Interim Joint Committee on Education

 

Minutes of the<MeetNo1> 4th Meeting

of the 2009 Interim

 

<MeetMDY1> September 14, 2009

 

The<MeetNo2> fourth meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Education was held on<Day> Monday,<MeetMDY2> September 14, 2009, at<MeetTime> 1:00 PM, in<Room> Room 127, Student Union Building, Northern Kentucky University. Representative Carl Rollins II, Co-Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.

 

Present were:

 

Members:<Members> Senator Ken Winters, Co-Chair; Representative Carl Rollins II, Co-Chair; Senators Walter Blevins Jr., David Givens, Dan Kelly, Elizabeth Tori, Johnny Ray Turner, and Jack Westwood; Representatives John "Bam" Carney, Hubert Collins, Jim DeCesare, Ted Edmonds, C. B. Embry Jr., Jim Glenn, Derrick Graham, Jeff Greer, Reginald Meeks, Charles Miller, Harry Moberly Jr., Jody Richards, Tom Riner, Charles Siler, Wilson Stone, Alecia Webb-Edgington, and Addia Wuchner.

 

Legislative Guests:† Senators Katie Kratz Stine and John Schickel; and Representatives John Will Stacy, Adam Koenig, and Sal Santoro.

 

Guests:† Kyna Koch and Jonathan Lowe, Legislative Research Commission; Robert Brown, Teresa Moore, Gary Stephens, and Marcie Lowe, Educational Professional Standards Board; Gayle Hilleke, Kentucky Campus Compact; Wayne Young, Kentucky Association of School Administrators; Zack Wells, Rebekah Parvis, Gail Wells, Nancy Lang, Gerry St. Amand, and Eric Brose, Northern Kentucky University; Mona Ball, Susan Herron, and Terry Poindexter, Kentucky Education Association; Anna Marie Tracy and Phyllis Sparks, Boone County Schools; Rick Jones, Boone County Education Association; and Kevin Brown, Ken Draut, Terry Holliday, Kentucky Department of Education, and Jon Draud, Former Representative.

 

LRC Staff:† Audrey Carr, Sandy Deaton, Janet Stevens, Ken Warlick, Janet Oliver, and Lisa Moore.

 

Representative Rollins asked for a motion to approve the minutes of the August 10, 2009, meeting. Representative Siler made the motion to approve the minutes, seconded by Representative Carney. The motion was approved by voice vote.

 

Representative Rollins introduced Dr. James Votruba, President, Northern Kentucky University (NKU) to give the committee an update of the NKU initiatives and performance report. Dr. Votruba introduced his panel, which included: Dr. G. Edward Hughes, President, Gateway Community and Technical College; Mr. Randy Poe, Superintendent, Boone County Schools; and Mr. Bill Scheyer, President, Vision 2015.

 

Dr. Votruba welcomed the committee members to NKU and acknowledged Dr. Robert King, President, Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) and Mr. Joe Brothers, Chair, Kentucky Board of Education (KBE), and other distinguished community leaders. He said NKU continues to progress forward economically and socially by making early childhood through postsecondary education its cornerstone. He introduced Mr. Scheyer to give some opening remarks.

 

Mr. Scheyer discussed the partnership between Vision 2015 and NKU. He said three years ago, Northern Kentucky (NK) produced the boldest community vision the region had ever seen. He said the ten-year strategic plan for the nine counties in NK focuses on making the region highly competitive in the global economy of the 21st century. †He said NK has determined that success depends on striking the proper balance between the six focus areas: economic development, educational excellence, urban renaissance, livable communities, effective governance, and regional stewardship. He said NKUís signature goal is to create 50,000 new jobs by 2015. He said talent development and increased educational attainment levels are critical elements in meeting this goal.

 

Mr. Scheyer said NK accounts for nearly one in four net new jobs created in the state. He emphasized that NK must develop a talent force that matches the key NK industry growth potential areas of informatics, health care, finance and manufacturing technology. He said partnerships with NKU and Gateway Community and Technical College are essential in this endeavor.

