Author - Scott Rothschild

KSDE eliminates daily signed learning logs

The Kansas State Department of Education on Monday eliminated the requirement that students and parents fill out daily activity logs for students who are learning remotely because of the pandemic. KSDE officials said they heard a lot of complaints that because of closed schools and the upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it was too difficult to keep track of students’ time on lessons to fill out the logs, which had to be signed by the student and parent. Under KSDE’s Navigating Change document, which has helped guide districts for the start of the 2020-21 school year, state funding for remote...

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Winbolt endorsed to become KASB president-elect designee

The KASB Nominating Committee has endorsed the candidacy of Jason Winbolt to become president-elect designee for KASB. Winbolt is a member of the Springhill USD 230 school board and serves as the Region 1 vice president on the KASB board of directors. The Nominating Committee interviewed Winbolt on Saturday. The nominating committee presents to the KASB Delegate Assembly one or more qualified candidates for the office each year. A voter’s guide, which serves as the KASB Nominating Committee Report, will be distributed at the KASB Fall Regional Meetings and will be available online. It will also be mailed prior to the...

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`Lifeline’ program provides discounts on phone, internet service

As the problems of lack of internet connectivity become more apparent during remote learning, state officials are promoting “Lifeline Awareness Week,” to draw attention to a program that provides low-income Kansans with discounts on internet and phone service. Federal and state discounts of up to $17.02 per month are available through the Lifeline program, which serves 35,000 people in Kansas and 10 million nationwide. Subscribers living on tribal lands qualify for additional discounts. As part of National Lifeline Awareness Week, Sept. 14-18, the Kansas Corporation Commission wants to make Kansans aware of this valuable resource. This year, a new National Verifier program...

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DeVos Rule for private schools stopped by judge

U.S Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ rule directing public schools to change how they allocate CARES Act funding to K-12 private schools is no longer in effect following a federal judge’s order. KASB opposed the “equitable services” rule.  The CARES Act became law in late March. It directs funding for K-12 schools be distributed based on the Title I formula which serves disadvantaged students. Under that formula, if a public-school district provides “equitable services” to a local private school (such as tutoring or access to technology licenses), those services would only be provided to low-income, private school students.  In June, DeVos issued an “Interim...

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Education leaders look at possibly aligning spring breaks

State preK-12 and higher education leaders are looking into the possibility of aligning spring break for the entire Kansas public education system. Supporters of the move say if high school and college spring breaks are at the same time, it will make it easier for more high school students to take college courses and post-secondary training during their junior and senior years in high school. “Schedules matter if we are gong to bring our systems together,” said Blake Flanders, president and chief executive officer of the Kansas Board of Regents. “This is something that people want to see happen, if we...

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Because of COVID-19, districts have option to pause KESA during the fall semester

State education leaders Tuesday voted to allow districts some breathing room in the accreditation process as Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson reported an unprecedented level of stress on schools as they cope with the COVID-19 pandemic during reopening.  Watson asked the State Board of Education to allow public and private schools the option of suspending KESA activities through the fall semester. The board agreed and will hear a report on emotional and academic data from districts in January.  KESA is the state’s K-12 accrediting model. KESA accredits at the district level to create systemic change focused on five goals: Social-emotional factors...

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State Board rejects delay in recommendations on dyslexia

The State Board of Education on Tuesday rejected a request by the Kansas State Department of Education to delay implementing some recommendations aimed at improving dyslexia services for students in public schools. KSDE officials sought the delay, saying that the Legislature, during the COVID-19 shortened session, failed to provide funding for a statewide dyslexia coordinator. In addition, they said, implementation of recommendations from a task force on dyslexia were further complicated when Kansas school buildings were shut down in March because of the coronavirus, and schools are currently swamped in trying to start school during the pandemic. But a motion to accept...

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Starting Anew: Maize USD 266 starts school with T4T hybrid plan

When Maize USD 266 students returned to school this week, they found a hybrid system of in-person and remote learning that was put together by more than 120 people to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Teachers, administrators, counselors, nurses, support staff and others brainstormed over the summer, surveyed parents and overhauled school operations to keep everyone as safe as possible in this Sedgwick County district of more than 7,800 students. Then more staff were recruited to critically review those plans, which produced further tweaks. The product approved by the school board after numerous meetings and input from hundreds will have pre-K through...

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KASB virtual sessions this week focus on superintendent evaluations, BoardBook

Schools — whether by remote, in-class or a combination of the two — are back and running and KASB has a couple of virtual sessions this week to help districts. Noon, Wed. (Sept. 9) “Lunch and Learn” Board Leadership Forum. This weekly event covers relevant and timely information for you to make decisions during the pandemic. This week's session will focus on superintendent evaluations. This is open to all KASB member boards of education and district leaders. There is no registration fee, however pre-registration is required to received access to the online sessions via Zoom. Here is a link to register. Noon...

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KASB Legal Services offers special education workshops

As part of its continued efforts to provide high quality services in the midst of the pandemic, KASB is excited to offer a set of online workshops focused on Special Education on Oct. 1. The morning session, starting at 9 a.m., will cover the building blocks of Special Education Law, primarily focused on the IDEA and the district’s responsibilities to special needs students. Topics will include FAPE, Evaluation and Eligibility, Extracurricular Activities, Extended School Year (ESY), Least Restrictive Environment, and all topics will be tied back to actual special education cases. Starting at 1 p.m., our afternoon session will take...

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