Monday Message - October 7, 2019

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Commissioner's Monday Message

October 7, 2019

SRC – Remaining Items Needing Attention 

Districts have until Oct. 10 (10 days after public release of the new accountability data) to identify any data issues that need to be corrected. Contact the applicable KDE point of contact if an issue is identified.  

  • The School Report Card (SRC) approval site is open for schools and districts to add to or update any of the collection items. This includes: Safety and Precautionary Measures, Community, Technology, Visual and Performing Arts, Career Studies, World Languages, and Health and Physical Education (school profile data). NOTE: The “downloads” function can still be used to export all collection items for quality assurance review of data entered.  
  • The School Profile Report is now available for download from the SRC landing page, but also should be available with signatures in the local school district office. If changes are made to applicable School Profile items, it will change the School Profile Report available for download from the SRC.  

Please ensure the SRC link is posted in a prominent place on school and district websites. The SRC provides increased transparency and can help spur communication with parents and stakeholders toward driving school improvement. Posting the SRC on the school and district website is required under ESSA (ESEA section111(h)(2) (B)(iii)).  

Additional details and prior communications on these topics are available on the SRC Resource page on KDE’s website. 


School Bus Rebates: Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA)

The Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) of 2010 rebate program is set up to reduce harmful emissions from older, dirtier diesel vehicles and is funded for vehicle replacements or retrofits.

The 2019 DERA School Bus Rebates will offer more than $10 million to public and private fleet owners for the replacement of old diesel school buses with new buses certified to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) cleanest emission standards. EPA will award selected applicants $15,000 to $20,000 per bus for scrapping and replacing old buses. Applicants will be selected in a lottery, with at least one selectee from each state/territory represented in the applicant pool. Visit the EPA website for more information.

Fleets with up to 100 school buses may submit one application listing up to 10 buses for scrappage and replacement. Fleets with more than 100 school buses may submit up to two rebate applications, each listing up to 10 different buses for scrappage and replacement.

There will be a webinar for applicants at 3 p.m. ET Oct. 7. The call-in number is (202) 991-0477. The access code is 210 7951#.

For more information, visit the EPA website and review the information below.

Counties that have received funding in the past include:

  • Bell County, 2018, $200,000
  • Estill County, 2017, $100,000
  • Union County, 2017, $40,000
  • Bell County, 2014, $80,000

Email Elisa Hanley for more information.

FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is implementing a Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse that employers will use to report drug and alcohol program violations. It also will be used to check that current or prospective employees are not prohibited from performing safety-sensitive functions, such as operating a commercial motor vehicle, due to an unresolved drug and alcohol program violation.

A query must be conducted as part of a pre-employment driver investigation and at least annually for current employees. The clearinghouse will identify drivers who move frequently and obtain commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) in different states, linking those CDLs to maintain complete and accurate information on such drivers.

The clearinghouse will contain only violations that occurred on or after Jan. 6, 2020. If a driver’s violation occurred prior to that date and is in the return-to-duty (RTD) process when the clearinghouse is implemented, the violation and any related RTD activity will not be entered into the clearinghouse.

Superintendents, transportation directors, anyone responsible for hiring bus drivers and technicians and anyone with a CDL, should read the FAQs and register with the FMCSA. There is a fact sheet available to review the cost of the queries.

This is a FMCSA requirement. Email Elisa Hanley for more information.

School Bus Ordering and Purchasing Guide

The school bus ordering website is open. The 2020 school bus specifications and 2020 school bus purchasing guide, which districts should use to determine which buses to order, have been published.

All buses ordered between Oct. 1 and Nov. 15 will have a May delivery date. Buses ordered after Nov. 15 are not guaranteed for a May delivery. All new buses that are ordered with seat belts will receive three-point seat belts; they will no longer be equipped with lap belts only.

Important Dates:

Oct. 1 – Bus ordering opened

Oct. 1 – Kentucky Interlocal School Transportation Association (KISTA) opened

Nov. 1 – KISTA completed, all signed documents must be in to the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) and Ross, Sinclaire and Associates

Nov. 15 – Bus ordering closes for May delivery; all signed documents must be in to KDE

Email Carl Meehan or Elisa Hanley for more information.

School District Boundary Review Due by Oct. 14

The National Center for Education Statistics sponsors the School District Review Program (SDRP), which enables the U.S. Census Bureau to create poverty and population estimates by school district geography. The poverty and population estimates produced by the Census Bureau are important for each state’s allocation under Title I, Part A.

