Monday Message - April 8, 2019

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Commissioner's Monday Message

April 8, 2019

District Facility Plans and Projects Update

The Kentucky Department of Education’s (KDE) Facilities Branch is experiencing a significant increase in its workload and is asking for districts’ patience as their requests are being processed.

The branch has three architects who serve as project managers, a resource management analyst, who primarily assists districts with the Facilities Planning and Construction system, and the branch manager. The project managers divide the 173 school districts between them and are responsible for the day-to-day district planning functions and construction projects that go on in them. This creates an already busy load, but there are two other factors adding to the work right now, outlined below, which take significant effort and time for review by KDE’s facilities staff.

KDE continues to encourage districts to input local district facility data into the Kentucky Facilities Inventory and Classification System by June 30, which is the cut-off date for inclusion in the Condition Report that is due to the legislative branch in October. And it’s also the time in the biennial budget cycle process to have as many district facility plans (DFPs) updated as possible in order to reflect current unmet needs. This data is included on the report KDE gives to the legislature in October of every odd year for budgetary purposes.

KDE is working with about 50 districts to have updated DFPs ready for the Kentucky Board of Education’s (KBE) review in time to be used in preparing the 2019 needs assessment report. Given the large number of DFPs in the pipeline, the district facilities staff has communicated timelines for completion of their planning processes to the affected districts in order for their DFPs to be included in the report to the legislature.

KDE wants all superintendents and facilities staff to know that the Facilities Branch team is working diligently to meet the heavy demand being placed on them. They take work in the order received to be fair to all, but understand sometimes that priorities can be disrupted for good reasons. Please try to be patient and understand it is KDE’s goal to serve everyone well and treat everyone fairly and equally.

If your district has a special situation you would like to point out or you want to discuss your project, contact your project lead or our management team for facilities: Greg Dunbar, Donna Duncan or Robin Kinney.

Civil Rights Data Collection – Final Steps

Districts and schools are required to complete and certify their 2017-2018 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) before April 24.

The Office of Civil Rights mandates the biennial data collection as a local reporting requirement; however, the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) provided assistance to schools and districts with the initial data load and continues to send reminders and status updates. Each school and district is responsible for verifying and certifying its data. As of April 4, 38 districts had completely certified their 2017-2018 data.

To fulfill the CRDC requirement, schools and/or districts must complete the following steps:

  1. Review data uploaded by KDE and enter/update data as needed.
  2. Resolve all errors. Warnings do not require action and certification can occur if your submission contains warnings.
  3. Certify your submission by April 24. Certification instructions are on page 81 of the CRDC Survey Tool User Guide. Once certification is successful, you can download a certification form.

Only superintendents and their authorized users will see the certification selection within the CRDC survey tool. Not all users can certify the local education agency (LEA) data.

Visit the KDE CRDC webpage for information and helpful resources. The webpage provides a description of the updated CRDC State Published ad hoc filters available in Infinite Campus that school and district staff may use to validate their CRDC data. The 2017-2018 CRDC Flat File Specifications document details items districts are required to enter into the CRDC collection system; see the LEA Provides tab and the SCH Provides tab.

The CRDC Partner Support Data Center (PSC) is available to answer questions, help with usernames, update contacts and provide technical support between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET. When contacting the PSC, have your seven-digit LEA identifier readily available. Contact the PSC by email or phone at (855) 255-6901.

Completed School District FY2019 Financial Audit Contracts Due May 28

The State Committee for School District Audits has approved the “Auditor Contract and Requirements for FY2018-2019,” which is located on the Financial Audit Contract Information webpage of the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) website.

Changes to the audit contract and supporting documents are typed in red within the audit contract package. In addition, items have been highlighted for your convenience and as reminders within the “Superintendent Reminders for FY2018-2019” document located on the same webpage.

The completed FY2018-2019 audit contract, required supporting documents, and Audit Acceptance Statement web form data are due to the KDE on or before May 28. For questions regarding the FY2019 contract, contact by email or phone one of the following employees in KDE’s District Financial Management Branch: Becky Walsh, (502) 564-3846, ext. 4410; or Kim Carter, (502) 564-3846, ext. 4440.

