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Kentucky Board of Education moves to close achievement gaps through renewed support

The Kentucky Board of Education renewed its commitment to educating ALL students and emphasized closing achievement gaps as one of its top priorities.
“This is not only about compliance but is an ethical imperative about reaching each child,” Kentucky Department of Education Chief of Staff Tommy Floyd told the board. “By focusing on the individual needs of students we will not only reduce achievement gaps, but also improve achievement for all students.”
Department staff laid out the framework for a plan that refines the department’s approach to support schools and districts to meet the needs of all students and reduce novice student performance. Also, the board approved adjustments to the Unbridled Learning College- and Career-Readiness for All Accountability Model that would eliminate the masking of achievement gaps and provide incentives to schools to move all students to higher performance levels.
On a related issue, the board received an update on the state’s work on the State Systemic Improvement Plan to improve educational results and outcomes for students with disabilities. Currently there are about 97,000 students in the state who qualify for an Individual Education Plan in at least one of 14 disability categories.
The majority of these students are not proficient in reading and math, and while nearly 70 percent of students with a disability graduated from high school in 2014, only 22 percent were ready for college and careers. More than 2,700 of these students were not.
The SSIP enables the department to provide more targeted support to districts and would empower educational cooperatives to use Individual with Disabilities Education Act funds to develop plans to accelerate learning and close achievement gaps for students with disabilities.
Also, the board approved a resolution in support of Kentucky Rising, an initiative that unifies efforts statewide to ensure Kentucky students and the state’s workforce are globally ready and can meet job requirements of the 21st century. The Council on Postsecondary Education and the Education Professional Standards Board will consider the resolution at meetings later this month.
In other business, the Council for Better Education presented a study to the board titled Adequacy for Excellence in Kentucky that looks at multiple aspects of the Kentucky school finance system. Also, the board received updates on the Kentucky Education North Star Project to boost productivity and efficiency in Kentucky school districts in an effort to reallocate more funds to the classroom; the board’s legislative agenda and the AdvanceKentucky initiative.
The next regular Kentucky Board of Education meeting is scheduled for April 1, in Frankfort.
From the Kentucky Department of Education

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