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Ready for more reform

Ready for more reform Before long, the 12 KSBA Fall Regional Meetings will be held at various sites throughout the state. We hope that board members and superintendents will strongly consider attending. We feel that the information shared at each region’s gathering will prove to be beneficial to you as you all lead your respective districts through the challenging years ahead. Meeting new colleagues and renewing old friendships also make attendance worthwhile.

One very important issue to be discussed at the meetings is probably one of the most important pieces of education legislation to be implemented since the Kentucky Education Reform Act in 1990.

I am referring to the oft-mentioned Senate Bill 1, a result of the 2009 session of the General Assembly. It is crucial that board members be effectively informed of the important implications of this legislation.

KSBA Executive Director Bill Scott stresses the importance of this legislation as a conduit that will better prepare students throughout the Commonwealth for college and the world of work. As Scott wrote in the March issue of the Kentucky School Advocate, “Meeting the challenges of Senate Bill 1 will require the support and involvement of the entire school community, including local boards of education.”

(Tom Blankenship - KSBA President

This not only expresses the willingness of KSBA to provide any assistance it can to any board of education, but challenges all of us to be informed and equipped to assist in the implementation of this significant legislation.

The math and English/language arts Kentucky Core Academic Standards, as the new standards are called, are to be implemented this year. This alone implies that the training that teachers, principals and district administrators receive is crucial if they are to be effectively prepared to do what is required of them.

Madison County Schools, as is probably the case with many school districts, has forged full speed ahead with the implementation of Senate Bill 1.

In a statement to KSBA, Madison County Schools Superintendent Tommy Floyd said, “Throughout the course of the past school year, our teachers have worked in school, grade and district level teams to deconstruct the Kentucky Core Academic Standards. We have completed the process of writing student-friendly learning targets or “I can” statements for all mathematics and language arts standards.”

This work, according to Floyd, has given teachers the opportunity to examine and scrutinize the KCAS thoroughly over time.

“In this way, teachers have had opportunities to reflect upon the intent of the standards, how they differ from the core content, and best practices for assessing and teaching these standards,” he said.

Ken Bicknell, principal of the Michael Caudill Middle School, was among the educators quoted in material the district shared with me.

“Involving all teachers in the process of deconstruction has made us a stronger instructional team. The leadership that occurred in our school and in our district from classroom teachers who will be implementing these standards is outstanding,” he said.

First-grade teacher Jessica Phillips said, “I found that through this experience, I am aware of exactly what my students are to learn … and feel confident in my knowledge and ability to teach the new standards next school year.”

The high school teachers in Madison County also have included the College Readiness Standards into their deconstruction work of the KCAS.

Another teacher who commented, Jamie Tipton at Madison Central High School, said, “All the work that has been done … really helped me to understand what is in the KCAS, but it was when we began to examine the College Readiness Standards and the document that aligns the two that I really began to understand what I need to teach.”

According to Superintendent Floyd, “The Madison County School deconstruction process has given participants a thorough understanding of the Kentucky Core Academic Standards. As a result, they have greater confidence in their ability for making the complicated instructional decisions that lie ahead.”

The experience in Madison County shows that being knowledgeable about and being prepared for this important effort also is a challenge for local school board members.

Note: In a number of our regional meetings, elections will be held to select new regional chairpersons and secretaries. These regions are Second, Fourth, Middle Cumberland, Upper Cumberland, Northern Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky South regions.

This will give all the members in their region a wonderful opportunity to attend and actively participate in these important elections, either as a candidate or as a participant. z

— Blankenship also is vice chairman of the Lincoln County Board of Education
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