Kentucky School Advocate
By Brenna R. Kelly
Note: As of presstime on Nov. 10, KSBA is planning to hold its Winter Symposium in person Dec. 4-5. If it becomes necessary, KSBA is prepared to move the event online.
KSBA’s Winter Symposium will be held Dec. 4-5 at the Louisville Marriott Downtown. In this time of a global public health crisis, the large venue will allow for social distancing, in part because the event will be the only conference going on at the downtown hotel.
“We are excited to be able to hold our last training event of the year in-person,” said Laura Cole, KSBA’s director of Board Team Development. “While the conference will look a little different than in the past, we will continue to provide quality state-mandated training and new, interesting sessions to enhance members’ knowledge of topics facing their districts.”
Kentucky’s new education commissioner Jason Glass will kick off the conference on Friday morning. This will be the first chance for many board members to hear directly from Glass since he took the helm at the Kentucky Department of Education in September.
Glass, a Kentucky native who spent years working in education in several states, will share his thoughts on moving Kentucky schools out of the pandemic and into the work of improving Kentucky public education.
For the lunch session, Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams, fresh off an election like no other in history, will talk about supervising his first general election, his social media presence which has garnered a bipartisan following and what changes he sees for future Kentucky elections.
The conference will feature several new training sessions designed to help board members navigate current events that have affected Kentucky school districts.
• Fayette County board member Stephanie Spires and KSBA’s Director of Advocacy Eric Kennedy will discuss the board’s role in helping students who are homeless or in foster care. There are state and federal laws that affect their rights, and local boards play a key role in making sure these students are identified, their needs met and their legal rights respected.
• A special two-part session will help board members learn about the implementation of the School Safety and Resiliency Act. The act includes training requirements for threat assessment team implementation at every Kentucky public school in our Commonwealth. This session, presented by representatives from the Kentucky Center for School Safety, will include helpful reminders and new information regarding essential requirements of the act.
• Learn about Owensboro Independent Schools comprehensive multi-pronged approach to ensuring all students, regardless of color and/or gap group, are given the same opportunities for success as all other students. The initiative was a response to the recent racial equity and justice issues in our state and country. Board member Michael Johnson and Superintendent Matthew Constant will discuss the district’s Equity Task Force effort.
New Board Member Boot Camp
Because this was an election year, Winter Symposium will also feature a set of courses specifically designed for newly elected members. The “New Board Member Boot Camp” will not only allow new board members to start their terms off right, but also allow them to earn credit toward 2021 state-mandated training hours.
Much like in Kentucky schools, there will be multiple protocols in place to stem the spread of the coronavirus. In accordance with state public health guidelines and Marriott hotels policy, masks will be required in all public indoor areas of the hotel. The hotel has also implemented other safety precautions including contactless check in and increased cleaning including electrostatic sprayers with hospital-grade disinfectants.
“We want everyone to have a great experience at this year’s Winter Symposium and we will make every effort to keep attendees as safe as possible,” Cole said.