Superintendents Webcast graphic

Kentucky superintendents heard updates on the statewide literacy coaching model and the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) program during the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) Superintendents Webcast on Feb. 13.

Following the passage of Senate Bill 9 (2022), the Read to Succeed Act, KDE is charged with building a statewide literacy coaching model, which will be implemented beginning in the 2024-2025 school year. To support this work, the KDE Division of Early Literacy team has added five new regional coaching directors who will lead and support 25 school-based literacy coaching specialists. The literacy coaches will be placed in schools that the department has determined have the greatest need based on 3rd-grade reading Kentucky Summative Assessment data.

Micki Ray, KDE’s chief academic officer, said the literacy directors and coaches will help educators by working alongside them as they implement the high-quality instructional resources and structured literacy practices that are part of the Read to Succeed Act.

“We are so optimistic about the potential for these partnerships,” said Ray. “We want (the coaches) to provide quality service to schools and districts across the state.”

The regional literacy directors and their coaches will work under the leadership and guidance of KDE Director of Early Literacy Christie Biggerstaff and Assistant Director Ashley Hill.

“(The literacy directors and coaches) have worked diligently this year to learn and know evidence-based practices for literacy,” said Biggerstaff. “They have a heart for schools and for districts and most importantly, for students. They are a phenomenal team and I can’t wait for you to meet them and be introduced to them.”

The literacy coaches will have several different responsibilities, including on-site coaching Monday-Thursday of each week, assessing the state of literacy instruction within the school and assisting with professional learning opportunities.

An informational webinar will be held for identified districts and schools on Feb. 27 to provide more information before further steps are taken with partner schools.

2024 March Leadership Meetings
Ray also provided an update on leadership meetings KDE is holding in March to help schools and districts translate the Kentucky Academic Standards (KAS) into a guaranteed and viable curriculum.

The regional educational cooperatives, in partnership with KDE, will host in-person meetings for district and school leaders to explore new resources available to support effective implementation of local curriculum supported by high-quality instructional resources.

Click on the date to learn more and register for the live, in-person three-hour session of your choice: 

Participants will need to bring a personal device to access documents from the digital meeting folder.

Matt Ross, associate commissioner in the KDE Office of Finance and Operations, provided an update on ESSER funding and data collection.

In November, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) began releasing Annual Performance Report templates and documentation for districts to submit ESSER funding data for fiscal year 2023. The Grant Management Application and Planning (GMAP) system will open for district reporting on April 1 and close May 2. KDE will then submit a statewide report to USED by June 1.

All previously optional questions will be mandatory in the fiscal year 2023 report, and new questions include expenditures by activity, student eligibility and participation counts, and the number of full-time equivalent staff positions by school and districtwide for select positions.

The ARP ESSER grant period closes Sept. 30 and all funds must be obligated by then. If a district wishes to pursue an extended liquidation, funds must be obligated by July 1. Without an approved liquidation extension, all ARP ESSER payments must be paid and reimbursements requested by Nov. 15.

GMAP will open for ARP liquidation extension requests on May 6 and close July 1. KDE will submit the extension requests to USED by Sept. 4. Approved liquidation extensions may last as long as 18 months.

School-Based Services Survey
The Kentucky Department for Medicaid Services (DMS) expanded reimbursement for school-based health care in 2019 with the direct goal of reaching more young people in need of health care services, including behavioral health care.

This program also is intended to provide an additional funding stream for school systems working to provide health services and employ licensed providers within their districts.

Annette Newsome, a Medicaid and Medicare specialist in the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, said a survey has been created to help guide DMS as it identifies areas of need and gains a better understanding of how services are being delivered in Kentucky’s schools.

“We can reach (students) because they’re in an educational setting where they spend the majority of their time,” she said. “It’s a unique opportunity for us to reach out to them.”

Newsome said their goal is to provide services in every school. Currently, three do not offer any school-based services and only 58 offer expanded access or free care.

Participation in the DMS School-Based Services Survey is completely voluntary and all responses will be kept confidential.

For comments or questions, please feel free to contact Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services Branch Manager Erica Jones.

The next Superintendents Webcast is scheduled for March 12.