March 21 2014

Published: 2/24/2015 4:03 PM

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

  • Effectively Using Staff Make-up Days:  Let’s TALK Conference
  • K-3 Program Review Implementation Support Modules Now Available!
  • Professional Growth and Effectiveness System FAQ Document
  • Updated Important Due Dates For Superintendents Document Posted
  • i3 Grant Announcement - Real Priority & Blog Post
  • Topics for Next Superintendents’ Webcast
  • Superintendents’ Spotlight Featuring Kelly Sprinkles, Knox County
  • Commissioner’s Blog
  • Legislative Update, Week of March 17, 2014
Fast Five on Friday
(Nine this Week) 
Effectively Using Staff Make-up Days: Let’s TALK Conference
While resolution to missed instructional days for students remains in the hands of legislators, all proposed legislation would require adults to meet contract requirements.  So, superintendents, principals, and school councils should be preparing for additional “staff” days at the end of the year.  It is critical that teachers see this as productive time.
As one option, schools and districts may want to consider allowing teachers two days to attend the TALK Conference on June 16-17 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Louisville.  Let's TALK: Conversations about Effective Teaching and Learning, is a conference for, by and about teachers, and is sponsored by the Kentucky Department of Education, Kentucky Education Association, Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence and the Fund for Transforming Education in Kentucky.  Sessions will focus on practical strategies for implementing the Kentucky Core Academic Standards including the new science standards and on the Professional Growth and Effectiveness (PGES) system, among other topics. Participants can choose from more than 40 topics during five breakout sessions.  The TALK conference will start at 9 a.m. June 16 and conclude by 4 p.m. on June 17.  Keynote speakers include:  Kentucky Teacher of the Year Holly Bloodworth, Dr. Sharon Porter Robinson, and classroom teacher and teacher entrepreneur Ali Wright.  Additional networking sessions include Apply Hour and Small TALK. Online registration will go live April 1 and the registration fee is $50.  Schools may register groups of teachers and para- educators.
While it is up to districts to work out how to handle and verify this time as well as any expense involved, I encourage you to consider this as an excellent and productive professional learning opportunity and a way for teachers to make up two days missed due to inclement weather.
K-3 Program Review Implementation Support Modules Now Available!
The Kentucky Department of Education is pleased to announce a new free resource available to schools and districts offering guidance on the effective implementation of the K-3 Program Review. In collaboration with Kentucky Educational Television (KET), three online modules have been developed with video examples illustrating practices in Kentucky K-3 programs that support the Standards, Demonstrators, and Characteristics found in the K-3 Program Review, including the demonstrator around Kentucky Systems of Intervention/Response to Intervention. These modules will lead a school’s Program Review team through personal reflection and refinement of their process as a whole. Access the modules at:
Professional Growth and Effectiveness System FAQ Document
The ONGL staff has collected frequently asked questions as they have met with educational cooperatives and as coaches have provided support in the regions.  Thank you for asking these questions! Answers to the questions can be found at this link:  We will regularly update the FAQ as new topics/items arise.
Updated Important Due Dates For Superintendents Document Posted
KDE staff has reviewed and updated the “Important Due Dates for Superintendents Document” and it is posted on the KDE website for your use. Contact the person(s) listed for each item with any questions.
i3 Grant Announcement - Real Priority & Blog Post
This week, I received the information found below from the U.S. Department of Education regarding an i3 Grant announcement.
The U.S. Department of Education announced the start of the $134 million 2014 Investing in Innovation (i3) grant competition.  The announcement included a new set of grant priorities and a pre-application for the competition’s “development” category. The Development category, which funds grantees with promising but relatively untested ideas, has been the most popular grant category throughout the previous four i3 competitions. This year's project priorities for this category include effective use of technology, improving academic outcomes for English learners, improving academic outcomes for students with disabilities, improving the effectiveness of teachers or principals, improving low-performing schools, and serving rural communities. The Department plans to announce applications for the Validation and Scale-up categories this spring. 

The deadline for the pre-application is April 14, 2014. Following the peer review process, the Department will announce a list of the highly rated pre-applications. These pre-applicants will then be invited to apply for the Development competition and given additional time to complete their full application. To learn more about the i3 grant program and the pre-application process, please visit the i3 site:

We also wanted to share with you a copy of a blog written by McKenzie Buecker, a former intern in ED's Office of Communications and Outreach and a senior at the University of Wisconsin-River Fall.  McKenzie blogs about the expanding opportunities provided by the FFA and how the organization helped her network with agricultural leaders, interact with students from across the country and grow as an individual.

