In this edition of Fast Five on Friday, you will find articles on the following:
- Correction to Misconception on the New Science Standards (no delay in implementation of the new science standards; delay will be the science assessments/use for accountability)
- Current Status of the Federal Shutdown
- Important information for public employees on health insurance (KEHP vs. kynect) (Two attachments)
- Clarification on PGES Goal in ASSIST relative to CDIPs/CSIPs
- New Webpage and Link to the Resources for the Superintendent Evaluation Report
- Reminder of Link to the Follow-up Document from the September 5th Superintendents’ Summit
- Link to Recording of Oct. 2 Superintendents’ Webcast (One attachment)
- Superintendent Spotlight Featuring Anthony Orr, Nelson County (One attachment)
- This Week’s Commissioner’s Blog
Fast Five on Friday
(Nine This Week)
Correction to Misconception on the New Science Standards – It was incorrectly reported in the KSBA news clips today that KDE is delaying the implementation of the new science standards. This is not correct.
The implementation of the standards is continuing to move forward; what KDE is pursuing is a delay of the science assessments and state accountability for the new science standards until at least 2016. This will give science educators a few years to fully transition to the new science standards before being tested and held accountable for these.
The correct information for the social studies standards and the World Language Program Review is as follows:
• KDE is pursuing a delay in the implementation of the World Language Program Review.
• KDE is pursuing a slowing down of the progress for the development of the social studies standards.
Current Status of the Federal Shutdown – As of October 1, 2013, approximately 94% of United States Department of Education (USED) staff are furloughed. In the short term, that means that communications and feedback from USED staff will be limited. However, USED grants that have been awarded to a district prior to the shutdown will continue to be available and no delay in reimbursement for these grants is expected. In addition, for child nutrition program grants through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), federal funding will continue to be available for meals served through September 30, 2013. However, meals served beginning October 1, 2013 are only expected to be eligible for reimbursement once a Federal budget is approved. In other words, if the federal shutdown continues for longer than a month, districts may face issues with getting timely reimbursement for meals served after October 1 (claims for meal reimbursement for October are typically submitted in early November). The Kentucky Department of Education will continue to monitor the situation and provide regular updates to school districts.
Important information for public employees on health insurance (KEHP vs. kynect)
– As a public employee (whether state government employee, or a school district employee, or a retiree), you may be eligible to participate in the Kentucky Employees' Health Plan (“KEHP”), a non-profit, self-funded plan that offers state health insurance benefits and flexible spending accounts to more than 280,000 members. Open enrollment for KEHP is currently underway from October 1 to October 31, 2013. In addition, as a public employee goes through this process, he or she may also have questions about how KEHP compares with the new Kentucky Health Exchange (“kynect”). Please find attached
a fact sheet that will be helpful in making comparisons between the two programs. In addition, there is also an FAQ attached
that addresses some common questions which public employees may have during the open enrollment period for KEHP. Contact information for both KEHP and kynect is listed on the fact sheet if any additional information is needed on either program.
Clarification on PGES Goal in ASSIST relative to CDIPs/CSIPs – Due to a question that came up in this week’s superintendents’ webcast on a Professional Growth and Effectiveness (PGES) goal in ASSIST, clarification is being provided on that topic. Relative to CDIPs and CSIPs, Goal 5 in ASSIST will be on PGES. During the 2013-14 school year, districts should submit the process they are using to implement the system in their schools and in the district by December 20, 2013.
KDE has published an example of what it should look like on the Continuous Improvement website at http://education.ky.gov/school/csip/Pages/default.aspx
. The items to look for on the website are called ASSIST Professional Growth and Effectiveness System, for principal (August 15, 2013) and ASSIST Professional Growth and Effectiveness System, for teacher (August 15, 2013).
Also, a corrected copy of the PowerPoint is attached
. Technical corrections have been made to slides 21 and 24.
The interactive survey will be left open until end of the day next Wednesday, Oct. 9; superintendents are asked to participate in the survey if they watch it later.
Superintendent Spotlight Featuring Anthony Orr, Nelson County (Picture Attached)
– In the Nelson County school district, the formation of an “Expect the Best” initiative is driving the effort to raise expectations throughout the district in all arenas. This can be seen in bold moves in technology, instruction and leadership capacity.
Nelson County began this effort by bringing a district-wide Wi-Fi network from almost zero to complete coverage today. Building on that success, the district became one of the first to embrace a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategy to accelerate and spread the use of technology in its classrooms.
Nelson County obtained a waiver from the Kentucky Department of Education to purchase Google Chromebooks for the purpose of experimenting with cloud computing. Last spring, we retired hundreds of “elderly” student computers and replaced them with N-computing thin client desktop units. With this move and the replacement of aging teachers’ computers, the district went from having 94 percent of computers being four-years-old and older to mostly brand new at a fraction of the expected cost.
These innovations in technology support the work to improve instruction. In Professional Learning Communities, teachers work with instructional leaders to maintain a disciplined focus on planning, instruction and assessment aligned to the Common Core. That effort is yielding positive results in student achievement and leadership capacity.
That leadership capacity is further enhanced in the Leadership in Development (LIDs) program, now in its third year of finding and developing leaders from within. Already several of the program’s participants now serve students in principal positions around the district.
Innovations in technology, focus on instructional growth, and development of leadership capacity contribute to a culture of high expectations fostered through the district-wide “Expect the Best” initiative.
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.