State Board of Ed

State Board awards safe school grants; KASB safety workshops begin next week

The Kansas State Board of Education awarded $5 million in grants for school safety improvements to 169 school districts at its monthly meeting this week, and KASB will begin three workshops on school safety and security next week.  KASB is conducting the workshops on “What Every Board Member Should Know About Safe and Secure Schools” in McPherson July 17; Colby July 18 and Olathe August 7. Click here for registration information on these and other KASB workshops.  It was the second year in a row the Kansas Legislature provided $5 million for physical safety enhancements. Districts requested over $19 million. The...

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State Board limits budget request for 2020-21 school year

After what officials called the largest four-year increase in school funding in state history passed the Kansas Legislature and was approved by the Kansas Supreme Court this year, the State Board of Education decided not to ask for more money next year, with one exception and a note to the Legislature.  The board will request an additional $1.55 million in 2020-21 to fully fund transportation aid for high school students attending post-secondary technical education programs. Current funding of $650,000 covers only 30 percent of costs. The board will also add a statement to the Legislature that if additional funding is available for...

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Kansas student success rate improves; more schools approved for redesign

The percentage of Kansas students seeking education after high school graduation continues to increase, according to the most recent figures compiled by the Kansas State Department of Education. “We’re heading in the right direction,” Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson told the State Board of Education on Tuesday. But Watson quickly added more improvement is needed. Based on five-year averages, the high school graduation rate has increased from 85 percent (2011-2015) to 86 percent (2013-2017). More importantly, Watson said, the five-year “success rate” average has increased from 52 percent to 55 percent during the same period, Watson said. The “success rate” is...

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State Board of Education to consider budget, school redesign plans

The State Board of Education on Tuesday is scheduled to discuss and approve budget recommendations for the next fiscal year. Last month, the Kansas Supreme Court approved the state’s school finance system but retained jurisdiction to ensure implementation of the plan. The board will consider a number of options that could increase the funding request for various segments of school funding, such as special education, Parents as Teachers, mentoring teachers, professional development and other programs. In other business, the board will — Recognize Dyane Smokorowski, a pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade technology and innovation lead teacher at Andover USD 385 and 2013 Kansas Teacher of...

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Changes in state university admissions standards proposed

The Kansas Board of Regents is considering a proposal that would eliminate the current precollege high school curriculum as a requirement for admission to state universities and substitute a grade point requirement in place of class rank.  The proposal developed by a Regent’s work group and endorsed by its staff was presented to the Board in June and tabled for future consideration.  Currently, Emporia State, Fort Hays State, Kansas State, Pittsburg State and Wichita State all require most entering Freshmen to have a minimum ACT composite score of 21 or rank in the top third of their graduating class; and to...

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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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Early childhood plan will be based on local needs, official says

After dozens of public meetings on early childhood issues, a leading official says a statewide strategy to improve the availability of services for young Kansans and their families will have to rise from the ground up. “Every community is a little different in the way they approach things,” said Melissa Rooker, executive director of the Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund. “There are a key set of challenges to address, but the solution will not be a top-down solution,” Rooker said. The Children’s Cabinet, along with the Kansas State Department of Education, Kansas Department for Children and Families and the Kansas...

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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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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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