September 27 2013

Published: 10/7/2013 9:22 AM
In this edition of Fast Five on Friday, you will find articles on the following:
 
    • Time Magazine Common Core Story
    • Op-Ed from Governor Beshear and Commissioner Holliday on Common Core in Response to a Previously-Released Lane Report Opinion Piece (Attachment)
    • Superintendent ASSIST Tool Resources Coming Soon
    • Watch for September 5th Superintendents’ Summit Question and Answer Document and  Executive Summary in Monday E-mail
    • How to Receive EILA Credit for the Sept. 5th Superintendents’ Summit
    • Next Superintendents’ Webcast (Oct. 2, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon ET)
    • Superintendent Spotlight Featuring Steve Gilmore, Ashland Independent
    • Commissioner’s Blog
 
Fast Five on Friday
(Eight This Week)
 
Time Magazine Common Core Story – On Saturday, September 21, Time magazine released a story titled “The New Smart Set:  What happens when millions of kids are asked to master fewer things more deeply?”  Kentucky and its educational progress are prominently featured within the story.
 
Amanda Ripley, the article’s author, interviewed students, teachers, and state level education leaders, including Commissioner Holliday, on Kentucky’s implementation of the Kentucky Core Academic Standards (Common Core Standards) over the past three years.  The rigor of the standards is emphasized along with how these have improved learning in the classroom to focus at a deeper level on fewer but critical standards.
 
Kentucky is characterized as a leader in the implementation of the standards and its progress is receiving national attention.  The article emphasizes the need for increased rigor when comparing the United States to international performance and how these standards can help this occur across the states.  It also points out many pieces of misinformation that have been spread about the standards.
 
If you have a subscription to Time, you can access it now, but the magazine will make the article available free of charge in a couple of weeks and I will send you the link to it once available.
 
Op-Ed from Governor Beshear and Commissioner Holliday on Common Core in Response to a Previously-Released Lane Report Opinion Piece Attached is an Op-Ed article on Common Core from Governor Beshear and I that will be appearing in the Lane Report during October in response to a guest opinion piece that the Lane Report published recently.  This is designed to refute the inaccuracies of the previous article that Lane published.
 
Superintendent ASSIST Tool Resources Coming Soon – Be on the lookout very soon for an e-mail that will contain valuable information on how to access the training materials for completion of the Superintendent Evaluation Report in ASSIST.  Once you receive it, you will know that the Superintendent Evaluation Report is now a live component within ASSIST.
Superintendents or their designees should view and become familiar with the ASSIST training tools prior to beginning the ASSIST upload process involving the Superintendent Evaluation Report.
 
We thank the superintendents in Edmonson, Boone, Simpson, Carroll, Lee, Fayette, Gallatin and Daviess Counties for volunteering to provide feedback during the development process.
It is our goal to provide an instructional step-by-step webcast, screenshots, and supplemental tools to help you capture and upload the valuable evidence and conversations that are ongoing with your local boards of education on the topics that have been requested.
 
Please contact Dr. Tommy Floyd for any questions you might have after viewing the training materials at (502) 564-3141 or via e-mail at Tommy.Floyd@education.ky.gov.
 
Watch for September 5th Superintendents’ Summit Question and Answer Document and Executive Summary in Monday E-mail – As promised, we will be sending out a detailed Question and Answer document compiled from the comments you gave us at the September 5th Superintendents’ Summit along with an Executive Summary as part of the next Monday E-mail.  Please make sure you watch for this document and review it for the responses to your questions from KDE staff.
 
We appreciated all of the feedback and will continue to listen to your suggestions throughout the year.
 
How to Receive EILA Credit for the Sept. 5th Superintendents’ Summit – If you attended the Sept. 5th  Superintendents’ Summit and wish to receive EILA credit for attending, contact Dr. Tommy Floyd, KDE Chief of Staff, at tommy.floyd@education.ky.gov.  He can generate the certificate you need and send it directly to you.
 
Next Superintendents’ Webcast – I hope you will participate in next week’s superintendents’ webcast on October 2 from 11 a.m. to 12 noon ET.  Topics will include the assessment score release; follow-up to the September 5th Superintendents’ Summit, CSIP/CDIP due dates and resources, release of the ASSIST video and access to ASSIST tools, and a PGES update.
 
We will be sending you the PowerPoint for the webcast next week in advance along with the link to join the webcast.  During the broadcast, questions can be e-mailed to: maryann.miller@education.ky.gov.
 
As usual, if you cannot join the broadcast live, we will send you a link afterwards.
 
Superintendent Spotlight Featuring Steve Gilmore, Ashland IndependentAttached Photo
In the Ashland Independent school district, scores on EXPLORE, PLAN, and ACT assessments have shown consistent student improvement the past few years. Average scores have increased at a rate higher than the state for almost all content areas and tests, with the greatest increases coming at the high school level on the ACT.
 
In addition, the percentage of students meeting benchmarks has also increased significantly (at a rate higher than the state’s) with double-digit gains in multiple areas on the EXPLORE and ACT. These results show the positive effect our strategies have had on the college-readiness of our students.
 
District attendance rates have improved consistently over the past five years. The attendance rate in 2012-13 was the highest since before 2001. In addition, the district is being much more effective in convincing students to stay in school until graduation. The number of students who dropped out of school in 2012-13 was 26 fewer than in 2008-09, representing an overall decrease in the dropout rate of 1.8 percent. The actual dropout rate (0.6 percent) was the lowest since 1995-96. 
 
Other innovative programs and initiatives in the district include:
• The Ashland Independent Early College Program, a partnership with Ashland Community and Technical College;
• A dual credit program at Paul G. Blazer High School in conjunction with both Morehead State University and Ashland Community & Technical College;
• Continued implementation of a federal Safe Schools/Healthy Students grant which provides additional programs and services to students such as mental health services, more school social workers available for students, improved school safety at all campuses and nurses in every district elementary school;
• Continuing to rise ACT scores at Paul G. Blazer High School as a result of a school-wide cultural change when it comes to assessments; and
• Technology upgrades such as replacement of aging equipment, providing a secure wireless environment for students and staff members, interactive classrooms, implementation of cloud services and continuous technology professional development opportunities for teachers and school staff.
 
Commissioner’s Blog – This week’s blog it titled “Results show progress; work to be done”.  You can access it at:  http://kyedcommissioner.blogspot.com/2013/09/results-show-progress-work-to-be-done.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