 

Mr. Scheyer said the long-term strategy is to provide systems that help students of all ages to have the opportunities that they need to succeed and to compete effectively in this 21st century global economy. He said NKU is a key partner with early childhood development initiatives, the longitudinal assessment protocol, which tracks the results of students in the first five years of their student experience, and the Center for Educator Excellence. He noted that NKU trains 80 percent of local teachers, and focuses on education in the urban core. He also said the College of Informatics is playing an increasingly significant role in strategic initiatives within many of the focus areas that have been identified for Vision 2015.

 

Mr. Poe discussed Conner High School in NK as a success model for remediation reduction to increase college readiness. He said the target audience was high school seniors whose 11th grade ACT scores indicated they were not fully college-ready (ACT scores in the 15-19 range). He said seniors could take a transitional course in English (reading and writing) and/or mathematics to improve their skills. The course standards were based on those adopted by the CPE in 2004. Upon completion of the course, seniors can take a secure, online college placement test through the KY Online Testing (KYOTE) system at no cost to students, schools, or districts. He said seniors who pass the placement tests are guaranteed placement in appropriate college level courses at participating Kentucky colleges and universities.

 

Mr. Poe said the model used at the Conner High School was replicated in ten other schools in the region. He said over 500 students took the KYOTE test that did not perform well on the ACT. It was noted that 250 of those students passed and enrolled in college at NKU without the need for a remediation course. He said this reduced college costs for parents who were sending their children to school, and it also proved to students that college was an option for them that they did not have before.

 

Mr. Poe said one of the major goals for the project was to reduce the remediation rate for students. He noted that Boone County had a 30 percent remediation rate for seniors entering NKU. After the program was implemented, the remediation rate was reduced to 15 percent. In addition, Conner High School had an increase in college readiness on the ACT of two percent, and a six percent increase in mathematics.

 

Mr. Poe said a group of regional superintendents along with NKU is working on the alignment of the assessment program as mandated in Senate Bill 1 passed in the 2009 Regular Session. He said this goal is also in cooperation with Vision 2015ís regional collaboration goal. He said this will provide a common high quality assessment for all students in the region. It increases teachersí ability to differentiate instruction, and builds a model that is part of accountability and affordable. It also provides common community indicators and measures of student learning in the region. A computerized, adaptive diagnostic assessment has been selected. He said because NKU is partnering in this effort, it secures a regional price for the assessment. Piloting of the test has begun in some districts. All NKU teacher-prep students will be trained in the use of the assessment.

 

Dr. Hughes said the overall mission of Gateway Community and Technical College (GCTC) is to increase access to residents of NK to a comprehensive community and technical college focused on workforce preparation and transfer education. He said this is the newest campus regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

 

Dr. Hughes said Gateway has two main focuses. He wants Gatewayís role in the region to be an institution that provides opportunities for transfer and transitional education. He said the reality is that Kentucky has many adults who are not prepared for college and the workforce. Transitional education helps to bring individuals up in basic skills to the point that they will be able to succeed in an advanced education and/or in the 21st century workforce. This is critical issue to the entire Commonwealth.

 

Dr. Hughes said it is critical for students to know that they can easily transfer to any senior institution after beginning their education at Gateway. Gateway primarily focuses on getting students ready to work at some very high level industries that have been identified through Vision 2015. He said these industries tend to be in the areas of advanced manufacturing or mechatronics, healthcare, business informatics, information technology, and energy industries.

 

Dr. Hughes discussed the Gateway Urban Campus Project. He said the overall goal is to increase access to urban residents of NK to a comprehensive community and technical college. He said this project is very unique and will create a new urban campus as an anchor for urban development in Covington. He said it will expand postsecondary opportunities for students in the urban school districts with dual credit programs. It will utilize community assets to create the campus to help defray costs and to partner with other groups that are focusing their efforts on the urban core. It provides a unique opportunity to create a new residential development overlooking Covington that produces new tax revenues to support education.

