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Teaching in Kansas II Focus Group Sessions

The Kansas State Department of Education will be conducting Focus Group sessions across the state to receive input from educators on the topic of multiple measures for determining student growth in achievementSpecifically, we need for educators to share with us ways they measure student growth other than the state assessments. Targeted audiences are teachers, school administrators, students and teacher support staff.

The Teaching in Kansas Commission II (TIKC II) met in October and November and presented a status report to the State Board in December 2012.  The Commission was charged to determine in what manner student achievement should be incorporated into teacher and principal evaluations, as required in the state’s ESEA Flexibility Waiver.  The report outlined a preference for using multiple measures, including state assessments, to demonstrate student achievement and growth.  It also expressed a preference for viewing state assessments in multiple ways, as set out in the state’s accountability plan under its ESEA waiver. 

The next steps will be to conduct a series of focus groups in each of the 10 State Board districts, which will take place in January through early March.  During these meetings, findings in the status report will be shared and feedback from participants will be gathered.  Information gathered during these meetings will be considered by the Commission, who will make a final recommendation to the State Board in the Spring of 2013. 

Please share this opportunity to provide input. All meetings are from 5:00 to 7:00 pm.

Following is a listing of dates and locations for the focus groups:

  • January 23 - Instructional Materials Center (IRC), 14090 Black Bob Road, Olathe
  • January 28 - Seaman High School, 4850 Rochester Road, Topeka
  • January 30 - Wichita North High School (Lecture Hall), 1437 Rochester, Wichita
  • January 31 - Chanute High School (Auditorium), 1501 West 36th Street, Chanute
  • February 14 - Kansas City Kansas Central Office and Training Center, 2010 N 59th Street, Kansas City
  • February 18 - McPherson High School (Little Theater), 801 E First Street, McPherson
  • February 19 - Leavenworth High School, 2012 12th Avenue, Leavenworth
  • February 27 - Concordia Jr/Sr High School, 436 W 10th, Concordia
  • February 28 - Hays High School (Cafeteria), 2300 E 13th, Hays
  • March 4 - Winfield High School, 300 Viking Boulevard, Winfield
  • March 6 - Garden City High School, 2720 Buffalo Way Boulevard, Garden City

In order to plan for attendance at each site, we ask that you register at the following link:  

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact:  Bill Bagshaw,, (785) 296-2198.

Peg Dunlap provided more details regarding the Focus Group meetings that are scheduled. She included some suggestions for preparing for those meetings, which she hopes MANY KNEA members will attend.

The report is short and easy to read. I hope you will take the time to do so.  During the Focus Group meetings, I expect that the report will be summarized and that you will have an opportunity to comment on one or more sections of it. You will feel better prepared to do that if you've had the chance to read it before the meeting. [In addition, the report should be available on KSDE's TIKC II webpage, scroll down to "schedule of meetings, agendas, reports" and select "TIKC II Status Report."]

Here are the reports.

Teaching in Kansas Commission II, Status Report to the State Board of Education, December 11, 2012 (TIKC II December 2012 Status Report Draft 3_2_.pdf)

Teaching in Kansas Commission II Status Report State Board of Education December 11, 2012 slides (TIKC II Status Report December 11, 2012.pdf)

The report has 4 major sections:

  • Assessment - where the state of assessment in Kansas currently is outlined
  • Performance Measures - where the variety of measures, including but not limited to state assessments, is discussed. Please note especially the suggestion to conduct an inventory of current assessments at the state or district level. This would help ensure that all content areas and all grade levels have multiple assessments available. Would this be helpful? If so, you'll need to advocate for it!!!
  • Contractual/professional - which addresses the multiple categories of educators who would be subject to this requirement (ALL educators who hold licenses from KSDE, including administrators) and suggests that many decisions be subject to the process of professional negotiations
  • Human resources - which outlines the challenges of providing professional learning so that whatever system is approved is implemented consistently and with fidelity across all districts.

As you read each section, keep asking:

  • How will this improve student growth/learning in Kansas?
  • How might this help/hinder evaluating educators in a fair, reasonable, defensible way?
  • Are there other considerations/ideas that should be included in this report?
  • Is this something that Kansas should pursue?
  • How much of this process should be determined at the state level and how much at the district level?

Thanks for reading this far, thanks for taking time to read the Status Report and most important, THANKS for attending one of the Focus Group meetings!!

If you have questions about any of this, please send them to my assistant, Donna Lambrecht, who will forward them to me for responses.

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