association of School Boards to make recommendations to the board no later than December 2017 about the administrative structures for the schools. 

On Wednesday, board members had a work session at the Kansas Association of School Boards in Topeka. The session kicked off at 9 a.m. and focused on social-emotional growth. 

The next board meeting will take place July 11 and 12 at the Landon State Office Building, 900 S.W. Jackson in Topeka.


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