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Board discusses transforming assessments to improve instruction

New Kentucky Board of Education members Debra Cook and Samuel Hinkle were sworn in by Judge Phillip Shepherd during the board's annual retreat in Frankfort.  Photo by Amy Wallot, Aug. 6, 2014

New Kentucky Board of Education members Debra Cook and Samuel Hinkle were sworn in by Judge Phillip Shepherd during the board’s annual retreat in Frankfort.
Photo by Amy Wallot, Aug. 6, 2014

At its annual retreat this week, the Kentucky Board of Education discussed a new approach to assessments meant to more accurately measure students’ higher level skills and drive instructional improvement toward the goal of college/career-readiness for all students.

Former Commissioner Gene Wilhoit, who now leads the National Center for Innovation in Education, facilitated a session on Leadership for Instructional Transformation and told the board the “current system of assessment and accountability is inhibiting us from reaching our goals.” He said there has been a shift in teaching and learning in recent years and we are “beginning to see a system that is very different than the one we inherited, a system aligned with a new vision of learning” that is more personalized, competency-based and with a clear vision of the knowledge, skills and dispositions students must possess.

Wilhoit told the board this requires new types of assessments that are both state-designed and locally-developed, are more open-ended, focused on problem solving, and include authentic performance tasks. He said we must move away from statewide summative assessments as the basis for all decisions.

Associate Commissioner Ken Draut gave an example of an assessment model that is being developed to assess the new Kentucky Core Academic Standards in science. The model includes classroom-embedded assessments as well as multiple through-course assessments that are used to transform instruction and Continue Reading

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Input sought on Unbridled Learning Accountability Model

The Kentucky Department of Education is seeking feedback on its Unbridled Learning College/Career-Readiness for All Accountability Model. The model, which includes multiple measures for determining school success, has been in place since the 2011-12 school year.

Between now and August 20, an online survey will be available for stakeholder input on the various components of the system and how determinations of school and district success are made. The survey may be accessed at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/UnbridledLearning.  The feedback provided will inform the commissioner and the Kentucky Board of Education on any future action that may be taken regarding the accountability system.

“We’re making good on our word to take a look at the accountability model after the first three years,” said Education Commissioner Terry Holliday. “With so many elements coming together to form a balanced system, we realize that there may need to be some tweaks of the system to achieve its desired outcome, that is, college/career-readiness for all students.”

Senate Bill 1 (2009) charged the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) with creating and implementing a balanced statewide assessment and accountability system that that measures students’, schools’, and districts’ achievement of the goals set forth in KRS 158.645 and 158.6451, ensures compliance with the Continue Reading

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New office offers services, support for children and adults with autism

The Commission for Children with Special Health Care Needs (CCSHCN) has announced a new Office of Autism has been established at the agency.

The Office of Autism will create a centralized location to coordinate statewide and regional efforts to enhance the quality of life and independence to individuals with an autism spectrum disorder and to support their families and caregivers.

The office will improve coordination of autism resources within the system of care supporting both children and adults with autism and help make those resources available to families and self-advocates.  The office will provide administrative support to the Advisory Council on Autism Spectrum Disorders to unify and promote initiatives aimed at improving Kentucky’s system of care.

The CCSHCN has a long history of serving as a coordinator of services in the sometimes fragmented health care system to help ease the burden of chronic conditions for families and individuals. CCSHCN’s new autism office will work to coordinate throughout the cabinet with others that currently provide services and supports to families and individuals coping with behavioral manifestations of autism spectrum disorders. These agencies include the Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities; Department for Medicaid Services; Department for Community Based Services; Department Continue Reading

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Cigarette smoking among Kentucky high school students drops significantly

Kentucky dropped to sixth place among surveyed states in 2013 for high school cigarette use, a significant improvement from the state’s first place ranking in 2011, according to a recently released Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) report.

Survey results show that 17.9 percent of Kentucky high school students report current cigarette smoking, down from 24.1 percent in 2011. Nationwide, the rate is 15.7 percent. The marked drop means Kentucky has met its Healthy Kentuckians 2020 goal of reducing youth smoking to 19 percent, and is beginning to creep toward its kyhealthnow goal of reducing Kentucky’s smoking rate by 10 percent in the next five years.

In 1997, when the CDC first started tracking student smoking, the rate was 47 percent.

“When I announced our ambitious goals for kyhealthnow in February of this year, smoking was one of the most obvious areas we needed to address,” Gov. Beshear said. “I am pleased to see teen smoking trending downward, but I remain committed to further reducing cigarette use among our youth.”

“The marked improvement in the number of Kentucky high school students who report they currently smoke cigarettes shows a move in the right direction toward a healthier future for our state,” said Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson, who chairs the kyhealthnow initiative. “We will continue to work to Continue Reading

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SkillsUSA Kentucky brings home national honors

Kentucky students were among some of the top finishers at the 50th annual SkillsUSA National Conference and Skills Competition held in Kansas City, Mo., this summer.

SkillsUSA is a national nonprofit organization serving teachers and high school and college students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations, including health occupations.

The national conference recognizes and rewards excellence in a broad range of skills-related competitions and career-related areas. Through state-based competitions at spring state leadership conferences, students compete in events testing their knowledge and skills in a variety of areas. Top state winners then are eligible to compete for honors at the national leadership conference each summer.