 

Dr. Hughes discussed the anticipated outcomes of the Gateway Urban Campus Project. They are: 1) Enroll 2,500 new urban students per year by 2012; 2) Increase percentage of 9th graders graduating from urban high school to above national averages; 3) Model program to increase college going rate at Holmes High School via the Gateway College Access Center; and 4) Provide a new source of educated talent for the business community.

 

Dr. Hughes discussed the proposed current Covington/Parks Hill site for the urban campus. He said the college and Kenton County Library have agreed in principle to develop a joint project that will allow the college to build its new $25.5 million (85,000 square foot) facility adjacent to the library. The target date of completion is 2014.

 

Dr. Hughes said the college and Covington Independent Public Schools have agreed in principle for the collegeís use of Two Rivers Middle School as part of the urban campus complex. The college will acquire the facility and renovate it using its own funds. This target date is the fall of 2010. The project is high on the NK Consensus Committee list of 2010.

 

Dr. Hughes said the Kenton County Library is planning a major $11 million renovation. The college and library have identified approximately 18,000 square feet of space that can be developed together in the GCTC facility; therefore, saving an estimated $4.5 million by not building duplicative spaces separately. The joint areas include public meeting spaces, computer labs, program spaces, entry and gathering spaces, bathrooms, and the library for GCTC. The library is a critical issue for GCTCís regional accreditation.

 

Dr. Hughes said Gatewayís student enrollment is up 60 percent, and they are expecting an additional 24 percent of attendees this fall. He noted that 53 percent of the brand new students come from families making incomes less than $25,000 a year. Of that group, 47 percent come from families whose family income is less than $10,000 a year. He said this makes bus transportation very important to this site and any student attending the college can ride the bus for free.

 

Dr. Hughes said GCTC is working with the City of Covington to secure funding opportunities from the Commonwealth, federal government, and private organizations to support the project, including additional parking that will be needed in the future. The Foundation has secured a purchase option for two properties in the area for additional building and parking sites. He also said the campaign for GCTC will raise up to $5 million for the Urban Campus Project.

 

Dr. Hughes said the project provides a unique return on investment. He said the new residential development overlooking Covington on the Amsterdam Road campus valued at $62.5 million will yield over $12 million in new property tax revenues in the first decade. This project has economic and community value and pays for itself over time. He also said this projection does not include the estimated $5 million of sales and payroll tax generated during the construction phase.

 

Dr. Votruba said NKU continues to be first in the Commonwealth among Kentucky universities in the percentage of growth and degrees awarded. This is a 50 percent increase over the past 10 years. He said there 2,599 degrees conferred in the past year. Among the four public colleges in Kentucky, NKU has the highest three year graduation for KCTCS transfers at 71.4 percent. The next closest is 64 percent.

 

Dr. Votruba said nearly half of all NKU produced degrees are awarded in these target areas: Business, 560 degrees; Informatics, 223 degrees, Nursing and Health Professions, 267 degrees. Additionally, NKU has the third largest e-Health informatics degree program in the country. He also discussed college affordability and high quality, high demand statistics. The detailed information is located in the meeting folder in the Legislative Research Commission (LRC) library.

 

Dr. Votruba said a lack of resources is causing NKUís growth to slow. He said 400 freshmen were turned away this year. He said there was a 100 percent increase in Nursing and Allied Health students over the last seven years. NKU is turning away 200 undergraduate students and as many graduate students every year due to space limitations.

 

Senator Westwood commended the panel for their collaborative efforts. He is excited about the urban campus at GCTC. However, he is concerned about NKU turning away 400 new freshmen and 200 Nursing and Allied Health students. He asked if NKU was looking at offering more courses on-line.

