Safety and Security

State Board of Education approves task force report aimed at reducing school bullying

The State Board of Education on Tuesday approved a task force report that calls for a wide range of strategies to address bullying in schools. Board member Jean Clifford, of Garden City, who served on the Blue Ribbon Bullying Task Force, said the recommendations “are going to go a long way to addressing the issue of bullying at schools.” The 35-member task force, co-chaired by Rick Ginsberg, dean of the University of Kansas School of Education, and James Regier, superintendent of Whitewater-Remington USD 206, held meetings statewide and received input from numerous interests, including students. The State Board approved the report 8-2...

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January School Board Review previews legislative session and more

The January edition of School Board Review offers a preview of top education issues for the 2020 legislative session and information on how education leaders can stay on top of developments under the Statehouse dome. The issue is now available online here and is in the mail to members. In addition to news about the session that starts Monday (Jan. 13), SBR covers the election of new KASB officers, an update from KASB President Shannon Kimball about the association’s work and thoughts from KASB Executive Director Dr. John Heim on mixing education and politics. The edition also provides more information on...

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Upcoming KASB workshops focus on social, emotional needs and boardsmanship

Meeting the social and emotional needs of students and staff and becoming better board members will be the focus of KASB workshops next week. The “Addressing Social and Emotional Needs of Students and Staff” workshop will start at 9 a.m. Wednesday (Jan. 8) at the Alvin A. Morris Administrative Center, Wichita USD 259. For more information. go to this link. The workshop will help education leaders develop a healthier, more nurturing school culture that is trauma-informed. “Foundations of Boardsmanship” will start at 9 a.m. Saturday (Jan. 11) in The Learning Center, Haysville USD 261. For more information, go to this link....

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The year in review in Kansas public school education

By Leah Fliter KASB Advocacy and Outreach Specialist 2019 saw a lot of changes in Kansas education. The resolution of the Gannon school finance lawsuit was the biggest education policy story of the year but concerns about student health and well-being prompted new recommendations against vaping and bullying.   The State Board of Education’s focus on the continual improvement of Kansas public schools saw the launch of the “Apollo” phase of the school “redesign” initiative. Gov. Laura Kelly reinvigorated the Council on Education, and the state ramped up its focus on early childhood. The year ended with a controversial audit report on K-12...

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More counselors, social workers in Kansas schools

In his monthly report to the State Board of Education, Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson said the high school graduation rate continues to rise and schools have made great strides in hiring more social workers and counselors. Over the past two years, schools have added 132 counselors, an 11 percent increase, and 133 social workers, a 26 percent increase. Meanwhile, since 2015, the high school graduation rate has increased to 87.5 percent from 85.7 percent, while subgroups have increased as well. English Language learners increased to 82.6 percent from 77.2 percent; students who receive free or reduced lunch increased to 80.2 percent,...

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State Board of Education praises bullying task force report

State Board of Education members Tuesday praised a task force report on bullying that recommends a wide range of strategies to reduce bullying in schools. Board Chair Kathy Busch said the report “lays out a lot of good recommendations.” Here is a link to the report. Board member Ben Jones said bullying, “affects every single kid and I’m looking forward to moving the needle on this.” The 35-member task force was appointed by Education Commissioner Randy Watson in April and held a series of public meetings across the state, hearing from students, teachers, social service leaders and others. Rick Ginsberg, dean of the...

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State Board of Education clamps down on e-cigs, vaping

The State Board of Education on Tuesday approved a policy aimed at prohibiting at school the use of e-cigarettes by students, school staff and visitors. The policy forwarded to Kansas school districts expands prohibitions on tobacco products to e-cigs, vape pens and any other electronic products that can deliver nicotine. Schools across the nation and Kansas have reported an explosive increase in vaping among students from elementary to high school. Deaths and serious health problems have been associated with vaping as has an increase in addiction problems. Nationwide, lung injuries associated with vaping have resulted in 48 deaths in 25 states and...

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Kansas Blue Ribbon Task Force on Bullying finalizes report

The Kansas Blue Ribbon Task Force on Bullying on Monday finalized its report, offering a wide range of recommendations aimed at helping schools reduce bullying. The report says schools should provide a safe and caring environment and that anti-bullying plans must address the differing needs of staff and students identified by sex, gender identity and expression, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, religious faith and socio-economic status. The task force also recommends new resources of funding for more mental health workers in schools. The task force’s work will be presented to the State Board of Education on Dec. 10 and then later...

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Kansas youth trends show decrease in cigarette smoking but increase in vaping

The percentage of high school students who smoke cigarettes has dropped but the percentage who have used electronic vapor products, such as e-cigarettes, has increased dramatically, according to trend data in the 2019 Kansas Youth Risk Behavior Survey.  The results indicate that decades of warnings about the health dangers of cigarette smoking seem to have worked but that progress may be undermined by the rise in recent years of vaping.  In recent months, several deaths across the country, including Kansas, have been blamed, in part, on vaping and health officials are seeing a wave of young people becoming newly addicted to...

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NSBA federal update: Vaping hearing on Wednesday

Senate Education Committee to Hold Youth Vaping Hearing The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing “Examining the Response to Lung Illnesses and Rising Youth Electronic Cigarette Use” on November 13 at 10:00 AM. Live video of the hearing will be available on the committee’s website. The committee has not invited education witnesses to testify at the hearing, but given this issue’s importance to school districts, students, and students’ families, we are closely monitoring Congress’s work in this area. Congress Faces Fiscal Year 2020 Spending Deadline Both the Senate and House will be in session next week,...

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