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June 14, 2023

In this issue:

  • Register now for KSBA's Summer Leadership Institute
  • Legislative panel hears about KERA, accountability system 
  • June Learn and Earn will walk boards through superintendent search process
  • KBE discusses portrait of a learner, presents awards and appoints new non-voting members
  • 60 Minutes report on mental health crisis
  • COSSBA to host three events
  • June Kentucky School Advocate available online
  • KOSAA Summer Conference
  • Upcoming dates, deadlines and events

Register now for KSBA's Summer Leadership Institute

KSBA's 2023 Summer Leadership Institute will be held July 14-15 at the Marriott Griffin Gate in Lexington. Easy online registration is open. Attendees will have access to two days of engaging keynote sessions, a wide variety of breakout sessions, a trade show and plenty of networking opportunities. A full conference schedule with session descriptions and registration instructions is available to view/download. See below for information on this year's keynote presenters.

Special conference hotel rates are available for a limited time. Upon completion of registration, registrants will receive a confirmation email that will contain, among other information, a link to reserve hotel rooms at a special conference rate of $148 per night. The deadline to make reservations at this special rate is Thursday, June 29 (or when the block of rooms sells out).  

Keynote spotlights

Friday, July 14

Opening Session

5:30 –7 p.m. (1.25 hours board training credit)

"Braving leadership"

Tim Weisheyer uses his unique level of expertise to assist companies and industries in achieving their goals. With 25 years of business, leadership and consulting experience, he specializes in strategic planning, leadership development, governance and operational effectiveness. Those are all skills he used during his eight years as a school board member for the Osceola County School District and as president of the Florida School Boards Association. In his address, Weisheyer will help school board members learn to charge head-on into being a mission-focused leader and developing the skills and capacity needed to lead and innovate through all times – including times of challenge and adversity.

Saturday, July 15

Plenary Session

8:30 – 9:45 a.m. (1.25 hours board training credit)

"The art of steadiness: Essential qualities for effective school board leadership in unsteady times"

In this keynote address, former Fayette County school board member Daryl Love will explore the essential qualities that school board members need to provide effective leadership in unsteady times by examining the art of steadiness and how it can be developed through a combination of personal qualities, skills and strategies. He will explore the importance of resilience, adaptability and collaboration and will cover the key skills needed to navigate uncertainty, including communication, decision making and problem-solving. Drawing on his 10 years on the Fayette board and his 31 years at Valvoline and Ashland serving various roles in IT, human resources and communications, Love will share real-world examples and best practices. This address will inspire and motivate board members to embrace their role as steady leaders in their districts in unsteady times.

Legislative panel hears about KERA, accountability system 

The first meeting of the legislature’s Interim Joint Committee on Education met on June 6 to hear a retrospective on the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA) and an update on the state’s accountability and assessment system.

Jim Flynn, executive director of the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents, told legislatures that the eight competencies included in KERA are just as important today as they were in 1990 when the transformational law passed.

Flynn said that everyone he has reminded of the law tells him, “Those are the right things, because we know how important it is to communicate effectively and understand our economic, social and political choices,” he said. “And we want our students to form good character and understand civics and all those things that grow them into a high-quality, high-functioning, successful person in our communities.”

Flynn said that KERA has been derailed by changes in federal law, the pandemic and other financial challenges.

“We’ve lost some ground on buying power in our schools on the education side and that has also had a significant impact on what our schools can do,” he said. See Flynn’s presentation.

KDE officials presented an overview of the assessment and accountability system and discussed the agency’s plans for the future.

Associate Commissioner Rhonda Sims explained that this year Senate Bill 158 of 2020, which revamped the state’s accountability system, will be fully implemented with the system now reporting status and change for students.

Sims’ presentation also explained what is required in testing under federal law and under state law.

Sims and KBE chairwoman Lu Young explained that they hope a future accountability system would capture the deeper learning experiences the department is working toward as part of United We Learn.

Young also explained that KBE has adopted a Portrait of a Learner, a list of competencies similar to those adopted by many districts across the state.

Sen. Shelley Funke Frommeyer, R-Alexandria, said she recently attended graduate defenses at Pendleton County High School.

Funke Frommeyer noted that school boards have taxing authority and the ability to support portrait of a learner.

“How do we educate our school board to be good stewards of the portrait of a learner and good stewards of that community piece?” she said.

Young replied that there are more than 100 districts that have adopted local portraits and almost all were approved by local school boards.

“The school boards association is a great partner in these conversations with us, so I do think that’s critical,” she said. “And I think, ultimately, the long game for folks like you who really look at the dollars and the return on investment, as we all should, will come in, in the form of a better, improved workforce.” 

June 14 webinar will walk boards through superintendent search process

For the June installment of our 2023 Learn and Earn webinar series, KSBA presents, “Be prepared: If your superintendent left, would you know how to fill the job?” 

