Student engagement project -- This project is geared toward finding creative ways to encourage junior high and senior high student to become authentically engaged in their school subjects. Parents are happy when they hear their child is excited and eager to participate in learning. Students need to understand the relevancy of education as it relates to their desired careers or their college potential.
New Division of School Innovations (DSI) at Kansas Department of Education - DSI will roll together the agency's research, evaluation, technical assistance responsibilities to promote effective best practices that in, how to better utilize each school's resources to get maximum student outcomes. This division will place a greater emphasis on consultation rather than compliance. The goal is to become more pro-active with research-based advocacy rather than reactionary. Compliance will remain the primary focus of the Learning Services Division.
Data Warehouse Project - This is a project that has grown out of the Federal "No Child Left Behind" Legislation. It may not sound "glamorous", but is still crucial for k12 in assuring accountability, identifying effective and cost-effective practices, and in producting research that will help to tailor education to meet the needs of each student. Once the data has been entered it will achieve sizable administration efficiencies for KDSE and for local districts.
$10 Million Dollar Federal Grant for Charter Schools - The United States Department of Education has recognized substantial potential for Kansas charters to be used in closing the achievement gap, and lowering the dropout rate especially tailored to At-risk students. Kansas was awarded the grant despite intense new competition among states this year for limited charter funding.
Key Role of the State Board of Education in Influencing K12 finance bill (SB549) -- The budget recommendations of the State Board of Education made it a key player in the solution. The Legislature has allowed greater USD flexibility including the use of at-risk funds for all-day kindergarten. There are encouraging signs from the Supreme Court that SB549 may resolve constitutional questions and end the 7-year litigation.