State Board of Ed

Broadband, census, teacher burnout and more to be discussed during KASB Advocacy Update at noon Friday (Oct. 16)

The federal census, broadband expansion, challenges facing teachers during the pandemic and more will be discussed at noon Friday (Oct. 16) during the KASB Advocacy Update. To register for the meeting, go to this link. In recent days, Gov. Laura Kelly has announced a major push to expand broadband internet service, which should help remote learning. Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with the Trump administration in halting the Census count — a move that could have repercussions for schools — and the State Board of Education is looking into a number of changes after hearing from teachers about the...

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State Board of Education to take up numerous issues related to pandemic

The State Board of Education on Wednesday decided to take up several emerging issues after Kansas teachers told them about the challenges of teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Everyone is stretched thin and everyone is tired, but we are all doing our best,” said Stefanie Lane, a fourth-grade teacher with Clay County USD 379. “I’ve seen teachers in tears talk about leaving the profession, and they are exhausted,” said Julie Loevenstein, fourth-grade teacher with Basehor-Linwood USD 458. When asked how the State Board could help, Tabatha Rosproy, an early education teacher in Winfield USD 465 and who was named Kansas and National...

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Survey shows bullying decreases slightly

Fewer students are reporting being bullied, according to the Kansas Communities That Cares survey, which was taken from November 2020 through January 2021. The percentage of children who reported never having been bullied increased from 72 percent in 2016 to 75.7 percent. Those who said they never saw anyone being bullied increased from 41.3 percent in 2016 to 44.6 percent. The survey was taken by 78,548 students in 246 districts and eight private schools. The survey is taken on a volunteer basis by students in sixth, eighth, 10th and 12th grades and tracks use of harmful substances and anti-social behaviors. In other...

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Complete High School Maize recognized for 2020 National School of Character award

Caitlyn Gregory said when she first entered Complete High School Maize as a student, she felt like she “landed on a soft pillow.” She was 17, pregnant and her mother had recently died. She said by the time she graduated in 2011, Complete High School had “prepared me for life.” Now, Gregory has returned to Complete High School as a science teacher. On Tuesday, the school was recognized as a 2020 National School of Character — the second year in a row for the Maize USD 266 school. Gregory, administrators, teachers and students spoke via zoom to the State Board of Education...

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Despite challenges, school board members reflect on what is working well

It’s no secret that Kansas school boards have been under pressure trying to manage K-12 education during a pandemic.  But school board members recently reflected during KASB regional roundtable meetings about lessons learned and things that have worked well since schools were shut down last year and reopened this year in various methods.  Emerging from breakout room discussions on zoom, board members reported that communication channels have improved with staff, parents and other local officials in trying to continue school operations amid changing levels of the virus.  “Improved levels of communication at all levels -- trying to keep information in front of...

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Starting Anew: Concerns raised about health needs of students and teachers

As Kansas schools adjust to the pandemic, educators are concerned about the mental health of both students and teachers.  A task force recently composed guidance for schools to address the psychological impacts of COVID-19 and the disruptions to K-12 education, along with nearly everything else. The KANSAS COVID Workgroup for Kids Mental Health Task Force was sponsored by the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita Department of Pediatrics and included local and regional experts.  “We have seen a pretty significant increase in the social, emotional needs,” of students since school restarted, said Brian Murrison, a counselor at Fredonia Senior/Junior High School...

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State Board of Education to take up COVID-19 changes for schools

State education leaders are moving to implement emergency measures to help districts deal with the new school year under the cloud of the COVID-19 pandemic. During its monthly meeting next week, the State Board of Education will discuss ways to support schools and families during the pandemic, declare an emergency to allow more substitute teachers to teach regularly and consider extending the option of postponing accreditation activities through the end of the school year. Here is a link to the State Board's agenda and backup documents. Speaking to school board members last week during a KASB Advocacy Update, Kansas Education Education...

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Watson encourages schools to work toward in-person learning

Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson on Friday told school board members their goal should be to have students receive as much in-person learning as possible during the school year.  Watson urged districts to use as many personnel as possible as teachers and reach out in their communities for alternative classroom sites so that more students can be taught in-person while observing precautions such as wearing masks and socially distancing.  As districts across Kansas reopened schools in a variety of ways to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, Watson acknowledged there is a lot of frustration among students, parents, teachers, administrators and school...

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Starting Anew: For Basehor-Linwood flexibility is key to planning

One recent morning, Basehor-Linwood USD 458 school board President Dayna Miller went to her mailbox and was surprised to see several people in the driveway who wanted to talk with her about reopening school.  She said the conversation was cordial, but Miller said the incident, combined with the deluge of texts and emails she received over the summer, exemplified how the start of this school year has brought out people’s passions like no other issue she has experienced during her 17 years of service on the school board.  “This affects your community, parents and grandparents. This was a big decision and...

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Pandemic pivoting: September School Board Review covers how districts have shifted

The September issue of School Board Review reports how district leaders spent the summer analyzing data, meeting with the public and working through unprecedented challenges as schools started a new school year during the current COVID-19 health emergency. KASB President Lori Blake writes about how districts have been forced to pivot time and time again as circumstances change and KASB Executive Director John Heim urges Kansans to allow some grace for education leaders who are dealing with unprecedented change. The issue also introduces Jason Winbolt, vice president of the Springhill USD 230 school board, as the endorsed candidate for KASB president-elect...

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