Teacher Issues

More counselors, social workers in Kansas schools

In his monthly report to the State Board of Education, Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson said the high school graduation rate continues to rise and schools have made great strides in hiring more social workers and counselors. Over the past two years, schools have added 132 counselors, an 11 percent increase, and 133 social workers, a 26 percent increase. Meanwhile, since 2015, the high school graduation rate has increased to 87.5 percent from 85.7 percent, while subgroups have increased as well. English Language learners increased to 82.6 percent from 77.2 percent; students who receive free or reduced lunch increased to 80.2 percent,...

Read more...

State Board of Education praises bullying task force report

State Board of Education members Tuesday praised a task force report on bullying that recommends a wide range of strategies to reduce bullying in schools. Board Chair Kathy Busch said the report “lays out a lot of good recommendations.” Here is a link to the report. Board member Ben Jones said bullying, “affects every single kid and I’m looking forward to moving the needle on this.” The 35-member task force was appointed by Education Commissioner Randy Watson in April and held a series of public meetings across the state, hearing from students, teachers, social service leaders and others. Rick Ginsberg, dean of the...

Read more...

Audit raises issues in at-risk funding; KSDE defends practices

The Kansas Legislative Post Audit Division released a report Monday criticizing the State Department of Education’s oversight and guidance of the state’s $413 million program to support academically at-risk students. KSDE strongly disagreed.  The audit is one of series of studies commissioned by the Kansas Legislature in response to the Gannon school finance case. At-risk funding is particularly important because a key part of the Gannon case was that too many Kansas students are failing to meet state academic standards.  In addition, the “high density” at-risk weighting factor, which accounts for about $50 million in at-risk aid targeted at districts with higher...

Read more...

Kansas Blue Ribbon Task Force on Bullying finalizes report

The Kansas Blue Ribbon Task Force on Bullying on Monday finalized its report, offering a wide range of recommendations aimed at helping schools reduce bullying. The report says schools should provide a safe and caring environment and that anti-bullying plans must address the differing needs of staff and students identified by sex, gender identity and expression, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, religious faith and socio-economic status. The task force also recommends new resources of funding for more mental health workers in schools. The task force’s work will be presented to the State Board of Education on Dec. 10 and then later...

Read more...

Winfield USD 465 preschool teacher named 2020 Kansas Teacher of the Year

Tabatha C. Rosproy Tabatha Rosproy, a preschool teacher at Winfield Early Learning Center, Winfield USD 465, has been named the 2020 Kansas Teacher of the Year. Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson made the announcement at a gathering of 470 people during the Kansas Teacher of the Year Banquet at the Marriott Hotel in Wichita. “It is my honor to present the 2020 Kansas Teacher of the Year designation to Tabatha,” Watson said. “She is a great example of the quality teachers we have in Kansas and is very deserving of this honor. Tabatha knows how important social-emotional learning is and...

Read more...

State Board approves wide-ranging policies on dyslexia

The State Board of Education on Tuesday unanimously approved policies aimed at improving the identification of students with dyslexia, providing them with better services and increasing teacher training. The wide-ranging measures follow more than 18 months of discussion by educators, advocates, psychologists and other stakeholders and will require more funding, although a specific amount wasn’t cited. Board member Jim Porter, who had led a task force on dyslexia, said the policies are needed and represent compromises. “This is a nationwide movement and we are slow to come to the table,” Porter said. Cynthia Hadicke, an education program consultant for the Kansas State...

Read more...

Vaping, dyslexia, legislative agenda on tap for State Board of Education meeting

The State Board of Education on Tuesday will receive recommendations on curbing e-cigarette use and improving ways to help students with dyslexia. Here is a link to the State Board’s agenda and background materials. The E-Cigarette/Vaping Task Force will provide a final draft on keeping tobacco and vaping products out of schools. The task force will also update the board on the Tobacco 21 initiative, which would increase the minimum age in Kansas to purchase tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, from 18 to 21. The dyslexia recommendations are aimed at improving pre-service teacher programs, professional learning of teachers already in the classroom, screening...

Read more...

Threat assessment key to preventing school violence, new report says

A team approach — including the work of local school boards — is needed to help students in distress and prevent school violence, according to an in-depth analysis by the U.S. Secret Service released Thursday. “While communities can advance many school safety measures on their own, our experience tells us that keeping schools safe requires a team effort and the combined resources of the federal, state, and local governments; school boards; law enforcement; and the public,” U.S. Secret Service Director James M. Murray said. The study, which analyzed 41 incidents of targeted school violence from 2008-17, promotes increased mental health awareness,...

Read more...

KASB Legislative Committee finalizes draft report

The KASB Legislative Committee has approved its draft recommendations on legislative policy provisions.  The proposals will now go to the Delegate Assembly for a vote on Sunday, Dec. 8 during the KASB Annual Conference in Wichita. Once approved by the Delegate Assembly, the report will guide KASB on issues that arise before the Kansas Legislature and on the federal level.   Here is a link to the draft document. Proposed changes from last year’s resolutions are shown in red.  The draft report includes additional statements on the education of immigrant students, vaping, bullying, Medicaid, federal special education funding and teacher recruitment and...

Read more...

Bullying task force hears from students, counselors

High school students on Wednesday said a good way to reduce bullying in schools is for educators to make students feel worthwhile. The seven students from Lawrence High School and Free State High School told the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Bullying Prevention that they frequently see bullying behavior at their schools and that it often goes unaddressed by teachers and administrators. And they said the bullying behavior is probably less physical than in past generations, but more socially-oriented with bullies manipulating and insulting students, especially on social media. When asked what educators can do to help stop bullying, the students said...

Read more...