Schools will receive designation based on Kansans Can goals

Later this month, some Kansas school districts will be seeing stars.

Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson on Tuesday announced his plan to recognize school districts with Gold, Silver, Bronze or Copper stars in several student achievement categories.

The designations will be forwarded to the districts Oct. 23 and are part of the Kansans Can goal set forth by the State Board of Education to lead the world in the success of each child.

Watson equated the changes under Kansans Can as transformative as Kansas’ progression from an education system where the one-room schoolhouse was once the norm.

“We are trying to change the second generation of education in about a decade. That’s a huge lift,” he said.

At the outset, districts will be recognized for preparation for high school graduation, which will be based on Kansas state assessments; high school graduation rates and post-secondary effectiveness. All those outcomes are part of the Kansans Can plan.

For example, districts that have a 95 percent or above high school graduation rate would receive a Gold star. A district that has 75 percent of students scoring on statewide test at Level 3 (grade level and on track for college or career readiness) and Level 4 (exceeding grade-level expectations and on track for college or the workplace) would receive a Gold star as would a district that has a post-secondary effectiveness rate of more than 70 percent. The post-secondary effective rate measures how many students complete an industry certification or postsecondary degree or are enrolled in postsecondary program in the first two years after high school graduation.

If a district achieved Gold stars across the board, it would be declared a Diamond district. Watson will also give out a Commissioner’s award for districts that outperform their predicted expectations.

The Copper designation is for districts hitting the state average in the measured areas while Bronze and Silver represent levels ascending from the average.

In his third annual report to the State Board of Education on Kansans Can progress, Watson also noted advances in kindergarten readiness and individual plans of study.

He said by the end of the school year, every student will have an individual plan of study. He said the IPS is not meant to pigeon-hole students but find what they are passionate about.

In addition, he said the state is using a screening tool that allows kindergarten teachers and parents to assess student needs before entering kindergarten.

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