July 11 2014

Published: 2/24/2015 2:56 PM
​In this edition of Fast Five on Friday, you will find articles on the following:
• USED Provides School Counselor Supports
• Changes to Emergency Plans per SB 8/HB 354; Elements Added to ASSIST (report due Nov. 1)
• Kentucky FBLA Winners
• EDS Version 16.0 Released July 8
• Have you registered for #PGES4Me?
• 2013-14 Minority Educator Recruitment and Retention (MERR) Report Due on or Before July 31
• Next Superintendents’ Webcast on August 5
• Superintendents’ Spotlight Featuring Joe Tinius, Bowling Green Independent
• Commissioner’s Blog
Fast Five on Friday
(Nine This Week)
USED Provides School Counselor Supports
Recently, I received a letter from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan about the extremely important role of school counselors in empowering all students to meet the academic and career preparation demands of the 21st century. He emphasized that for our neediest students, counselors provide expert and accessible guidance to assist them in navigating a challenging and complicated college admissions and career preparation landscape.
Secretary Duncan urged state (SEAs) and local education agencies (LEAs) “. . . to support their school counselors by providing them the time, space and resources they need to work effectively on behalf of students and not over burden them with non-counseling duties that can distract from their core work and ultimately leave students without the individualized attention needed to complete academic course work, successfully navigate the college admissions and financial aid processes and/or prepare them for productive careers.” He went on to say that “. . . a systemic and sustainable approach to supporting school counselors in meeting increased professional demands should include consideration of how federal funds and programs can help improve and expand the reach of school counselors.” To assist with this, a list of federal initiatives and programs that may support the hiring, development, and retention of effective school counselors was included in his communication and is attached
In closing, the Secretary urged “. . . SEAs and LEAs to use the summer months to strategize and develop policies and programs that enable school counselors to become more effective at helping greater numbers of students—especially low-income students, minority students, students with disabilities, and English learners—successfully access postsecondary education or career opportunities.” 
Changes to Emergency Plans per SB 8/HB 354; Elements Added to ASSIST (report due Nov. 1)
During the 2013 legislative session, the Kentucky General Assembly passed Senate Bill 8/House Bill 354 to ensure that our schools are safer places for students and staff to work and learn. The passage of SB 8/HB 354 required changes to emergency plan requirements, the development of school safety practices, and additional severe weather, lockdown and earthquake drills. This bill also requires district superintendents to verify to the Kentucky Department of Education that all school districts are in compliance with these requirements. 
Again, for the 2014-15 school year the compliance piece is in place and has been assigned to each school district in ASSIST. This task can be found on the Portfolio page for the district in ASSIST. The task will appear as reflected in the screenshot below:
2014-2015 School Year:
Days Past Due      Due Date                      Status                              Document
                           September 30, 2014       In Progress               KDE District Funding Assurances 2014-2015
                           November 1, 2014          Not Started               State Schools Report

The submission date for this report to KDE is November 1, 2014. Please ensure that this information reaches the appropriate people in your district in order to complete the task in a timely manner. 
Support for completing the Safe Schools Report in ASSIST can be found at SB8/HB354 Safe Schools Statute. This link provides historical information and a technical guide for completing this diagnostic in ASSIST.
If you have any questions or require additional information, please feel free to contact Ginger Kinnard at ginger.kinnard@education.ky.gov or at (502) 564-3791, ext. 4048.
Kentucky FBLA Winners
Kentucky FBLA has just returned from the 2014 FBLA National Leadership Conference in Nashville where the conference had a record number of attendees, 10,315. Kentucky FBLA had 460 members and advisers in attendance. I am very proud to say that Kentucky was well represented at this conference with 24 award winners (14 in the top five), 4 state membership awards, and 2 professional division awards. See the press release that identifies the winners at:  http://education.ky.gov/comm/news/Documents/R14-059%20FBLA%20national%20winners.pdf.
EDS Version 16.0 Released July 8
The Educator Development Suite (EDS) was improved on July 8 when the 16.0 update was released. The most improved features for teachers and principals can be found in the observation tool. A second major new feature is that principals can now begin to use EDS to reflect and record aspects of the Principal Professional Growth and Effectiveness System (PPGES). Each of the sources of evidence within PGES will be updated in some way in the 16.0 release.
Specific changes are outlined in this EDS 16.0 Update Chart. Quick Reference Cards (QRCs) and Tech Tip Videos are available on the new EDS webpage to assist in navigation of the changes. If you have any questions, please contact Cathy White, EDS Product Manager, at cathy.white@education.ky.gov.

