Instruction & Services

New federal opportunity for mental health funding

The U.S. Department of Education is inviting school districts to seek funding through the Mental Health Service Professional Demonstration Grant Program to support innovative partnerships that will train school-based mental health services providers. Applications are due by August 5. According to the Department, the partnerships must include one or more high-need school districts or a state educational agency on behalf of one or more high-need districts; and one or more eligible institutions of higher education. Partnerships must provide opportunities to place graduate students in school-based mental health fields into schools to complete required field work, credit hours, internships, or related...

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Responses sought on current efforts to combat school bullying

A work group of the blue-ribbon task force on school bullying is seeking information through an online questionnaire.  The questionnaire is specifically directed at administrators, counselors, teachers and other support staff, but could be filled out by others, including board members and students. Here is a link. It asks what respondents know about current policies and efforts to address bullying, and what they wish the school was doing.  The task force was created by Education Commissioner Randy Watson in response to data that 28 percent of students in grades six through twelve experience bullying, despite years of efforts to address the...

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KASB announces Advanced Advocacy Training Initiative

To develop a deeper understanding and network of education advocates in Kansas, KASB is excited to announce the Advanced Advocacy Training Initiative (AATI) for the 2019-2020 school year.  “With the recent Kansas Supreme Court ruling in support of the four-year school finance plan adopted by the Kansas Legislature, advocacy and support for education becomes more critical than ever,” said KASB governmental relations specialist Rob Gilligan. “The focus of our efforts will now be less on securing additional funding than on keeping the long-term financial commitments in place and ensuring that we communicate effectively the progress that continues to be made...

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KASB Focus: Restorative practice: Is it a game changer in improving school climate?

By Leah Fliter lfliter@kasb.org  Continuing concerns about how Kansas students’ social and emotional health, bullying and other behavioral challenges affect learning have prompted educational leaders to explore new ways to influence school climate. “Restorative practice” is one such strategy.  Restorative practice, also known as restorative justice, works to keep students in school while addressing problem behavior and its impact on the school community. Students are held accountable for their behavior, but educators are trained to look for the root causes of the behavior and respond accordingly.  For example, a student witnesses a fight between her parents just before she leaves for school. Upset...

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Afterschool reading programs help students make reading gains, new study says

Children attending afterschool reading programs were more likely to achieve early reading proficiency, according to a new study commissioned by Reading Roadmap. The study analyzed 9,000 elementary students across 58 different schools over the 2017-18 academic year. Using school-administered reading assessments, the study compared progress toward reading benchmark among elementary-age children that attended school-based afterschool programs with those who did not. The study found children attending afterschool reading interventions were 26 percent more likely to reach benchmark than their non-attending peers. According to the study’s author, Mustafa Yilmaz, “The effect of the relationship was equivalent to a 1.7 percent greater chance...

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Task force hears numerous ideas to reduce bullying in schools

Focusing on restorative justice, social and emotional health of students and early childhood learning were some of the ideas touted Tuesday to address bullying behavior. Educators and others discussed ways to reduce bullying at the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Bullying, which met in Garden City at Horace Good Middle School. “We’re starting to come together,” said Rick Ginsberg, task force co-chair and dean of the School of Education at Kansas University. The group, charged with making recommendations to the State Board of Education in December, will next meet Aug. 5 in Salina. Several young people from McPherson wrote the task force...

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U.S. Department of Education announces new grant applications for school climate program

Kansas schools working on improving school climate, please take note: the U.S. Department of Education has invited applications for the School Climate Transformation Grant Program. School districts may seek funding for implementing a multi-tiered system of support for improving school climate. The department will prioritize support for certain communities that will benefit from implementation of this system, including rural communities, Tribal communities, and Local Education Agencies that are in Qualified Opportunity Zones. This discretionary grant program has a total of $40 million in estimated available funds, contingent upon the availability of funds and quality of applications. Applications are due by July...

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Because of increased demand, KASB adds second building secretaries workshop on June 18

Because of increased demand, KASB has added a second workshop for school building secretaries on Tuesday, June 18 in Topeka. There will also be a building secretaries workshop on Thursday, June 20 in Dodge City.  During these half-day sessions, KASB legal staff will provide legal guidance on issues that building secretaries face every day, such as privacy rights, custody rights and student records.   To register for the newly added afternoon meeting for building secretaries on June 18, go here. To register for the June 20 meeting in Dodge City go here.  KASB also is offering training throughout June in numerous other areas,...

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Gov. Kelly calls for early childhood improvements as community listening tours continue

Gov. Laura Kelly on Tuesday kicked off a community meeting in Hays with a call to strengthen programs serving preschool-aged children and their families as a key factor in workforce development and economic growth.  The Hays event was one of a series of engagement meetings being held across the state, beginning in May and continuing into July. This week, additional events are in Liberal today and Dodge City tomorrow. Here is a link to information on additional meetings in June. School leaders, as well as early childhood providers, parents and community leaders are encouraged to attend the one-hour events, which...

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KASB Policy Updates available

KASB’s Spring 2019 policy updates are now available.   This set of updates reflects the latest legal developments, including the impact of the 2019 Kansas legislative session on recommended school board policies. Updated and current board policies support you as you work to provide a quality educational program.  “Well-written policy ensures compliance with state and federal law, sets a foundation for fair and efficient school governance, and defines the board’s position and expectations in managing and operating local public schools,” said KASB Senior Attorney Angie Stallbaumer. “KASB’s Legal Department is pleased to offer these policy updates to our members.”   This comprehensive assistance in...

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