Join us from noon - 1 p.m. (ET) Wednesday, June 14 as former superintendent and KSBA Superintendent Search Consultant Don Martin weighs in on one of the most important decisions with which every school board is eventually faced. This session provides practical insights all boards should know long before they are required to fill a superintendent vacancy, including statutes and regulations, timelines and considerations in undertaking a search, and developing a contract.

Register for this webinar.

Other upcoming Learn and Earn webinars:

  • July 12 - Senate Bill 9 (2022): The Read to Succeed Act’s implementation and initiatives
  • Aug. 9 - KSBA’s eMeeting service: Its value to boards and SBDM councils
  • Sept. 13 - A deeper dive into your wellness policy

See descriptions and online registration for these and other upcoming Learn and Earn webinars.

Pre-registration is required at a cost of $50. The webinar counts for one hour of school board training credit.

KBE discusses portrait of a learner, presents awards and appoints new non-voting members 

During its two-day meeting June 6 and 7, the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) discussed the Portrait of a Learner it adopted this past fall.

By the time a student graduates, the KBE said they should be:

  • A critical thinker.
  • An effective communicator.
  • An empowered learner.
  • A productive collaborator.
  • An engaged citizen.
  • A creative contributor.

Several board members expressed concerns that the current assessment and accountability system does not adequately assess those competencies.

“High-stakes assessment and accountability, as it currently exists, often drives the wrong kinds of practices in our schools,” Chair Lu S. Young said. “And it causes teachers a lot of internal professional conflict about what to do and what's best for kids.”

The board approved a call to action – a list of value statements – that expresses that the KBE would like a system that encourages shared responsibility for the success of all learners.

During the meeting the board also appointed two new non-voting members, a teacher and a student. Alissa Riley, an educator in Christian County Schools for 14 years, is the new teacher representative. Ronald (R.J.) Osborne, a junior from Whitley County High School, will be the next student member.

At the meeting, Sarah Vivian and Jeremy Camron were named recipients of the seventh-annual David Karem Award for Excellence in Education Policy. Vivian, principal of The Academy (Franklin County), and Camron, principal of Owensboro Day Treatment (Daviess County), were recognized for their role in passing legislation to expand the high school equivalency program to include youth in all district-operated alternative programs.

The pair were nominated by Ronnie Nolan, Kentucky Educational Collaborative for State Agency Children executive director.

“Jeremy and Sarah know firsthand how difficult educating our state’s most vulnerable student populations can be,” Nolan said. “They both work in state agency programs that serve children and youth who are committed to or in the supervision of the Commonwealth.”

60 Minutes report on mental health crisis

Earlier this month, CBS News' 60 Minutes examined the rising rates of suicide and depression in the U.S. following the pandemic.

"The U.S. surgeon general has called it an 'urgent public health crisis' - a devastating decline in the mental health of kids across the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the rates of suicide, self harm, anxiety and depression are up among adolescents - a trend that began before the pandemic," the report states.

According to the report, the growing numbers have revealed a deficit of people and places to treat those with a mental health crisis. The report found that the average wait time to get an appointment with a therapist is 48 days, often longer for children.

"We are in crisis mode. And it's scary," said Tammy Makhlouf, who has worked as a child therapist in Wisconsin for 26 years. "... As we get quote-unquote, 'back to normal,' I think kids are struggling. Even when the pandemic is over, this crisis isn't going to be over."

60 Minutes video on rising rates of suicide

COSSBA to host three events

The Consortium of State School Boards Associations (COSSBA) has three upcoming events.

UBA Symposium "Doing the Work - Every Student Every Day" will be held Aug. 24-25 in Chicago

The UBA Webinar Series will continue on June 20 with a free session on Food Insecurity and Public Education

The Federal Advocacy Conference will be held Sept. 25-27 in Washington, D.C.

June Advocate available online

Dr. Chandra Varia is well-known in Floyd County for her dedication to students, hard work as a physician and her philanthropy. KSBA recently spent time with the 2023 Kentucky Board Member of the Year as she reflected on more than 20 years of board service.

Also in the June Kentucky School Advocate:

KOSAA Summer Conference

The Kentucky Organization of Superintendents' Administrative Assistants (KOSAA) will once again host its annual Summer Conference during KSBA's Summer Leadership Institute, this year on Friday, July 14 from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. (ET). See more information and register online. This year's meeting features sessions on a range of topics, including policy/procedure updates, mental health and relieving stress, school safety and training on taking meeting minutes.

This event is for KOSAA members, but membership is free for Kentucky superintendent administrative assistants. KOSAA is an excellent resource for the talented administrative professionals who support our superintendents and school boards. Learn more about KOSAA.

Upcoming dates, deadlines and events

June 14: June Learn & Earn webinar

June 20: Superintendents Webcast

July 12: July Learn & Earn webinar

July 14-15: Summer Leadership Institute, Lexington

July 14: KOSAA Summer Conference, Lexington

July 18: Interim Joint Committee on Education

This edition of KSBA Aware is made possible in part
by the following KSBA Affiliate Members.
Tier 1 Affiliates
Kentucky School Boards Association | 502-695-4630 |
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