April 4 2014

Published: 4/7/2014 1:55 PM

In this edition of Fast Five on Friday, you will find articles on the following:


• 2014-16 Budget Update
• Extension of Submission Date for Program Reviews
• Next Superintendents’ Webcast
• Superintendent Evaluation Report for ASSIST; Spring 2014 Support and Instructions
• Superintendents’ Summit
• Opting out of CCSS and testing is not an option
• More Resources to Get the Facts Out About the Common Core
• Effectively Using Staff Make-up Days: Fun with PGES
• Superintendents’ Spotlight Featuring Lana Fryman, Bourbon County
• Commissioner’s Blog

Fast Five on Friday
(Ten This Week)
 
 
2014-16 Budget Update
As you are aware, the Kentucky General Assembly passed a biennial budget for the next two (2) fiscal years in April 2014. Overall, the enacted KDE budget was a tremendous success for K-12 education.
 
• Approximately $141 million in FY15 and $228 million in FY16 (a total of $369 million) in additional general funds were approved for the benefit of the Commonwealth’s 173 school districts. 
• The top four priorities of the Kentucky Board of Education - SEEK, Flexible Focus, Technology, and Career and Technical Education (CTE) -  all received a significant funding increase.
 
Several highlights of the biennial budget include:
 
  • SEEK funding was increased by approximately $189 million to aid districts in providing both certified and classified salary increases for school district employees (1% in FY15 and 2% in FY16). This also resulted in the per pupil amount being increased from the current $3,827 to $3,911 in FY15 and $3,981 in FY16.
  • Technology funding was increased by $2,900,000 in FY15 and $5,800,000 in FY16 to provide increased bandwidth to local school districts.
  • $800,000 was provided for a Statewide IT Academy in FY16.
  •  CTE was provided with $3,000,000 in both fiscal years for additional staffing in Area Technology Centers.
  • $250,000 was provided in FY15 for a Regional Collaborative Career Academy.
  • $800,000 in FY15 and $1,200,000 in FY16 was provided for AdvanceKentucky.
  • State Agency Children funding was increased by $500,000 in both fiscal years.
  • $250,000 was provided in both fiscal years for Teach for America.
  • Flexible Focus grants were increased by approximately $30 million in FY15 and approximately $61 million in FY16 (including an expansion of Preschool from 150% to 160%).  A breakdown is provided below:

See attached Flexible Focus Grant chart

In addition, the budget also includes salary increments for all state employees in FY15 as follows:
 
   Annual Base Salary or Wages                                                        2014-15
       $0 to $27,000.00                                                                              5%
       $27,000.01 to $36,000.00                                                                 3%
       $36,000.01 to $50,000.00                                                                 2%
       $50,000.01 and above                                                                      1%
 
In FY16, a 1% salary increment is provided across the board for all state employees.
 
In conclusion, the next biennial budget shows a strong reinvestment by the Governor and the General Assembly in K-12 education.
 
If you have specific questions on the budget, contact Hiren Desai at hiren.desai@education.ky.gov.
 
Extension of Submission Date for Program Reviews
Considering the impact of the unusually cold and snowy winter weather on school calendars this year, the Kentucky Department of Education is extending the submission date for Program Reviews. Approval by districts and district submission into ASSIST of ALL Program Reviews is now required by June 11, 2014. If districts have questions concerning submission, they are to contact Todd Davis at todd.davis@education.ky.gov  or 502-564-1479.
 
Next Superintendents’ Webcast
The next superintendents’ webcast will occur on Wednesday, April 30 from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. ET.  Please place this date on your calendar.
 
Superintendent Evaluation Report for ASSIST; Spring 2014 Support and Instructions 
In the coming days, superintendents are likely to begin completing their Superintendent Evaluation Report for ASSIST for the spring semester. The Superintendent Evaluation Report for the spring semester is due by June 30, 2014.  
 
Remember that the purpose of this report is to ensure the superintendent is having conversations with his/her board on all of these items to ensure consistent communication and collaboration.
 
