Call to Order and Roll Call
Thefirst meeting of the Subcommittee on Elementary and Secondary Education of the Interim Joint Committee on Education was held on Monday, June 11, 2012, at 10:00 AM, in Room 129 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Ted Edmonds, Co-Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Vernie McGaha, Co-Chair; Representative Ted Edmonds, Co-Chair; Senators David Givens, and Jack Westwood; Representatives Linda Belcher, Regina Petrey Bunch, John "Bam" Carney, Hubert Collins, Rick G. Nelson, Bart Rowland, Wilson Stone, and Ben Waide.
Guests: Jim Evans, Lee County Schools; Tina Tipton, Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative; Jeff Hawkins, Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative; Mark Cleveland, Southeast/Southcentral Educational Cooperative; Jonathon Lowe, Jefferson County Public Schools; Jim Thompson, Education and Workforce Development; Sue Cain, Council of Postsecondary Education; Wayne Young, Kentucky Association of School Administrators; and Clyde Caudill, Jefferson County Public Schools.
Services and Challenges of Kentucky’s Educational Cooperatives
Terry Holliday, Commissioner, Kentucky Department of Education (KDE), discussed the collaboration with the educational cooperative groups across Kentucky. Dr. Holliday noted that the Kentucky Department of Education has reduced staff over the past few years due to the economy and subsequent budget cuts. The department has focused on Senate Bill 1, career and technical, and early childhood work. KDE is not able to train every teacher, principal, and superintendent on a regular basis, and it must have partners in that work. KDE has a strong set of partners with the education cooperatives. The cooperatives are run by the superintendents, with whom he meets at least once a year, preferably twice a year. Local superintendents make the decisions about the cooperatives’ priorities. All cooperatives’ priorities are basically the same, including implementing Senate Bill 1. The cooperatives are essential for implementing other enacted legislation to ensure every child graduates from high school ready for college and career.
In response to Representative Collins’ question regarding the scheduling for end of school testing, Dr. Holliday said that, with Senate Bill 1, the requirements were to test within the last 14 days of school. He noted that this year, due to the lack of snow days that schools normally have, some schools had conflicts with the May end-of-course tests and the Advanced Placement tests.
In response to Representative Carney’s questions regarding the online end-of-course assessment and science and social studies standards implementation, Dr. Holliday said the only district in Kentucky that had a problem with students’ scores was Taylor County. There were a lot of problems with the company that provided the testing materials. The social studies standards are still behind but are gradually coming together. There are 16 social studies organizations nationally that are working hard, and Kentucky has been working with 25 other states on social studies standards for a couple of years. The science standards are out for public review. Their development was led by the National Research Council, and Kentucky was a lead state.
Chairman Edmonds explained the eight regional educational cooperatives, and mentioned that almost every school district in Kentucky is a member of one of these cooperatives. He said that each cooperative provides services and programs to support districts and schools in their efforts to improve teaching and learning.
Jeff Hawkins, Director, Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative (KVEC), said that KVEC was founded in 1972 by a group of superintendents to address the needs in the rural districts. Located in extreme Southeastern Kentucky and extending west as far as Wolfe County, KVEC serves about 365,000 people with a student population of about 55,000. Some of his districts only have about 400 students, with Pike County being the largest district with about 10,000 students. The core compelling purpose as a cooperative is to improve student learning, which is accomplished by working in some cases directly with kids, but more often by working with the adults who interact and work with those kids on a daily basis by providing training and resource management.
Mr. Hawkins explained three different KVEC initiatives. The first, the Perpetuating Excellence in Teaching Leadership and Learning (PETLL) initiative, is a self-developed school improvement process that KVEC works on from the inside out with the schools. PETLL helps identify individual talent among staff members and helps make sure that a school is focused on the right thing as staff talent grows and develops within the school. PETLL has had great returns in the schools, with students’ ACT scores improving by a point and a half.
Jim Evans, Superintendent, Lee County Schools, said that PETLL has been very positive for his district. This is a model that makes a district better by using strengths available within the district. His district was one of the first participate with PETLL.
Mr. Hawkins said the second initiative, Appalachian Teaching and Leadership Network (ATLN), looks at the next generation of what a P-16 Council will be. There will be an advisory council that will meet four times in the calendar year in collaboration with the cooperative board members. It will consist of representatives of higher education and business and industry that serve the region, local and state government entities, and K-12 organizations including pre-school and adult education. Mr. Hawkins stated that Kentucky cannot improve the economy without improving education, and that education cannot be improved without improving the economy. The idea is to bring all of the groups together in one location to try to get everybody working in the same direction so they can have a positive effect on the region.
