State Board of Ed

Call for vouchers and change in State Board authority raised at hearing

A Kansas legislative hearing on emergency management featured proposals by a key Kansas legislator to give parents vouchers if schools go online and to potentially treat private schools like private businesses in relation to public health orders.   In separate testimony, Education Commissioner Randy Watson briefed lawmakers on the Kansas State Department of Education’s “Navigating Change” guidance document on curriculum and school safety. Watson urged committee members to rely on state education and health officials for information rather than the internet or social media as schools reopen for the 2020-21 school year.   And Kansas Secretary of Health and Environment and State Health...

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Doctors who helped develop ‘gating criteria’ to speak to school leaders during Wednesday’s KASB `Lunch and Learn’ series

Doctors who helped develop the "gating criteria" that has been used by school leaders to decide when and how to re-open schools, will present information at this week's KASB "Lunch and Learn" series. The online session will start at noon Wednesday (Aug. 26) via zoom. It is open to all KASB member boards of education and district leaders. There is no registration fee, however, pre-registration is required to receive access to the zoom session. Here is a link to register The Kansas COVID Workgroup for Kids (KCWK) team, collaborative group of physicians, psychologists, school counselors, and school nurses from around the...

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KASB online this week to focus on `gating criteria,’ special education

KASB online sessions this week will focus on special education and so-called `gating criteria' -- the data driven conditions that have been used by many schools boards to determine when and how to re-open and operate school buildings and instruction. At noon Tuesday (Aug. 25), KASB will conduct a workshop on special education, school closure and COVID-19. This workshop will feature a review of state and federal law changes and how the state reopening guidance impacts special education law. We will discuss best practices for dealing with limitations caused by abrupt school closures and the impact on students with special...

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K-12 issues on the agenda of upcoming legislative meetings

School district issues will be on the agenda of several legislative interim committees meeting in the next two weeks.  Interim committees are charged with studying issues and making recommendations to the full Legislature between legislative sessions and have members from both the Senate and House of Representatives. “Special” committees are appointed by legislative leaders to study issues for a single year; “Joint” committee are created in state law and study certain topics every year. The Legislature also creates various other commissions, task forces and other bodies which may have non-legislators as member.  Next week begins with a three-day meeting the Special Committee on Kansas Emergency Management Act, Aug. 24-26....

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August School Board Review focuses on the difficult decisions that education leaders must make

As schools reopen, the August issue of School Board Review focuses on the COVID-19 pandemic and the tough decisions local school boards have been making on when and how to start school. In her President’s Perspective column, KASB President Lori Blake urges education leaders to use this unprecedented time “to ensure the voices who need to be heard are amplified.” As education leaders navigate change, KASB Executive Director John Heim encourages them to do their due diligence. “This is not a time for echo chambers, Facebook research, or YouTube solutions. It is a time to be inquisitive and not dogmatic, to...

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Attorney General’s opinion says county commissions, school boards can opt out of Governor’s school order

Attorney General Derek Schmidt issued a formal opinion Tuesday that county commissions can modify or repeal Gov. Laura Kelly’s executive order dealing with masks and other requirements in K-12 schools, and that local school boards can make their own decisions in those areas.  On July 20, Kelly issued executive order 20-59, which requires all K-12 schools, public and private, to follow four requirements to mitigate the spread of COVID-19: masks or face coverings for all persons with limited exceptions, social distancing in most areas of the school, and hand sanitizing and temperature checks for all persons upon first entering school....

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State medical groups offer guidance determining on-site, hybrid and remote learning

The Kansas State Board of Education on Tuesday accepted a new set of criteria local district officials can use to determine when schools should be open for onsite learning and other activities based on trends in COVID-19 cases.  The “Kansas School Gating Criteria” document was put together with input from the University of Kansas Pediatrics, Kansas Academy of Family Physicians, Kansas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Kansas Department of Health and Environment and education leaders who headed committees that produced KSDE’s Navigating Change guidelines.   The new medical guidance suggests that the learning model (onsite, hybrid or remote), student activities and access...

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Implementation of recommendations to improve dyslexia services may be delayed

The State Board of Education is considering a delay in some recommendations made last year to improve dyslexia services for students in Kansas public schools. The delays are needed in part because the Legislature adjourned the 2020 session early due to the COVID-19 pandemic without having funded a dyslexia coordinator position, Kansas State Department of Education staff said Tuesday. Implementation of recommendations from a task force on dyslexia were further complicated when Kansas school buildings were shut down in March because of the coronavirus. State Board of Education Chair Kathy Busch, of Wichita, said the desire is there implement the recommendations, but...

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KSDE unveils `Kansas Schools Gating Criteria’

Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson on Tuesday released recommendations for schools to consider when determining on-site, hybrid and remote learning options during the COVID-19 pandemic. The color-coded “Kansas Schools Gating Criteria” was put together by education and health officials and meant as suggestions for schools, said Watson. He said school boards and administrators should use these suggested thresholds in consultation with local and state health officials to determine what is the best option to keep students safe. “The local school districts have to wrestle with the details of this,” Watson said. He said school boards across the state are working hard to...

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State Board of Education to hear from the field on school reopening plans

As districts start a new school year like none other, the State Board of Education on Tuesday will receive feedback from education leaders on their progress. Here is a link to the State Board's agenda and backup materials. Here is a link to the live webstream of the meeting. Districts statewide are grappling with how to open schools during the COVID-19 pandemic after being shut down in March to slow the spread of the disease. Last month, the State Board approved guidelines — “Navigating Change” — to help schools prepare for the start of the 2020-21 school year with on-site, hybrid and...

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