May 2 2014

Published: 5/5/2014 10:27 AM

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


• Recalibration for Principals for PGES 2014-15
• 2014 ISLN/KLA Joint Summer Conference
• PowerPoint for and Link to Recording of the April 30 Superintendents’ Webcast
• No Superintendents’ Webcast in May
• Textbook Guidance for 2014-15/2015-16 Textbook Allocation
• Summer Reading Resources
• Effectively using staff make-up days: Let’s TALK Conference
• New Eligibility Requirement for Kentucky State-Funded Preschool: Guidance for School Districts
• 2014 Regular Session – Summary of Enacted Legislation
• Superintendents’ Spotlight Featuring Keith Davis, Bullitt County
• Commissioner’s Blog

Fast Five on Friday
(Eleven This Week)
 
Recalibration for Principals for PGES 2014-15
A question arose at the recent Superintendents’ Advisory Council meeting about recalibration for principals for 2014-15.  See below:
 
1)   If a district is using PGES for personnel decisions in 2014-2015, we strongly recommend recalibration to ensure the absence of recalibration could not be a reason for an appeal of an employment decision or of the process.
2)   If a district is not using PGES for personnel decisions in 2014-2015 but the principal has been certified in the last 15 months, the principal does not need to recertify for 2014-2015.
3)   Those who have not become certified and will be evaluating/observing teachers must have initial certification.
 
Please direct any questions to Amanda.ellis@education.ky.gov.
 
2014 ISLN/KLA Joint Summer Conference
Please save the date on your calendars for the 2014 ISLN/KLA Joint Summer Conference. The dates are June 26-27 and it will be held in Lexington. See the attached flyer for details.
 
PowerPoint for and Link to Recording of the April 30 Superintendents’ Webcast
If you were unable to participate in this week’s, April 30, superintendents’ webcast, you can access a recording of it at the following link:  http://mediaportal.education.ky.gov/leadership/commissioner/2014/05/superintendent-webcast-april-2014/.
 
The PowerPoint for the broadcast is attached.
 
Please remember to participate in the interactive survey that was administered during the webcast.  The survey will be left open until close of business on Friday, May 9.
 
No Superintendents’ Webcast in May
Due to end-of-year activities in your schools and districts that we don’t want to interrupt, KDE will not be holding a superintendents’ webcast in May. We will notify you when these will resume.
 
I very much appreciate your participation in these broadcasts and hope that you find them useful.
 
Textbook Guidance for 2014-15/2015-16 Textbook Allocation
KDE will allow districts to spend Instructional Resources funds on instructional resources for any subject area they deem necessary to meet the needs of their district instructional plans. “Instructional resource” means any print, non-print, or electronic medium of instruction designed to assist students (704 KAR 3:455).
 
If textbook funds are left in Flex-Focus, the same restrictions on purchases apply.  However, if a district chooses, as allowed by the General Assembly, to move funds from Flex-Focus to the General Fund in order to spend on restricted instructional resources such as technology and consumables, the restrictions do not apply.
 
For more information on what instructional resource funds can be used for, if left in Flex-Focus, go to http://education.ky.gov/curriculum/books/Documents/Updated%20Approved-Not%20Approved%20Supplemental%20July%202013.pdf.
 
Thoughts to add to the process as you make these decisions:  The General Assembly allocated funds for instructional resources.  If the district is not purchasing textbooks, the district needs to be very transparent and educate district personnel and the community as to how instructional resources funds allocated are being used to support instruction in ways other than purchasing textbooks.  Some staff and community may think the funding is only for textbooks.  Having intentional messaging and tracking of funds will help support continued funding for the future.  Local school districts that utilize these funds for general operating expenses shall report to the Kentucky Department of Education and the Interim Joint Committee on Education on an annual basis the amount of each program funding source utilized for general operating expenses.
 
KDE will provide districts with the tools they need to conduct their own evaluations of basal resources. Districts do this now with the District Off-List Notification process for subject areas with no current State Multiple List (Language Arts, Reading and Literature; Social Studies; Arts and Humanities).
 
