Interim Joint Committee on Education


Minutes of the<MeetNo1> 1st Meeting

of the 2010 Interim


<MeetMDY1> June 14, 2010


Call to Order and Roll Call

The<MeetNo2> first meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Education was held on<Day> Monday,<MeetMDY2> June 14, 2010, at<MeetTime> 1:00 PM, in<Room> Room 149 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Ken Winters, 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., Jimmy Higdon, Alice Forgy Kerr, Vernie McGaha, Tim Shaughnessy, Elizabeth Tori, and Jack Westwood; Representatives Linda Belcher, Hubert Collins, Leslie Combs, Jim DeCesare, C. B. Embry Jr., Bill Farmer, Tim Firkins, Jim Glenn, Derrick Graham, Jeff Greer, Reginald Meeks, Charles Miller, Harry Moberly Jr., Rick G. Nelson, Marie Rader, Jody Richards, Tom Riner, Kent Stevens, Wilson Stone, and Addia Wuchner.


Guests:  Tanya Bromley, Kentucky Music Educators Association; Wayne Young, Kentucky Association of School Administrators; Keith White, Office of Education Accountability; Cindy Heine, Olivia Fitzpatrick, and Danny Hwang, Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence; and Sally Sugg, Kentucky Department of Education.


LRC Staff:  Audrey Carr, Sandy Deaton, Janet Stevens, Henry Smith, and Lisa Moore.


School and district audits and actions taken in persistently low-achieving schools

Dr. Terry Holliday, Commissioner, Kentucky Department of Education (KDE), reported on intervention in persistently low-achieving schools, driven by federal criteria. He said funding for the low achieving schools came from many sources, primarily the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF). Other sources included: the School Improvement Grant (SIG), Race to the Top (RTTT), and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Dr. Holliday said the state authority included the passage of House Bill 176, which amended KRS 160.346 and was enacted in the 2009 Regular Session, and 703 KAR 5:180. Intervention system for persistently low-achieving schools (emergency and ordinary versions).


Dr. Holliday explained the specific requirements of House Bill 176. He said it provided the definition for a persistently low-achieving school. It required the identification of the lowest scoring five percent or lowest five schools in two categories: schools receiving Title I funding and schools eligible to receive Title I funding, but not receiving Title I funding. He noted House Bill 176 also required the identification of any high school with a graduation rate of less than 60 percent for three consecutive years.


Dr. Holliday said the lowest five percent of schools was determined by each school’s combined score in reading and math for schools having missed federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for at least three years. Ten schools were identified, five Title I and five Title I eligible. A new group of schools will be identified in the fall of 2010 according to the same federal definition.

Dr. Holliday said leadership assessments were conducted in each school and its corresponding district as required by House Bill 176 and 703 KAR 5:180E. The assessments were designed to determine the capacity of the school council, the principal and the local district to lead and manage turnaround of the school. He said the leadership assessments based findings on a triangulation of data from the assessment team’s documentation; staff, parent and student interviews; and on-site observations. The results of the assessments concluded: 8 of 10 councils lacked capacity to lead turnaround; 6 of 10 principals lacked capacity to lead a turnaround; and 1 of 5 districts lacked capacity to lead a turnaround.


Dr. Holliday said House Bill 176 allowed schools to appeal the commissioner’s determination from the leadership assessment. The school council of Frost Middle School in Jefferson County appealed to KDE, which upheld the commissioner’s determination that the council did not have the capacity to lead the turnaround.


Dr. Holliday said schools that are determined to be low-achieving are required to choose one of the following four intervention options: external management option, restaffing option, school closure option, or transformation option. Schools will submit applications to KDE during June 2010 for SIG funding. They have received technical assistance from KDE staff on how to prepare applications for SIG funding.


Dr. Holliday said KDE has partnered with three universities (Western Kentucky University (WKU), University of Louisville (U of L), and Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) in an effort called District 180 to provide more regional support for school and districts. Three educational recovery directors will be hired to lead Centers for Learning Excellence in partnership with one of the three identified universities to provide technical assistance to the ten schools and other struggling schools in their service area. There will be one educational recovery leader per school to mentor the principal and two educational recovery specialists per school who will focus on language arts and mathematics.


