• The new site, kystandards.org, will contain standards documents, resources and information on the revision process.
  • The development of computer science standards helps strengthen a connection between education and the workforce.

By Mike Marsee

The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) has unveiled a new website designed to be a one-stop shop for information on the Kentucky Academic Standards.

The site, kystandards.org, contains links to the Kentucky Academic Standards documents, resources to support the implementation of the standards and information regarding the standards revision process.

Information available on the site has been and continues to be available on KDE’s website. But Micki Ray, a consultant in KDE’s Division of Program Standards, told members of the Commissioner’s Teacher Advisory Council at their April 15 meeting in Frankfort, that kystandards.org provides a convenient home for that information.

“We really want to streamline all of those things for easier access to that information,” Ray said. “We wanted to make sure that there are very few clicks to access the information that you need.”

In addition to standards documents, resources available on the site include facilitator’s guides and accompanying PowerPoint presentations that can be used by districts, schools or departments to support implementation of the standards.

Presently, information on mathematics, reading and writing and computer science standards is available. Social studies standards, which have been approved by the Kentucky Board of Education and are currently in the regulatory process, will be added soon, as will health and physical education standards.

After the initial phase of the site’s rollout, all other standards will be included on the site, Ray said.

Users also will be able to subscribe to subject areas of interest in order to receive email updates when there are additions.

The Teacher Advisory Council also heard an update on the adoption and implementation of elective computer science standards. The process of developing and adopting the standards began in summer 2017 and was completed earlier this year.

Scott U’Sellis, a consultant in the Division of Student Transition and Career Readiness who helped coordinate the standards development process, told the teachers that Kentucky is one of about 35 states that allows computer science coursework to fulfill a graduation requirement. It can count for either a mathematics  or a science credit.

He also said development of the standards helps strengthen a connection between education and the workforce. In 2018 there were more than 500,000 open computing jobs in the United States, but only about 43,000 computer science students graduated into the workforce.

“This is a way to start attacking this problem,” U’Sellis said.

The standards were developed by teachers and education professionals, who consulted with business and industry partners at the state and national levels. They are grouped into five concepts: computing systems, networks and the internet, data and analysis, algorithms and programming, and impacts of computing.

Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis told the council that while the infrastructure isn’t in place to make computer science coursework a graduation requirement, he supports the standards and ways in which training can be provided to teachers at all grade levels.

“It’s absolutely a department and a board goal for every kid to have access to computer science coursework,” Lewis said. “Getting those standards in place was a huge lift, and we’re working on building teacher capacity at the elementary school and middle school level.

“We’re also working on credentialing for high school teachers to be able to teach computer science courses. We want to get to a place where it’s not just other teachers integrating it into their work, but where we actually have offerings at the elementary school, middle school and high school level. It’s going to take some time to get to that point.”