KSDE Offices Closed to the Public
In accordance with guidance issued from Governor Kelly's office, KSDE offices will be closed to the public effective March 23, 2020. Limited services will be provided during this time.
Educators, districts and KSDE working together to feed Kansas students
Author: Ann Bush
Free meals available for children ages 1-18 at locations across Kansas
The Kansas State Department of Education’s Child Nutrition and Wellness team and school districts across the state are teaming up to keep Kansas children fed.
Gov. Laura Kelly signed an executive order Tuesday, March 17, closing all Kansas school buildings, which left many wondering how some students would have access to meals throughout the day.
Thousands of meals are being served each school day thanks to school nutrition professionals, administrators, community members and districts stepping forward to offer creative solutions, like curbside pick up, meal deliveries and more.
Free meals for children ages 1-18 are being served at numerous locations throughout Kansas. Check with your local school district for meal availability in your area.
Task Force releases guidance document on Continuous Learning
Author: Ann Bush
School buildings may be closed across the state, but learning can happen anytime and anywhere. That was the message from members of the Continuous Learning Task Force on Thursday, March 19.
Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson earlier this week convened the task force to provide guidance on how schools can implement Continuous Learning. Those recommendations were presented to Watson on Wednesday evening and are now available on online by visiting this link..
“I want to thank the task force for their guidance,” Watson said. “These top-notch educators have provided Kansas with a valuable resource, and their hard work will benefit us all as we move forward.”
Gov. Laura Kelly also thanked members of the Continuous Learning Task Force.
“I am proud of the response of our Kansas teachers and administrators during this difficult time,” Kelly said. “The Continuous Learning Task Force has worked diligently over the past several days and has crafted comprehensive guidance that will ensure learning continues for all Kansas students. I would like to thank each member for their dedication to Kansas educators, administrators, students and parents.”
Dr. Watson and members of the task force hosted a virtual news briefing for media outlets at 10 a.m. Thursday, March 19. A recording of the briefing can be accessed at at this link..
Below are some questions that Kansans may have:
• What is Continuous Learning?
Just as the name implies, this will allow Kansas students to continue learning despite school buildings being closed for the rest of the year. Instructional models may include blending of non-technology; face-to-face, small-group learning sessions; and virtual platforms. Plans will vary from school to school and district to district. Boards and districts will have to make local decisions that are unique to their student population, staff and resources. Districts should develop and implement Continuous Learning plans in partnership with families, staff members and local boards of education, and follow the guidance of local health departments and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. The task force is recommending that districts focus on essential learning for students and use materials, resources and platforms that already are in place.
Students will have weekly assignments, projects and, possibly, video check-ins. The recommended guidelines for maximum student commitment each day are as follows:
o Pre-K: 30 minutes.
o K-1: 45 minutes
o Grades 2-3: 60 minutes.
o Grades 4-5: 90 minutes.
o Grades 6-12: 30 minutes per teacher for a maximum of three hours per day.
These guidelines are meant for any delivery model – packets, online, hybrid, etc.
Internet access will be an issue for many families in Kansas, and educators and students may lack the resources to connect remotely. Several companies have announced offers of free access to internet during this time. Don’t be afraid to reach out to local internet service providers to see what options are available. Some students will be able to put pencil to paper and do school through at-home projects, etc. Other students may be able to attend school for small-group learning sessions, if deemed safe to do so by county and state health officials. These things will look different from school to school and district to district. Each will have to determine what best suits its community.
KSDE special education staff members and special education professionals from various districts provided guidance to the task force in these areas. KSDE’s Special Education and Title Services team has put out guidance to special education directors. Districts’ special education directors and KSDE guidance should be consulted when making decisions regarding students with IEPs. IEPs may not be universally modified.
• What about graduation requirements?
The Kansas State Board of Education requires 21 credits to graduate. Local boards have the authority to require that students earn more than 21 credits to graduate. However, during this time, districts that require more credits than the state requirement may elect to revert to the 21-credit-hour threshold that the State Board of Education established.
We understand this is a very difficult time for students – especially seniors. However, based on current KDHE guidance, events with more than 10 participants congregating in one area will need to be postponed. The Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) has issued guidance for spring sports.
• Will students have access to meals?
Yes. School districts and community organizations will be able to serve meals through USDA Summer Meals Programs. More than 220 schools - both public and private - are currently serving or making plans to serve meals due to the unanticipated school closures.
• Will the state still require districts to administer state assessments?
The Kansas State Department of Education does not expect schools to administer state assessments when schools are closed. Even though the Kansas state assessments are administered online, the tests can’t be given to students in a remote location. Once students return to school, a decision will be made regarding extending the assessment window or waiving this year’s assessments.
Other general questions:
Keeping students engaged in learning with the Continuous Learning plan will be one way. Parents/guardians must play a lead role in this.
Kansas school buildings to close for remainder of school year because of COVID-19
Author: Ann Bush
Task Force devising plan for Continuous Learning
Unprecedented circumstances that threaten the safety of our students and the professionals who work with them every day require swift, thoughtful and coordinated action. On Tuesday, March 17, Gov. Laura Kelly announced that school buildings across the state must be closed for the duration of this school year for the purpose of general student and staff attendance. However, learning will continue for Kansas students.
A 25-member task force comprised of many of the state’s top educators in Kansas continues working to develop plans for Continuous Learning. The task force will deliver their recommendations to Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson by Wednesday evening.
Kansas education is among the finest in the country. Closing classrooms and moving to a Continuous Learning plan can’t begin to replicate our state’s education structure as we know it, but it can help ensure strategies that will provide a bridge back to the world-class learning our students benefit from today.
Essential staff members – as determined by local district officials – may be needed through Friday, March 20, to assess and prepare for facility maintenance. While schools are closed, administrative offices and support facilities may remain open as needed.
Once buildings are thoroughly sanitized, they will be able to reopen for small groups of school personnel to implement a plan for Continuous Learning.
We realize this is a difficult time, but Kansans always have persevered - and we will continue to do so. We will work together to get through this, and we will overcome this challenge and emerge stronger.