 

Dr. Votruba said the masterís program in nursing is offered on-line. However, there has to be enough faculty and lab space to produce the type of nurses that the healthcare systems need. He said the nursing program has experienced 100 percent growth and the quality of the program will be at risk if more students are accepted.

 

Senator Westwood asked if NKU has plans to expand distance learning outside of the nursing program to other areas. Dr. Votruba said there are a couple of opportunities to increase distance learning. One, NKU is in the process of expanding the number of college credit courses that are offered in high school to help shorten the length of time it takes to get a degree. He said NKU shortened the credit hours required to graduate from 128 to 120 in the past year. He also supports offering web-based courses, but believes in high quality programs with access.

 

Dr. Votruba commented on the handout that shows the educational pipeline from early childhood through work. This graph is a studentís roadmap to success and identifies critical benchmarks and transition years. He said resources should be targeted in the areas that have the most impact and this continuum highlights those points of impact.

 

Representative Stone commented on the dropout rate being lower in the NK region of the state as compared with the rest of the state. He asked what the dropout rate was for the region and how many 18 year olds move on from public and private schools into higher education. Mr. Poe said transitional programs need to be available for students. He said most school districts in NK have transitional teams in place to target at-risk children between 5th and 6th grade. He said these are very expensive programs and the flexible focus funds are decreasing, which is decreasing the success rate of the program. He said 6th grade has been identified as the year when students start considering dropping out of school. He feels it is very important to fully fund extended school services programs to help curb dropout rates.

 

Representative Stone said tuitions are increasing and he feels the cost is playing a role in keeping qualified students out of college. Dr. Hughes said that while tuition prices are increasing, Pell Grants and financial assistance have increased accordingly. He also said the prices of community colleges have been held down significantly.

 

Representative Glenn asked how many of the 400 freshmen students turned away at NKU were accepted into Gateway. Dr. Votruba did not know the answer to that question, but his hope is that most of those students ended up at GCTC.

 

Representative Glenn said NKU is a comprehensive university which means they offer a masterís degree. He said Wisconsin is starting to offer Ph.D programs in nursing and asked if NKU would consider that to get more medical doctors on the ground level. Dr. Votruba said NKU currently offers the Ed.D program. The program currently has about 3,500 students enrolled and it is a practitioner-based program. He said there are conversations just beginning with CPE and the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville to offer a practice-based doctoral program.

 

Senator Blevins asked how many in-state versus out-of-state students are enrolled at NKU. Dr. Votruba said the ratio is about 70 in-state residents to 30 non-state residents.† He said 42 percent of NKUís total revenue is generated from the out-of-state agreements. He noted there are reciprocity agreements in place with Ohio and Indiana that allow Kentuckians to attend school at in-state cost if they offer a program that is not offered at NKU.

 

Senator Blevins asked how many of the 400 freshmen students that were turned away were in-state students. Dr. Votruba said some were Kentuckians and many were non-resident students. He did not know the exact figures, but most had deficiencies to overcome. He said NKU depends on the revenue generated through the out-of-state tuition fees.

 

Senator Blevins asked the difference in tuition costs for out-of-state students. Dr. Votruba said it increases from $125 per credit hour to $200 per credit hour for out-of-state students, unless they are from a contiguous county. He noted it is a 1.85 multiplier for in-state.

 

Representative Moberly discussed NKUís healthcare programs. He asked Dr. Votruba how NKU plans to reallocate resources internally to fund programs without receiving any new money from the state. Dr. Votruba said NKU received a 10 percent cut in general fund appropriations over the last two years. He said NKU has reallocated twice that much money. NKU doubled the cuts and asked for plans from each of the vice presidents. He also noted $7-8 million has been reinvested in the last couple of years.

 

Representative Moberly asked Dr. Votruba his opinion on the standardization of textbooks to save families money. Dr. Votruba responded that he did not have a good answer for that. He said Dr. Robert King, President, CPE is looking at the issue.

