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National Blue Ribbon School: Wheatridge Middle School

`SPURS' road to success At Wheatridge Middle School, teachers and staff strive to provide a family type atmosphere where students are supported while being challenged to excel academically and also make good choices. “Two key mottos are heard and modeled throughout the school year; family comes first and there is no need to worry alone,” Wheatridge Middle School officials wrote in the school’s application to the 2016 National Blue Ribbon Schools Program. Wheatridge Middle, a suburban school that serves the growing communities of Gardner and Edgerton in southwest Johnson County, was one of four Kansas schools recently designated a National Blue Ribbon...

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Coalition of Innovative Districts to meet

The Coalition of Innovative School Districts will meet Thursday in Topeka to continue its efforts to define and brand its work. Coalition members will also discuss with Kansas State High School Activities Association Executive Director Gary Musselman the impact on eligibility if member schools change how students earn credits for high school classes. The credit and eligibility discussion will also include video conversations with school officials in Wisconsin and New Hampshire about their work in that area. The coalition was formed in 2012 to allow up to 10 percent of the state's school districts to opt out of most state...

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High school students can apply for Kansas Future Teacher Academy

Kansas high school students interested in exploring careers that either are in education or begin with degrees in education have until April 24 to apply for the Kansas Future Teacher Academy at Emporia State University. “I challenge each high school counselor to find and encourage at least two people from their student body to apply to the academy,” said Dr. Roger Caswell, director of the academy. “Many people – students and parents – think the students have to know they want to be a teacher to attend the academy. That’s not necessarily the case. This is a chance for high...

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KASB STATEMENT: Good start on school funding, now finish the job

The regular session of the Kansas Legislature has made a good start on addressing funding for Kansas public schools. But there is a great deal of important work that must be completed when Legislators return for the wrap-up session on May 1 to help more Kansas students prepare for success. That was the consensus of directors of the Kansas Association of School Boards meeting in Olathe this past weekend, and it’s a message they want local school leaders and supporters to share with their Senators and Representatives over the next three weeks. Here are the positives: after months of study and...

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KASB: Good start on school funding; now finish the job

The KASB board of directors believes the school finance plan developed by a bi-partisan group of the House K-12 Education Budget Committee represents a good start on school funding. “The plan developed by the House committee is not just a replacement for the block grant system or a minimal response to the Kansas Supreme Court. It could be a historic legacy for this Legislature and governor. The Legislature should approve it, accelerate it, and fund it,” KASB stated. Here is a link to the full statement. The proposal includes accountability tied to the State Board of Education’s Kansans Can goals, maintains...

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GOP leaders hire former Republican senator King to advise on school finance

Republican legislative leaders on Friday hired former state Sen. Jeff King to provide them legal counsel in the Legislature’s attempts to address the Kansas Supreme Court’s decision on school finance. King is a Republican who served in the Legislature from Independence for 10 years but did not seek re-election last year. Democrats opposed hiring King, noting that as a legislator King often headed Republican fights with the court, including an effort to de-fund the court. But Republicans defended King, saying he was knowledgeable about school finance and qualified to document the Legislature’s process in putting together a new school finance plan. Senate...

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Kansas Capitol Connection: A weekly summary of education-related developments before the Legislature

The Kansas Legislature adjourned the regular session, leaving school finance, taxes, budget and KPERS issues to be decided during the wrap up session that starts May 1. Now that legislators have a three-week break it is important for school leaders to engage with their legislators to discuss K-12 funding and how to provide enough revenue for a new plan so that schools can better help Kansas students succeed. On school finance, the House K-12 Education Budget Committee approved a motion to increase school funding by approximately $150 million per year for the next five years for a total of $750 million;...

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KASB legislative webinar today

KASB will conduct a legislative webinar at 12:30 p.m. today to review what has and hasn’t happened as the Legislature takes a three-week break. KASB’s Mark Tallman, associate executive director for advocacy; Leah Fliter, advocacy/outreach specialist; and Rob Gilligan, governmental relations specialist, will discuss the week’s events in the Legislature. School finance, budget and taxes, and KPERS issues still remain in play as legislators head home before returning for the wrap-up session on May 1. To join the webinar please go to https://kasb.adobeconnect.com/e9gcmx11coh/event/login.html . If you have participated before, look for the blue text stating “If you have registered with us before,...

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Special: KSDE posts documents on House committee school finance plan

The Kansas State Department of Education has released on its website a description of House Bill 2410 as tentatively recommended by the House K-12 Education Budget Committee, with a spreadsheet showing the impact for individual districts next year. Here is a link to this information. The committee adopted numerous amendments to the bill one week ago and further amended the bill Wednesday, including provisions expected to increase funding for school district general state aid and special education state aid by nearly $150 million next year, and add $150 million more each of the following four years for a total increase...

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KASB legislative webinar on Friday

KASB will conduct a legislative webinar at 12:30 p.m. Friday to review what has and hasn’t happened as the Legislature takes a three-week break. It is possible, the webinar could occur on Thursday if the Legislature breaks early. Please watch the KASB website and social media for updates. KASB’s Mark Tallman, associate executive director for advocacy; Leah Fliter, advocacy/outreach specialist; and Rob Gilligan, governmental relations specialist, will discuss the week’s events in the Legislature. School finance, budget and taxes, and KPERS issues still remain in play as legislators head home before returning for the wrap-up session on May 1. To join the...

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