During the Kentucky Department of Education’s Superintendents’ Webcast on Tuesday, superintendents heard a reminder about updating their federal COVID-19 relief fund plans, learned about a new special education program and discussed the state’s deeper learning initiative.
KDE Associate Commissioner Robin Kinney told superintendents that many districts need to update their American Rescue Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) plan to ensure it aligns with federal standards.
Districts are required to update all three parts of their ARP ESSER plan: the spending plan/budget, the plan narrative, and the plan to safely return to in-person instruction that goes along with Senate Bill 1 (2021 special session).
The updated plans should be loaded into the Grants Management Application Program (GMAP) by Nov. 28. Kinney noted that districts are required to post the plans on their websites, but many now have broken links.
Superintendents also heard about the Purpose in Action Design Challenge, a program that encourages schoolwide teams to design and develop a manufacturing workspace prototype that meets the needs of students with disabilities. The new initiative, through KDE’s Office of Special Education and Early Learning, is being paid for through ARP funding.
Berea Independent and Woodford County are the first two districts to participate. In October, district teams visited Parker Hannifin’s O-ring headquarters in Lexington, where they learned about designing a prototype that will be judged and developed into an industry-standard manufacturing workspace.
Woodford County Director of Special Education Tracey Francis said the challenge is an innovative way to bring people with disabilities and students without disabilities together for a vibrant experience.
During the webcast, superintendents also heard from the Kentucky Association of Educational Cooperatives about the progress of the deeper learning initiative.
The Kentucky Educational Development Corporation (KEDC), one of eight cooperatives in the state working on deeper learning, held a series of workshops to help teachers incorporate lesson plans that create a more vibrant student experience.
KEDC will hold more workshops on project-based learning starting in January. Several other cooperatives provided updates on similar workshops they plan to hold in different parts of the state with the same goals in mind.