Kentucky commissioner lauds superintendents’ efforts amid COVID-19 crisis

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Local Superintendents Advisory Council Virtual Meeting

  • Brown thanked superintendents for their cooperation during the current school closure period recommended by the governor to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Brown said the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) is preparing for all possibilities in the event the closure period is extended.

By Mike Marsee
mike.marsee@education.ky.gov

(FRANKFORT, KY) – Interim Education Commissioner Kevin C. Brown told a group of Kentucky superintendents March 26 that the cooperation of school district leaders across the state has helped instruction continue during the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

Speaking to the Local Superintendents Advisory Council, a group of 11 school district leaders appointed by the Legislative Research Commission, Brown thanked the superintendents for their work to help schools continue to serve students during the current school closure period recommended by Gov. Andy Beshear to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

He also told the group that the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) is preparing for all possibilities in the event the closure period is extended.

Most Kentucky schools have been closed since March 16. Brown said it is noteworthy that schools were closed as a result of a recommendation rather than an executive order.

“I don’t know that a conversation like that could occur in many other states, to be honest with you,” Brown said.

Beshear has recommended that schools remain closed until April 20, and all 172 Kentucky school districts are utilizing KDE’s Non-Traditional Instruction (NTI) Program. Brown has asked educators to prepare enough NTI materials for six weeks, which would last through May 1, in the event schools remain closed beyond April 20.

He asked the superintendents’ group for its feedback in the coming days about how best to continue NTI beyond May 1 if necessary.

“If we’re still not in school on May 1 or after, or if we don’t go back at all, what does NTI look like?” Brown asked. “Can we still provide effective instruction by using NTI a seventh week, an eighth week, a ninth week?”

Brown said that is one of the primary topics being addressed by KDE’s Education Continuation Task Force, which held its first virtual meeting March 23.

Jerry Green, superintendent of the Pikeville Independent schools and chairman of the Local Superintendents Advisory Council, told Brown that he believes most, if not all, superintendents are preparing to finish the 2019-2020 school year with non-traditional instruction if necessary.

“We’re all hopeful that we’ll come back before then, but I don’t know that anybody is ordering prom invitations or graduation invitations at this point,” Green said.

Brown said he is appreciative of the way superintendents and other district leaders have stepped up in areas such as food service, where delivery systems have been drastically altered and where many districts have agreed to continue providing meals for students during spring break.

Prior to its discussion with Brown, the council gave its approval to proposed regulation changes that Brown will recommend to the Kentucky Board of Education at its April 9 meeting:

  • An amendment to the regulation governing the evaluation of charter school authorizers that would allow local boards of education to delay charter school authorizer training until they receive an application for a charter school. This is a second reading of the amendment; revisions presented since the first reading include the deletion of the requirement that KDE produce an application scoring rubric and of some reporting requirements that go beyond those already required by statute.
  • The repeal of a regulation concerning the Kentucky State Plan for Career and Technical Education that referred to a previous version of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act and a regulation concerning school nutrition employee training that is superseded by federal requirements.

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