The Kansas State Board of Education on Tuesday, June 11, accepted recommendations that will hopefully help decrease the number of students who vape or use e-cigarettes.
In light of an increase in student use, State Board members earlier in the year had asked for a presentation on e-cigarettes. Board members at their May meeting learned about the prevalence of e-cigarette use in students and about the dangers associated with vaping.
Board members asked that a work group be convened to address the issue of vaping/e-cigarettes. Ten people, including a University of Kansas student and representatives from the Kansas State Department of Education, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Blue Valley Unified School District 229, Holton USD 336, Kansas Association of School Boards, Kansas Health Institute, Kansas National Education Association, Tobacco Free Kansas Coalition and American Lung Association, joined the work group.
The work group met for the first time May 24 to develop recommendations for the State Board of Education regarding e-cigarette use. The four recommendations were endorsed by board members at the June meeting.
Board members asked that e-cigarettes/vaping be placed on the agenda every month so they can stay up to date on what steps the task force is taking to address the issue.
Jon Harding, superintendent of the Kansas State School for the Blind, and Luanne Barron, superintendent of the Kansas State School for the Deaf, gave board members updates on their schools.
Harding discussed the summer school program at the School for the Blind, which is referred to as Extended School Year (ESY). There are 75 students from 33 districts/co-ops involved in this year’s ESY. There are 22 teachers and 29 paraeducators who help with the program, Harding said.
Barron also spoke about the School for the Deaf’s ESY program, which runs June 10-28. There are currently 95 students enrolled. The school also is offering an American Sign Language Family Immersion Camp, which has 72 participants; a parent support group called Summer Splash; a youth leadership camp from Aug. 1-3; and the continuance of home visits in June and August.
Bev Mortimer, vice president of program development for Jobs for America’s Graduates-Kansas (JAG-K), gave an update on a multiphase pilot. The pilot is in partnership with KSDE, the Department for Children and Families and three school districts. The project was developed to increase successful outcomes for Kansas students in foster care.
In 2013-2014, there were 25 programs in 19 school districts in Kansas. In 2018-2019, there were 81 programs in 38 districts in the state. The class of 2016 had a 93% graduate rate, and the Class of 2018 had a 98% graduation rate.
JAG-K is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, Mortimer said. It is accredited and has a competency-based curriculum. The 12-month program helps students explore careers and develop leadership in a career association.
The first phase of the pilot, which ran January through May 2018, served 10 students in three Wichita high schools. Wichita USD 259 provided access to credit recovery during the school day. Students attended a JAG-K class, credit recovery and other regular classes, Mortimer said.
Two seniors in the pilot program graduated, and all students made progress toward graduation.
The second phase took place in the 2018-2019 school year, when it expanded to Kansas City and Topeka schools. JAG-K wants to continue to grow the program and wants to establish a pilot in the western part of the state during the 2019-2020 school year.
The State Board recognized Kansas administrators who have received prestigious awards:
The administrators shared some of the things they are doing in their schools to meet the State Board’s outcomes.
Rod Garman, with the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA), spoke to the board about the Student Council Leadership Workshop, which is a leadership training program designed specifically for high school students. This year’s workshop takes place July 21-26 at Emporia State University. Students learn about goal setting, organization skills, communication and other leadership techniques.
Deputy Commissioner Dale Dennis discussed education legislation with the board and also gave them budget options for fiscal year 2021.
The board is scheduled to make finalized budget recommendations at the July meeting. This allows KSDE staff members adequate time to prepare the agency budget for submittal to the Division of the Budget on or before Sept. 15, 2019.
KSDE’s Mischel Miller, director of Teacher Licensure and Accreditation (TLA), gave an update on the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Teacher Vacancies and Supply. The task force in 2015 was charged with detailing information regarding the teacher vacancy and supply concerns in Kansas. Upon the completion of the work, the State Board requested a committee to serve under the direction of the Professional Standards Board be created to continue the work and provide further recommendations to the State Board.
The Teacher Vacancy and Supply Committee (TVSC) has met either in person or via Zoom to prioritize the Blue Ribbon Task Force findings and provide pilot suggestions, study data and research other issues related to vacancy and supply of teachers in Kansas. The 18-member committee has made the following recommendations to the State Board:
In March and April, TVSC reviewed and prioritized the original Blue Ribbon Task Force recommendations. This review and prioritization help develop specific agenda items for the September and November 2019 meeting dates.
Board members also:
The State Board of Education will meet next July 9-10 in Topeka.
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