Professional Personnel

Starting Anew: Wabaunsee USD 329 reopening promotes safe onsite learning but ready to pivot if necessary

The Wabaunsee USD 329 school district is situated in the Flint Hills just west of Topeka.   The rural district of about 450 students has been relatively lightly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and its five schools were able to open as planned in mid-August with nearly all children attending in person. Look beyond the pastoral setting and the smiles of students on the playground, though, and you’ll find USD 329’s reopening was the result of months of intense planning by Board of Education members, administrators, teachers and staff to respond to the continuing uncertainties presented by the pandemic while...

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KASB Legislative Committee approves draft of state policy positions

KASB’s Legislative Committee has approved a first draft of proposed state legislative policy positions for 2021. KASB members will discuss the positions and provide feedback at Regional Roundtables on September 30, October 7 and October 14. The final document, which will guide KASB advocacy efforts in the 2021 Kansas legislative session, will be approved by the KASB Delegate Assembly in January 2021.  The proposed state policy positions primarily focus on how to support K-12 public schools as they continue to respond to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Positions include supporting safe operations in schools in all learning modes; increasing...

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KASB moves annual convention to online because of pandemic

The KASB Board of Directors on Saturday approved holding its 2020 Annual Convention online instead of in person because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The virtual convention will be held from Wed. Dec. 2 through Fri. Dec. 4. Traditionally, the KASB convention is the largest gathering of elected school board members and district leaders in Kansas. Because of the spreading virus and social distance guidelines, KASB leadership decided several months ago to start planning for an online convention. “Hopefully it results in more engagement for our membership, I’m excited to see how this works,” said KASB President Lori Blake, a member of the Southeast...

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Kansas Education Commissioner Watson receives USA-Kansas award

Kansas Education Commissioner Dr. Randy Watson has been named the recipient of the 2020 United School Administrators of Kansas Outstanding Service Award. The award, presented to Watson on Friday by USA-Kansas Executive Director G.A. Buie, is the highest recognition the organization bestows upon an individual member and is given to one who has provided exceptional contributions to the profession and their organization and exhibits exemplary leadership to education in Kansas. Watson has been the state’s chief education officer since 2015 and before that served as a superintendent and assistant superintendent of McPherson USD 418 for 22 years. He began his education...

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KASB offers Board Leadership Training On-Demand to help districts

KASB is offering a new service to school board members to help navigate the changing world of public education during this unprecedented time, which requires finding new ways to help students succeed and operate schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Board Leadership Training On-Demand is a series of training modules that includes videos on building strong, efficient district leadership teams, worksheets tied to specific topics and virtual forums in which education leaders can share information and discuss timely issues. Board Leadership Training On-Demand will culminate with live question and answer sessions via zoom with KASB Leadership staff on Aug. 28 and...

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Reopening school guidance released by KSDE

State education officials Tuesday released their guidance to help start the new school year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but the leaders emphasized that local districts with local input will decide how their schools will reopen. The “Navigating Change 2020” draft guidance was released to the State Board of Education, which is scheduled to vote on it Wednesday. Here is a link to the document. Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson acknowledged a wide variance of public opinion existed on how schools should re-start, along with much anxiety as the start of school approaches in mid-August as COVID-19 cases have been on the...

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Training for Evaluation of Principals and Teachers scheduled

KASB will offer it annual Training for Evaluation of Principals and Teachers in July. The first session will be held July 23 in Wichita and the second one on July 28 in Dodge City. For more information and to register, go to this link. This training is geared toward principals and teachers who are seeking best practices with the evaluation process to drive professional growth. The morning session will focus on evidence and artifacts seen throughout the evaluation. The afternoon will discuss the evaluation timeline and process. Team trainings can be scheduled for individual districts if needed.

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KASB School Law Workshop set for July 21

The KASB School Law Workshop 2020 will be held both on-site and online on Tue. July 21. The workshop for school attorneys, administrators and board member will cover numerous topics, including the legal implications of school closures during health emergencies, negotiations, board policy updates, IDEA and the relationship between the law and technology in schools. The workshop will be offered onsite at KASB in Topeka (includes lunch) and simulcast via Zoom for those who register to attend the hosted virtual session. A KASB staff member will facilitate the virtual session, which could be limited on the number of participants to accommodate...

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U.S. Supreme Court ruling protects LGBT people from job discrimination

The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled that civil rights laws protect LGBT people from job discrimination, a decision that will impact public school employment and possibly students’ rights. KASB attorneys are currently analyzing the decision and will provide more information as soon as possible to Kansas education leaders. In a 6-3 decision, the court said a key provision of the 1964 Civil Rights Act known as Title VII that prohibits discrimination in employment because of sex, also prohibits discrimination against workers based on sexual orientation or transgender status. “An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that...

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KASB Board forms group to work on equity in schools

The KASB Board of Directors on Saturday approved forming a committee that will work to ensure equity in Kansas public education. KASB President Shannon Kimball said recent deaths by African-Americans at the hands of police and others and worldwide demonstrations against institutional racism have shown more needs to be done to make education equitable. “We all have felt the impact of everything that has been going on in our country the past several weeks. We just cannot be silent on these issues as an association,” said Kimball, who is a member of the Lawrence USD 497 school board. Board member Frank Henderson,...

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