 Dr. Holliday said turnaround training will be provided to the school principals and KDE District 180 staff for ten days in July with follow-up throughout the school year. The training is based on the work of national experts in turning around low-performing schools and is composed of modules on leading change, building and sustaining an achievement-oriented and accountability-based culture, effective learning systems that are focused on literacy and math, and creating and sustaining continuous improvement. The turnaround training will be available to other schools and districts after the initial ten schools and KDE staff are trained.


In response to a question from Representative Farmer, Dr. Holliday said the restaffing option requires that the principal of the school be removed and no more than 50 percent of existing staff retained. Jefferson County started a local effort and hired additional staff before July 1, 2007, to improve instruction in the low-achieving schools. Dr. Holliday said the staff hired in the 2007-2008 and the 2008-2009 school years will not be required to transfer under this legislation according to a United States Department of Education ruling. This results in some schools having less than a 50 percent staff transfer rate in Jefferson County.


In response to questions from Senator Westwood, Dr. Holliday said it cannot yet be determined if schools are shuffling teachers from one low-performing school to another. Jefferson County was the only school district to choose the restaffing option. The Office of Education Accountability might want to consider studying this issue. KDE will be monitoring staffing rosters through the SIG applications to determine student achievement at each teacher level.


Dr. Holliday said the three educational recovery directors will be located at Uof L, EKU, and WKU, and will coordinate services between KDE, the universities, the school districts, and the schools. The directors will meet on a regular basis with the superintendent, the principal of the recovery school, and with the recovery leaders and specialists. The directors will report to the commissioner on a quarterly basis on the progress of the schools and plans for implementing reform that will improve instruction and student results. The recovery leaders will be working very closely with the school principals, but will report to the recovery directors. The recovery specialists will be located in each school, one in math and one in language arts, and will be coordinating with the principal and school recovery leaders. If sufficient progress is not made after the first year with the district’s effort to turnaround the school, the KDE reserves the right to take over leadership and remove principals and force additional restaffing, if that was the option the district chose. He said the federal government is expecting KDE to monitor the money very closely and to see results at the end of one year. KDE has extended this expectation and wants to see improvements at the end of each quarter.


In response to a question from Senator Winters, Dr. Holliday explained the other intervention option for schools and districts. He noted no schools chose the school closure option or the external management option. Four districts did choose the transformation option which focuses on teacher and principal effectiveness and the evaluation process.


In response to a question from Representative DeCesare, Dr. Holliday said the external management option could be a non-profit or for-profit organization in which a school district enters into a contract where it manages the school. The KDE was required by the legislation to develop a list of those potential providers, but there was no interest from any of the schools in selecting this option.


In response to questions from Representative Miller, Dr. Holliday described the evaluation process and separated the state and district issues in identifying the low-performing schools. He said Jefferson County selected the restaffing option and they decided the process for making personnel changes. The KDE did not have any involvement in making the personnel decisions other than to say that the 50 percent and principal removal rules could be waived under federal guidelines. The KDE made clear to Jefferson County that this would be a one-year waiver and the results would be reviewed at the end of that year. Dr. Holliday noted that even the non-Title I schools had very high percentages of students receiving free and reduced price lunches, and a high at-risk student population.


In response to questions from Senator Blevins, Dr. Holliday said one school was categorized as a high school with a graduation rate of less than 60 percent for three consecutive years. He said he would send the committee members the 2010 list of schools identified as Tier 1, Tier II, and Tier III, and the criteria for which the decisions were based.


Dr. Holliday said he would like to increase the number of universities participating in the District 180 program to at least eight. Uof L, EKU, and WKU were selected because they regionally made the most sense for travel purposes. The start-up cost to partner with the university was about $250,000 and the recovery director is paid from this money. He anticipates having all the universities involved in the next four to five years.

In response to questions from Representative Richards, Dr. Holliday said the recovery directors, recovery leaders, and recovery specialists salaries’ will be paid out of highly skilled educator funds or the state administrative funds. He said each of the ten schools can receive up to $500,000 and those funds will be used to implement the reform efforts that each school deems best. Some examples would be: hiring instructional coaches for science and social studies; software programs; consultants; additional professional development; additional teacher days; implement merit or performance-based pay for teachers; or to extend the school day, week, or year.