Mr. Hawkins said this past year KVEC was a recipient of the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) I-3 Grant. KVEC approached USDE with the proposal about collaborating with a cooperative in Southwestern Kentucky to help students become college and career ready. The grant, Creating College and Career Readiness (C3R), is the third initiative. He stated that it is a very robust program that will be available to students in the eighth grade through the twelfth grade. There will be an online component that has about five different elements.
In response to Senator Givens’ question regarding the PETLL program and schools and programs that are not as successful, Mr. Hawkins said that the program was available to all the KVEC districts and schools, and those schools that thought they were ready last year were the ones who volunteered for the pilot year. KVEC will walk a fine line and present opportunities that are win-win for everyone.
In response to Representative Collins’ questions regarding KVEC’s budget and how they are funded, Mr. Hawkins said the annual budget is about $1.9 million, and the money comes from state and federal grants. The smallest members pay a fee of $2,000 per year, and the largest members pay $8,500 per year.
Chairman Edmonds noted that KVEC provides services in special education, adult education, and literacy for member school districts.
Mark Cleveland, Director, Southeast/Southcentral Educational Cooperative (SE/SC) said that the cooperative represents 25 school districts and has about 67,000 students. SE/SC has been around for a while. Its mission has changed since KERA was instituted. SE/SC is doing the same thing as KVEC because all of the co-ops collaborate. The co-op’s role has changed because it has assumed a lot of responsibility as a result of Senate Bill 1. SE/SC is now a stronger partner with the Kentucky Department of Education. SE/SC’s compelling purpose is to increase the educational attainment of all students. It works to provide proactive high quality service to member districts and wants to be responsive to everybody. Mr. Cleveland also mentioned SE/SC’s strategic priorities and noted that customer support and leadership development are essential, along with integration planning and implementation. SE/SC believes in the integrated delivery model and thinks that it is appropriate for efficiency and effectiveness in these tough times because it is all geared towards student learning.
Mr. Cleveland discussed the different services of SE/SC and how they coordinate with the Kentucky Department of Education, Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB), and Eastern Kentucky University (EKU). This coordination and partnership is different than in the past. Because KVEC and SE/SC are so close together and the populations are so much alike, it makes sense to coordinate and collaborate.
Mr. Cleveland said SE/SC is funded through grants, indirect costs from the grants, purchasing, and membership fees. SE/SC lowered some of the membership fees because of the economy.
Responding to questions from Representative Waide regarding why SE/SC exists with a comprehensive service delivery model, Mr. Cleveland said SE/SC was formed under the Inter Local Agreement Act. He thought SE/SC was originally formed as a purchasing cooperative. Jeff Hawkins stated that KVEC began in 1972 to reduce the costs and create efficiency for purchasing. The comprehensive service delivery model’s goal is to do things a little more efficiently and save money in the process.
Responding to questions from Senator McGaha regarding who Mr. Cleveland represents and to whom he answers, Mr. Cleveland said he represents 25 superintendents even though he works for EKU, and he answers to both the cooperative and EKU.
Representative Stone mentioned his positive experiences with co-ops as a former school board member for 24 years in Allen County. He noted that when he was on the school board, co- ops were used to provide in-service training.
Tina Tipton, Chief Academic Officer and Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative (OVEC) said OVEC was formed in 1976. OVEC’s primary goal is to look at the regional support it can give districts by providing services for students to get them college and career ready. She identified the funding sources, saying that OVEC charges a fee for professional development services. The challenge is seeing what it can do to continue its work. OVEC has used an integrated service delivery model for the past year and half. The model brings all of the different groups together to create an integrated, seamless system. All OVEC staff work together, no matter the subject.
Ms. Tipton said the guidance counselor network that OVEC just formed will get a lot of attention next year. The guidance counselors have taken on a lot of new roles and are looking at their responsibilities to get students college and career ready. Ms. Tipton also mentioned some of the other networks and what they provide. OVEC staff meet with these networks on a monthly basis. Next year, at the request of the cooperative board, OVEC will form a network for gifted and talented teachers and a network for library and media specialists.
Representative Belcher stated that OVEC is close to her heart, and it was in the 1970s when she first got involved with it. She was a principal when KERA started, and OVEC stepped up and helped save the sanity of all in her district. She noted that OVEC has been such a wonderful resource for Bullitt County for a long time and has helped it many times.
In response to Senator Westwood’s questions regarding the cooperatives’ roles in ensuring the success of the career pathways bill, Ms. Tipton said she believes that OVEC has a role in the career pathways bill in terms of how to help. It is important to back up in terms of counseling the students and looking at the career paths. Career counseling should start well before high school.
With no further business before the committee, the meeting adjourned at 12:02 p.m.