Author - Austin Harris

CDC releases revised guidance for reopening schools

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday evening released guidance for the reopening of school buildings for the 2020-21 school year following the COVID-19 pandemic that closed schools in March. Some aspects of the guidance differ from recommendations released by the CDC last May and come as many Kansas school districts are finalizing their reopening plans.   The “Preparing K-12 School Administrators for a Safe Return to School in Fall 2020” is posted on KASB’s “Roadmap to Reopening” Resources page on our website.  One change from the CDC’s May recommendations is new guidance on screening students for COVID-19 symptoms.    “Based on the best available evidence at this time, CDC does not currently recommend universal symptom screenings (screening all students...

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KASB releases video and podcast on Education Issues for the 2020 Election

KASB Associate Executive Director for Advocacy Mark Tallman has prepared a video and podcast on K-12 education issues in preparation for the 2020 primary and general elections.   The presentations run about 15 minutes and are designed to help candidates and education advocates understand issues including the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on schools, the necessity of boosting student achievement, addressing the deep differences in student needs, how schools must change to improve student success, and how we all share responsibility for student well being and accomplishment.   The video is available on KASB’s YouTube channel; you can listen to the podcast here.  The Kansas primary election is August 4 and the General Election is on November 3. Many...

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School boards turn to Zoom for hiring

By Scott Rothschild, srothschild@kasb.org Hiring a school superintendent is arguably the most important decision a local school board will make. The superintendent is the CEO of the district, implements the board’s policies and often serves as a leader in the community. Now imagine filling that position without the benefit of having in-person interactions with the candidates for the job. That’s what school boards have been experiencing during the coronavirus pandemic as boards and job candidates comply with social distancing and quarantine restrictions. “I would much prefer to shake their hand and look them in the eye and talk with them,” said Dan Patterson, president...

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Federal COVID-19 response for schools

By Leah Fliter, lfliter@kasb.org In late March Congress passed and President Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that funnels $13.5 billion to states for elementary and secondary education. At least 90 percent of those funds must support local school district coronavirus-response activities, such as planning and coordinating long-term school closures; purchasing educational technology to support online learning for all students; and additional activities authorized by federal elementary and secondary education laws. The law also includes a separate $25 million rural development line item that is pegged for distance learning. Kansas will receive $84 million of the CARES Act funding for K-12 schools. Kansas...

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KASB new annual surveys now open

by Ted Carter, tcarter@kasb.org Earlier this month, KASB made available a new method for submitting the annual survey data we ask our member districts to provide. Previously this information had been collected via an external website requiring a separate login access code. Now these surveys have been added to the KASB Member Portal so that anyone with Account Administrator rights can update the information for his or her district. However, the location isn’t the only thing that has changed. Here are some other features that members might be excited about: Number of surveys reduced from 10 to 6 Previously KASB asks districts to...

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KASB President’s Perspective: Let grace, compassion, patience lead the way

By Shannon Kimball KASB President Lawrence USD 497 The 2019-2020 school year has ended—whew! The last nine weeks of the school year seemed to last for an entire calendar year all by itself. We have navigated such extraordinary change and anxiety in such a short period of time, not to mention the loss of beloved experiences and traditions for our staff and students. I especially missed honoring our graduating classes this year; my district plans a graduation celebration at each of our high schools in mid-July, conditions permitting, but it will look very different than such past ceremonies. The burning question on my mind,...

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KASB Online brings two options today for board development, discussion

Board members and district leadership teams have two opportunities today to participate in online sessions. Both sessions are led by KASB Leadership and Legal staff. Board Leadership Forum, 12-12:45 p.m., Wednesday, May 20, 2020 The first is the penultimate Board Leadership Forum at noon today led by Gary Sechrist, leadership services field specialist. KASB Attorney Sam Blasi will address how to handle public comments during virtual board meetings. This week's forum will also feature Dr. Marcia Weseman, leadership services field specialist. Dr. Weseman will share information on how to support administrators during difficult and unprecedented times. These 45 minutes Board Leadership Forums are open to all...

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Moeckel, Givens facilitators for tonight’s Leadership through a New Lens

Tonight is the first of four online training session for new school board members who took office in January. Just two short months later an unprecedented series of events due to COVID-19 and the resulting public health crisis left little time to interact and team-build with their colleagues on their local board and with their superintendent. In "Leadership through a New Lens," KASB will facilitate discussions on how to lead the district during these times of uncertainty and change. The Thursday, May 14 1.5 hour online roundtable will be facilitated by KASB Leadership Services Staff Doug Moeckel and Sue Givens. These Foundations...

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Be a smart information consumer

by Ted Carter, tcarter@kasb.org There is a lot of information out there about COVID-19 in general, how it impacts schools, and how schools should respond. And unfortunately, not all of it is accurate or complete. Here are a few tips and suggestions on navigating through all of it. Information sources One thing that has become much more important over the past several years is the consideration of where the information is coming from. Social media and the internet in general have made it much easier for anyone with a computer, tablet, or phone to present themselves as a credible news source. In...

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KASB President’s Perspective: Addressing a different kind of emergency

By Shannon Kimball KASB President Lawrence USD 497 I have so many thoughts about “what now,” but for the moment I want to acknowledge the loss and sadness that many of us feel about the decision to close school facilities in Kansas. As the mother of three children, I am concerned about their health and future. As a local board member, I am part of our district leadership team working our way through these challenging times. And as president of KASB, I understand the need to provide leadership and vision while taking care of local and personal concerns. First, our top concern is the...

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