 

Representative Moberly asked if NK would remain a Delta hub with Delta decreasing flights. Mr. Steve Stephens, President, Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, responded that the NK Delta hub has already lost some international flights. The NK Delta hub regular flights have decreased from 630 flights to 234 and more cuts could be in the future. NK is at risk to lose the Delta hub after the contract expires in 2010. Dr. Votruba said this is very scary because the Delta hub helps to recruit and retain companies and faculty and staff.† Representative Moberly said that Delta has played a huge role in economic development in the region and Dr. Votruba agreed.

 

Representative Rollins introduced Mr. Kevin Brown, General Counsel, KDE, and Mr. Ken Draut, Associate Commissioner, Office of Assessment and Accountability, KDE, to explain administrative regulation 703 KAR 5:080 and E and the technical amendment. Mr. Brown said the administrative regulation establishes an Administration Code for Kentuckyís Educational Assessment Program, dated May 2009, to replace the previous copy dated February 2009. The revisions to the document enhance language prohibiting inappropriate test preparation and clarify the connection of the Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB) process for possible educator sanctions during the KDEís testing allegations procedure. Revisions align the document with new statewide testing requirements and update and remove statements and terminology that are no longer applicable. Representative Stone made the motion to approve the technical amendment to administrative regulation 703 KAR 5:080, and Representative Collins seconded the motion. The motion was approved by voice vote.

 

Representative Rollins introduced Mr. Robert Brown, Division Director, Teresa Moore, Branch Manager, Division of Professional Learning and Assessment, and Mr. Gary Stephens, Staff Attorney, Division of Legal Services, EPSB, to explain administrative regulation 16 KAR 8:030. Mr. Brown said the administrative regulation established the requirements and assessment procedures for a program for teachers seeking rank change or certificate renewal as an alternative to earning a Masterís Degree or completing an approved fifth year program at a university. The program will be funded by participant fees established in this amendment. The amendment incorporates by reference scoring rubrics and performance indicators to be used to evaluate program participants. No formal action by the committee was taken on 16 KAR 8:030.

 

Representative Rollins introduced Representative Adam Koenig and Dr. Anna Marie Tracy, Supervisor for No Child Left Behind, Boone County Schools, to discuss parental involvement initiatives in Boone County Schools. Representative Koenig said the legislation he sponsored in the 2009 Regular Session requiring a parent to attend at least one parent teacher conference for their child during the school year was to generate conversation about what a parentís role should be in their childís education. He said teachers have communicated that students perform better academically when a parent is actively involved in their learning. He said parental involvement is a wonderful way to help students in these tight budgetary times because it is basically free. Parents do not require salaries, office space, or retirement benefits, but can be a teacherís best aide.

 

Dr. Tracy said that family participation is twice as predictive of studentsí academic success as family socioeconomic status. She noted some of the more intensive programs had effects that were 10 times greater than other factors.

 

Dr. Tracy said the research shows us that when parents are involved in their childís education students have: higher grades, test scores and graduation rates; better attendance; participate in higher level courses; and have a decreased use of drugs and or alcohol, and decreased episodes of violence. Research shows the schools benefit by: improving teacher morale; teachers receive higher ratings by parents; more support from families; higher student achievement; and better reputations in the community.

 

Dr. Tracy said parents express a genuine and deep-seated desire to help their children succeed academically, regardless of differences in socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, and cultural background. She said parent involvement leads to feelings of ownership, resulting in increased support of schools. Parents also involved in school and community organization empower families to have a voice in the decision making process and demand accountability for their childrenís schools.

 

Dr. Tracy explained some specifics in the Boone County parental involvement initiative. School district programs include: Making the Most out of High School; Summer Bridge Program; Parent Leadership Institute; Parents Assuring Student Success (PASS); Readiness Videos; Parents Ready for School; Common Sense Parenting for Preschool; Starting Strong; Ready Fest; Early English for Parents and Students; and Hispanic Parent Community Meetings. There are also a variety of teacher and parent workshops offered in the district to help teachers communicate with parents and address potential barriers to parental involvement. She said many of the parent workshops target strengthening families by promoting strong fathers and coordinating a parent and child night out. Specific details about each individual program can be found in the meeting folder located in the LRC library.

