Student Issues

Legislation aimed at reducing youth vaping almost ready

Health and education advocates say they are close to unveiling state legislation that would increase the minimum age in Kansas to purchase tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, from 18 to 21. Similar laws — called Tobacco 21 — have been passed in 18 states and Washington D.C. Sarah Prem, advocacy specialist with the Kansas and Greater Kansas City American Lung Association, said tobacco-free groups are refining the legislation, recruiting sponsors and planning an education and communication campaign. “We want to construct that big tent,” she said. The 2020 legislative session starts in January. The proposed legislation has picked up momentum in recent months...

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Dyslexia recommendations before State Board of Education

A wide range of recommendations are before the State Board of Education to address students with dyslexia. “We are already doing a lot of good things; we just have to be more strategic,” State Board Chairwoman Kathy Busch said. Several other board members said the proposed changes are substantial, will require more work for educators and additional funding but are necessary. “We have to catch kids before they fail,” Board member Jim Porter said. The recommendations were recently outlined by Cindy Hadicke, who is an education program consultant at the Kansas State Department of Education and chaired a committee that evaluated the work...

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Applications open for Prudential awards that honor top youth volunteers

Applications are open for The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, which recognizes America’s top youth volunteers of the year. NSBA encourages school superintendents to promote this promote to middle and high school principals. Applications for the 2020 awards are now open to students in grades 5-12 who have volunteered in the past year. This program, founded 25 years ago by Prudential Financial in partnership with National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), honors middle level and high school students for making meaningful contributions to their communities through volunteer service. The program gives schools an opportunity to reward and shine a spotlight on...

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Magna Awards nomination period closes Oct. 31

The deadline for school districts to submit nominations for NSBA’s 2020 Magna Awards is quickly approaching. The nominations period closes Oct. 31. For more information on how to apply, go to Magna Awards Frequently Asked Questions. The 2020 awards program will focus on equity in education. It will recognize district programs that remove barriers to achievement for vulnerable or underserved children. A grand prize and five winners will be awarded in each enrollment category: under 5,000 enrollment; 5,000-20,000 enrollment; and over 20,000 enrollment. Three grand prize winners will showcase their winning programs at a special Master Class session during NSBA’s 2020 annual conference,...

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State has numerous initiatives aimed at helping student mental health

State officials are working on several fronts to address the mental health needs of Kansas students. More than 1,700 students received help last year through the school Mental Health Intervention Program. Most of those students showed improvements in attendance, behavior and academics, Diane Gjerstad, who has been helping with implementation of the program, told the School Mental Health Advisory Council on Thursday. The program initially included nine school districts in partnership with Community Mental Health Centers. But it has since been expanded with a second year of funding from the Legislature to 180 schools in 32 districts. The council also received an update...

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Proposal to replace state assessments with ACT shelved for now

A proposal by Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson to use the ACT or ACT Workkeys as a replacement test for the high school state assessment was put on hold Wednesday. In August, Watson unveiled the idea of having all Kansas students take the ACT in 11th grade instead of the state assessments in math and English in 10th grade and the science test in 11th grade. Watson said he would gather input on the proposal before making a recommendation. He surveyed school superintendents, state assessment advisors, special education directors and curriculum directors. He found generally more support than non-support but also...

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KASB BOLD session set for Topeka on Thursday and Friday

The first meeting of this year’s KASB BOLD class will convene this week and cover sessions on school board relationships, building leadership teams and problem solving. The Thursday-Friday meeting will be held at KASB’s headquarters in Topeka and feature talks from KASB executive staff and former KASB presidents Frank Henderson Jr., a member of the Seaman USD 345 board and NSBA board, and Patrick Woods, a member of the Topeka USD 501 board. In its third year, the Business Operations Leadership Development (BOLD) program includes six training sessions developed by KASB leadership staff, KASB business partners and experts from across the...

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KASB workshop designed to help teachers, administrators make all students feel welcome

Craig Wilford, with KASB Leadership Services, is on a mission to help schools make all students feel welcome and worthy.  Wilford is leading a KASB workshop on “Developing Cultural Proficiency” that will be held  Wed. Oct. 30 in Topeka. Here is a link for more information.   Developing cultural proficiency in schools is about enabling teachers and staff to look at the school experience through the eyes of those who may be different than they are.  “To put it into a nutshell, it’s really about respecting and recognizing individual students and their differences, making every student valuable and worthy within your school building,”...

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State Board of Education combines busy agenda with 50th anniversary

At this month’s State Board of Education meeting, the board will observe its 50th anniversary with a history lesson and reception while also conducting business as it has for the past half-century — meeting, discussing and making decisions on a broad range of education policy issues. The State Board meets Tuesday and Wednesday; here is a link to the agenda. Mary Madden, museum and education division director for the Kansas State Historical Society, will present a summary of the State Board’s origins. Following her presentation, there will be a reception to celebrate the anniversary and citizen leadership in public education. The first...

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Education groups, including NSBA, push for protections of gay, lesbian, transgender employees and students

In a case before the U.S. Supreme Court, NSBA and other leading education groups say the main federal anti-discrimination law protects transgender, gay and lesbian employees and students.  Last week, the court held two hours of arguments over whether the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination against employees based on sexual orientation or transgender status.   The dispute arises from on-the-job incidents, and experts agree a decision in the case could extend to both employees and students in public schools.  Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on sex, race, color, national origin and religion....

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