New and Improved Districts of Innovation Regulation

The District of Innovation regulation (701 KAR 5:140) had a major overhaul last year and it gave districts more flexibility and incentives to apply for innovation flexibility within schools. The key revisions for the program are:

  • A district may submit a District of Innovation Application for a minimum of one school within the district; however, an individual school shall not submit an application except as part of a district application.
  • Schools of Innovation can be any one of the following:
    • Any schools that have voluntarily chosen to be a School of Innovation pursuant to KRS 160.107(3)(a);
    • Any schools identified for Comprehensive Support and Improvement pursuant to KRS 160.346 that a local board of education has chosen, pursuant to KRS 160.107(3)(c), to make Schools of Innovation; and
    • Any district-operated schools that a district plans to create through the application
  • District (School) of Innovation status is not required for an innovation plan that does not require the Kentucky Board of Education to approve an exemption from any administrative regulation or statute.

A final note: The regulation revisions also changed the timeline for submission of an application. The new guidelines state that a district shall submit an application at least 90 days prior to the beginning of a school term to have the application considered for implementation at the beginning of the upcoming school term. So, if your school starts on Aug. 8, your application for the 2019-2020 school year would be due to Kentucky Department of Education by May 8.

If you have questions, contact David Cook or Steve Kissinger.

Apply Now to Attend School Readiness Summit

The School Readiness Summit will be 10 a.m.-3 p.m. ET April 29 at the Center for Rural Development, Somerset.

Participation in the summit is limited to 10 teams. Teams will be made of 8-10 members, including the superintendent/assistant superintendent as the lead. Teams who participated in the 2016 and 2017 School Readiness Summits are not permitted to participate for a second year. Teams who applied but were not selected may reapply. Participating teams will be selected through an application process.

Selected teams will participate in this 1-day event focusing on three areas:

  • Collective action with community partners and parents is the key to preparing more children for school entry.
  • Providing the tools and knowledge to assist schools to engage partners and the public in preparing children in the early years.
  • Improving coordination between early care and education and community partners.

Teams will have time to work with a facilitator to create unique action plans based on district data to increase school readiness in their communities.

To be considered for participation in this event, teams must agree to the following:

  • Create an 8-10 person team, consisting of:
    • Superintendent and/or assistant superintendent as team leaders;
    • Local child care director; and
    • Local Head Start director
  • Attend the entire 1-day event
  • Report on implementation progress and share strategies that will enhance student achievement at kindergarten entry
  • Use data to create unique 30, 60, 90 Day Action Plans to increase school readiness

Teams chosen to attend the summit may qualify to:

  • Receive technical assistance for certain projects developed through the summit;
  • Receive incentive opportunities for certain projects developed through the summit;
  • Obtain EILA credit for the summit; and
  • Obtain ECE-TRIS credit for the summit.

Most expenses will be covered for participating teams. Lunch and all materials needed for the day are included. Overnight lodging and mileage will not be included.

The deadline to submit an application is April 12. Selected teams will be notified April 19. The application is available on this Google document.

April 22 Deadline for Annual Review and Update of School Front Door Geographic Coordinates

If your district made any changes in the past year – such as adding a new school, or changing a school facility or district office location – designate someone in your district and/or schools to take the following actions no later than April 22:

  1. Verify the coordinates for any new facility/district office or location.
  2. If any changes need to be made, provide the correct coordinates to the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE).

For detailed instructions, please go to the KDE Front Door Project webpage. If you have questions regarding the mapping of school/district office coordinates, send them to the School Data Services shared mailbox.


Title III and Title IV, Part A Intent to Participate Now Open in GMAP

The Title III and Title IV, Part A Intent to Participate forms are now open in the Grant Management Application and Planning (GMAP) system. Districts must complete the Intent to Participate form and select whether they want to receive grant funding, choose to join a consortium or have their funds reallocated to other districts. Districts can visit KDE’s Federal Grants webpage to view their FY20 Preliminary Allocations.

The deadline to complete the Intent to Participate form for both programs and have superintendent approval is April 12. Visit the Title III webpage and the Title IV, Part A webpage for information and resources.