Evaluation instruments (approved by the State Textbook Commission) are currently available for all subject areas. A new evaluation instrument for language arts, reading and literature was approved September 2013 based on current Kentucky Core Academic Standards for that subject area. A new tool for science (based on new KCAS science standards) should be ready and approval sought from the State Textbook Commission in June, 2014. As new standards for social studies and arts/humanities are adopted, new evaluation tools will be created for those subject areas (fall 2014).  Other tools are currently available to assist in the evaluation of ELA and Mathematics basal resources from CCSSO partner organizations. Some of these are listed below.
 
 
KDE will streamline the Off-List Notification process and place it online, providing automated responses since so many will need to use this option.
 
KRS 156.439 states the district’s allocation shall be used by schools to purchase “textbooks and programs not on the state’s recommended list, if notification is submitted to the Department of Education that the material meets the selection criteria of the State Textbook Commission.”
 
KRS 156.445 (2) states “a school council, or if none exists, the principal, may notify, through the superintendent, the State Textbook Commission that it plans to adopt a basal textbook or program that is not on the recommended list, by submitting evidence that the title it has chosen meets the selection criteria of the State Textbook Commission.”
 
The current practice is for the school/district to submit to KDE a packet of paperwork completed by the school/district evaluation team, the district textbook coordinator, and the publisher. KDE then indicates receipt of the items and files them. The district stores a file, as well. KDE has created a short online form for district textbook coordinators to complete that indicates they have completed the necessary paperwork and it is on file at the district level.
 
The plan above would be in place through June 30, 2016 when the last contracts for textbooks end (Practical Living, Career Studies, Career and Technical Education – 2010-2016) and would potentially phase out the current adoption cycle model. The interim (2014-2016) allows time for a review of statutes and regulations to adjust/improve the process for acquisition of basal instructional materials for Kentucky students.
 
If you have questions, please contact Kathy Mansfield at Kathy.mansfield@education.ky.gov or 502-564-2106.
 
Summer Reading Resources
First Lady of Kentucky, Jane Beshear, joins with the Kentucky Department of Education in supporting the Kentucky Public Libraries’ Summer Reading Programs. This year’s themes are “Fizz, Boom, Read!” (children) and “Spark a Reaction!” (teens).
 
A letter to parents from Mrs. Beshear has been sent to school librarians to share, encouraging families to support reading throughout the summer months. Watch and share a brief video from Mrs. Beshear at this link.
 
Teachers and parents are encouraged to help children use “Find a Book, KY” to build personal reading lists for summer reading and then locate their selections at their school library or local public library. “Find a Book, KY” uses the widely-adopted Lexile® measure to match a reader with books that will provide the right level of challenge to support reading growth. School librarians and public librarians are ready to assist children and their parents as they make summer reading selections. While on the “Find a Book, KY” website, be sure to submit your “Pledge to Read” for summer 2014.
 
Find more information on the Kentucky Department of Education’s “Summer Reading” Web page. Each school’s certified school librarian has additional resources to promote Summer Reading Programs. For more information about specific activities, contests, and reading events for the Summer Reading Program in your county, contact your local public library
 
Contact Kathy Mansfield via e-mail at kathy.mansfield@education.ky.gov with any questions. 
 
Effectively using staff make-up days: Let’s TALK Conference
Just a reminder that if you are planning for your end of the year professional learning, one option might be for schools and districts 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. on June 16 and conclude by 4 p.m. on June 17. You may register online. 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 suggest that this would be an excellent and productive professional learning opportunity for teachers to make up two days missed due to inclement weather. For more information on the conference and a list of breakout sessions, click here.
 
New Eligibility Requirement for Kentucky State-Funded Preschool Guidance for School Districts
Note:  This guidance has been updated to reflect the budget language effective date and in response to feedback from the field, with further explanation for at risk students and students with disabilities.
 
