SBR18

SBR: Distributions, deviations, ranges, oh my!

by Ted Carter, tcarter@kasb.org Recently, I shared an article on averages and how they can be misleading. This article will expand on that and talk about how the nature of the data being represented can have a huge impact on the averages being discussed. Previously, we talked about the mean (the mathematical average calculated by adding up all the numbers and dividing by the count of numbers), the median (the middle number in a series of numbers), and the mode (the most commonly occurring number). The things we will talk about today could impact all three of these types of averages, but...

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SBR: Preparing for 2019 Legislative Session

Education leaders should reach out to legislators By Leah Fliter, lfliter@kasb.org With the close of the 2018 general election season, Kansas school leaders are turning their sights toward the 2019 Legislative Session. A new Governor — Democrat Laura Kelly, who ran on a pledge to be “the education governor” — will have to reach across the aisle to work with a Republican-controlled Legislature whose leaders have not always been friendly to public education. Furthermore, the House of Representatives will welcome 30 new members, roughly one fourth of that body. So, what should school board members and other advocates do to prepare for...

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SBR: Stewart: Evaluate public relations activities

By G. Kent Stewart, School Admin Prof. Emeritus, KSU, bcsgks1@cox.net During the past 10 months we have talked about public relations activities practiced at the central office level. While most PR activity occurs at the school building level, those utilized by the central office are critically important from the standpoint of developing understandings that engender advocacy. About every three years PR activities should be evaluated. Something similar to a focus group is an effective low-cost evaluation method, and it doesn’t require much time. Barry Flinchbaugh, long-time professor of agricultural economics at KSU, believed community power structure could be charted on a pyramid...

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President’s Perspective: ‘Keep it simple’ is a winning equation

by C. Patrick Woods KASB President Topeka USD 501 As we head into the holidays, my mind drifts back to the music that I associate with the season. During Christmas, my family would often play music by artists from the Motown Record Label, such as The Temptations, The Jackson 5, etc. We were not alone in our love of Motown. Throughout the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s, Motown was a virtual hit factory, discovering talent in every corner of the country. Many record labels tried to emulate the Motown success. Legendary music executive and Motown founder, Berry Gordy, had a maxim to which he...

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SBR: Painting by numbers: a portrait of KASB data

by Ted Carter, tcarter@kasb.org Recently, my title was changed from “Research Specialist” to “Chief Data Officer.” This was a change I proposed and was accepted based on an awareness that the nature of my position here at KASB has changed, but more than that, I believe it reflects an awareness that the nature of how we as an organization deal with data is changing. The “Chief Data Officer” position is not new in the business world, but it is one that is gaining attention as the data assets that organizations have to manage become more and more important. So, what exactly is...

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SBR: Examinations, trainings, seminars: Does FLSA require us to pay employees?

It can be difficult to know whether you should require non-exempt employees to clock in for activities outside their normal work day. Below are some common occurrences and how they are handled under the FLSA. Physical exams, fingerprinting, drug testing Whenever employees, after being hired by the school, are required to have physical examinations, submit to drug testing, or report to an office for fingerprinting, the following time counts as hours worked: The time spent traveling to and from the designated location; The time spent waiting to be examined, tested or fingerprinted; and The time spent being examined, tested or fingerprinted. Even if these activities...

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SBR: Surveillance video as an education record

Surveillance cameras have become an ever-present fact of life in public places, including schools. The images captured by school cameras may or may not constitute educational records for purposes of the Family Educational Records Privacy Act (FERPA), depending on what the cameras capture and whether the school maintains the recorded video. To be considered a student educational record, the video must capture an incident or occurrence directly related to a student or students, and the video must be maintained by the educational agency or someone acting on behalf of the educational agency. Surveillance video that shows no incident or occurrence involving...

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SBR: Use of breathalyzers at school functions

With the school year well underway, homecoming dances and other social occasions may make schools consider using a breathalyzer test in order to ensure students are not under the influence of alcohol prior to being admitted to school-sponsored events. Subjecting students to such a test prior to admittance to an activity could raise some constitutional issues, so schools should carefully examine the pros and cons of these types of requirements prior to implementation. The following is intended to refresh school personnel’s memories, as well as to encourage a little careful thought and planning before implementing a testing requirement. Constitutional Issues The Fourth...

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SBR: Relationships, Relationships, Relationships The new three ‘Rs’ to keep students safe

By Scott Rothschild, srothschild@kasb.org There’s a new three `Rs’ in school – relationships, relationships, relationships. That’s what Kansas education leaders say is needed to make their students safer as fears increase with each school shooting. In meetings across the state in September and October, hundreds of school board members and school administrators discussed what they are doing and what more they need to do to ensure that students can function and learn in a safe environment. In addition to “hardening” facilities, educators are trying to reach all children and make them feel welcome and important. “Districts all over the state are grappling with this...

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SBR: Stewart: Public relations help closer than you think

By G. Kent Stewart, School Admin Prof. Emeritus, KSU, bcsgks1@cox.net “Yes Kent,” exclaimed a superintendent friend, “I know PR is important, but I’m trying to run this school district and principal the school at the same time and the only help I have is the secretary/clerk, an AD, a custodian and a cook. I just don’t have time for formal PR stuff, I’m sorry.” This is a common lament among a lot of rural district school executives (And by the way, I don’t have a definition of what constitutes a small, medium and large school district.) In most small school districts...

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