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Kansas State Board of Education November highlights: Board supports recommendation to schools to retire Indian-themed mascots, branding

Kansas State Board of Education November highlights: Board supports recommendation to schools to retire Indian-themed mascots, branding
Posted: Nov 10, 2022
Author: Ann Bush

The Kansas State Board of Education on Thursday, Nov. 10, accepted the Kansas Advisory Council for Indigenous Education Working Group’s mascot reform statement and recommendations. 

The motion, in part, read: “The Board makes a strong recommendation to Kansas K-12 nontribal schools to adopt the actions recommended in the statement and retire Indian-themed mascots and branding as soon as possible, but no longer than within the next three to five years.” 

Dr. Alex Redcorn, an assistant professor at Kansas State University, answered questions before the State Board acted on the statement and recommendations. 

The State Board’s November meeting took place Wednesday, Nov. 9, and Thursday, Nov. 10, at the Landon State Office Building in Topeka. This was a departure from the State Board’s usual meeting dates of the second Tuesday and Wednesday of the month. 

Also on Thursday, the State Board voted to approve the Graduation Requirements Task Force recommendations, which include maintaining 21 credit hours; giving districts the option to use mastery and competency to award credits; students completing two or more postsecondary assets; considering the Kansas Board of Regents' recommendation for mandatory completion of the FAFSA; and setting up a review committee to gather input and provide recommendations to the State Board on any future changes.

Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson discussed graduation requirements with State Board of Education members.

A Graduation Requirements Task Force was established in June 2021 to complete a comprehensive evaluation of Kansas high school graduation requirements in order to better meet the needs of students in the 21st century and reach the State Board’s vision to lead the world in the success of each student. The Task Force was asked to identify courses to add or delete from requirements (if any); review ways to demonstrate mastery of skills and competencies; study the need for earning value-added assets in addition to a high school diploma; and ensure all students are included and all opportunities for success are studied.

The recommendations from the Task Force were first presented to the State Board in September. Dr. Watson presented some additional options to those recommendations at the October meeting after receiving feedback.

The recommendations will go into effect with the class of 2027.

Jane Groff, executive director of the Kansas Parent Information Resource Center (KPIRC), and Tamara Huff, project coordinator for KPIRC, gave a parent engagement update to State Board of Education members.

KPIRC began surveying parents about parent engagement in 2016. Since then, more than 44,000 parents have been surveyed. The first version of the survey asked questions about environment; effective communication; supporting student learning; sharing power and advocacy; and community involvement, Groff said.

KPIRC developed a second survey with the help of nine principals, superintendents and Multi-Tier Systems of Support coaches, Huff said. The new survey has been disseminated through participating schools’ email lists social media and text messages.

Dr. Britton Hart, former principal at Emporia High School now with the Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB), discussed Career and Academic Planning Conferences he’d implemented while in Emporia. Parent engagement at traditional parent-teacher conferences is usually low, he said.  Career and Academic Planning Conferences can help with career and college planning and setting a graduation goal for postsecondary.

The role of a CAP adviser is to develop a meaningful relationship with each student; offer personalized learning with a focus on student’s skills and interest; monitor academic progress; facilitate Individual Plan of Study (IPS); set career and academic goals; and look at postsecondary readiness.

CAP Conferences are student centered with a focus on a student’s IPS. Each adviser has 15 students, Hart said. Students participate in one-on-one enrollment with counselors, too.

State Board members accepted the recommendations of the Commissioner’s Task Force on Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) and Emergency Assistance to Nonpublic Schools (EANS) Distribution of Money and approved the district expenditure plans for ESSER III and change requests for ESSER II.

Doug Boline, assistant director of KSDE’s Special Education and Title Services team, said there were seven ESSER II change applications from districts, representing 12,717 students. The plans include 296 individual budgeted expenditures items with a total value of $10.7 million. Out of $343.5 million allocated for ESSER II, $339.5 million (99% has been allocated, with $3.8 million (less than 1%) remaining.

There were 16 districts that submitted ESSER III plans, representing 21,992 students. The plans included 395 individual budgeted expenditures totaling $20 million. Six districts submitted ESSER III change plans, representing 30,618 students. The change plans included 121 individual budgeted expenditures totaling $98.2 million.

Out of $768.1 million allocated for ESSER III, $540 million (70%) has been approved for allocation, with $187.2 (24%) million remaining, $20.1 million (3%) being reviewed and $20.8 million (3%) in change requests.