Contact these KDE staff members for additional questions:

Title III: Jessica Sanderson  or Erin Sudduth 

Title IV, Part A: Ialah Brewer


Registration now for the 2019 Persistence to Graduation Summit: Safe and Supportive Learning

The 2019 Persistence to Graduation Summit: Safe and Supportive Learning, will be July 9-10 at the Lexington Convention Center and will feature peer-led interactive breakout sessions.

Keynote speakers include Hamish Brewer, the 2017 National Association of Elementary School Principals Nationally Distinguished Principal from Virginia; and Marietta Watts, executive diversity liaison for the University of Kentucky’s Office of Institutional Diversity and leader of UK’s Unconscious Bias Initiative. Summit topics will include well-rounded educational opportunities, safe and supportive learning environments, effective use of education technology, student transition and re-engagement strategies and alternative education.

EILA credit and CEUs for social workers will be available.

Registration is free on a first-come, first-served basis. All attendees are responsible for registering themselves. Use the discount code PTG2019 in order to attend at no charge when you register on the AdvanceEd website. You must use this discount code to avoid being charged a registration fee.


Elevating Evidence – Meeting ESSA’s Evidence-based Requirements

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) calls on education leaders to deepen their understanding and expand their use of evidence-based decision making. Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) staff will be hosting several workshops throughout Kentucky to introduce attendees to ESSA’s evidence-based provisions and facilitate conversations about common issues in educational research.

As part of this training, participants will evaluate a study that is relevant to their local setting and will leave with a completed study analysis that meets KDE compliance expectations. While all school and district leaders are welcome, this workshop is designed for principals and teacher leaders who want a deeper understanding of ESSA’s evidence-based practice provisions.

Three-hour morning and afternoon sessions will be offered at each location. To register, select the link below or visit KDE’s Evidence-based Practices website. Space is limited. EILA credit is available for this workshop.

Registration Link

The training sessions are:

  • July 9: Elizabethtown, Regional Postsecondary Education Center, Elizabethtown Community and Technical College
  • July 11: Hazard, Hazard Community and Technical College
  • July 23: Madisonville, The Brown Badget Sr. Energy and Advanced Technology Center, Madisonville Community and Technical College
  • July 25: Florence, Gateway Community and Technical College
  • July 30: Grayson, Rocky Adkins Pavilion, Ashland Community and Technical College


KDE’s Best Practices Website Taking Submissions

The Kentucky Department of Education’s Best Practices and Sustainability website is open for submission of best practices from schools and districts.

The website is designed to serve as a clearinghouse to promote practices that motivate, engage and provide measurable results in student learning, achievement and school/district processes. Any aspect of a school system that can impact student outcomes through improved instruction or operations can be submitted as a best practice.

Best practices should be submitted to the Best Practices database by May 1 to be considered for acknowledgement at the Continuous Improvement Summit in September. For additional information, please feel free to contact Natasha Napier.


Professional Learning Bulletin Board

Outside KDE

Register Now for the KY Coalition for English Learners’ Inaugural Summer Institute

The Kentucky Coalition for English Learners’ (KyC-EL) Inaugural Summer Institute, “Shared Responsibility,” will be June 10-11 at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville. Keynote speakers will include Diane Staehr Fenner, director of SupportEd; and Aída Walqui, director of Quality Teaching for English Learners.

General education teachers and school and district leadership are encouraged to attend. Workshop topics include strategies for instruction, building equity, special education and English learners, and use of technology.

EILA and general professional development credits available. 

Visit the Kentucky Office for Refugees website to register. For questions, email Becky Brenzel.


Sign Up for Kentucky Crushed Stone Association's Teachers' Workshop Program, June 18-19

The Kentucky Crushed Stone Association (KYCSA) is offering a free workshop (including accommodations) that will focus on the identification, economic value and the uses of a variety of rocks and earth materials in modern society. Materials, lesson plans, handouts and classroom resources designed for science and social studies education programs aligned to 2015 Kentucky Academic Standards are included.

For more information and to register, visit the KYCSA event website.


Those receiving this at KSB and KSD, please make sure all employees receive it. Also, ATC principals are asked to forward it to their staffs.

Please send your questions, comments and suggestions on Monday Message to Jennifer Ginn by 10 a.m. Friday to be published in the upcoming week.