In this edition of Fast Five on Friday, you will find articles on the following:
• PGES Checklist
• Superintendents’ Webcast on Monday (3:00 to 4:00 p.m. ET)
• School Calendar and Weather-Related Closures
• Governor’s Announcement of Kindergarten Readiness Data
• Superintendents’ Spotlight Featuring Tamara Smith, Fulton Independent
• Commissioner’s Blog
• Legislative Update, Week of January 21-24, 2014 (3 attachments)
Fast Five on Friday
PGES Checklist – Over the next few weeks, the regional Professional Growth and Effectiveness System (PGES) consultants will be touching base with each PGES district point of contact about implementation of PGES. The regional consultants will utilize a checklist based upon the model effectiveness plan recently distributed by the Office of Next Generation Learning. The results from the checklist will let us know which districts may need additional support or training for implementation of PGES.
Superintendents’ Webcast on Monday – Monday, January 27, from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. ET is the time scheduled for the next superintendents’ webcast. Topics include the PGES summative model for teacher effectiveness and PGES update, legislative and budget update, Districts of Innovation update, Superintendent PGES update, coop directors’ meeting update and K-Screener opportunities.
The link to access the webcast along with the PowerPoint will be sent to you on Monday prior to the broadcast.
As usual, we will record the webcast and send you a link to the broadcast if you are not able to watch it live.
School Calendar and Weather-Related Closures – The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) has received many inquires about whether districts must make up the recent missed school days due to inclement weather.
Under HB 265 (2012), districts are required to provide no less than 1,062 hours of instruction during the 2013-14 school year. In addition to the minimum 1,062-hour instructional term, the school calendar is required to include make-up days equal to the greatest number of days missed systemwide in the local school district over the preceding five school years. As a general rule, KDE encourages districts to provide the maximum instructional days and hours for the benefit of students.
Only under extreme conditions will a district be excused from the 1,062-hour instructional term. Once a school district has missed more than 20 regular instructional days systemwide and has scheduled to make up at least the first 20 instructional days missed, the district may appeal to the commissioner of education to use districtwide disaster days. KDE will do all that it can to assist districts in meeting the calendar requirements. We encourage every district to work within the current guidelines to comply with the calendar requirements.
During past legislative sessions, the General Assembly has made provision for the commissioner of education to approve a calendar waiver due to unanticipated hardships. Currently, the commissioner of education does not have waiver authority for the 2013-14 school year. KDE will continue to track and monitor all legislation during the current General Assembly session that pertains to education, including any dealing with the making up of missed school days.
Governor’s Public Announcement of Kindergarten Readiness Data – Next week (currently 2:00 p.m. ET on Jan. 30), I will join Governor Beshear to publicly announce the results from the 2013 kindergarten readiness screener. Districts have already received their results.
The emphasis going forward should be for local school districts to meet with early childhood providers to review the results and identify ways to partner to improve the readiness levels across different early childhood programs. We will expand on this during Monday’s superintendents’ webcast.
Also, districts are reminded that while we measure kindergarten readiness of each child, we also measure the school readiness through the K-3 program review. The early childhood initiative is a major part of the Governor’s budget request and is also emphasized with the recent Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grant.
Superintendents’ Spotlight Featuring Tamara Smith, Fulton Independent (Picture Attached)
The Fulton Independent school district is working diligently to improve test scores through Program Reviews, Response to Intervention, test practice and an intentional focus on student achievement. The district has developed a name and claim system where teachers specifically target individual students who need extra work to improve test scores and benchmarks for college- and career-readiness. Students may stay after school, come before school or meet with teachers during open opportunities to master core content subject matter. Fulton Independent also has community support and mentors coming to the school to meet with students, and help with barriers that may be standing in their way.
The new Professional Growth and Effectiveness System (PGES) is being implemented with staff, and will be piloted by the entire staff in the 2014-15 school year. The district also is working to implement a new principal evaluation system and the new superintendent evaluation tool. It is a year of many changes in our district and across the state since the waiver of No Child Left Behind was granted.
The elementary school primary program is using a new program called Shurley English, which impacts the students in the areas of English and writing. Students begin diagramming sentences at a very early age, and the work gets progressively harder as they change grade levels. The high school students also are using vocabulary books to boost their English and writing skills, and the district hopes to see a difference in these tested areas. These programs need to be implemented school-wide; however, with cuts in state and federal funding, the district does not have the funds to implement a school-wide program without restoration of funding cuts from the legislature.
Fulton Independent is delighted to offer a three-hour after school program for students. Bulldogs Beyond the Bell, or B3, gives participating students educational opportunities beyond the classroom. The district’s students also are taking more dual credit classes throughout high school.
Superintendent Smith’s goal for the district is two-fold: 1. All Fulton Independent students will be able to realize their dreams and 2. The district will make the top 50 districts deemed college- and career-ready in the state. If that happens, there is no doubt that student achievement will be just one area this district will be able to promote.
Legislative Update, Week of January 21-24, 2014 – Below is a summary of this week’s legislative activity.
Governor’s Budget Address
Governor Beshear presented his budget proposal to the General Assembly on Tuesday night. The House of Representatives now takes up the budget with the budget review subcommittees vetting the executive branch budget requests and the Governor’s proposal. HB 235
is the budget bill. A copy of the Governor’s speech
and a fact sheet
Also, the entire executive branch budget proposal can be found on the State Budget Director’s website:http://www.osbd.ky.gov/
K-12 highlights include:
Increase SEEK Funding and Provide Teacher Pay Raises
Provides $188.9 million in funding over the biennium for SEEK, the per pupil classroom funding formula. This SEEK increase includes a 2% pay raise for teachers and all local school district personnel in FY15, and a 1% pay raise in FY16. Gov. Beshear also proposed to raise the guaranteed base funding per pupil from $3,827 in Fiscal Year 2014 to $3,911 in Fiscal Year 2015 and $3,981 in Fiscal Year 2016.
Funding for Textbooks, Professional Development, Extended School Services, School Safety and Technology (Flex Focus)
Includes $95.4 million over the biennium for textbooks, professional development, extended school services and safe schools.
Funding for Preschool
Provides $36 million over the biennium to expand preschool services to serve 5,125 more 4-year-olds by increasing eligibility from 150 percent of the poverty level to 160 percent.
Provides $50 million in bonding for school technology needs.
Includes $2 million to sustain and expand to ten more schools to participate in AdvanceKentucky, a program for high school students that helps expand access to college-level work in high school.
Provides an additional $2 million for Western Kentucky University’s Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science to add 80 students to the program.
Funding School Construction and Maintenance
Allocates full funding of the debt service for $100 million in offers of assistance made to 173 school districts under the authorization of the 2012-14 budget bill and authorizes for the state’s School Facilities Construction Commission to make another $100 million in offers of assistance. This funding goes to help build new schools and maintain existing buildings.
Bills this week:House Health and Welfare Committee
The following bill was amended in committee and passed:HB 98
(Rep. Damron) permits student self-treatment of diabetes symptoms in school settings. The committee substitute deleted emergency administration requirements and the requirement to maintain an additional trained school employee to be on duty.
House Education Committee
The following bills were passed out of committee:SB 16
(Sen. Givens) allows computer programming language courses to be accepted as meeting foreign language requirements in the public schools.
(Sen. Givens) prohibits the withholding of support education excellence in Kentucky funds as a punitive measure.
The House Education Committee has released its agenda and it is attached
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.