State Board of Education members accepted the recommendations of the Accreditation Review Council (ARC) to conditionally accredit three school systems through Kansas Education Systems Accreditation (KESA). The three conditionally accredited systems are Healy Unified School District 468, Lawrence Gardner High School and Lakemary Center in Paola.

Jay Scott, KSDE’s director of Accreditation and Design, also presented ARC recommendation to accredit Atchison County USD 377. The State Board is scheduled to act on the recommendation in December.

Keith Lawing, president and chief executive officer of the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas, along with Keely Schneider, executive director of Workforce Partnership, and others gave a 2021-2022 school year summary on the Kansas Association of Workforce Boards’ Work-Based Learning (WBL) Initiative.

The project goals of the WBL Initiative are:

  • Systematically increase employer engagement within K-12 schools.
  • Increase awareness of career exploration in high-demand, high-wage field for all students.
  • Increase engagement among high school students in career prep and real-work experiences.

 

During the 2021-2022 school year, 46,000 students were able to engage in a WBL experience. There were 516 employers who engaged with Kansas school districts in WBL activities, and 101 schools across 28 districts participated.

WBL intermediaries provide support to school districts in each of the five workforce regions:

  1. Kansas WorkforceOne
  2. Heartland Works
  3. Workforce Partnership
  4. Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas
  5. Southeast KansasWorks

 

Kaliko Oligo, senior director, state and federal programs for ACT, provided an update on Kansas ACT and WorkKeys participation.

As of the 2022-2023 school year, there are 15 states, including Kansas, offering state-funded ACT testing for 11th graders. There are eight states that offer state-funded optional or choice testing, Oligo said.

Nine states – Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Wisconsin – use the ACT, without augmentation, for federal accountability.

The State Board voted to extend the expanded emergency substitute license through June 30, 2023. The expanded emergency substitute license modified the qualifications of the emergency substitute license to include high school diploma, completion of an online substitute training component, and verification of hire in a state accredited local education agency (LEA) and be limited to no more than 15 consecutive days in the same assignment.

The recommendation was made by the Professional Standards Board/Teacher Vacancy and Supply Committee Working Group.

Shane Carter, director of KSDE’s Teacher Licensure, discussed the recommendation, as well as others, with State Board members.

Other recommendations included:

  • A substitute handbook/guidelines. The group recommended that all state-accredited local education agencies create and maintain a substitute handbook. This would ensure substitute teachers are supported. The handbook would include employment information; substitute teacher duties and responsibilities; district specified training; detailed emergency protocols and procedures; and other items.
  • Extend all emergency substitute licenses to two school years. This would reduce field confusion and remove additional costs for substitute teachers.
  • Create a Legacy License for retired teachers. This license would be valid for 20 years and would allow retired educators to serve as either a substitute teacher or a full-time teacher. It would reduce the financial burden on retired teachers. There would be requirements, such as verified retirement from a state agency or from a state-accredited private school. There would be an application and fee.

 

The additional recommendations could be addressed by the State Board in the future but would require changes to the regulations. However, changing or making additions to regulations can be a lengthy process, KSDE staff members said.

Patty Jurich, president of the Kansas PTA, introduced the National PTA Schools of Excellence.

The National PTA School of Excellence is a recognition program that supports and celebrates partnerships between PTAs and schools to enrich the educational experience and overall well-being for all students. The program also reiterates the importance of a joint commitment between PTA and school leaders to work together to achieve PTA’s National Standards for Family-School Partnerships. Schools that exhibit improvement are honored as National PTA Schools of Excellence, a distinction that spans two years.

The honorees from Kansas are:

  • Shawnee Mission USD 512 – Broken Arrow Elementary School; Mill Creek Elementary School and Shawnee Mission East High School.
  • Blue Valley USD 229 – Timber Creek Elementary School.

 

Representatives from the schools, districts and PTAs attended the recognition.

Jackson Bevan, a fourth grader at Northern Hills Elementary School, Seaman USD 345, gave a presentation to State Board members about how his passion for fixing vacuums, creating new inventions and taking items apart has lead him to open his own business. Several of Jackson’s family members and representatives from his school and district also attended the meeting to offer their support.

State Board members ended their November meeting with a legislative liaison report and discussion on 2023 legislative priorities.

The State Board will meet next Dec. 13-14 at the Landon State Office Building, 900 S.W. Jackson, Suite 102, in Topeka.

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