Superintendents Webcast graphic

Staff members with the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) presented prototypes to revamp the Commonwealth’s assessment and accountability system during the Superintendents Webcast on July 9.

The Kentucky United We Learn Council has been tasked with developing new systems of assessment and accountability following the formation of the United We Learn vision, which focuses on vibrant student experiences, encouraging innovation and collaborating with the community. The vision was developed after a series of listening tours with communities across the Commonwealth in 2021.

Commissioner of Education Robbie Fletcher said school leaders should not view the two prototypes as mutually exclusive.

“As we move forward, one of the big things that I would like to be able to do is to have an accountability system that we all can believe in. But we are very much in the draft phase,” he said. “There may be aspects of prototype one that you believe in that you think should be added in, and there may be some of prototype two that you feel like should be a part of the final accountability model.”

Fletcher added that school leaders have the freedom to make suggestions for consideration for the finished product of a new accountability model.

The first prototype is an accreditation-style model. The system would allow for ongoing collection and submission of evidence throughout the school year, where schools would submit evidence to an external evaluator and the local board of education and receive ratings on rubrics with feedback for improvement.

The second prototype values vibrant learning experiences. This system would focus on making sure students, families and communities are engaging in authentic, joyful and relevant learning opportunities. This system also allows students to be creative in their learning and applying their knowledge and skills through their personalized projects and experiences.

There are policy considerations for each of these prototypes. Jennifer Stafford, director of the KDE Division of Assessment and Accountability Support, said there are considerations with school finances and support efforts as well.

“We have to think, as we are contemplating and considering these different approaches, about the impact that it will have on our teachers, our administrators and our students,” she said.

Superintendents were given surveys to provide feedback and Fletcher encouraged them to seek feedback from across their districts.

“We want an accountability system that you – and when I say ‘you,’ not only superintendents, but your teachers, your staff members – that you think will make an impact on instruction and reflect the individuality of your district,” he said.

The Kentucky United We Learn Council plans to have a convening on July 29 to work on the prototypes ahead of a presentation during the next Kentucky Board of Education meeting on Aug. 7-8.

School Resource Officer Funding
Matt Ross, associate commissioner in the KDE Office of Finance and Operations, provided an update on funding that’s available for school districts to cover school resource officers (SROs).

Included in the budget state lawmakers passed in April is $16.5 million in fiscal year 2024-2025 and $18 million in fiscal year 2025-2026 for KDE to assist school districts in funding salaries for SROs, as defined in KRS 158.441, on a reimbursement basis.

KDE shall reimburse local school districts up to $20,000 for each campus employing at least one on-site full-time certified school resource officer. Any portion of the money not expended for this purpose shall lapse to the state’s budget reserve trust fund account.

In order to meet the reporting requirement outlined in the budget, KDE is requesting districts that will seek reimbursement to complete the School Resource Officer (SRO) Funding Intent to Participate form by July 31.

The information provided in the survey will determine funding amounts available to districts for each school campus employing at least one on-site full-time certified SRO.

In other business, superintendents heard updates on:

  • The tentative timeline for accountability reporting;
  • A new public service campaign on chronic absenteeism that will be kicking off in August; and
  • The Kentucky Purple Star Program.