The hyperlink below will lead you through a time-saving process relative to your submission of this report. Ginger Kinnard will lead the viewer in a step-by step set of instructions regarding the “copy feature” that will save you some time.
 

For all technical issues contact Ginger Kinnard at ginger.kinnard@education.ky.gov.
 
Superintendents’ Summit
Since last year’s Superintendents’ Summit was tremendously helpful in providing feedback and direction to the department and superintendents expressed support for continuation of this type of meeting, we are scheduling the second one for September 11, 2014, at the Capital Plaza Hotel in Frankfort from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET. As with last time, this meeting is for local district superintendents only.
 
As we did last year, we will have a follow-up meeting for representatives of education constituent groups the following day on September 12 in the afternoon to share the content of the summit as well as initial feedback from the meeting.
 
Please place September 11 on your calendars. More details will be provided as we get closer to the event.
 
Opting out of CCSS and testing is not an option
As part of the campaign against the Common Core State Standards and standardized testing, national pundits are urging parents to sign an opt-out form and submit it to their child’s school. In Kentucky, districts are under no obligation to honor a parent’s request to “opt out” of the Common Core State Standards, curriculum or testing. 
 
As you know, Senate Bill 1 (2009), which was overwhelmingly supported by a bi-partisan majority of the Kentucky House and Senate, mandated common standards. Determination of the Kentucky Core Academic Standards (KCAS) for public schools (and for private/parochial schools that voluntarily subscribe to the standards via accreditation through the Ky. Non-Public Schools Commission) is under the discretion and authority of the Kentucky Board of Education, via state regulations that carry the force of law (704 KAR 3:303). Under its authority, the Kentucky Board of Education adopted the Common Core State Standards in English/language arts and mathematics as well as the Next-Generation Science Standards through the prescribed legal process. As these standards are included in regulation, the expectation is that all students are provided instruction and opportunity to learn these standards in the public schools; but how a school/district establishes the curricula for those standards is a local decision. Per KRS 160.345 (i)(10), “determination of curriculum” is a matter within the discretion of the school council.
  
In 1997, the Kentucky Court of Appeals affirmed the Kentucky Board of Education’s authority to require all students in public schools in our state to participate in standardized assessments. In Triplett v. Livingston County Board of Education, 967 S.W.2d 25 (Ky.App. 1997), the Kentucky Court of Appeals held that Kentucky statute KRS 156.160, which provided the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) the authority to set the minimum requirements for graduation from a public high school in our state, gave the KBE the authority to require all students of public schools in our state to participate in standardized assessments and that this requirement did not violate the students’ rights.
 
As described on KDE’s website at http://education.ky.gov/AA/KTS/Pages/default.aspx, Kentucky’s statewide accountability system depends on the testing of every student. No student may opt out of the standardized assessments conducted under this system. The purpose of testing every student is to ensure that all schools and districts are serving all students and that gaps in categories of students are identified, addressed, and closed. Kentucky statute KRS 158.6453 http://www.lrc.ky.gov/statutes/statute.aspx?id=3554 and Kentucky regulation 703 KAR 5:140 http://www.lrc.ky.gov/kar/703/005/140.htm were promulgated to ensure the system and the data produced were faithful to these goals. An accountability model must be all-inclusive and all-reflective.
 
A school should explain to parents these requirements, as well as the importance of the consistency of academic standards throughout all Kentucky schools as a part of the “efficient system of common schools” required by Section 183 of the Kentucky Constitution, and as more specifically described in the landmark case of Rose vs. Council for Better Education (Ky. Supreme Court, 1990).
                                                                              
More Resources to Get the Facts Out About the Common Core
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has put together an informative video highlighting the importance of the Common Core and correcting misinformation. This new video provides statements of support from superintendents, teachers, parents, legislators and others.
 
CoreStandards.org is the official online home of the Common Core State Standards. WhatistheCommonCore.org is another helpful resource as is the Kentucky Core Academic Standards webpage on the KDE website – all helpful places for parents, educators and policymakers to obtain clear information.
 
