News and Announcements

KENTUCKY

End of Virtual Commissioner's Listening Tour Will Begin Kentucky’s Journey to a New Education System

(FRANKFORT, KY) – The beginning of learning anything meaningful starts with curiosity, Education Commissioner Jason E. Glass explained at the beginning of each stop on his virtual Commissioner’s Listening Tour.

“When it comes to redesigning our education system, our attention should focus first on igniting curiosity in a meaningful and authentic way,” he said.

As the virtual tour nears an end, the feedback and input received from Kentuckians across the state will shape the future of public education in the Commonwealth.

 

Area Schools Return to K-PREP Testing

Schools across the state are taking the K-PREP assessment test this week, but this year’s test will be quite different from similar tests of the past.

Tests are being taken during each school district’s last 14 instructional days of the school calendar. It’s not tied to any federal or state funding, but shows schools and education administration the level of knowledge its students have and progress made over the years.

The Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress (K-PREP) is the annual summative assessment given in grades 3 through 8, 10 and 11 to Kentucky public school students.

 

Kentucky Public School Districts Sue Company for Damage Caused by Opioid Crisis

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Kentucky public school districts are the latest to jump on board to recover funds caused by the opioid epidemic.

Attorney Ron Johnson, a partner in the law firm of Hendy Johnson Vaughn Emery in Louisville, is representing the state’s public school districts, one of the hardest hit by the opioid epidemic.

Jefferson County Public Schools passed a resolution in October authorizing litigation to compensate for damages caused by opioids.

 

 

TENNESSEE

Educator Emotional Support Video Series Now Available for All Tennessee Teachers

Nashville, TN— Today, the Tennessee Department of Education released the Educator Emotional Support Video Series to provide free, optional resources to support the mental health of Tennessee educators, created in partnership with statewide partners. 

In support of Teacher Appreciation Month and Mental Health Awareness Month this May, the video series provides guidance, resources, and interactive activities by two licensed clinical social workers focusing on the mental health of Tennessee educators in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Additionally, this video series builds off the Emotional Support Line for Pandemic Stress, launched in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and other statewide organizations, to provide free and confidential mental health support to all Tennesseans working in education, healthcare workers, and first responders.

 

Q&A: Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn Discusses the Need for More (and Better) Data to Guide Efforts in Helping Students Catch Up After the Pandemic

Following a recent education interview with Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, during which he pointed to data from statewide assessments as being “among our most valuable tools” in helping students recover from pandemic-related learning losses, the Collaborative for Student Success reached out to other state officials across the country who have been leading on data collection to guide efforts in accelerating learning.

Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn agreed to share her department’s rationale on moving forward with state assessment this year — and how the state now plans to use the data to benefit schools, parents, and students.

This discussion was organized after Tennessee lawmakers passed legislation pausing much of the state’s test-based accountability system, and after Schwinn had publicly defended the administration of tests, saying “it’s important to know how our kids are doing, and it’s important for our families to know.”

 

Tennessee Gov Signs Restrictive LGBTQ + Education Bill

On Monday, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) signed a controversial bill into law that has provoked concern among the U.S. LGBTQ+ advocacy community.

The bill, SB 1229, requires the parent or legal guardian of any individual attending a local Tennessee school to be notified before the child is enrolled in a sexual education curriculum. This gives the parent the option to exclude the child from the lesson. 

 

 

VIRGINIA

Va. Secretary of Education Addressing Learning Loss Among Students

Danville, Va. — School districts in Virginia are reporting a higher number of students with failing grades this year.

To put that into perspective...

At one point this school year, Henry County Schools were reporting twice as many students were failing at least one course versus 2020.

 

Editorial: Outreach Needed to Address Virginia’s Teacher Shortage

The challenge of getting schools back to something like normal as the pandemic wanes will be made much tougher by a nationwide shortage of teachers. Virginia’s leaders should be mounting an all-out campaign to attract good people to this vital profession.

The pandemic has made the shortage of teachers here and across the United States worse, but the problem had been growing for years. The Virginia Department of Education’s most recent statewide report on teacher job vacancies is from 2019, before the pandemic. That year, there were more than 1,000 unfilled teaching positions across the commonwealth.

Then COVID hit, with multiple repercussions. Rather than reinvent the way they teach or return to the classroom when they don’t feel safe, some teachers who had been close to retirement or thinking about changing careers left the profession. Some young people who had dreamed of become teachers saw the struggles with virtual learning and changed their minds.

 

Virtual Virginia Gives Students More Online Options

As this unconventional school year comes to a close, many public school districts in the commonwealth are announcing students will have the option to enroll in online classes through Virtual Virginia next semester.

But what exactly is Virtual Virginia, and how can area children benet from this program?

According to Virtual Virginia Executive Director Brian Mott, the program, which was thrust into the spotlight over the last year due to the COV 19 pandemic’s impact on the commonwealth, can actually trace its roots back to the 1980s with the creation of an entity known as the Virginia Satellite Education Network (VSEN) which offered Advanced Placement (AP) and world language courses through satellite television to rural o underserved students throughout Virginia. The primary mission of the network was to provide students with courses unavailable at local schools.

 

 

WEST VIRGINIA

Less than 50% of WV Public School Grads Attended College in 2020

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — New data from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission shows less than half of West Virginia high school graduates enrolled in college in 2020.

“In response, we have been doing a lot of modifications to our state financial aid programs, so more students can qualify and try and make it easier for students to obtain state financial aid to go to college this fall,” said Brian Weigart with the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.

 

WV Public Schools Seek to Recover Costs Created by Opioid Crisis

Public school districts in West Virginia, a state described as “ground zero for the opioid epidemic in America,” have sued McKinsey & Company, Inc. for creating and implementing the plan that led to Purdue Pharma pleading guilty to federal crimes for marketing and distributing its Oxycontin and other opioid brands.

The complaint was filed in U.S. District Court in Huntington on Wednesday. It accuses McKinsey of racketeering and conspiracy, and of creating a public nuisance to expand their profits from the sale of both brand name and generic opioids.

The suit lists the boards of education in Marion, Mason and Wyoming counties as plaintiffs, along with “all other West Virginia county boards of education similarly affected.”

 

Remote Learning Still Widespread Even After Biden Hits Goal

President Joe Biden has met his goal of having most elementary and middle schools open for full, in-person learning in his first 100 days in office, according to new survey data, but the share of students choosing to return has continued to lag far behind.

The survey, conducted in March by the Education Department and released Thursday, found that 54% of public schools below high school were offering full-time classroom learning to any student who wanted it. It marks steady progress since January, when the figure was 46% …

The administration started the survey this year to track the pandemic’s effect on schools and students. It’s based on responses from 3,500 public schools that serve fourth graders and 3,500 schools that serve eighth graders. Several states have declined to participate, including Montana, West Virginia and Utah.