What Changed?
As a result of House Bill 235, changes were made to the Kentucky State-Funded Preschool Program. A new minimum age requirement for state-funded preschool students will take effect July 15, 2014, moving from October 1 to August 1. Beginning in school year 2014-15, children who are four (4) years old by August 1 are age-eligible for the state-funded preschool program. In addition, the income eligibility requirement will change from 150% of poverty in 2014-15 to 160% of poverty in 2015-16.
 
School Year 2014-15:
     Preschool - Age 4 on or before 8/1/2014; Date of Birth: 8/2/2009-8/1/2010
     Kindergarten - Age 5 on or before 10/1/2014; Date of Birth: 10/2/2008-10/1/2009
 
School Year 2015-16:
     Preschool - Age 4 on or before 8/1/2015; Date of Birth: 8/2/2010-8/1/2011
     Kindergarten - Age 5 on or before 10/1/2015; Date of Birth: 10/2/2009-10/1/2010
 
School Year 2016-17:
     Preschool - Age 4 on or before 8/1/2016; Date of Birth: 8/2/2011-8/1/2012
     Kindergarten - Age 5 on or before 10/1/2016; Date of Birth: 10/2/1010-10/1/2011
 
School Year 2017-18:
     Preschool - Age 4 on or before 8/1/2017; Date of Birth: 8/2/2012-8/1/2013
     Kindergarten - Age 5 on or before 8/1/2017; Date of Birth: 10/2/2011-8/1/2012*
 
School Year 2018-19:
     Preschool - Age 4 on or before 8/1/2018; Date of Birth: 8/2/2013-8/1/2014
     Kindergarten - Age 5 on or before 8/1/2018; Date of Birth: 8/2/2012-8/1/2013*
 
What options are there for children turning four after August 1?
Districts should support families of non-eligible young children with existing strategies and resources, including referrals to child care and Head Start, tuition options for preschool if space is available, and child development materials such as the Early Childhood Parent Guides.
 
Preschool eligibility for state-funded preschool may be determined up to four (4) months prior to the start of school (704 KAR 3:410). Some districts have already started the enrollment process for 2014-15. What about at-risk children turning four by October 1 who are enrolled four months in advance of 2014-15?  Can they still attend preschool next year?  Yes, if eligibility is determined under the guidelines in 704 KAR 3:401 and by July 15, 2014 (the effective date of the budget language).  However, it should be explained to parents that students have only one year of eligibility for preschool.  In 2015, when students are age eligible for both programs, the student must transition to Kindergarten or a private setting.  Districts should inform families of enrollment options and the repercussions of enrollment decisions.
 
Income eligible students who turn four (4) between August 2 and October 1, 2014, who choose not to attend preschool in 2014-15, will be eligible for both preschool and kindergarten in the 2015-16 school year. Parents may choose the best enrollment option for their child; districts will not receive funding for both. 
 
How about preschool children with disabilities?
School districts are required to provide instruction to children, aged three (3) to twenty-one (21) with disabilities based on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Kentucky special education regulations (707 KAR 1:002-1:380).  Existing practice regarding incoming three year olds will not change.  If a current preschool student with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) turns five between August 2 and October 1, 2014 he or she would be eligible for both preschool and kindergarten.  In this case, the Admissions and Release Committee (ARC) would determine the placement, based on individual student need.  The student could be eligible for an additional year of preschool.  It is recommended that children in this scenario transition to kindergarten with similar aged peers.
 
What about children turning four between August 1 and October 1, 2014. Will they be eligible for state-funded preschool AND kindergarten in 2015-16?
Some children will turn five between August 1 and October 1, 2015, meaning they will be eligible for state-funded preschool AND kindergarten in the 2015-16 school year.  However, districts cannot simultaneously enroll these children in both programs; a decision must be made to enroll in one program or the other.  Decisions must be made locally, and schools should work closely with families to meet the learning needs of each child entering school. Children develop at different rates across the learning continuum, and schools must be ready to meet children where they are developmentally.
 