Effectively Using Staff Make-up Days: Fun with PGES
While you may already have planned weather make-up days at the end of the school year for staff to meet contract obligations, if you haven’t (and even if you have), you may want to consider some or all of the following activities focusing on preparing staff for next year’s statewide implementation of PGES.
 
One option might be for schools and districts to consider connecting teachers with the vast array of resources and information on the Professional Growth and Effectiveness System (PGES) and doing it in a way that is fun and engaging.  For example:

 

  • Using the Student Growth and  PGES websites, have teacher teams examine what is there and create a scavenger hunt for fellow teachers.
  • Make some popcorn and watch the videos on student growth created by Kentucky educators and follow by a discussion using these questions:  What did we learn? How can that help us?
  • Delve into the district’s Model Certified Evaluation Plan. Break into sections and share out using these questions:  What does this tell us?  How are we aligned?
  • Take the FAQ & review it via a discussion.  Document any unanswered questions and submit them to KDE at teacherleader@education.ky.gov.
  • Pair share on the new PGES regulation (scheduled for consideration and approval by the Kentucky Board of Education on April 9).
Or think about these…
  • Take a deep dive into the domains of the Framework for Teaching. Mark a beach ball with the four domains and as it’s tossed around have the person who catches it explain one of the standards in that domain. Or work through the Making Connections document or the Framework Vignette Activity.
  • Hold a click off.  Divide into two teams, with a computer for each.  With one player from each team facing off for each question, see which team can navigate to the various elements of the Educator Development Suite (EDS) module in CIITS (the technology platform for PGES) the quickest.
  • Student Growth - Think and Plan Tool, Comparability, Rigor
  • Professional Growth Planning and Self-Reflection
  • Student Voice:  Review student voice survey and the analysis.  How would you honestly answer the questions?
  • Peer Observation Training
  • Play the Six Degrees of Separation -- Educator Effectiveness version.  See how few steps you can take to connect Program Reviews, the Math Design Collaborative, the Literacy Design Collaborative, Assessment Literacy, the Kentucky Core Academic Standards and the Professional Growth and Effectiveness System.
Superintendents’ Spotlight Featuring Lana Fryman, Bourbon County (Picture Attached)
Under the leadership of Superintendent Lana Fryman, the Bourbon County school district is continuing to make its mark statewide. The announcement of the 2012-13 testing scores show the school district ranked 32nd of 174 districts in the state. Four of five schools in Bourbon County are classified as Proficient and the gains during the 2012-13 school year testing cycle were very high. One of the three elementary schools ranked in the top 11 percent of elementary schools, with another elementary school in the top fourth in the state.
 
In Fryman’s time as the district’s superintendent, many physical improvements have been made in the school district. This includes the construction of 14 new classrooms, two new elementary schools, an auditorium and several other upgrades throughout the district. All school buildings also now have state-of-the-art security cameras and security systems that allow front offices to view visitors before providing them access to the school building.
 
Superintendent Fryman encourages a style of team leadership in which the opinion of all stakeholders is valued and respected. During her tenure, she has created a leadership team composed of leaders from each school, representatives from each district program and the supervisors of the central office. When decisions must be made that impact the entire school district, input is solicited from all members of the leadership team; this input is highly regarded as Fryman makes her final decision.
 
The district also has a state and national award-winning band and FFA program. North Middletown School has been named a National Blue Ribbon School while the golf, soccer and football teams repeatedly have been state contenders. While 2012-13 was a banner year, 2013-14 is looking to be even better for all of students, teachers, administrators and staff in Bourbon County!
 
Commissioner’s Blog
My blog this week is titled “United we stand, divided we fall”. It can be accessed at the following link: http://kyedcommissioner.blogspot.com/2014/04/united-we-stand-divided-we-fail.html.
 
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.
 
Terry Holliday, Ph.D.
Commissioner of Education
Kentucky Department of Education
Office 502-564-3141
Fax 502-564-5680
E-mail Terry.Holliday@education.ky.gov
Twitter @kycommissioner
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/kydeptofed