Dr. Holliday said a teacher and principal working condition survey will go on-line this spring and will ask teachers if their training is helping them in the classroom and if site-based council members are performing adequately and involving teachers in decision-making. He will provide the committee with correlation data to show where the site-based councils are located that are producing the best results, and have that training replicated.


In response to a comment and question by Representative Meeks, Dr. Holliday said he will provide committee members with correlation data on poverty, single parent, homelessness, and inadequate health care rates in communities. He said the higher the at-risk issues are in a community, the lower the student achievement is. He said that there are some schools that have overcome these issues by engaging the community.


In response to questions from Representative Firkins, Dr. Holliday said if a district can prove a particular existing reading strategy is working, the KDE will provide the resources to continue and expand the strategy from the $500,000 funding. Dr. Holliday said there is always an error rate in categorizing students as distinguished or proficient. However, he noted for a school to be classified as low-performing, the school had to not meet AYP goals for three consecutive years. It is not based on a one time testing of students, but a consistent pattern of low achievement over an extensive period of time.   


Race to the Top Phase 2 Application

            Dr. Holliday said the KDE submitted the Phase 2 application and met the June 1, 2010, deadline. The application retained the language from Phase 1 in sections where highest scores were received and added updates to these sections (state success factors, standards and assessment, data systems, and turning around struggling schools). KDE completely revised the lowest scoring section, Great Teachers and Leaders, to better address the criteria, especially in the area of teacher and principal evaluation and effectiveness. KDE has been advised to expect an announcement of Phase 2 finalists in early August.


Assessment and Accountability System and Content Standards (Senate Bill 1)

            Dr. Holliday said the new interim assessment system is in place. Work is proceeding to implement a balanced assessment system including formative, interim and summative assessments via: formation of the National Common Assessments Consortia; approval of end-of-course assessments for high school by the Kentucky Board of Education; advice from the National Technical Advisory Panel on Assessment and Accountability, which met in June, advice from the School Curriculum Assessment and Accountability Council (SCAAC), which met in April and is scheduled to meet in July, and formalizing the conceptual framework for measuring college and career readiness in the new accountability system in the summer of 2010.


            Dr. Holliday said the program reviews of arts and humanities, writing and practical living and career studies were piloted in 48 schools in 34 districts. Revisions to pilot review tools will be made in the summer of 2010. Schools may implement program reviews voluntarily in the 2010-2011 school year with professional development support. Full implementation will occur during the 2011-2012 school year.


            Dr. Holliday said the KDE survey provided various stakeholder groups an opportunity for input on the public version of the standards. Standards for the English and language arts and mathematics were finalized and publicly released on June 2. National organizations are working to create common standards in science and social studies; the timeline is unclear and these may not be available to meet the Senate Bill 1 deadline of December 10, 2010.


            Dr. Holliday said the content leadership networks will be guiding district leadership teams through the process of unpacking the standards. District leadership teams will facilitate this process with local school leadership teams and professional learning communities throughout the 2010-2011 school year. The focus will be on change in practice at the classroom level.  Professional development networks’ expected outcomes include examples of curriculum resources, deconstructed standards, leadership standards and leadership teams in place to guide the professional development. Content and examples of work from these networks will be used to populate the Continuous Instructional Improvement Technology System (CIITS).


            In response to a question from Representative Belcher, Dr. Holliday said school districts are being urged to involve special education teachers. Federal government guidelines require districts to test students on grade level. The National Assessment on Education Progress (NAEP) will be strengthened over the next few years. Accommodations can be made for assessing special education students on the state level, but not when taking NAEP exams. This could cause scores for special education students to decrease even lower before seeing an improvement.                                 

            Dr. Holliday stated that the KDE will report to the committee on October 31, 2010, the results of the state assessment system for those school districts that choose to have less than 177 instructional days in the school calendar. He also said the school term for fiscal year 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 shall include the equivalent of 177 six hour instructional days. School districts may exceed 177 instructional days, but money is included in the general fund appropriation to pay for 176 six hour instructional days. Dr. Holliday advised superintendents he believes the intent of the legislation was for schools to operate utilizing 177 days unless they had previously adopted alternative calendars, and that teachers should not receive a pay cut. Superintendents can submit contracts giving teachers two less instructional days as long as time equivalency is met and the KDE would approve those. However, districts are strongly being advised to keep teacher instructional days the same and not reduce the pay for the teachers.


