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State Board News December 2012

Teaching in Kansas Commission II – Status Report

Following three months of work, the Teaching in Kansas Commission II presented a status report to the State Board on Tuesday.  The Commission was formed to help Kansas address the ESEA Waiver requirement for educator evaluations to include multiple measures of student growth.

In January, February and March, 2013, KSDE will conduct focus groups in each State Board district so that practitioners can comment on the Status Report.  The meetings will be held in late afternoons/early evenings so that teachers can attend.  As soon as a schedule is available, KNEA will publicize it.

KNEA members Mary Colvin, Chee-Craw NEA; Eileen Hackley, Junction City EA; Debra Hutton, Lansing EA; Scott Kickhaefer, NEA Topeka; Mary Matthew, Olathe NEA; Jay Super, Maize TA; and Sheryl Townson, Rose Hill TA served on the Commission, as did Peg Dunlap, KNEA Director of Instructional Advocacy.

To organize their work, the Commission divided into four work groups, each of which provided a chapter for the status report made up of responses to assigned questions.  The Status Report will be posted on the KSDE website at 

Assessment – What does assessment mean in the context of this work?  How does Kansas address assessment now?  How does assessment contribute to the Kansas accountability process?

Performance measures – What are multiple performance measures?  What is the current profile of student assessment [multiple measures] in Kansas?  On whom do these measures focus [in Kansas]?

Contractual, Professional, Negotiations – Who is included in the performance measures in the Kansas accountability system?  What are current practices regarding professional contracts?  How can the changes be addressed contractually? [local issues, regional issues, state issues]

Human Resources – What HR and system supports, related to assessment and accountability, currently exist in Kansas?  What new supports or changes can enhance the system?  How can evaluation/assessment capacity be increased and sustained?

In addition, each group addressed how the information from their work group could be incorporated into the Waiver response.  [Kansas received a conditional waiver to ESEA/NCLB, subject to addressing the student growth part of Principle 3, teacher and leader evaluation systems, by no later than June 30, 2013.]

Following the focus groups, KSDE will facilitate incorporation of the feedback into a final report and submit it to the State Board, then to the US Department of Education for review.

Board Defines Kansas College and Career Ready

Following testimony from Dawn Lindsley, Wamego TA, representing the Kansas Association of Career and Technical Education, the State Board agreed upon a formal definition of “College and Career Ready.”  The term has been used for several years but until yesterday, had no specific definition.  The definition is:

College and Career Ready means an individual has the academic preparation, cognitive preparation, technical skills and employability skills to be successful in postsecondary education, in the attainment of an industry recognized certification or in the workforce without the need for remediation.

Lindsley and KACTE developed this definition by combining wording from two options proposed by KSDE staff.

Presented with the definition were expanded statements explaining each of the terms in the definition.  These should be available soon on the KSDE website at

Cursive Writing – Teach It!

Responding to concerns that student no longer learned, nor could read cursive writing, the State Board voted 8-2 to approve the following statement and to direct staff to develop model standards and best practices for integrating cursive writing into the curriculum.  Sue Storm and Jana Shaver opposed the motion because of the directive to staff.

The Kansas State Board of Education believes that cursive handwriting as a student skill still holds an important place in the instructional practice of every school’s curriculum.  Research supports that role that handwriting instruction plays in the cognitive development of children, and this activity is even more important in an increasingly digital environment.  The Board strongly encourages educator to ensure that all students can write legibly in cursive or joined italics and comprehend text written in this manner.

JROTC – Let School Districts Decide

A motion to change accreditation regulations so that 2 years of JROTC credit could substitute for the 1 PE credit required for graduation failed on a 3-7 vote.  Voting for the motion were John Bacon, Dave Dennis and Ken Willard.  Voting in opposition were Carolyn Campbell, Sally Cauble, Walt Chappell, Kathy Martin, Jana Shaver, Sue Storm and Janet Waugh.

Currently, some USDs allow JROTC to count toward graduation requirements, usually in PE.  Others count it as social studies or as elective credit.

Those voting against the motion cited local control and concerns about a lack of inclusion of health topics in JROTC curricula as reasons for their vote.

In other action, the State Board:

·         Recognized Michael Berndt, Olathe NEA, as the 2012 Milken Educator

·         Heard an explanation of the process for determining KS assessment performance levels [cut scores]

·         Heard a report on MTSS implementation in USD 259, Wichita

·         Heard the monthly update on Next Generation Science Standards, the next draft of which is scheduled for release in January, 2013

·         Heard a presentation on the A.B.L.E. program at Nickerson elementary, USD 309

·         Approved Ed-Flex waivers for Maize and Vermillion elementaries, USD 266

·         Approved a Visiting Scholar License for Robin Bacon to teach in USD 229’s CAPS program

·         Approved the recommendation from the Evaluation Review Committee for Newman University

o    approve three programs through 12/31/17

o   approve with stipulation three new programs through 12/31/14

·         Approved 91 licensure waivers

o   USD 204, Bonner Springs, one special education

o   USD 244, Burlington, one special education

o   USD 253, Emporia, one special education

o   USD 259, Wichita, one drama, one ESOL, seven special education

o   USD 305, Salina, one special education

o   USD 333, Concordia, one special education

o   USD 368, Paola, seven special education

o   USD 450, Shawnee Heights, three special education

o   USD 465, Winfield, 10 special education

o   USD 469, Lansing, one journalism

o   USD 475, Geary County, seven special education

o   USD 490, El Dorado, 20 special education

o   USD 497, Lawrence, one special education

o   USD 500, KCK, six special education

o   USD 501, Topeka, one special education

o   USD 506, Labette, one mathematics, one history/government

o   USD 603, ANW Coop, five special education

o   USD 605, South Central KS SEC, one special education

o   USD 611, High Plains EC, one special education

o   USD 613, SW KS Area Coop, 10 special education

o   USD 617, Marion County SE, one special education

o   USD 636, NCKSECI, one special education

New Board Cycle Begins

In January, 2013, four new members will join the State Board: Steve Roberts, district 2; Deena Horst, district 6; Kathy Busch, district 8; and Jim McNiece, district 10.  The first meeting of the new Board is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, January 8 and 9, 2013 in Topeka.  Board agenda and materials should be available on the KSDE website in late December or early January.


After 26 ½ years, I am retiring from KNEA at the end of this month.  This is my last State Board News.  Only Dale Dennis has been to more State Board meetings than me, and he can keep that record!!

It has been my honor and privilege to represent the members of KNEA in front of the State Board and to serve as liaison between KNEA and the staff of the Kansas State Department of Education.  As the voice of the education profession, we have worked hard together and accomplished many important things.  That work is not done.  Some of our biggest challenges are yet to come. 

I know that KNEA is strong enough to withstand the challenges, to continue to fight for the professional interests of the teaching profession, and to ensure that KNEA always stands for what is right for educators and for students.

Peg Dunlap

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