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Kentucky Leads New Common Core Standards Initiative

Kentucky has been selected to model a new initiative that helps implement the common core state education standards.

Kentucky was the first state to adopt the standards, which look to unify what students learn (map shows current states that have adopted the standards). Now, the Kentucky Department of Education will help develop a framework for providing professional development at the state level, said Joellen Killion, senior advisor with the organization Learning Forward. It’s a non-profit that plans to work with seven states over the next two years.

Reaching out to all teachers is difficult, but information can spread though state education departments, she said.

“What we can do is to work with the department of education in how it thinks about its role and then work closely in several school systems in Kentucky simultaneously to have them serve as models,” Killion said.

Essentially, the idea is to educate leaders and let it trickle down, she said.

“The state’s policies, practices, and investments in professional learning often determine the quality and access to professional learning that teachers have across the state,” said Killion.

The Kentucky Department of Education will help create the framework and strategies available to all participating education departments, but each state will have different priorities; and what works for one may not work for another, which is why the six other states will participate in conversations throughout the process, she said.

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Kentucky Increases Alternative School Accountability

The Kentucky Department of Education board passed new regulations that require public school districts to set goals and submit data to the state to improve education opportunities for at-risk students.

The programs offer at-risk students remedial education opportunities. KDE will now increase accountability for alternative school programs beginning next school year, said Lisa Gross, KDE spokeswoman.

“If you’ve got an alternative program that is not providing the kind of learning that a child would need to be prepared for whatever he or she wants to do once they graduate, even if they’re in a credit recovery program, then you need some help, you need some resources,” said Gross.

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Education Commissioner Appointed to National Assessment Governing Board

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has appointed Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) Commissioner Terry Holliday to the National Assessment Governing Board.

“The governing board my make decisions about which types of test NAEP will provide. NAEP tests things like reading and math and science and writing,” said Lisa Gross, Kentucky Department of Education spokeswoman.

Holliday will serve in the category of chief state school officer, which “sets policy for the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), known as the National Report Card.” NAEP is the country’s only nationally representative assessment of student achievement in various subjects. It’s an independent organization in association with the U.S. Department of Education.

“I’m excited about serving and representing Kentucky on this very important board. I look forward to influencing the national assessment of our educational programs,” said Holliday.

Holliday has been the KDE commissioner since 2009. In his new job, he will help oversee how all states are tested and compared, said Gross. NAEP’s initiatives are in line with what Kentucky has begun to implement with students being prepared for college, she said.

“What they’re looking at now, these major developments, are really in line with what Kentucky is doing, particularly when we look at career and college readiness,” said Gross.

Holliday will also be responsible for overseeing research on college and job training readiness and oversee a new ad hoc committee on engaging parents with the goal of increasing student performance, said Stephaan Harris, public affairs specialist with the National Assessment Governing Board.

The position is unpaid and will bring Holliday to Washington for quarterly meetings. The 26-member board is made up of governors, state legislators, local and state officials, educators and the general public. Six other appointees were announced on Tuesday.

The four-year term begins Oct. 1. Holliday can be reappointed and serve up to eight years.