What about Head Start and school district full utilization agreements?
Each year school districts and Head Start providers agree to fully utilize Head Start funds and avoid supplanting federal funds being used to provide services to children with state funds. Since Head Start is required to follow the date used by school districts to determine eligibility, some partnerships may need to adjust full utilization agreement numbers based on the number of four year olds currently served with birthdates between August 1 and October 1. 
 
What about income eligibility for preschool?
School districts must determine income eligibility of four year-old students.  Beginning in school year 2015-16, children who meet 160% of federal poverty income requirement will be eligible for preschool. School districts should update recruitment processes and materials to reflect this change, as well as enrollment applications.  
 
School Year 2014-15:
     Preschool - 150% of federal povery and resident of district
 
School Year 2015-16:
     Preschool - 160% of federal poverty and resident of district
 
School Year 2016-17:
     Preschool - 160% of federal povery and resident of district
 
School Year 2017-18:
     Preschool - 160% of federal poverty and resident of district
 
School Year 2018-19:
     Preschool - 160% of federal poverty and resident of district
  
How will the preschool students be identified in Infinite Campus/Kentucky’s Student Information System (KSIS)?
KDE is in the process of updating the data standards to detail how preschool students should be identified and tracked in Infinite Campus.  Updates to requirements will be communicated with districts through KSIS alerts and notifications, KSIS newsletters, and KSIS training. These changes will be reviewed in detail during the 2014-15 KSIS Beginning of Year (BOY) training being scheduled this summer.  There will be new procedures for enrolling preschool students based on new requirements.  This will include examples and scenarios and will be posted on the School Readiness web page by June 30, 2014.
 
A sample parent letter is attached as requested.
 
Any questions, please contact Bill Buchanan, School Readiness Branch at (502) 564-7056, ext. 4702 or via e-mail at bill.buchanan@education.ky.gov
 
2014 Regular Session – Summary of Enacted Legislation
Attached is a summary of all legislation that passed impacting elementary and secondary education.  If you have any questions, please contact Tracy Goff-Herman at (502) 564-4474 ext. 4815 or tracy.herman@education.ky.gov.
 
Superintendents’ Spotlight Featuring Keith Davis, Bullitt County (Picture)
The Bullitt County school district is anything but a normal school district. Bullitt County is fortunate to have a group of educational leaders and teachers in this district who are never satisfied with the status quo. It has become a part of the district’s culture over the last several years to be constantly vigilant for a better way to do what is currently done and always to look for new ways to expand learning for students so they are able to seize opportunities the future will present to them.
 
The development of that culture has not been an accident. In 2007, the Bullitt County Board of Education was determined to make some significant changes to this district’s academic results. The district had long been focused on dealing with somewhat explosive enrollment growth and the academic mission and focus of schools suffered.
 
Bullitt County’s culture now has no room for those who wish to coast under the radar and expend minimal effort without care about student performance.  The great teachers who were lurking in the shadows before have become some of our strongest leaders; many have done this by becoming instructional coaches, others by moving into the principal role, and still others are leading from their classroom and in professional learning communities.
 
In the past few years, the district has started the model Bullitt Advanced Math and Science program where students concurrently earn their diploma and a postsecondary associate’s degree; each high school has an application-based cohort program called College Credit Advanced Placement (CCAP) where students can earn 30 hours of college credit; the district has reformed the Alternative School and is now successfully transitioning kids back to their home school; and the district has instituted a FlexSchool at each high school for credit recovery and acceleration in an electronic and flexible learning environment.
 
In addition, Bullitt County has reconstituted our gifted and talented program to make it more rigorous, relevant and fun and are in the construction phase of a College and Career Center at each of the district’s three high schools, which will offer a signature program at each school, serve dual use for our local community college in the evenings and much more.
 
Bullitt County has a vision of becoming the leader in educational excellence. The district is not there yet, but is moving forward.
 
Commissioner’s Blog
My blog this week is titled “Congressional inaction leaving education behind” and focuses on No Child Left Behind waivers and the long overdue reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.  It can be accessed at this link
 
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.