News and Announcements

KENTUCKY  

Public Comment Sought on Kentucky's Proposed Alternate Assessment Participation Waiver  

(FRANKFORT, KY) – The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) is seeking public comment on a request to the U.S. Department of Education (USED) to extend the waiver related to the number of students participating in the alternate assessment aligned with alternate academic achievement standards (AA-AAAS).  

The AA-AAAS is aligned with alternate academic achievement standards on the annual statewide Kentucky Summative Assessment, formerly known as the Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress (K-PREP) test.  

 

Gov. Beshear Says Kentucky Schools Should Require Masks for All Students, Adults in Classroom  

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Amid ongoing concerns over the spread of the delta variant, Gov. Andy Beshear unveiled a new set of COVID-19 recommendations for school districts, including universal mask usage in classrooms.  

All-in-all, the unchanging message continues to be: get vaccinated if you haven't. Last week, Beshear said more than 95% of the state's new COVID-19 cases are among unvaccinated people.  

 

Kentucky Education Leader Says Shortage of School Staff No Surprise after Long-Term Issues  

School districts across Kentucky are in high gear as they prepare for a return to in-person classes.  

But on top of recovering from the COVID-19 upheaval of changing schedules and virtual instruction, there’s another wrinkle in the preparation.  

A state education leader said there’s an unusually large number of vacant positions.    


 

TENNESSEE 

Tennessee’s 2020-21 TCAP Participation Exceeds Expectations  

Nashville, TN—Today, the Tennessee Department of Education announced the state’s Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) participation rates for the 2020-21 annual assessment administration, achieving an overall participation rate of 95% statewide.  

During the January 2021 Special SessionPublic Chapter 2 removed negative consequences associated with accountability for districts and schools whose district-wide TCAP participation rate was 80% or higher. The department is excited to announce that 100% of districts met the 80% participation rate, with 80% of districts having met the federal 95% participation rate.    

More than two million TCAP tests were administered this year to approximately 750,000 students.  

 

Teacher Evaluation in Tennessee  

After piloting new teacher evaluation systems in the 2010-2011 academic year, the Tennessee Department of Education implemented a statewide comprehensive teacher evaluation system that took effect in 2011-2012.   

This brief unpacks four primary findings from the body of research on evaluation reform in Tennessee.  

 

$2.8 Million in Grant Funding to Support Educational Priorities in Tennessee  

The College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, received over $2.8 million in grant funding from the Tennessee Department of Education to continue support of educational priorities in Tennessee.  

Programs supported by the grants include the Grow Your Own Initiative (GYO), which provides financial support for individuals who are currently serving as an educational assistant or teacher’s aide to become a licensed teacher. The grants also support the professional development and learning of existing Tennessee teachers through two innovative programs that will allow existing teachers to earn endorsements in special education or secondary mathematics. 

 

VIRGINIA 

Summer School Enrollment Is Up in the Richmond Area – and Teacher Pay is Nearly Double in Some Districts  

The students in Autumn Stinnett’s summer school class of rising second-graders keep their masks on as they sit at spaced-out desks with plastic barriers surrounding them in Room 10 of Henrico County’s Skipwith Elementary School.  

As Stinnett does reading exercises with a group of students at a crescent-shaped table in the front of the room, the remaining students are tasked with writing a sentence about a friend.  

Down the hall, Kathryn Phillips leads a group of rising fourth-graders with nametag lanyards around their necks, masks on their faces and laptops in hand. For many students, summer school is their first time in a classroom in more than a year.  

  

Canvas Now Available for Parents & Guardians  

Virtual Virginia now provides Canvas for Parents & Guardians, a fully developed online course that Virginia public school divisions may distribute to parents and guardians to help them engage in their children’s learning and progress within VVA and Canvas’s statewide LMS.  

The brief course provides parents and guardians with essential information about getting started with Canvas, including tips and tricks for setting up their Canvas accounts and how to use the Canvas mobile apps. The content available in the course is broadly applicable to parents and guardians in your division, but your division will be able to customize key components of the course as needed.  

  

Lawsuit Over Virginia Schools' Transgender Policies Tossed By Lynchburg Judge  

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) — A Lynchburg judge dismissed two lawsuits against the Virginia Department of Education’s policies regarding transgender students.  

Conservative activists filed the lawsuits against the VDOE’s “Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Virginia’s Public Schools” earlier this year seeking to block the new policy.  

Judge J. Frederick Watson dismissed the lawsuits in a Lynchburg Circuit Court following arguments from the office of Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring.  

  

WEST VIRGINIA  

School System Releases Plan for $4.7 Million in Federal ARP Funds  

Morgan County Schools has shared their plan for spending $4.7 million in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding and is asking for public comment on that proposal.  

The planning team responsible for deciding what to do with $4,744,748 in federal dollars consisted of Superintendent Kristen Tuttle, School Treasurer Ann Bell, central office directors and school administrators.  

Surveys about what to do with the American Rescue Plan/Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund funding were conducted with parents, students, staff, community members and board members, said school officials.  Other input was gleaned from team leadership meetings, staff and community partners.  

  

Sen. Manchin Announces $3.7 Million For WV Students Experiencing Homelessness  

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) announced more funding to help support students in West Virginia experiencing homelessness.  

On Wednesday, Sen. Manchin (D-W.Va.) announced $3,743,199 from the American Rescue Plan to help schools in the Mountain State identify and support students who experience homelessness. West Virginia has received nearly $5 million from the $800 million the Senator has fought to include for this cause, according to a release.  

  

Critical Components Of Virtual Learning On This West Virginia Morning  

On this West Virginia Morning, education reporter Liz McCormick spoke with Chris Harrington, director of Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute at Michigan Virtual School, to get some perspective on ways to have successful virtual learning – and the importance of reliable internet access.  

Also, in this show, we have stories on new guidance for mask wearing from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a landmark opioid trial, the latest on the fates of two power plants, and an effort by the Appalachian Mind Health Initiative.