The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) must submit changes to school district boundaries to the Census Bureau. The information KDE submits must reflect the 2020 school districts as they will exist on Jan. 1.

To review your district’s boundaries, use the TIGERweb application on the Census Bureau website. There are 10 types of school district boundary changes. If your district has undergone any of the 10 types of boundary changes, email Margalee Conlee by Oct. 14. Include “SDRP” in the subject line of the email.

Comprehensive District and School Improvement Plans: Webinar Scheduled, Phase Two Deadline Nov. 1 

In lieu of regional improvement planning trainings, the Kentucky Department of Education has prepared a webinar that includes the most up-to-date guidance regarding Comprehensive District Improvement Plans and Comprehensive School Improvement Plans, as well as eProve.

Each district’s superintendent and each school’s principal is strongly encouraged to view the 2019-2020 Comprehensive Improvement Planning for Districts and Schools & eProve webinar. A transcript of the webinar also is available. The webinar includes the planning timeline, compliance monitoring, 2019-2020 updated goal building templates and navigating eProve.

Phase Two of the planning process is upon us! Beginning Oct. 1, districts and schools are required to complete and submit the following diagnostics in eProve:

  • Needs Assessment for Schools
  • Needs Assessment for Districts
  • School Assurances
  • District Assurances
  • School Safety Report
  • District Safety Report

The deadline for submitting the diagnostics is Nov. 1. The purpose of the diagnostics is to encourage thoughtful reflection of a district or school's current processes, practices and conditions in order to leverage its strengths and identify critical needs. As a reminder, district diagnostics should be completed at the systems level in eProve, while schools complete diagnostics at the school level. For additional information regarding creating new diagnostics, please consult the eProve user manual.   

Visit the Comprehensive Improvement Planning website for additional guidance on improvement plans. Email Natasha Napier with eProve questions and assistance. Email Victoria Fields for more information about school or district safety report questions.

2019-2020 Title I, Part A Comparability Report Due Nov. 1

Section 1118 of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act requires districts to submit supporting documentation that establishes each district has provided services that are comparable in each of its schools using general funds.

The 2019-2020 Comparability Report, the guide for completing it and instructions for submitting the report in GMAP can be found on the Title I, Part A webpage. The comparability report workbook is located in the GMAP district document library. The report is to be submitted for approval in GMAP by Nov. 1.

Contact your KDE Title I, Part A consultant at (502) 564-3791 for more information about completing or submitting the 2019-2020 Comparability Report.

Help inspire the next generation of teachers

Superintendents Asked to Participate in Dataseam Questionnaire

Pursuant to HB268 (2019 Regular Session-KY Acts Ch. 193), the secretary of the Finance and Administration Cabinet (FAC) shall provide approval and oversight of all contracts related to the Dataseam Initiative. As part of FAC's oversight of the current memorandum of agreement, its Office of Policy and Audit is conducting an audit of the Dataseam Initiative, which includes sending survey questionnaires to K-12 school districts and individual schools.

The Office of Policy and Audit is expected to email a link to its survey questionnaire to all district superintendents within the next week. Superintendents are asked to take 10 to 15 minutes of their time to complete the questionnaire, which will provide invaluable information to the Finance and Administration Cabinet and to policymakers.

Thank you in advance for participating in the K-12 school district survey about the Dataseam Initiative, formerly called the Coal County Computing Program.


Early Warning Tool Available to All Districts

The month of October is dedicated to calling attention to the need for dropout prevention efforts nationwide. Although Kentucky’s current graduation rate is 90.6%, there is much work left to do.

In the 2017-2018 school year, 4,350 Kentucky students were identified as having dropped out of school. To find your school or district’s dropout data, go to the KDE Supplemental Data Learning Environment tab in Open House.

Middle and high schools in all Kentucky districts have access to one of the most powerful early warning data tools in the country via Infinite Campus. This interactive tool provides a GRAD score for every student in grades 6-12 and identifies which area of intervention (attendance, behavior, curriculum or stability) will yield the most impact for supporting persistence to graduation.

A 10-minute overview of the Early Warning tool is available, along with guidance for using the tool. For more information on the Early Warning tool, email Judi Vanderhaar.


