By the KLFA Staff
•January 6, 2016•

B Neuenswander

Brad Neuenswander

Kansas Learning First Alliance (KLFA) met January 6 at the Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB) building.  KLFA celebrated the start of its 17th year working toward its vision to unite the education community to improve the outstanding public education system, pre-K through higher education, and to empower each Kansan to succeed in the diverse, interdependent world of the 21st century.   

The Legislative Update included the continued concern with educational funding using the Block Grant system. The Efficiency Report and the State of the State will be important toward determining what will happen next. The upcoming election will play a critical role as to what decision makers are at the table.

Beth Fultz, Kansas State Department of Education, shared the proposed state outcomes aligned to the new vision and strategic plan. The proposal included kindergarten readiness, graduation rates, completing a credential or pursuing post-secondary education, individual plans of study with a career emphasis, social/emotional factors, and civic engagement. State assessment information was shared regarding the testing window, caching parameters, the process for registering students, performance tasks, and reporting procedures.

Brad Neuenswander, Deputy Commissioner KSDE, shared key points from the recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  ESSA maintains annual assessments and authorizes innovative assessment pilots and provides states with increased flexibility to design school accountability systems, school interventions, and student supports. Further, it allows states flexibility to work with local stakeholders to develop educator evaluation and support systems and increases state and local flexibility in the use of federal funds.

Members continued working in one of the three focus areas: Professional Learning, Student Success and Community Engagement.  Professional Learning is working with Learning Forward Kansas (LFKS) to develop a videos series that demonstrates professional learning that changes practice, plus creating several resources/tools that focus on the vocabulary of ESSA, KESA, and other state initiatives. Student Success is creating resources/tools to support districts focused on Student Success and Kansans Can, especially Individual Plans of Study.  Community Engagement is also creating resources/tools available for Kansas educators.

The next KLFA meeting is Thursday, April 14, at the Kansas NEA building.  Please visit our website for more information about KLFA and our work.