In this edition of Fast Five on Friday, you will find articles on the following:
- Kentucky’s College and Career Readiness Efforts Recognized
- Statewide Teacher and Principal Effectiveness Bill Signed
- The Fund for Transforming Education in Kentucky Kicks Off
- Kentucky Association of School Superintendents Board Meeting
- Note of Appreciation
- Carryover Waiver (Attachment)
- Education Department Announces Next Rounds of Race to the Top
- Teacher Quality Program Budget Update (Attachments)
- Update on Voice
- Next Superintendent’s Webcast
- Commissioner’s Blog
Fast Five on Friday
(Eleven this Week)
Kentucky’s College and Career Readiness Efforts Recognized
- This week I had the pleasure of joining Gov. Steve Beshear and the chief executive officer of ACT, Inc. to celebrate Kentucky’s progress toward the goal of college- and career-readiness for all students and to recognize those who embody that commitment. The event was part of the ACT College and Career Readiness Campaign that celebrates achievement and creates awareness around the goal of college and career readiness for all. Kentucky is one of seven states (others are Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, North Carolina and Wisconsin) invited to participate in the national campaign’s inaugural year. During the event, ACT recognized four Kentucky organizations/individuals for their college- and career-readiness efforts, including Citi, Hazard Community and Technical College, Murray High School and Lafayette High School (Fayette County) senior Devin O’Neil Morton. The full press release for the event can be found here
Statewide Teacher and Principal Effectiveness Bill Signed -
KDE’s successful legislative session was capped off this week when Gov. Steve Beshear signed House Bill 180
during a private ceremonial bill signing in his office on Monday. As you know, the bill clears the way for a new statewide effectiveness system for all certified personnel, starting in the 2014-15 school year. Teachers, principals and other educational partners from across the state have been working right alongside us as we develop this system, which promotes continuous professional growth and the development of skills that will enable our teachers and administrators to be highly effective. The system is a requirement of our Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) waiver, and plays a critical role in our efforts to bolster student achievement and readiness.
The Fund for Transforming Education in Kentucky Kicks Off- Also this week, I joined several business, government, and education leaders at the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce offices in Frankfort to welcome the establishment of a new non-profit organization that will encourage and support innovative new approaches in Kentucky classrooms. The Fund for Transforming Education in Kentucky will start off by administering two recent grants from the Gates Foundation totaling nearly $3 million. The first grant, already in place, will help establish teacher networks and forums so teachers can share new ideas for improving student outcomes. The second grant will be used to bring together teachers of core subject areas so they can collaborate on common assignments. In addition to overseeing the work associated with these grants, the Fund will raise additional financial support to provide individual teachers and schools with resources to implement promising new ideas. I believe this organization will play a critical role in our reform efforts, and I greatly appreciate having them as a partner in our work to ensure all students are college and career ready when they graduate from high school.
Kentucky Association of School Superintendents Board Meeting - I met this week with the Executive Board of the Kentucky Association for School Superintendents and Executive Director Wilson Sears. The group shared with me concerns that superintendents have been voicing about some recent events in Kentucky. In an effort to improve communication, we agreed to the following: I will meet in person or virtually with the KASS Executive Board, on a regular basis, to hear superintendent concerns about current issues; I will communicate about the great work the vast majority of our superintendents are doing in implementing Unbridled Learning and other state initiatives; I will meet on a regular basis with the full KASS board to communicate the “back story” about certain legislative, state board, and regulatory actions; I will (as soon as my voice is restored) use Lync to hold regional superintendent meetings; I will continue to participate in regional cooperative superintendent meetings at least once per year, in an informal fashion, to discuss superintendent concerns; I will utilize the Commissioner’s Superintendent Advisory Council to hammer out further details about superintendent evaluation procedures and transparency of contract issues. KASS will continue to update the KASS website with up-to-date information about superintendent best practices, contract components, and fiscal management and KASS will utilize conference call and e-mail listserv capacity to keep superintendents informed about current issues regarding legislative, state board and regulatory actions. The meeting was an excellent open and honest dialogue about superintendent concerns and I felt extremely positive about our agreed-upon action steps. My thanks to Wilson Sears, Dot Perkins, Jim Flynn, Anthony Strong and Jerry Green for taking time to meet with me.
Note of Appreciation -
With the end of the school year quickly approaching, I want to take this opportunity to thank our superintendents for the outstanding work that they are doing every day in support of the children of Kentucky. I realize there have been a few incidents this year that have cast negative attention on some of our districts; however, these are isolated incidents and do not reflect the great work the majority of our school districts and superintendents are doing as a whole. I have been consistent in explaining this distinction. At the APA press conference in March, Associate Commissioner Desai (speaking on my behalf, because of my recent throat problems) specifically noted that most of our schools boards and superintendents are doing a fabulous job and the audits simply show that we have isolated incidents around the state that need to be addressed. See: http://www.ksba.org/protected/ArticleView.aspx?iid=6G3GA30&dasi=3UBI
I continue to be impressed with the tough and resourceful leadership shown by our superintendents in getting the work done. Please know that I support you and your work and hope that we can continue to strengthen our relationship through enhanced communication as we work together to move education in Kentucky forward.
Carryover Waiver - In an effort to better support our school districts, KDE will be applying for the Waiver related to the Carryover Limitation in Section 1127(b) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA).
Education Department Announces Next Rounds of Race to the Top -
The U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced they will invest the majority of the 2013 Race to the Top funds for a second Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge competition. About $370 million will be available this year for states to develop new approaches to increase high-quality early learning opportunities and close the school readiness gap. The press release is available here
Teacher Quality Program Budget Update -
To assist districts with planning and budgeting for the 2013-14 school year, the timeline to submit the Title II, Part A Teacher Quality Program budgets is being changed. The spring submission date is now May 31, 2013. This change will allow KDE to review and approve spending by July 1, 2013. Districts will use the hold-harmless amount to complete the budget. Revisions will be made to the budgets once final allocations of have been determined by the U.S. Department of Education in late summer or early fall. Attached
is the district hold harmless amount for Title II, Part A. Also attached
is the budget
and the budget
directions. District Title II, Part A coordinators will receive an invitation via email regarding technical assistance, budget completion and directions. If you have any questions, please contact your KDE Title II, Part A coordinator at (502)564-1479
Update on Voice - NPR did a news brief on my voice issues this week. As most of you know, I have been struggling with my voice for almost six months. I have now been diagnosed with spasmodic dysphonia, which is basically a condition in which your vocal cords spasm. I am scheduled to receive treatment today that will hopefully allow me to quickly get back to normal. Of course, the treatment will not get rid of my southern accent and not everyone will be happy that I can once again speak loudly and clearly. However, I appreciate the patience of the superintendents, the Kentucky Board of Education, and the many audiences that have suffered through my speeches during the last six months.
Next superintendents’ webcast to be held on April 29 – The next superintendents’ webcast will be held on April 29 from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. ET.
If you have questions on any of the articles included in this edition of Fast Five, please contact me at the e-mail address or phone number found below.