Evidence-Based Practices Resources Available on KDE Website

The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) has released a series of new resources for schools seeking to implement ESSA’s evidence-based practices provisions. These resources can be found on KDE’s Elevating Evidence website.

On the site, leaders will find eight resources, four step-by-step tools, five recorded webinars and a quick link to access KDE technical assistance. Email Matthew Courtney for more information on ESSA’s evidence-based practices provisions.


Don’t Miss Out on Upcoming Virtual Workshops

This notice is being rerun to correct the date of the “Using the Social Studies Alignment Tool” virtual workshop.

Don’t miss out on the Kentucky Department of Education’s upcoming virtual workshops. Districts and schools are encouraged to plan ahead to promote and allow teachers to take part in these opportunities, as well as to consider offering professional learning credit to those who attend.

The upcoming virtual workshops include:

“Mock PLCs – Breaking Down a Standard,” Oct. 24, 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. ET: A mock professional learning community (PLC) will be conducted in order to take a closer look at PLCs in action breaking down a standard to gain teacher clarity. Use these links to access either the 4 p.m. session or the 5 p.m. session.

“Using the Social Studies Alignment Tool,” Nov. 21, 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. ET: Participants will practice using the alignment tools for the Kentucky Academic Standards for Social Studies with guidance from KDE content consultants. Use these links to access either the 4 p.m. session or the 5 p.m. session.


Join the 2019-2020 Diagnostic Review Team

The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) and Cognia (formerly AdvancEd) invite school and district administrators to join the Diagnostic Review Cadre for the 2019-2020 school year.

This team of distinguished school and system practitioners will support and help lead the diagnostic review process in several Kentucky schools and districts. During a three-day onsite review, team members will serve alongside KDE and Cognia staff members and college/university faculty members to examine school or district data and leadership and learning conditions, as well as the policies, practices, curriculum and culture that promote student learning.

Use this Google doc to apply for the Diagnostic Review Team.


Professional Learning Bulletin Board

AP Professional Development Workshop Set for Nov. 5

Join the College Board for an Advanced Placement (AP) professional development workshop 8 a.m.-3 p.m. ET Nov. 5 at Frederick Douglass High School in Lexington.

Attendees will experience a collaborative learning environment with subject-specific support and training in Art and Design, U.S. Government and Politics, Human Geography and Psychology. AP resources that will be highlighted include unit guides, personal progress checks, the AP Teacher Community and AP Question Bank.

The deadline for early registration is Oct. 15. Go to the College Board’s website to register.


Apply Now for NewSchools Venture Fund Workshop

NewSchools Venture Fund is hosting a two-day workshop Nov. 19-20 in San Antonio for district leaders who are focused on innovation as a way to improve student outcomes. The workshop is designed for teams of educators who are interested in starting new innovative schools within their districts.

During the workshop, teams will gain exposure to experts in the field, learn about the role that new, innovative schools have played within a district’s strategy, engage in school visits and learn about NewSchools Venture Fund’s funding opportunities. 

The deadline to apply is noon ET Oct. 9. Limited spots are available and applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. The application can be accessed on the NewSchools Venture Fund website.

Districts may send up to three participants; at least one participant should be a senior leader. NewSchools Venture Fund will provide selected districts with a stipend of up to $2,000, dependent on number of participants, to offset travel and lodging.

Email for more information.


Join Millions of Readers on Nov. 7 for Read for the Record Day

On Nov. 7, some 2 million people around the world will read the same book – “Thank You, Omu!” by Oge Mora – on the same day for Jumpstart’s “Read for the Record” campaign. The campaign brings together millions of adults and children around the world each year to read the same book on the same day in order to raise awareness about the critical importance of early literacy.

Jumpstart is a national early education organization working toward the day every child in America enters kindergarten prepared to succeed.


USED School Safety District Guide Available

The U.S. Department of Education, along with the Departments of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security and Justice, has issued a planning guide to help districts support schools in developing and maintaining customized emergency operations plans (EOPs). 

The Role of Districts in Developing High-Quality School Emergency Operations Plans” delivers on an interagency recommendation from the Federal Commission on School Safety’s final report to provide resources for schools and districts in developing customized EOPs with community partners, such as first responders. It serves as a complement to the “Guide for Developing High-Quality School Emergency Operations Plans,” suggesting specific roles and responsibilities for district-level leaders and staff.


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.