Teacher Issues

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...

Read more...

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...

Read more...

Census deadline is October 15

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday the Census must end before its October 31 target date. The Census Bureau announced Tuesday night the decennial count will cease on October 15.  The Census has been plagued by delays associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, wildfires, hurricanes, and political conflict.  The Trump Administration announced in August it was moving the national count deadline up one month to September 30 to give the government time to deliver the 2020 data to the president by the end of December as required by law. In late September, a U.S. District Court judge ruled the count must...

Read more...

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...

Read more...

Children’s Cabinet announces remote learning grant opportunties

The Kansas Children’s Cabinet is now accepting applications for grants to help eligible organizations provide supervised sites for online learning when schools are in remote or hybrid learning modes.  The $40 million grant program was recently approved by the state Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) Task Force to support business resiliency during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Parents and businesses have expressed concern and frustration about the challenges of supervising school-aged children who are learning remotely as their parents or guardians return to work after widespread closures last Spring. The grant funds must be obligated and spent by December 30.  Eligible...

Read more...

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...

Read more...

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...

Read more...

KCC offers schools new energy efficiency program

The Kansas Corporation Commission is offering a free K-12 education program that teaches students about energy efficiency and could help schools reduce their energy costs. The KCC announced the program as part of Kansas Energy Efficiency Day, which is Wednesday (Oct. 7). The K-12 Benchmarking program offers teachers an all-inclusive energy efficiency curriculum that includes professional equipment and guidance from energy experts – all at no cost to the school. The curriculum meets Next Generation Science Standards and can be adapted for various grades. Participating schools will form an energy team to benchmark and understand the school’s energy use. The next step...

Read more...

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...

Read more...

CDC again releases guidance on aerosols and COVID-19

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday released new guidance regarding the role of “aerosols” – tiny airborne particles – in the indoor transmission of the COVID-19 virus. The move comes two weeks after the CDC removed a similar statement from its website, citing incomplete vetting.  In its updated post to its website entitled “How COVID-19 Spreads,” the CDC now observes that “COVID-19 most commonly spreads during close contact” between people who are within six feet of an infected person but that “COVID-19 can sometimes be spread by airborne transmission.”   The guidance says some small droplets and particles...

Read more...