KASB Annual Conference: Watson, Beaudreau to speak on needed changes to education

Of the two keynote speakers at KASB’s 100th annual conference, one is familiar to Kansas educators while one probably isn’t. But both of them speak a similar language when it comes to education — change is needed. 

Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson and acclaimed speaker Matt Beaudreau, from the Center for Generational Kinetics, will address the KASB conference in Wichita on Saturday, Dec. 2. More details about the conference, which runs from Dec. 1-Dec.3, and links to registration can be found here. 

Beaudreau is an educator, entrepreneur and corporate trainer who challenges education officials to get uncomfortable and learn from their students.  

The age of the “sage on the stage” feeding information to students while they sit quietly taking notes is over, Beaudreau said.  

The current school environment can’t keep young people engaged when much of the information in the world is at their fingertips, Beaudreau said. 

Beaudreau supports an education environment where teachers and students are equals and students take on projects and lead the way.  

He denounces grade levels, saying once a child is labeled as not up to grade level, he or she is made to feel inferior and they lose their confidence.  

Beaudreau, who is a certified keynote speaker at The Center for Generational Kinetics, said he is really looking forward to speaking to Kansas school leaders, calling it one of the highlights of his year. The Center for Generational Kinetics is a research, speaking and consulting firm. A TEDx video of one of Beaudreau talks can be seen here. 

Since taking the job as Kansas Education Commissioner, Watson has been on a mission to redesign schools and implement what Kansas have said they wanted — a public school system that excels in giving students the skills they need to succeed. 

Watson has spearheaded the State Board of Education’s goal of leading the world in the success of each student and has kicked off the Mercury 7 and Gemini redesign demonstration project where districts are launching major changes to their schools. 

“The board’s vision for Kansas education has set the state on a new, bold path, and we are grateful to our schools and educators who are working even harder to accommodate the changes needed to achieve this vision,” Watson said.  

Watson is a longtime Kansas educator, having served as a teacher, administrator and superintendent and has received many education awards. 

Watson said will speak at the conference about the state’s tentative timeline over the next few years in redesigning Kansas schools. 

Kansas schools are working under a new model that will focus on improving pre-school education, family and civic engagement, social-emotional growth of students and increasing graduation rates with the final goal for students to achieve post-secondary success. 

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