(LONDON, KY) – At its Oct. 3 meeting in London, the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) voted to approve the evaluation of Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis, saying he is effective in his role as commissioner.

The metrics for Lewis’ evaluation are based on the Council of Chief State School Officers’ five key areas of leadership, which include:

  • Technical leadership;
  • Human leadership;
  • Educational leadership;
  • Cultural leadership; and
  • Symbolic leadership.

Lewis received “effective” and “very effective” ratings in all five categories.

Commissioner Lewis also was rated on the specific goals he was given by the board in 2018, his first year as commissioner. The board agreed with Lewis’ self-evaluation of being effective in several of those goals, including revising and implementing new high school graduation requirements, strengthening strategic partnerships and increasing the flexibility and autonomy of local public schools.

However, Lewis was given an “ineffective” rating for the goal of improving academic achievement and student learning based on 2018-2019 K-PREP assessment results, which showed no growth statewide and widening achievement gaps. He gave himself an “ineffective” rating in his self-evaluation as well.

“Data released Oct. 1 confirms no increase in performance,” said the notes in his evaluation. “Plans to accelerate gains, and a timeline for implementation of those plans, need to be presented. The goal is a 2% per year increase for K-8 students.”

Board member Gary Houchens said he appreciated the commissioner’s goal to improve academic achievement, however he wanted to note that the commissioner’s impact on actual school improvement is very indirect given the decentralized nature of Kentucky’s public education system.

“What’s happening in our schools depends more heavily on what’s happening at the local level than what it does in Frankfort,” said Houchens.

The evaluation can be found on KBE’s webpage, as can a document that outlines the accomplishments of the commissioner and the Kentucky Department of Education between 2018 and 2019.

Biennial budget request approved
Although the Kentucky Board of Education postponed any action on its 2020 legislative agenda until December, the board did discuss and approve a funding request for the 2020 Kentucky General Assembly, which will convene in January to approve the 2020-2022 state budget for the Commonwealth.

Robin Kinney, associate commissioner for finance and operations at the Kentucky Department of Education, outlined the department’s budget priorities, which include providing funding to support full-day kindergarten across the state. Other budget priorities include:

  • Defined calculations, or funding for costs determined by the agency that administers the services (rent, utilities, worker’s compensation, etc.);
  • School Improvement Funds to serve schools identified for Comprehensive Support and Improvement;
  • Allocations for the Kentucky School for the Blind and School for the Deaf
  • Adequate funding for career and technical education programs;
  • Funding to support the Kentucky Education Technology System, to increase offers of assistance and address the increase in numbers and types of technical devices and services for 750,000 users;
  • Funding to support training and induction for new superintendents;
  • Funding for induction and retention efforts for new teachers, which would allocate approximately $600 per new teacher to assist in induction, orientation and mentoring process; and
  • An increase of nearly $800 per teacher who receives the National Board Certified Salary Supplement

KBE to present award for achievement gap closure
The board also accepted a recommendation of the Operations and Management Committee that sets the topic and criteria for the 2019 KBE Priority Award. The award, which will be open for nominations soon, will honor an educator or citizen whose work has made significant gains in closing the achievement gap in his or her school, district or community.

Criteria for the award include creating innovative practices within a school or district that erase traditional barriers that may have stood in the way of student achievement. Nominees for the award must show measurable success in student growth in a subgroup of students (i.e. low income, students of color and students with special needs). In addition to creating and offering innovative academic programs to students, assessment scores of school(s) affiliated with the nominee must show significant progress, particularly in math and reading, among all student groups.

The KBE Priority Award for Achievement Gap Closure will be presented at the December board meeting.

The board also approved the first reading of a regulation amendment (703 KAR 5:140) relating to the Kentucky School Report Card that would align with new state and federal requirements. Areas of amendment include:

  • Defining membership, school and district report card, and prominent location;
  • Replacing references of the old accountability regulation with references to the new accountability regulation;
  • Updating requirements for the school report card;
  • Updating requirements for the district report card; and
  • Adding a new section on communicating federal and state school accountability classifications, to include star ratings.

In other business, the board approved the following:

The next meeting of the Kentucky Board of Education will be Dec. 4 in Frankfort.