Kentucky had 104 members attend the national conference with nine students finishing in the top five of their competitions including first, second and third place finishes by postsecondary students. Six other students finished within the top 10 of their skills categories.

“We are very proud of our students and advisers,” said Commissioner Terry Holliday. “SkillsUSA Kentucky and other student organizations provide valuable experiences for our young people that serve them well in high school, postsecondary and in their chosen careers.” Continue Reading

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Education Commissioner Terry Holliday Named NASBE 2014 Policy Leader of the Year

Terry Holliday

Terry Holliday

Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday has been named the 2014 Policy Leader of the Year by the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE).

The honor is given annually to a national or state policymaker in recognition of his or her contributions to education.

“Commissioner Holliday’s dedication to improving public education and his achievements are renowned in Kentucky and nationwide,” said NASBE Executive Director Kristen Amundson. “His work in cooperation with the Kentucky State Board of Education has made the state a national leader.”

When Holliday assumed the role of Kentucky Education Commissioner in 2009, he already had a deep appreciation for the state’s long history of comprehensive education reform initiatives, though he vowed to push the envelope even further. With Holliday leading the charge, Kentucky was the first state to adopt the Common Core State Standards, and recently, the Next Generation Science Standards. In addition, under Holliday’s leadership, Kentucky has implemented a new assessment and accountability system, among many other initiatives; a new educator evaluation system goes statewide this fall. Continue Reading

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Have you registered yet for #PGES4Me?

PGESlogoThe Professional Growth and Effectiveness System (PGES) is set for implementation this fall, and the Kentucky Department of Education wants to give educators a jump start on being prepared.

On July 21, come receive the benefits of in-person training, small group sessions, networking opportunities and live facilitators at Southland Christian Church on Richmond Road in Lexington. There will be the opportunity to earn professional development and Effective Instructional Leadership Approval credit.

#PGES4Me is open to all Kentucky educators and education stakeholders.

If you can’t make it to Lexington, the event will be available by webcast with the URL sent out in advance.

For teachers new to the effectiveness system #PGES4Me will serve as an introduction to everything PGES. For pilot participant teachers, #PGES4Me will be a reinforcement and update that will ensure teachers are prepared to help build capacity districts as PGES moves into full implementation. The #PGES4Me simulcast will provide the opportunity to interact with state level vetted content, answer questions, work in group-sessions, and access learning materials to prepare to successfully implement PGES.

Click here for registration instructions.

In addition to the webcast, a backchannel, an online question and answer platform, will be open during the event to take questions from those watching remotely. The simulcast will be archived and available for school and district use starting July 22.

Please contact Kevin Stull at kevin.stull@education.ky.gov with questions.

Before the event hop on twitter and tell us why PGES is for you by using the hashtag #PGES4Me.

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Grants available for districts that raised attendance age

The check will be in the mail soon for 53 Kentucky school districts that have raised the compulsory school age from 16 to 18 in the past year.

The Kentucky Department of Education is making $10,000 grants available to the school districts to create programs to identify, intervene and prevent students from dropping out of school and plan for implementation of the new policy in the 2015-16 school year, which is the first year that the policy can be fully implemented. The department made similar grants last year to the first group of districts to raise the dropout age.  No application or additional paperwork is necessary.

In 2013, at the urging of Governor Steve Beshear and First Lady Jane Beshear, the General Assembly overwhelmingly approved Senate Bill 97, also known as the Graduate Kentucky bill, which cleared the way for districts to raise the compulsory school age from 16 to 18. Under the statute, once 96 districts, 55 percent of the 173 school districts in the state, approved the change, the rest would have to follow suit. This requirement was met just two weeks after the law took effect and as a result, starting in 2017-18, all Kentucky districts will be required to keep students in school until they turn 18 or graduate. Continue Reading

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Beshear reappoints members of Kentucky Board of Education

Gov. Steve Beshear announced this week he has reappointed  six members of the Kentucky Board of Education.

Appointed to new terms that will expire April 14, 2018 are:

· Roger L. Marcum of Bardstown, a retired educator; Marcum is the current KBE chairman

· Jonathan V. Parrent of Princeton, dean of student affairs at Madisonville Community College; Parrent was elected vice chairman of the board in  June

· William L. Twyman for Cave City, a former educator and current consultant

· Nawanna B. Privett of Lexington, an education consultant

· Grayson R. Boyd of Williamsport, a retired educator

· Mary Gwen Wheeler of Louisville, director of an education partnership

Two seats on the state board still await appointment action by the governor. Former KBE vice chairperson Brigitte Blom Ramsey stepped down May 1 to join the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, while Judy Gibbons announced in March that she would not be seeking appointment to a third term. Continue Reading

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Districts adopted compulsory attendance policies rises to 149

The number of school districts that have adopted policies raising the compulsory attendance age to 18 per the requirements of Senate Bill 97 are now at 149 out of 173.

Previously, the Kentucky Department of Education was able to provide $10,000 planning grants to the first 96 districts adopting such policies, in order to help them create programs to identify, intervene and prevent students from dropping out of school.

KDE has announced it will offer $10,000 planning grants to the remaining 53 districts that have passed this policy. These grants are in the process of being released over the next few weeks. In addition, KDE continues to strongly encourage the remaining 24 districts to adopt compulsory attendance policies. The department also will explore opportunities to provide planning grants to these remaining districts in the future.

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