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State Board News November 2012

Districts’ Bullying Policies Questioned

At the October Kansas State Board of Education meeting, Dr. Robert Harrington, KU Professor of psychology and research in education, reported that "most" Kansas school districts were out of compliance with Kansas statues regarding bullying policies. 

At this month’s meeting, the Kansas Association of School Boards provided Dr. Diane DeBacker, Commissioner of Education, and the Board with survey results of their member districts. This report refuted the section of Dr. Harrington’s report that “most” Kansas school districts are out of compliance.  In fact, KASB believes most school districts in Kansas to be in compliance with the state bullying law K.S.A. 72-8256. 

Definition of College and Career Ready

Brad Neuenswander, Deputy Commissioner for learning services at the Kansas State Department of Education, presented the definition of “College and Career Ready” used by other states and organizations across the nation.  He found four recurring themes in their definitions that align with the mission statement of the Kansas State Board of Education:

1.  Academic/Cognitive
2.      Technical Skills
3.      Employability/Soft Skills
4.      Career Interest Development

He also found two main measurements that might be considered when developing the Board’s definition:

1.      High school graduates should enter into college credit-bearing courses without remediation.
2.      High school graduates should have industry-recognized certification enabling career pathway advancement.

The Kansas School Superintendents Association is advocating the use of the following definition:

College AND Career Readiness is determined by academic/cognitive preparation, technical skills, employability/soft skills and career interest development.

The board is expected to vote on a definition for “College and Career Ready” at their December meeting.

Course Credit for JROTC Debated

Mark Thompson, KSDE project director for Healthy Kansas School, provided an overview of the presence of JROTC programs across the state.  Kansas currently has 20 schools that offer JROTC programs.  Curtis “Gunner” Kelley, Senior Marine JROTC instructor at Topeka High, discussed the benefits for students participating in a JROTC program.  Gunner Kelley currently has 143 students in his program, which focuses on leadership and citizenship skills. He expressed concern that his students receive a half PE credit for a full year of participation.

Dave Dennis, board member for district 10, expressed a concern that some school districts choose not to offer credit for JROTC classes.  Currently the decision to grant credit for JROTC is determined at the local level. The board will revisit this issue next month and may vote on specific proposals for assigning credit to JROTC programs.

Cursive Writing in Kansas Schools Discussed

According to a survey conducted by the Kansas Department of Education, 90 percent of the school districts that responded teach cursive handwriting.  Most start teaching cursive in the third grade and spend at least 15 minutes per day on cursive writing. 

Some Board members expressed a concern over the number of young people today who can’t write in cursive or read material written in cursive.  They worried that the increasing use of technology will only increase this problem.  The Board directed staff to prepare a presentation on cursive handwriting best practices for their December meeting.

In other actions, the State Board:

- reviewed the CTE Marketing Campaign

- heard an update on KLN, the Kansas Learning Network

- heard a report on the 2012 interim legislative study committees

- received a report on the progress of Next Generation Science Standards

- received the 3rd Quarter Reports from Kansas State School for the Blind and Kansas State School for the Deaf

- approved 147 licensure waivers

  • 202, Turner-Kansas City, special education
  • 204, Bonner Springs, one special education
  • 231, Gardner-Edgerton, two special education
  • 232, De Soto, one special education
  • 244, Burlington, three special education
  • 245, LeRoy-Gridley, one special education
  • 253, Emporia, nine special education
  • 259, Wichita, one math and 13 special education
  • 260, Derby, two special education
  • 261, Haysville, two special education
  • 263, Mulvane, two special education
  • 305, Salina, one special education
  • 308, Hutchinson, two special education
  • 310, Fairfield, one library media specialist
  • 320, Wamego, one special education
  • 336, Holton, three special education
  • 372, Silver Lake, one special education
  • 373, Newton, one special education
  • 379, Clay Center, one special education
  • 383, Manhattan-Ogden, one special education
  • 389, Eureka, one special education
  • 418, McPherson, six special education
  • 428, Great Bend, three special education
  • 453, Leavenworth, two special education
  • 457 Garden City, two library media specialist
  • 497, Lawrence, two special education
  • 500, Kansas City, 16 special education
  • 501, Topeka, one special education
  • 602, NW KS ESC, five special education
  • 603, ANW SEC, three special education
  • 605, South Central KS SEC, 12 special education
  • 609, Southeast KS ESC, one special education
  • 611, High Plains ED Coop, 15 special education
  • 613, Southwest Kansas Area Coop, nine special education
  • 614, East Central KS Coop, two special education
  • 616, Doniphan County SEC, four special education
  • 618 Sedgwick County AES, six special education
  • 619, Sumner County ES, two special education
  • 620, Three Lakes SEC, two special education
  • 637, SEKSEI, one special education

- approved the recommendation of the Licensure Review Committee

  • approved eight provisional teaching licenses
  • approved four initial teaching licenses
  • denied three initial teaching license requests
  • denied one requested extension of a provisional license
  • approved two requested extension of a provisional licenses

-          set a public hearing on proposed regulations of Emergency Safety Interventions [KNEA is reviewing these now.]

-          approved the Education Flexibility Partnership (Ed-Flex) Waivers for USD 214 and USD 494

December State Board Meeting

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, December 11 and 12, in Topeka.  Meeting agenda and materials should be available on the KSDE website by Monday, December 3.


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