Have you registered for #PGES4Me?
The official launch of the Professional Growth and Effectiveness System will take place July 21 at Southland Christian Church on Richmond Road in Lexington from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET. Come join us to receive the benefits of in-person training, small group sessions, networking opportunities, live facilitators, and the opportunity to earn PD and EILA credit. #PGES4Me is open to all Kentucky educators and education stakeholders.
Click here for registration instructions.
The simulcast also will be made available for viewing from any location on July 21. A link will be sent out in advance to view the simulcast. A backchannel, an online question and answer platform, will be open during the simulcast to take questions from those watching remotely. The simulcast also will be archived and available for school and district use starting July 22.
Please contact Kevin Stull at kevin.stull@education.ky.gov with any questions.
2013-14 Minority Educator Recruitment and Retention (MERR) Report Due on or Before July 31
Pursuant to 704 KAR 7:130 and KRS 160.380(2) (d), districts are required each year to submit a Minority Educator Recruitment and Retention (MERR) report of the district’s efforts to increase the percentage of minority educators. The reporting cycle for the 2013-14 MERR data report is July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014. The 2013-14 MERR data collection must be submitted to the Kentucky Department of Education via a web application on or before July 31, 2014.
Step-by-step procedures are provided in the Kentucky Educator Placement Services (KEPS) on the “MERR Home” page. To access the web application login as a district user, use the following link: https://applications.education.ky.gov/KEPs/default.aspx. Then, go to the “DISTRICTS” tab and select “MERR Home”.
To improve data quality, staff responsible for KEPS data management systems must review all vacancies posted during this time period before completing the MERR report. For details, see the document attached to this e-mail.
Once all postings and the hiring data have been reviewed and updated for accuracy, proceed with completing the MERR recruitment plan. The superintendent or superintendent designee must complete the MERR report and sign-off on the recruitment plan by July 31.
*In an effort to ensure data integrity and secure each district’s report, please remove the rights from any staff except the superintendent and superintendent designees. To acquire a current list of KEPS users go to the KEPS home page; then click on the “DISTRICTS” tab and select “KEPS Users”. To make changes to the KEPS users, contact your district Web Application Administrator Point of Contact (WAPPOC) or the KETS Helpdesk at ketshelpdesk@education.ky.gov.
If you need assistance with the MERR report, contact Candace Souder with the Division of Next Generation Professionals at candace.souder@education.ky.gov or (502) 564-1479, ext. 4535.
Next Superintendents’ Webcast on Aug. 5
After a break for the summer, KDE will be resuming the superintendents’ webcast on August 5 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. ET. We will address some back-to-school issues, the national dropout conference and the new district finance report card.
Please put this date on your calendar.  As usual, if you cannot participate in the live webcast, we will record it and provide a link for you to access it later.
Superintendents’ Spotlight Featuring Joe Tinius, Bowling Green Independent (Picture)
The Bowling Green Independent school district upholds strong tradition and high expectations, working toward the ultimate goal of preparing students for their future. In this district, the well-known motto is “Excellence Is Worth The Effort.”
All students, employees and alumni of Bowling Green Independent are part of the “Purple Family,” which is based on the Purple Spirit mascot of Bowling Green High School. Starting as “Itty Bitty Purples” in preschool and then moving through high school and beyond, the unified team effort and family-like culture creates a cohesive, supportive community to work together, celebrate all accomplishments and sustain the tradition of excellence. 
The district is guided by four primary goals and expectations: building relationships, engaging students, teaching 21st century skills, and personal and professional growth. Nine years ago, with guidance from many stakeholders, the district moved away from an emphasis on test scores to focus on the true purpose: the individual students. Although data is studied to support teaching and learning, the district puts much more intentional focus on building relationships to address student needs, providing both extra help and resources when needed and affording opportunities for students to excel beyond the classroom.
One professional growth opportunity developed by Bowling Green Independent that is supported by the district’s goals and expectations is called Learning From One Another. The program allows half of all teachers to visit and observe in other schools within the district each year. Elementary teachers spend 1/2 day in an elementary school other than their own, and the other 1/2 in a secondary school. Secondary teachers visit 1/2 day in another secondary school and 1/2 in an elementary school. Schools rotate sending visitors monthly and discuss their experiences at a faculty meeting. Learning From One Another encourages a deeper understanding of the district as a whole, builds relationships, and fosters best practice dialogue among employees.
Commissioner’s Blog
My blog this week is titled “Closing the Opportunity Gap” and can be viewed at: http://kyedcommissioner.blogspot.com/2014/07/closing-opportunity-gap.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