 

Dr. Tracy discussed the next steps for schools engaging parental involvement. She said school districts should develop the capacity of school staff to work with families. School districts should continue to encourage and support building familiesí social and political connections. Finally, there needs to be stronger connections built between schools and community organizations.

Representative Graham asked if Boone County has a program for schools to visit the parents if parents will not visit the school. Dr. Tracy said Boone County has multiple ways to reach the parents. She said the family youth service centers reach out and visit the parents, preschool staff make visits to studentsí homes, and guidance counselors make in-home visits. She said the public library is also utilized as a place for parents to visit if they do not feel comfortable visiting the school building. Representative Graham asked if teachers visit parents in the studentís home or walk the neighborhoods. Dr. Tracy said that is a goal, but it is currently not happening. Representative Graham said the Frankfort Independent School District is implementing this student outreach idea, but he has been reluctant because of security issues. He said the students seemed to respond by seeing the teachers visibly walking in their neighborhoods. He also said what is successful in Boone County may not be successful in Franklin County because each school district is unique and has different needs.

 

Representative Koenig said he was not trying to represent Boone County as the model for parental involvement initiatives. He said the important thing is that discussion is being engaged around parental involvement in school districts. Representative Graham feels it should be a local school districtís decision on what activities take place between parents and teachers. Representative Koenig said he wants to make sure there is some form of communication between parents and teachers throughout all school districts in the Commonwealth. Representative Rollins said there needs to be a forum for school districts to share ideas.

 

Representative Stone said so many school children only have one parent. Some children are defined as homeless and have no parents, and bounce from place to place. He said these children suffer the most from not having any parental involvement or very limited parental involvement. He asked what Boone County would do to help the most disadvantaged students from the standpoint of parental involvement. Dr. Tracy said Title I receives funding at the Title I schools to address those types of students in a variety of capacities. She said schools should create a cultivation of expectations of expecting parents to be involved and parents expecting schools to reach out to them. She said the same programs cannot be used to reach all students. Programs should be adaptable to community and unique student situations. Representative Stone said there should be interventions to help students feel special if they do not have parents actively involved in their education and lives.

 

Senator Givens commended Representative Koenig on initiating the conversation around parental involvement. He commented on Grandparents Day in his school district and what a great opportunity that is to involve more family in a childís education. He asked Dr. Tracy if there are two or three quantifiable performance measures used in Boone County to show that efforts are either successful or unsuccessful. Dr. Tracy said she surveys parents after completion of each program and this has created a database of parents. She then refers to these parents for further participation on an individual basis or to join in a leadership program. She is not able to relate this to student success at this time. Dr. Tracy said students with special needs should not be overlooked either. She would love to see more programs implemented that help parents help their special needs child to perform better in school.

 

Representative Wuchner said home visitation is the most successful model across the country for nurses sharing healthcare information with families. She said a culture should be grown in the state that values health wellness and education. She can see value in teachers building relationships with parents in the studentís home environment.

 

Representative Carney says there is no silver bullet answer to this issue. He said there is definitely a socioeconomic relationship with students being successful and parental involvement. He believes staff should take bus tours of the communities where their students reside; however, he believes making door to door visits pose a variety of security issues. He is hopeful that the dialogue continues because it is important to get the parents of the neediest children involved. He said society has created a culture that generationally spins the wheel and garners the same results.

 

Representative Rollins announced that the next Interim Joint Committee on Education meeting will be in Frankfort on October 12, 2009. He thanked Dr. Votruba and NKUís staff for hosting an excellent meeting.

 

With no further business before the committee, the meeting adjourned at 3:00 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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