            In response to a question from Senator Winters, Dr. Holliday said the four professional development days are the only school days that are required in statute. Senator Winters is not fond of school districts adding an extra 10 minutes to the school day in order to meet the requirements for the extra two days and does not believe this is a wise use of the $18 million dollars. Dr. Holliday said the administrative regulation KAR 7:140 has not been challenged.


Initial Plan:  Unified Strategy for College and Career Readiness

Mr. Robert King, President, Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE), identified the two goals of the college and career readiness objectives: reduce college remediation rates by at least 50 percent by 2014 in comparison to the 2010 rate and increase the college completion rates of students enrolled in one or more remedial classes by 3 percent annually from 2009 to 2014. President King said the college-ready students are more likely to graduate college.


President King said the new college readiness standards are in effect for entering freshmen in the fall of 2010. ACT college entry scores must be an 18 for English, no change, 19 for mathematics (1 point increase) and a 20 for reading (2 point increase). An estimated 37 percent of students will need developmental education in mathematics, compared to 29 percent under the current standard, an increase of 1,595 students. About 28 percent of students will need remediation in reading, compared to 17 percent under the current standard, an increase of 1,969 students.


President King said the following strategies will be used by postsecondary institutions to meet the target goals of Senate Bill 1: bridge programming; accelerated learning opportunities; student support and intervention systems; and faculty professional development. The CPE will be working closely with the KDE to implement these initiatives. Senator Winters said the complete plan was located in the members’ folders.


In response to questions from Representative Wuchner, President King said he would provide the committee with the high school feedback report. This report shows the number of students by county who are going on to enroll in college and their ACT scores.


Dr. Holliday said the Kentucky Board of Education passed a regulation that all school districts must provide intervention programs for students during the 2010-2011 school year that do not score college ready on the ACT. He said the KDE will ensure that these intervention programs are in place and will be monitoring its oversight.


In response to a question from Representative Stone, President King said a formula was used to derive a correlation between students’ ACT scores and how they performed in 100 level college courses. Student performance in college level classes ultimately depends upon the student and not on individual ACT scores. The CPE feels responsibility is shared between it and KDE to get students prepared for college. Higher education plays a very significant role in determining who becomes a teacher and how well they are trained and supported through their careers.


In response to a question from Senator McGaha, President King said after a student completes a bridge program, the universities will give the student a placement exam on campus to determine if the student is ready for a credit generating course. Students may take the college placement test on-line if transportation is a barrier to taking the test on campus.


In response to a question from Representative Belcher, Dr. Holliday said he was expecting the Governor’s Task Force to come out with recommendations relating to dual credit and earning college credit while in high school. The budget passed by the General Assembly contained some language that allows him to work with Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accredited postsecondary institutions to develop some innovative ideas around early and middle college, and dual credit programs. There were opportunities with federal and private foundation grants to implement some of these innovative ideas.


In response to a question from Senator McGaha, President King said the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) is clearly a system. He is very pleased with Dr. McCall and Chancellor Box’s lead in developing quality and consistency in the associate level courses across the system.


In response to a question from Senator Winters, Dr. Holliday said the National Center for Environmental Economics (NCEE) is a $30 million federal grant that the KDE is seeking to develop end-of-course exams. This would be an exam program targeted to students in the ninth and tenth grade. If students successfully complete a combination of courses and pass the internationally benchmarked exams, they could move right into college, or move into advanced placement courses that would help prepare students for selective colleges, such as Harvard.


In response to a question from Representative Stevens, Dr. Aaron Thompson, Vice President of Academic Affairs, CPE, said a remediation class typically has 20-25 students. The classes have faculty with a background in developmental education and they include mentoring and tutoring. Representative Stevens said all college classes should have the same characteristics as the remedial courses.


With no further business before the committee, the meeting adjourned at 3:15 p.m.