Topics for Next Superintendents’ Webcast
The next superintendents’ webcast will occur on Friday, March 28 from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. ET.  The topics for this webcast will be an NISL update, federal flexibility, a legislative update and the Professional Growth and Effectiveness System.
As usual, we will record the webcast and provide you with a link to a recording of the broadcast if you are unable to watch it live.
Superintendents’ Spotlight Featuring Kelly Sprinkles, Knox County (Picture Attached)
During his first school year as the new superintendent of the Knox County school district, Kelly Sprinkles has already put his thumb print on what he wants for the students in his district.  A native of Knox County, Sprinkles hit the ground running to define the district’s identity and plan for its future.
“It’s about giving every child a chance to be a leader and a chance at a better future,” Sprinkles said.  The district’s new mission statement is ‘Inspiring Leaders and Changing Futures…One Child at a Time’.
Sprinkles explained that the word leader does not necessarily mean a head position within a business or organization or political position; rather, it can be as simple – but as powerful – as a leader in their own home and in their own community.
That is why he is turning to students for guidance as he leads the district.  In early fall, the district issued a call for students to step up and be an advocate for their peers by joining the Superintendent Sprinkles’ Student Advisory Committee.  At its first meeting, students shared concerns and ideas for improvement.
Sprinkles states that every decision must be based on what is best for the district’s 4,500 students.  Last fall, the Knox County Board of Education entered into a lease agreement to purchase ten new air conditioned school buses, the first for the district’s transportation department which logs more than 1,000 miles per day.  At the beginning of the school year, the district launched Project Lead the Way biomedical science classes at its two high schools with the goal of meeting the need for medical professionals in the region.  A new partnership with Union College, a private liberal arts institution, also launched in August, will allow students to earn up to 29 college credit hours while in high school.  Within the next year, Knox County hopes to expand its early college initiative to include more courses and more students participating.
“One child at a time”, Sprinkles said while listing current and planned initiatives that will impact student achievement in the district.  “We will continue to seek partnerships and add opportunities that will change the future for our students and our community.”
Commissioner’s Blog
My blog this week is titled “School make-up days.”  It can be accessed at the following link:
Legislative Update, Week of March 10, 2014
Below is the legislative update for the week of March 17, 2014. Contact Tracy Herman at with any questions.
Budget Bill
The Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee heard testimony and is reviewing the House’s proposed budget to date which is HB 235.  There are only nine legislative days left for this session.
House Education Committee
The following bill passed the committee:
• HB 444 (Rep. Wayne) titles the statute, "The Michael Minger Life Safety Act."
The following bill did not pass out of the committee, but there is a possibility this bill will be reconsidered:
• HB 473 (Rep. Denham) requires school districts to have plans, policies, and procedures to deal with a student who is harassing, intimidating, cyberbullying, or bullying another student. 

Senate Education Committee
The Senate Education Committee met three times this week and the following bills passed the committee:

• HB 75 GA/SCS (Rep. Graham) expands the superintendent's training program and requires a superintendent to complete the assessment center process within two years of taking the position.  The KBE must adopt administrative regulations to govern the criteria for successful completion of the training requirements.  EMERGENCY.
• HB 79 GA/SCS (Rep. Richards) allows a local board of education to provide services to refugees and legal aliens until the student graduates or until the end of the school year in which the student reaches the age of 21, whichever occurs first.
• HB 87 GA (Rep. Yonts) requires the Office for Education and Workforce Statistics to disseminate, in cooperation with CPE and KDE, information concerning the employment rates and earnings by degrees and academic majors of graduates from the public universities.  Requires the information to be posted on the Web sites of the Office for Education and Workforce Statistics, CPE, and each public university, published in public university catalogues, and made available to every high school guidance and career counselor.
• HB 154 GA/SCS (Rep. Denham) specifies annual training requirements for school board members.  Requires certification for a person employed as a school finance officer and for the KBE to promulgate administrative regulations to specify the school finance officer certification process.
• HB 211 GA/SCS (Rep. Adkins) confirms the executive order reorganizing the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.  Also, it adds the provisions of HB 383, which defines "minimum school term," "student attendance day," "student instructional year," and "teacher professional day" and establishes a process to amend a school calendar due to an emergency.
Also, it provides emergency provisions for the 2013-2014 school year only to require a minimum of 1,062 instructional hours but provides a process to make up instructional hours missed or waive instructional hours missed.  The bill requires staff to complete all contract days.  Additionally, it allows a district to be open on primary election day if no school is used as a polling place.
 HB 254 GA (Rep. Lee) clarifies that programs for special education students extend through the school year in which they reach their twenty-first birthday.
• HB 279 GA (Rep. Denham) adds a utilization period definition for Kentucky's affordable prepaid tuition plan and limits the growth of a KAPT plan to two years after the plan's utilization period.  Sets June 30, 2028, as the closure date of the KAPT fund and office.
• HB 332 GA/SCS (Rep. Graham) defines participating agencies and schedules for implementing an early child care and education provider rating system to meet assurances in the Early Learning Challenge – Race to the Top award.  The bill requires the Early Childhood Advisory Council to provide annual progress reports to the Interim Joint Committee on Education and the Interim Joint Committee on Health and Welfare.  The bill also requires the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and the Early Childhood Advisory Council to report a plan for sustaining a quality-based system after depletion of federal funds. 
• HJR 19 (Rep. Nelson) honors Kentucky Retired Teachers by establishing the third week of October to be Kentucky Retired Teachers' Week.
• SB 168 (Sen. Wilson) includes failure to successfully meet the requirements of a corrective action plan as a reason for termination or suspension of a continuing service contract.  Also, it establishes a new process for teachers who are first hired after July 1, 2015, to achieve continuing service contract status.
SB 211 (Sen. Wilson) permits a local board of education to designate a persistently low-achieving school as a charter school and solicit applications for a governing board.  It establishes definitions and requirements for a charter school and the application process.  Also, it requires the KBE to promulgate administrative regulations for charter school appeals, implementation, and reporting.
Next Week
The House Education Committee is scheduled to meet Tuesday at 8:00 a.m. in the Capitol Annex, Room 129.
The Senate Education Committee is scheduled to meet Thursday at 11:30 a.m. in the Capitol Annex, Room 171.
HB 235 is the budget bill.  The entire executive branch budget proposal can be found on the State Budget Director’s website:
Please check the LRC website for updated daily calendars:
Also, for the most up-to-date information on committee membership, please go to the LRC’s main page:
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
Twitter @kycommissioner